Background: Donor-derived cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA) is a marker of allograft injury in transplant recipients; however, the relationship between dd-cfDNA and other clinical parameters associated with adverse allograft outcomes is not well-characterized. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of kidney transplant recipients from the DART cohort (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02424227) to evaluate the associations between eGFR decline, de novo donor-specific antibodies (dnDSA), and dd-cfDNA. Results: Both elevated dd-cfDNA (≥1%) and dd-cfDNA variability (≥.34%) in the first post-transplant year were associated with decline in eGFR ≥25% in the second year (21.4% vs. 4.1%, P =.005; 25% vs. 3.6%, P =.002, respectively). Compared to samples from DSA negative patients, samples from patients with concurrent de novo HLA DSAs had higher dd-cfDNA levels (P <.0001). Discussion: Abnormalities in dd-cfDNA levels are associated with clinical parameters commonly used as surrogate endpoints for adverse allograft outcomes, raising the possibility that molecular injury as characterized by dd-cfDNA could help identify patients at risk of these outcomes.
- graft survival
- kidney (allograft) function/dysfunction
- monitoring: immune