Population pharmacokinetics of subcutaneous alemtuzumab in kidney transplantation

Tom C. Zwart, Suzanne Bezstarosti, Federica R. Achini, Marlies E.J. Reinders, Marco W. Schilham, Sebastiaan Heidt, Henk Jan Guchelaar, Johan W. de Fijter, Dirk Jan A.R. Moes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody used as induction immunosuppressive therapy in kidney transplantation. It targets CD52 on lymphocytes, inducing profound immune cell depletion upon administration. Owing to its off-label status in kidney transplantation, its pharmacokinetic characteristics are largely unknown in this setting, and its current fixed dosing algorithm originates from other populations. We developed a population pharmacokinetic model for alemtuzumab in kidney transplant recipients and investigated the potential of personalized alemtuzumab therapy. 


In total, 362 pharmacokinetic observations drawn 0-165 days after transplantation were available from 61 adult kidney transplant recipients who received two consecutive doses of 15 mg alemtuzumab subcutaneously. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling and applied to simulate various dosing regimens.


The alemtuzumab concentration-time data were best described by a two-compartmental model with first-order absorption and parallel first-order and time-varying concentration-dependent elimination, with between-subject variability on the first-order elimination (39.6%) and central distribution volume (39.6%). Alemtuzumab pharmacokinetics varied with body size, rendering lighter individuals exposed to lympholytic alemtuzumab concentrations (>0.1 mg/L) for prolonged durations as compared to their heavier peers. This between-subject variability could be reduced through lean bodyweight-adjusted dosing, showing a twofold to threefold reduction in the slope of the median alemtuzumab exposure over the bodyweight range. 


Alemtuzumab displays substantial pharmacokinetic variability in kidney transplant recipients, which may warrant a personalized treatment strategy. Lean bodyweight-adjusted dosing poses an option for individualized dosing, but further evaluation of its potential clinical benefit is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1471-1485
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society.


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