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Clinical utilities of peripheral blood gene expression profiling in the management of cardiac transplant patients.

Authors
  • Fang, Kenneth C1
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Immunotoxicology
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2007
Volume
4
Issue
3
Pages
209–217
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/15476910701385570
PMID: 18958730
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Cardiac allografts induce host immune responses that lead to endomyocardial tissue injury and progressive graft dysfunction. Inflammatory cell infiltration and myocyte damage characterize acute cellular rejection (ACR) that presents episodically in either a subclinical or symptom-associated manner. Sampling of the endomyocardium by transvenous biopsy enables pathologic grading using light microscopic criteria to distinguish severity based on the focality or diffuseness of inflammation and associated myocyte injury. Monitoring for ACR utilizes endomyocardial biopsy in conjunction with history and physical examination and assessment of allograft function by echocardiography. However, procedural and interpretive issues limit the diagnostic certainty provided by endomyocardial biopsy. The dynamic profiling of genes expressed by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) enables quantitative assessments of intracellular mRNA whose levels fluctuate during systemic alloimmune responses. Gene expression profiling of PBMCs using a multi-gene ACR classifier enables the AlloMap molecular expression test to distinguish moderate to severe ACR (p = 0.0018) in heart transplant patients. The AlloMap test provides molecular insights into a patient's risk for ACR by distilling the aggregate expression levels of its informative genes into a single score on a scale of 0 to 40. The selection of a score as a threshold value for clinical decision-making is based on its associated negative predictive value (NPV), which ranges from 98 to 99% for values in three post-transplant periods: > 2 to < or =6 months, > 6 to < or = 12 months, and > 12 months. Scores below the threshold value rule out ACR, while those above suggest increased ACR risk. Incorporating the AlloMap test into immunomonitoring protocols provides an opportunity for clinicians to enhance patient care and to define its role in immunodiagnostic strategies to optimize the clinical outcomes of heart transplant recipients. This summary highlights the concepts presented in an invited presentation at a conference focused on Immunodiagnostics and Immunomonitoring: From Research to Clinic, in San Diego, CA on November 7, 2006.

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