Belatacept in Kidney Transplantation and Its Limitations
Introduction: Since the approval of belatacept in 2011 for use in the setting of de novo kidney transplantation, this CD80/86 – CD28 co-stimulation blocker has been shown to be a valuable treatment option for maintenance immunosuppression.
Areas covered: In this setting, belatacept has been associated with superior glomerular filtration rate as compared to calcineurin inhibitor-based treatments because of the absence of nephrotoxicity. Additionally, belatacept avoids the cardiovascular side effects (e.g. hypertension and dyslipidemia) caused by a CNI-based-regimen. Nevertheless, belatacept-treated recipients have a higher rate of acute rejections and a higher risk of lymphoproliferative disorders.
Expert opinion: Data suggest a benefit from early conversion vs. late conversion of belatacept in a conversion setting following CNI-related toxicity. Randomized studies are currently comparing belatacept to tacrolimus, instead of cyclosporine, as was done in the Belatacept Evaluation of Nephroprotection and Efficacy as a First-line Immunosuppression Trial (BENEFIT). The benefits and limitations of belatacept seem to be the same when tacrolimus is used instead of cyclosporine.
Finally, we also report in this review on the immunological data available so far that explain belatacept’s limitations and the higher rate of acute rejection. The goal is to find the optimal immunosuppressive strategy to improve efficacy and safety at post-transplantation.
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