Racial disparity in renal transplantation: Alemtuzumab the great equalizer?

Alison A. Smith, Mira M. John, Isabelle S. Dortonne, Anil S. Paramesh, Mary Killackey, Bernard M. Jaffe, Joseph F. Buell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: Racial disparity as a barrier to successful outcomes in renal transplants for African Americans has been well described. Numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made to identify specific immunologic and socioeconomic factors. The objective of our study was to determine whether alemtuzumab (AL) induction abolishes this discrepancy and improves allograft survival in African American recipients. Methods: A retrospective chart review of consecutive adult renal transplants was conducted between 2006 and 2014. Kaplan-Meier analysis and hazard ratios were calculated for the African Americans (AA) and white groups. Multiple linear regressions were performed to assess independent variables (race, retransplant, sex, donor type, induction agent) on allograft survival. Results: A significant difference in allograft survival was identified between whites (n=272) and AA (n=445), with AA experiencing more graft losses (18.2% vs 12.1%, P=0.0351∗). Induction with AL improved outcomes in all transplant recipients. Multiple linear regression identified that the strongest predictor of allograft failure was induction without AL (P<0.0001∗). The data for a subset analysis matched for follow-up length demonstrated that whites compared with AA (n=157, 67 whites and 90 AA) had lower rates of allograft failure in the absence of AL induction (14.9% vs 44.4%, P=0.0156∗, hazard ratio=2.077). In contrast, AL induction (n=275, 105 whites and 170 AA) eliminated the racial disparity in allograft failure (5.7% vs 9.4%, P=0.8248, hazard ratio=1.504). Conclusions: This is the first study to describe the effects of AL induction therapy on AA renal transplant recipients beyond the first posttransplant year. Our early results suggest that AL induction therapy abolishes the disparity in renal allograft failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-674
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alemtuzumab
  • Immunosuppression
  • Induction agent
  • Racial disparity
  • Renal transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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