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Transpl Int. 2011 Jun;24(6):560-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2011.01235.x. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

Risk stratification by the virtual crossmatch: a prospective study in 233 renal transplantations.

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Transplantation Immunology and Nephrology, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, Basel, Switzerland.


The virtual crossmatch (virtual-XM) has been proposed for accurate identification of donor-specific HLA-antibodies, but large prospective studies assessing its value for pretransplant risk stratification are lacking. A total of 233 consecutive renal allograft recipients were prospectively stratified according to the virtual-XM. In patients with a negative virtual-XM (n=190, 82%), prospective cytotoxicity crossmatches (CDC-XM) were omitted, and they received standard immunosuppression. Virtual-XM positive patients were only transplanted if CDC-XM were negative. They received additional induction with anti-T-lymphocyte-globulin and intravenous immunoglobulins (n=43, 18%). The cumulative incidence of clinical/subclinical antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) at 1 year was lower in the negative virtual-XM than in the positive virtual-XM group [15/190 (8%) vs. 18/43 (42%); P<0.0001]. After a median follow-up of 2.6 years, allograft loss because of AMR occurred less often in the negative virtual-XM group (1% vs. 7%; P=0.04) and death-censored allograft survival at 2 years was higher (98% vs. 91%; P=0.02). Serum creatinine was not different at the last follow-up (129 μm vs. 130 μm; P=0.58). We conclude that a negative virtual-XM defines patients at low risk for AMR and early allograft loss, while a positive virtual-XM represents a significant risk for AMR despite enhanced induction therapy. This supports the utility of the virtual-XM for risk stratification and treatment allocation.

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