DOI: 10.1097/txd.0000000000001610 ISSN: 2373-8731

Use of Donor-derived Cell-free DNA to Inform Tapering of Immunosuppression Therapy in Kidney Transplant Recipients: An Observational Study

George Osuchukwu, Alexa Trevino, Sarah McCormick, Navchetan Kaur, Brittany Prigmore, Nour Al Haj Baddar, Michelle S. Bloom, Zachary Demko, Philippe Gauthier
  • Transplantation


Immunosuppression therapy (IST) is required for allograft survival but can cause significant adverse effects. Donor-derived cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA) is a validated noninvasive biomarker for active rejection in kidney transplant (KTx). Evidence supporting dd-cfDNA testing use in IST management is limited.


In this single-center observational study, dd-cfDNA testing was performed in 21 KTx patients considered good candidates for mycophenolic acid (MPA) reduction. Patients with dd-cfDNA <1% at the first visit (enrollment) had their MPA dosage reduced; those with dd-cfDNA ≥1% had their MPA dosage maintained. Patients were monitored with dd-cfDNA for 6 additional visits.


Of 21 patients enrolled in the study, 17 were considered low risk for rejection by dd-cfDNA and underwent MPA reduction; 4 patients were considered high risk for rejection by dd-cfDNA and had their initial MPA dosage maintained. Of the 4 patients considered high risk for rejection by dd-cfDNA, 1 experienced chronic allograft nephropathy and graft loss, and another received an indication biopsy that showed no evidence of rejection. Of the 17 patients considered low risk for rejection by dd-cfDNA, none experienced allograft rejection. dd-cfDNA was used for surveillance in a 6-mo period following MPA reduction; no untoward results were noted.


This proof-of-concept study reports the use of dd-cfDNA to directly inform IST management in a cohort of KTx who were candidates for IST reduction.

More from our Archive