Journal Article

Comparison between bortezomib and rituximab in the treatment of antibody-mediated renal allograft rejection

Johannes Waiser, Klemens Budde, Manuela Schütz, Lutz Liefeldt, Birgit Rudolph, Constanze Schönemann, Hans-H. Neumayer and Nils Lachmann

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 27, issue 3, pages 1246-1251
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Comparison between bortezomib and rituximab in the treatment of antibody-mediated renal allograft rejection

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Antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) following kidney transplantation is associated with poor allograft survival. Conventional treatment based on plasmapheresis (PPH) and the administration of intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) is not satisfactory. Two compounds, more specifically targeting B cells and plasma cells, may help to improve the prognosis: rituximab, a B-cell-depleting monoclonal antibody, and bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor causing apoptosis of plasma cells.


Starting in February 2009, we treated 10 consecutive patients with ABMR according to current Banff criteria with one cycle of bortezomib [1.3 mg/m2 intravenously (i.v.), Day 1, 4, 8, 11]. This group was compared to a historical control group of patients (n = 9) treated with a fixed single dose of rituximab (500 mg i.v.). All patients received PPH (6×) and IVIG (30 g). Patients with acute ABMR additionally received methylprednisolone (3 × 500 mg i.v.).


Patient survival in both groups was 100%. At 18 months after treatment, graft survival was 6/10 in the bortezomib group as compared to 1/9 functioning grafts in the rituximab group (P = 0.071). Renal function was superior in patients treated with bortezomib as compared to rituximab-treated patients (serum creatinine at 9 months: 2.5 ± 0.6 versus 5.1 ± 2.1 mg/dL, P = 0.008). Proteinuria was not different between both groups (9 months: 1.3 ± 1.0 versus 1.6 ± 1.6 g/day, P = n.s.).


Treatment of ABMR with bortezomib in addition to standard therapy was partially effective, whereas treatment with a fixed dose of rituximab in addition to standard therapy with PPH and IVIG did not result in sufficient long-term graft survival. In the future, new strategies including the combination of both substances and the application of higher doses must be discussed.

Keywords: antibody-mediated rejection; bortezomib; kidney transplantation; rituximab

Journal Article.  3841 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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