Authors have speculated that vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) recipients may require greater maintenance immunosuppression than solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients due to the higher antigenicity of skin. However, detailed comparisons of VCA and SOT immunosuppression regimens have been limited.
Hand and face VCA recipient immunosuppression data were collected through a systematic literature review. Kidney recipient data were obtained through a retrospective chart review of the authors’ institution. Prednisone and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) doses were compared between VCA and kidney recipients at predefined follow-up intervals (5 y). Tacrolimus target trough levels (TTTL) were compared at follow-up intervals of 1-5 and >5 y, and stratified into our institution’s kidney transplant risk-based target ranges (4-6 ng/mL, 6-8 ng/mL) or higher (>8 ng/mL).
Immunosuppression data were available for 57 VCA and 98 kidney recipients. There were no significant differences in prednisone doses between groups at all follow-up intervals. VCA recipient mean MMF dose was significantly greater at 8 ng/mL) between 1 and 5 y (24.0%, 20.0%, 56.0%, respectively) and >5 y (28.6%, 42.9%, 28.6%).
At longer follow-up, VCA and kidney recipients receive comparable MMF/prednisone doses, and most VCA recipients are treated with TTTL similar to kidney recipients. Further research may improve our understanding of VCA’s complex risk/benefit ratio, and enhance informed consent.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.