Improving results in solitary pancreas transplantation with portal-enteric drainage, thymoglobin induction, and tacrolimus/mycophenolate mofetil-based immunosuppression

Robert J Stratta, Agnes Lo, M Hosein Shokouh-Amiri, M Francesca Egidi, Lillian W Gaber, A Osama Gaber
Transplant International 2003, 16 (3): 154-60
Advances in surgical techniques and clinical immunosuppression have led to steadily improving results in pancreas transplantation (PTX). The purpose of this study was to analyze retrospectively the outcomes in patients undergoing solitary PTX with portal-enteric (P-E) drainage and contemporary immunosuppression. From June 1998 through December 2000, we performed 28 solitary PTXs with antibody induction and tacrolimus/mycophenolate mofetil maintenance therapy. The first 13 patients received daclizumab (DAC) induction, while the next 15 received thymoglobulin (rabbit anti-human thymocyte gamma globulin; Thymo) induction. The study group included 13 pancreas alone (PA) and 15 sequential pancreas-after-kidney-transplantations (PAKT). Solitary PTX was performed with P-E drainage in 18 patients and systemic-enteric (S-E) drainage in ten. Patient and pancreas graft survival rates were 96% and 79%, respectively, with a mean follow-up of 22 (range 1-39) months. The 1-year actual death-censored pancreas graft survival rate was 89%. One PAKT patient died with a functioning graft at 1 month; three patients (11%) experienced early graft loss due to thrombosis and were excluded from the immunological analysis, leaving 24 evaluable patients. The incidence of acute rejection was 54%, including 50% in PA and 58% in PAKT recipients ( P=NS). In patients receiving Thymo induction, the rate of acute rejection was slightly lower (43% Thymo vs 70% DAC). Moreover, P-E drainage was associated with a slightly lower rate of acute rejection (44% P-E vs 75% S-E; P=NS). In patients with both Thymo induction and P-E drainage ( n=11), there was a tendency toward less rejection (the incidence of acute rejection was 36%). Two immunological graft losses occurred (one due to non-compliance), both in patients with P-E drainage. Only one patient had a cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Event-free survival (no rejection, graft loss, or death) was slightly higher in patients receiving Thymo (47%) than in those on DAC (23%) induction ( P=NS). We can conclude that solitary PTX with P-E drainage and Thymo induction may be associated with improved intermediate-term outcomes and a possible immunological advantage.

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