Background: As a marker of underlying lung allograft injury, donor-derived cell-free DNA (dd-cfDNA) may be used to identify episodes of acute allograft injury in lung transplant recipients. We investigated the utility of dd-cfDNA to monitor subjects at risk of acute rejection or infection in routine clinical practice. Methods: This multicenter, retrospective cohort study collected data from lung transplant recipients within 3 years of transplant at 4 centers between March 24, 2020 and September 1, 2020. During this period, as part of routine care during the COVID-19 pandemic, these centers implemented a home-based surveillance program using plasma dd-cfDNA in preference to surveillance bronchoscopy. Dd-cfDNA was used to detect acute lung allograft dysfunction (ALAD) – a composite endpoint of acute rejection and infection. dd-cfDNA levels in patients with ALAD were compared to stable patients. The performance characteristics of dd-cfDNA ≥ 1.0% to detect ALAD were estimated. Results: A total of 175 patients underwent 380 dd-cfDNA measurements, of which 290 were for routine surveillance purposes. dd-cfDNA was higher in patients with ALAD than stable patients (Median (IQR) 1.7% (0.63, 3.1) vs 0.35% (0.22, 0.79), p < 0.001). As an indication of underlying ALAD during surveillance testing, the estimated sensitivity of dd-cfDNA ≥1% was 73.9%, specificity of 87.7%, positive predictive value of 43.4% and negative predictive value of 96.5%. Conclusions: dd-cfDNA identified acute lung allograft dysfunction in asymptomatic lung transplant patients that may not have been identified by using a clinically indicated biopsy strategy alone. dd-cfDNA <1.0% may be useful in ruling out acute rejection and infection, supporting its use as a potential noninvasive marker for surveillance monitoring.
- acute lung allograft injury
- lung transplant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine