Highly sensitized (HS) anti-human leukocyte antigens (HLA) patients awaiting kidney transplantation benefit from specific allocation programs. Serological monitoring at 3-month intervals is recommended to prevent unexpected positive crossmatch (XM), but this strategy is not evidence-based. Therefore, we assessed its relevance when using single-antigen flow bead (SAFB) and screening flow bead (SFB) assays.
We included 166 HS patients awaiting a transplant and assessed their SAFB profile during the year preceding their inclusion. Anti-HLA antibodies were evaluated by SAFB assay and compared within patients as serum pairs, at 3, 6, and 9 months. We assessed the performance of SFB for detecting changes in SAFB profiles with 35 serum pairs.
On comparing 354, 218, and 107 serum pairs at 3, 6 and 9 months, respectively, only 0.6%, 0.7%, and 1% of all antigens tested exceeded for the first time the unacceptable antigen threshold (mean fluorescence intensity≥2000) in the most recent sample. Irrespective of the follow-up period, the calculated panel-reactive antibodies increased by a mean of 1%, and there was no significant increase in the proportion of donors at risk for positivity of flow- and/or complement-dependent cytotoxicity XM. The SFB did not accurately detect the variations of SAFB profiles.
Changes in HS patient profiles are anecdotal and show little association with transplant access or risk for positive XM. Less frequent monitoring in HS patients should be considered to improve cost-effectiveness without affecting transplant safety.