Research Article: Complement-activating donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies and solid organ transplant survival: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Date Published: May 25, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Antoine Bouquegneau, Charlotte Loheac, Olivier Aubert, Yassine Bouatou, Denis Viglietti, Jean–Philippe Empana, Camilo Ulloa, Mohammad Hassan Murad, Christophe Legendre, Denis Glotz, Annette M. Jackson, Adriana Zeevi, Stephan Schaub, Jean–Luc Taupin, Elaine F. Reed, John J. Friedewald, Dolly B. Tyan, Caner Süsal, Ron Shapiro, E. Steve Woodle, Luis G. Hidalgo, Jacqueline O’Leary, Robert A. Montgomery, Jon Kobashigawa, Xavier Jouven, Patricia Jabre, Carmen Lefaucheur, Alexandre Loupy, Maarten W. Taal

Abstract: BackgroundAnti-human leukocyte antigen donor-specific antibodies (anti-HLA DSAs) are recognized as a major barrier to patients’ access to organ transplantation and the major cause of graft failure. The capacity of circulating anti-HLA DSAs to activate complement has been suggested as a potential biomarker for optimizing graft allocation and improving the rate of successful transplantations.Methods and findingsTo address the clinical relevance of complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs across all solid organ transplant patients, we performed a meta-analysis of their association with transplant outcome through a systematic review, from inception to January 31, 2018. The primary outcome was allograft loss, and the secondary outcome was allograft rejection. A comprehensive search strategy was conducted through several databases (Medline, Embase, Cochrane, and Scopus).A total of 5,861 eligible citations were identified. A total of 37 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Studies reported on 7,936 patients, including kidney (n = 5,991), liver (n = 1,459), heart (n = 370), and lung recipients (n = 116). Solid organ transplant recipients with circulating complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs experienced an increased risk of allograft loss (pooled HR 3.09; 95% CI 2.55–3.74, P = 0.001; I2 = 29.3%), and allograft rejection (pooled HR 3.75; 95% CI: 2.05–6.87, P = 0.001; I2 = 69.8%) compared to patients without complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs. The association between circulating complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs and allograft failure was consistent across all subgroups and sensitivity analyses. Limitations of the study are the observational and retrospective design of almost all included studies, the higher proportion of kidney recipients compared to other solid organ transplant recipients, and the inclusion of fewer studies investigating allograft rejection.ConclusionsIn this study, we found that circulating complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs had a significant deleterious impact on solid organ transplant survival and risk of rejection. The detection of complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs may add value at an individual patient level for noninvasive biomarker-guided risk stratification.Trial registrationNational Clinical Trial protocol ID: NCT03438058.

Partial Text: Organ transplantation is the treatment of choice for many patients with end-stage chronic disease, which is an increasing burden on industrialized and newly industrialized countries [1,2]. Despite substantial progress in the development of effective immunosuppressive regimens, thousands of allografts fail every year worldwide due to rejection, with immediate consequences in terms of mortality, morbidity, and billions in extra costs to healthcare systems [3,4]. In the past decade, the role of circulating anti-human leukocyte antigen donor-specific antibodies (anti-HLA DSAs) has been increasingly recognized as a major contributing factor to allograft rejection [5] and long-term allograft failure [6–9] in kidney transplantation [10], with the same important associations more recently appreciated in lung [11], heart [7–12], liver [13], intestinal [14], and pancreas transplants [15].

This meta-analysis is reported in adherence with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and the reporting Meta-Analyses of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) [33,34].

In the present meta-analysis including 7,936 solid organ transplant patients, we established that complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs represent an important determinant of allograft loss across multiple types of organ transplants without a significant publication bias and with acceptable heterogeneity. Patients with complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs have a 3-fold–increased risk of allograft loss compared with patients without anti-HLA DSAs and/or patients with non–complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs. These associations were consistent regarding long-term allograft loss in high-quality studies, across different solid organ transplant populations (kidney, heart, lung, and liver transplant recipients), across different types of tests used for detecting complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs, and at different times of evaluation for complement-activating anti-HLA DSA status (before and after transplantation). Moreover, beyond the effect on allograft survival, we found that complement-activating anti-HLA DSAs were also strongly associated with an increased risk of allograft rejection. These findings reinforce the robustness of the results and their applicability in different clinical scenarios and transplant programs with different practices and support the possibility of a causal effect between complement-activating antibodies and allograft injury.



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