Renal pathology in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients: A contemporary biopsy, nephrectomy, and autopsy series

Brian T. Brinkerhoff, Donald Houghton, Megan Troxell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Renal injury in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients may be related to a combination of factors including chemotherapy, radiation, infection, immunosuppressive agents, ischemia, and graft-versus-host disease, and can involve glomerular, tubulointerstitial, and vascular structures. We reviewed renal pathology from 67 patients at a single institution (2009-2014), including 14 patients with biopsy for clinical dysfunction, 6 patients with surgical kidney resection for other causes, and 47 autopsy patients. Kidney specimens frequently contained multiple histopathologic abnormalities. Thrombotic microangiopathy, membranous nephropathy, minimal change disease, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis were the most common glomerular findings. Pathologies not previously reported in the hematopoietic cell transplant setting included collapsing glomerulopathy, antiglomerular basement membrane disease, fibrillary glomerulonephritis, and in the case of two surgical resections distinctive cellular segmental glomerular lesions that defied classification. Kidney specimens frequently demonstrated acute tubular injury, interstitial fibrosis, arteriolar hyaline, and arteriosclerosis. Other kidney findings at autopsy included leukemia and amyloid (both recurrent), diabetic nephropathy, bacterial infection, fungal invasion, and silver deposition along glomerular and tubular basement membranes. Also in the autopsy cohort, C4d immunohistochemistry demonstrated unexpected membranous nephropathy in two patients, yet C4d also colocalized with arteriolar hyaline. This retrospective hematopoietic cell transplant cohort illustrates multifaceted renal injury in patients with renal dysfunction, as well as in patients without clinically recognized kidney injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-652
Number of pages16
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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