Delaying kidney transplantation to allow for quiescence of systemic lupus erythematosus–related immune activity in patients with lupus nephritis and end-stage renal disease does not appear to improve graft outcomes, according to an analysis of national surveillance data.
Of 4,743 transplant recipients with lupus nephritis and end-stage renal disease (LN-ESRD), 1,239 experienced graft failure. Overall, wait times of 3-12 months and 12-24 months were associated with 25% and 37% increased risk of graft failure, respectively, compared with wait times of less than 3 months, after adjustment for age, race, insurance, hemoglobin, and donor type.
A similar pattern was seen in white patients, except that wait times of more than 36 months in white patients were associated with a near doubling of graft failure risk (hazard ratio, 1.98), Laura C. Plantinga of Emory University, Atlanta, and her colleagues reported (Arthritis Care Res. 2014 Sept. 23 [doi:10.1002/acr.22482]).
Among black patients, longer wait times were not associated with graft failure in the adjusted analysis, and, in fact, there was a nonstatistically significant suggestion of a protective effect for wait time of 2 years or more. This finding may reflect unexplained differences in disease pathology between white and black LN-ESRD patients, the investigators said, adding that there was no increased risk of graft failure in black patients who were transplanted early.
“Our results suggest U.S. recommendations for transplantation in LN-ESRD may not align with evidence from the target population,” they said, noting that the results should be considered hypotheses-generating because of the limitations of the study and that additional study is needed to examine the potential confounding effects of clinically recognized SLE activity on the associations observed in this study.
Some of the investigators were supported through grants from the National Institutes of Health.