Kidney transplant recipients administered belatacept-based maintenance immunosuppression present with a more favorable metabolic profile, reduced incidence of de novo donor-specific antibodies (DSAs), and improved renal function and long-term patient/graft survival relative to individuals receiving calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-based immunosuppression. However, the rates and severity of acute rejection (AR) are greater with the approved belatacept-based regimen than with CNI-based immunosuppression. Although these early co-stimulation blockade-resistant rejections are typically steroid-sensitive, the higher rate of cellular AR has led many transplant centers to adopt immunosuppressive regimens that differ from the approved label. This article summarizes the available data on these alternative de novo belatacept-based maintenance regimens. Steroid-sparing, belatacept-based immunosuppression (following T cell-depleting induction therapy) has been shown to yield AR rates comparable to those seen with CNI-based regimens. Concomitant treatment with belatacept plus a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTORi; sirolimus or everolimus) has yielded AR rates ranging from 0 to 4%. Because the optimal induction agent and number of induction doses; blood levels of mTORi; and dose, duration, and use of corticosteroids have yet to be determined, larger prospective clinical trials are needed to establish the optimal alternative belatacept-based regimen for minimizing early cellular AR occurrence.
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