Posttransplant Diabetes Mellitus and Immunosuppression Selection in Older and Obese Kidney Recipients

David A. Axelrod, Wisit Cheungpasitporn, Suphamai Bunnapradist, Mark A. Schnitzler, Huiling Xiao, Mara McAdams-DeMarco, Yasar Caliskan, Sunjae Bae, Ji Yoon B. Ahn, Dorry L. Segev, Ngan N. Lam, Gregory P. Hess, Krista L. Lentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rationale & Objective: Posttransplant diabetes mellitus (DM) after kidney transplantation increases morbidity and mortality, particularly in older and obese recipients. We aimed to examine the impact of immunosuppression selection on the risk of posttransplant DM among both older and obese kidney transplant recipients. Study Design: Retrospective database study. Setting & Participants: Kidney-only transplant recipients aged ≥18 years from 2005 to 2016 in the United States from US Renal Data System records, which integrate Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing records with Medicare billing claims. Exposures: Various immunosuppression regimens in the first 3 months after transplant. Outcomes: Development of DM >3 months-to-1 year posttransplant. Analytical Approach: We used multivariable Cox regression to compare the incidence of posttransplant DM by immunosuppression regimen with the reference regimen of thymoglobulin (TMG) or alemtuzumab (ALEM) with tacrolimus + mycophenolic acid + prednisone using inverse propensity weighting. Results: 12.7% of kidney transplant recipients developed posttransplant DM with higher incidences in older (≥55 years vs <55 years: 16.7% vs 10.1%) and obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30 kg/m2 vs BMI < 30 kg/m2: 17.1% vs 10.9%) patients. The incidence of posttransplant DM was lower with steroid avoidance [TMG/ALEM + no prednisone (8.4%) and IL2rAb + no prednisone (9.7%)] than TMG/ALEM with triple therapy (13.1%). After adjustment for donor and recipient characteristics, TMG/ALEM with steroid avoidance was beneficial for all groups [age < 55 years: adjusted HR (aHR), 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-0.72); age ≥ 55 years: aHR, 0.69 (95% CI, 0.60-0.79); BMI < 30 kg/m2: aHR, 0.69 (95% CI, 0.60-0.78); BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2: aHR, 0.67 (95% CI, 0.57-0.79)]. However, IL2rAb with steroid avoidance was beneficial only for older patients (aHR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-0.99) and for those with BMI < 30 kg/m2 (aHR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.46-0.87). Limitations: Retrospective study and lacked data on immunosuppression levels. Conclusions: The beneficial impact of steroid avoidance using tacrolimus on posttransplant DM appears to differ by patient age and induction regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100377
JournalKidney Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Immunosuppression
  • kidney transplantation
  • new onset diabetes after transplantation
  • posttransplant diabetes mellitus
  • transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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