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Clin Nephrol. 2012 Mar;77(3):246-53.

Proteasome inhibition with bortezomib: an effective therapy for severe antibody mediated rejection after renal transplantation.

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  • 1Divisions of Nephrology and Hypertension, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) following renal transplantation is less responsive to conventional anti-rejection therapies. Plasmapheresis (PP), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) and rituximab deplete immature B-cells but not mature plasma cells. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib has activity against mature plasma cell, the source of damaging donor-specific antibody (DSA).We present the successful use of bortezomib in 2 patients who developed AMR following kidney transplantation. The first patient was a 54-year-old white female who received living-unrelated kidney transplantation from her husband. She developed severe AMR early after transplantation with rising DSA titers consistent with an anamnestic immune response by memory cells to the donor antigens. Renal function deteriorated despite treatment with pulse methylprednisolone (MP), PP and IVIg. After initiation of therapy with bortezomib, DSA titers became negative and serum creatinine returned to baseline with histological resolution of AMR. The second patient was a 19-year-old white male who received deceased donor kidney transplantation and developed AMR within 2 weeks, refractory to therapy with pulse MP, PP and IVIg with rising DSA. Bortezomib use resulted in disappearance of DSA and renal function improvement. Both patients tolerated the treatment well with stable renal function at last follow-up. The novel mechanisms of action and preliminary results with bortezomib are encouraging, but require larger studies and longer follow-up.

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