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Transplant Proc. 2005 Mar;37(2):934-6.

Fungal infections in transplant recipients receiving alemtuzumab.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


Recently, we have used an anti-T-cell agent, alemtuzumab, as induction or conversion therapy to achieve a calcineurin (CNI) and steroid-free immunosuppressive regimen. We identified recipients who developed systemic fungal infections after the initiation of alemtuzumab and looked at their outcomes. The study population consisted of all pancreas transplant recipients who received alemtuzumab. Only invasive fungal infections were included in the analysis (eg, fungemia, meningitis, or pneumonia; fungal urinary tract infections were excluded). The organism was confirmed by culture, histopathology, or latex antigen test. Between February 2003 and February 2004, a total of 121 pancreas transplant recipients received alemtuzumab-56 as part of induction, and 65 as part of conversion. Of these, 8 (6.6%) developed an invasive fungal infection; 2 (3.6%) recipients as part of induction therapy and 6 (9.2%) as part of conversion therapy. Mean recipient age was 42.1 years. The mean length of time from alemtuzumab administration (first dose) to the diagnosis of the fungal infection was 115.9 days (range 5 to 318). The organisms identified initially were: Cryptococcus, Histoplasma, Aspergillus, and Candida. Overall, 3 (38%) of the eight patients died during ongoing treatment of their fungal infection: two from sepsis, one due to myocardial infarction. The other five recipients were treated successfully and have functioning grafts. The initial therapeutic agents used included: amphotericin B/liposomal AMB (n = 6), voriconazole (n = 3), capsofungin (n = 2), and fluconazole (n = 1). The use of alemtuzumab as induction or conversion therapy in pancreas transplant recipients may predispose patients to the development of systemic fungal infections. It would be important to determine what the most appropriate prophylaxis regimen would be for these patients.

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