Benefits and limitations of belatacept in 4 hand-transplanted patients

J. Grahammer, A. Weissenbacher, B. G. Zelger, B. Zelger, C. Boesmueller, M. Ninkovic, A. Mühlbacher, I. Peschel, G. Brandacher, D. Öfner, S. Schneeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Belatacept (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 Ig) is an emerging treatment in kidney transplantation. Lack of nephrotoxicity and possibly an inhibitory effect on the development of donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) make it an interesting agent in hand transplantation. To reduce calcineurin inhibitor immunosuppression and preserve kidney function, we have added belatacept to the therapeutic regimen of 4 hand-transplanted patients at month 4 and at 6, 9, and 13 years after hand–forearm transplantation. Patients received 5 mg/kg belatacept every 2 weeks, and the dosing interval was extended to 4 weeks after 5 applications. Belatacept was initially well tolerated in all cases. Two patients were weaned to a low-dose tacrolimus monotherapy together with monthly belatacept applications. One patient is taking belatacept with lowered tacrolimus and sirolimus trough levels. A fourth patient had significant levels of DSAs at time of conversion and progressed to a severe necrotizing rejection early despite an unaltered baseline immunosuppression. Finger skin necrosis and histologic signs of severe chronic allograft vasculopathy eventually led to amputation of the graft. Implementation of belatacept can be beneficial in hand transplantation. However, our findings indicated both potential and caution and reflection of the immunologic state at the time of conversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3228-3235
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • clinical research/practice
  • immunosuppressant - fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies: belatacept
  • immunosuppressive regimens - minimization/withdrawal
  • rejection: chronic
  • vascularized composite and reconstructive transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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