Thymoglobulin for induction or rejection therapy in pancreas allograft recipients: A single centre experience

Jennifer Trofe, Robert J. Stratta, M. Francesca Egidi, Agnes Lo, Lillian W. Gaber, M. Hosein Shokouh-Amiri, Hani P. Grewal, Marsha Honaker, Karen Hardinger, Rita R. Alloway, A. Osama Gaber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the safety and efficacy of thymoglobulin in pancreas transplant patients receiving tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil. Methods: Retrospective, single centre analysis of 45 patients transplanted between 1995 and 2000 who received 54 courses of thymoglobulin, including 36 courses in 29 solitary pancreas transplant recipients (16 pancreas alone, 13 pancreas after kidney transplants) and 18 courses in 16 simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant patients. Thirty-two patients (71%) were primary pancreas transplants, 10 (22%) were second transplants and three (7%) were third transplants. Of the 54 treatment courses, 19 (35%) were for induction, 27 (50%) were for primary rejection and eight (15%) were rescue therapy for rejection. All rejection episodes were biopsy-proven in at least one organ. Results: The median thymoglobulin dose was 1.5 mg/kg/d with a mean of six doses (range 3-10). Dose reduction or interruption was required in 28 courses (52%), most often due to leukopenia (n = 24), fever (n = 2) and thrombocytopenia (n = 2). Thymoglobulin was resumed in all but three patients, two with persistent fever and one with infection. Infectious complications (n = 25) occurred in 17 patients (38%) within 30 days and included bacterial (n = 16), cytomegalovirus (n = 4), polyoma (n = 1), fungal (Candida albicans, n = 1), toxoplasmosis (n = 1) and ehrlichiosis (n = 2). Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease occurred in two patients (4%) at a mean of 70 d post-thymoglobulin treatment. In the 19 patients that received thymoglobulin induction, one simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant, two pancreas alone and four pancreas after kidney transplant recipients developed rejection (37% incidence), while all remaining patients followed by surveillance protocol biopsies were rejection-free. In the 35 patients that received thymoglobulin for rejection, reversal occurred in 26 of the patients (74%). Rejection recurred within 30 d in five patients and post-treatment biopsies revealed persistent rejection in three of 20 pancreas and two of eight renal biopsies. After a mean follow-up of 6 months, the actual patient and pancreas graft survival rates were 93% and 71%, respectively. Conclusion: Thymoglobulin was effective as induction therapy in high-risk pancreas transplant recipients, and resulted in initial reversal of rejection in 74% of patients. Dose adjustments were required in over half the cases and were usually due to leukopenia. Infections occurring subsequent to thymoglobulin were not uncommon and reflected the immunosuppressive burden of the patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue numberSUPPL. 7
StatePublished - 2002


  • Antibody induction
  • Immunosuppression
  • Pancreas transplantation
  • Rejection
  • Simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant
  • Solitary pancreas transplant
  • Thymoglobulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Immunology


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