An international collaborative study of 45 transplant centers was undertaken at the 14th International HLA (human leukocyte antigen) and Immunogenetics Workshop to see if HLA antibodies detected posttransplant are predictive of chronic graft failure. With the newly developed assay, MICA (major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain A) antibodies were also measured and their effect analyzed. Total of 5219 sera from patients who were more than 6 months posttransplant with functioning graft were tested for HLA antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, flow cytometry, or Luminex. HLA antibodies were found in 27.2% of kidney patients, 23.6% in the liver, 52.7% in the heart, and 21.7% in the lung. The method of antibody testing did not have a marked influence on the frequency of antibodies detected. MICA antibodies were detected in 15% of kidney patients, 30% of heart patients, and 31% of liver patients. Among 948 kidney patients who had HLA antibodies, 7.3% had rejected their graft within 1 year of testing, compared with 1.7% in 2615 patients without HLA antibodies (P = 0.8 x 10(-17)). Death occurred in 1.4% of total kidney patients and did not correlate to the presence of antibodies. We conclude that patients with posttransplant HLA antibodies indeed have a higher rate of chronic graft failure and that posttransplant antibodies are predictive of chronic rejection.