The Spectrum of Renal Allograft Failure.PLoS One. 2016; 11(9):e0162278.Plos
Causes of "true" late kidney allograft failure remain unclear as study selection bias and limited follow-up risk incomplete representation of the spectrum.
We evaluated all unselected graft failures from 2008-2014 (n = 171; 0-36 years post-transplantation) by contemporary classification of indication biopsies "proximate" to failure, DSA assessment, clinical and biochemical data.
The spectrum of graft failure changed markedly depending on the timing of allograft failure. Failures within the first year were most commonly attributed to technical failure, acute rejection (with T-cell mediated rejection [TCMR] dominating antibody-mediated rejection [ABMR]). Failures beyond a year were increasingly dominated by ABMR and 'interstitial fibrosis with tubular atrophy' without rejection, infection or recurrent disease ("IFTA"). Cases of IFTA associated with inflammation in non-scarred areas (compared with no inflammation or inflammation solely within scarred regions) were more commonly associated with episodes of prior rejection, late rejection and nonadherence, pointing to an alloimmune aetiology. Nonadherence and late rejection were common in ABMR and TCMR, particularly Acute Active ABMR. Acute Active ABMR and nonadherence were associated with younger age, faster functional decline, and less hyalinosis on biopsy. Chronic and Chronic Active ABMR were more commonly associated with Class II DSA. C1q-binding DSA, detected in 33% of ABMR episodes, were associated with shorter time to graft failure. Most non-biopsied patients were DSA-negative (16/21; 76.1%). Finally, twelve losses to recurrent disease were seen (16%).
This data from an unselected population identifies IFTA alongside ABMR as a very important cause of true late graft failure, with nonadherence-associated TCMR as a phenomenon in some patients. It highlights clinical and immunological characteristics of ABMR subgroups, and should inform clinical practice and individualised patient care.