Rituximab protects against development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease after kidney transplantation: a propensity-matched study

Deok Gie Kim, Juhan Lee, Won Jun Seo, Jae Geun Lee, Beom Seok Kim, Myoung Soo Kim, Soon Il Kim, Yu Seun Kim, Kyu Ha Huh

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Recent studies have implicated B cells in atherosclerosis and have verified the atheroprotective effect of rituximab. Rituximab is widely used for desensitization in ABO-incompatible or crossmatch-positive kidney transplantation (KT). Using a single-center KT database, we performed propensity-matched analysis to investigate the association between rituximab and posttransplant atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Among 1299 eligible patients, 239 given rituximab induction were matched with 401 controls in a 1:2 propensity score matching process. The cumulative rate of ASCVD during 8 years of follow-up was significantly lower in rituximab-treated patients, compared with matched controls (3.7% vs. 11.2%; P = 0.012). However, all-cause mortality did not differ by group (2.9% vs. 4%; P = 0.943). In multivariable Cox analysis, rituximab proved independently protective of ASCVD (hazard ratio = 0.34, 95% confidence interval: 0.14–0.83). The lower risk of ASCVD seen with rituximab induction reached significance only in patient subsets of diabetes mellitus, pretransplant dialysis, or older age (>50 years). Rituximab induction confers a lower risk of ASCVD during the posttransplant period. This atheroprotective effect appears particularly beneficial in patients whose risk of ASCVD is heightened.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16475
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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