Background. We hypothesized that solitary pancreas transplants could be performed successfully even in the presence of poor HLA matching if an aggressive approach were taken with regard to immuno-suppressive protocol and the performance of allograft biopsy. Methods. Seven pancreas-after-kidney transplants and seven pancreas transplants alone were performed without consideration given to the degree of HLA mismatching (MM) using tacrolimus (FK506)/mycophenolate mofetil (MMF)/prednisone maintenance therapy. Mean (±SD) total HLA MM was 4.8±1.2. All patients were followed for at least 6 months. The first four cases were induced with ATGAM for 7 to 10 days. In the remaining 10 cases, an ultrasound-guided percutaneous needle biopsy was attempted on a protocol basis 10 days after completing induction with OKT3 for 7 (n=2) or 14 (n=8) days. Results. Overall patient survival, graft survival, and incidence of acute rejection requiring treatment were 86, 79, and 50%, respectively. Two patients receiving ATGAM developed grade III-IV rejection at 3 weeks. Both patients receiving OKT3 for 7 days developed early grade III rejection. However, only three of eight patients receiving OKT3 for 14 days developed rejection requiring treatment. Protocol biopsy was successfully performed in six of seven patients and uncovered three cases of otherwise undetectable grade III-IV rejection. Conclusions. Although based on a small number of cases, our results suggest that solitary pancreas transplants with a poor HLA match can be performed with an acceptable rejection incidence and graft survival rate using an OKT3/FK506/MMF/prednisone regimen with protocol biopsy.
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