Optimized immunosuppression to prevent graft failure in renal transplant recipients with HLA antibodies (OuTSMART): a randomised controlled trial

Dominic Stringer, Leanne Gardner, Olivia Shaw, Brendan Clarke, David Briggs, Judith Worthington, Matthew Buckland, Guilherme Danzi, Rachel Hilton, Michael Picton, Raj C Thuraisingham, Richard Borrows, Richard J. Baker, Keith McCullough, John Stoves, Mysore K. Phanish, Kin Yee Shiu, Stephen B Walsh, Aimun Ahmed, Waqar AyubJanet Hegarty, Rose Tinch-Taylor, Evangelos Georgiou, Natalie Bidad, Aysenur Kilic, Zoe Moon, Robert Horne, Paul McCrone, Joanna Kelly, Caroline Murphy, Janet Peacock, Anthony Dorling*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Background: 3% of kidney transplant recipients return to dialysis annually upon allograft failure. Development of antibodies (Ab) against human leukocyte antigens (HLA) is a validated prognostic biomarker of allograft failure. We tested whether screening for HLA Ab, combined with an intervention to improve adherence and optimization of immunosuppression could prevent allograft failure. Methods: Prospective, open-labelled randomised biomarker-based strategy (hybrid) trial in 13 UK transplant centres [EudraCT (2012-004308-36) and ISRCTN (46157828)]. Patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to unblinded or double-blinded arms and screened every 8 months. Unblinded HLA Ab+ patients were interviewed to encourage medication adherence and had tailored optimisation of Tacrolimus, Mycophenolate mofetil and Prednisolone. The primary outcome was time to graft failure in an intention to treat analysis. The trial had 80% power to detect a hazard ratio of 0.49 in donor specific antibody (DSA)+ patients. Findings: From 11/9/13 to 27/10/16, 5519 were screened for eligibility and 2037 randomised (1028 to unblinded care and 1009 to double blinded care). We identified 198 with DSA and 818 with non-DSA. Development of DSA, but not non-DSA was predictive of graft failure. HRs for graft failure in unblinded DSA+ and non-DSA+ groups were 1.54 (95% CI: 0.72 to 3.30) and 0.97 (0.54–1.74) respectively, providing no evidence of an intervention effect. Non-inferiority for the overall unblinded versus blinded comparison was not demonstrated as the upper confidence limit of the HR for graft failure exceeded 1.4 (1.02, 95% CI: 0.72 to 1.44). The only secondary endpoint reduced in the unblinded arm was biopsy-proven rejection. Interpretation: Intervention to improve adherence and optimize immunosuppression does not delay failure of renal transplants after development of DSA. Whilst DSA predicts increased risk of allograft failure, novel interventions are needed before screening can be used to direct therapy. Funding: The National Institute for Health Research Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation programme grant (ref 11/100/34).

Original languageEnglish
Article number101819
Early online date11 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimized immunosuppression to prevent graft failure in renal transplant recipients with HLA antibodies (OuTSMART): a randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this