Extracorporeal Photopheresis With Low-Dose Immunosuppression in High-Risk Heart Transplant Patients-A Pilot Study.

In severely ill patients undergoing urgent heart transplant (HTX), immunosuppression carries high risks of infection, malignancy, and death. Low-dose immunosuppressive protocols have higher rejection rates. We combined extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP), an established therapy for acute rejection, with reduced-intensity immunosuppression. Twenty-eight high-risk patients (13 with high risk of infection due to infection at the time of transplant, 7 bridging to transplant via extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, 8 with high risk of malignancy) were treated, without induction therapy. Prophylactic ECP for 6 months (24 procedures) was initiated immediately postoperatively. Immunosuppression consisted of low-dose tacrolimus (8-10 ng/ml, months 1-6; 5-8 ng/ml, >6 months) with delayed start; mycophenolate mofetil (MMF); and low maintenance steroid with delayed start (POD 7) and tapering in the first year. One-year survival was 88.5%. Three patients died from infection (POD 12, 51, 351), and one from recurrence of cancer (POD 400). Incidence of severe infection was 17.9% (n = 5, respiratory tract). Within the first year, antibody-mediated rejection was detected in one patient (3.6%) and acute cellular rejection in four (14.3%). ECP with reduced-intensity immunosuppression is safe and effective in avoiding allograft rejection in HTX recipients with risk of severe infection or cancer recurrence. Copyright © 2022 Gokler, Aliabadi-Zuckermann, Zuckermann, Osorio, Knobler, Moayedifar, Angleitner, Leitner, Laufer and Worel.
There is no standard definition for “HLA incompatible” transplants. For the first time, we systematically assessed how HLA incompatibility was defined in contemporary peer-reviewed publications and its prognostic implication to transplant outcomes.
We combined 2 independent searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library from 2015 to 2019. Content-expert reviewers screened for original research on outcomes of HLA-incompatible transplants (defined as allele or molecular mismatch and solid-phase or cell-based assays). We ascertained the completeness of reporting on a predefined set of variables assessing HLA incompatibility, therapies, and outcomes. Given significant heterogeneity, we conducted narrative synthesis and assessed risk of bias in studies examining the association between death-censored graft failure and HLA incompatibility.
Of 6656 screened articles, 163 evaluated transplant outcomes by HLA incompatibility. Most articles reported on cytotoxic/flow T-cell crossmatches (n = 98). Molecular genotypes were reported for selected loci at the allele-group level. Sixteen articles reported on epitope compatibility. Pretransplant donor-specific HLA antibodies were often considered (n = 143); yet there was heterogeneity in sample handling, assay procedure, and incomplete reporting on donor-specific HLA antibodies assignment. Induction (n = 129) and maintenance immunosuppression (n = 140) were frequently mentioned but less so rejection treatment (n = 72) and desensitization (n = 70). Studies assessing death-censored graft failure risk by HLA incompatibility were vulnerable to bias in the participant, predictor, and analysis domains.
Optimization of transplant outcomes and personalized care depends on accurate HLA compatibility assessment. Reporting on a standard set of variables will help assess generalizability of research, allow knowledge synthesis, and facilitate international collaboration in clinical trials.