Polyomavirus in kidney and kidney-pancreas transplant recipients

J. Trofe, Lillian Gaber, Robert J. Stratta, M. H. Shokouh-Amiri, S. R. Vera, R. R. Alloway, A. Lo, A. Osama Gaber, M. F. Egidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Purpose. To report the incidence and clinical characteristics of polyomavirus (PV) nephritis in kidney (KTX) and kidney-pancreas transplant (KPTX) recipients. Methods. Single center retrospective analysis of all cases of PV nephritis in KTX and KPTX patients transplanted between 1994 and 1999. Results. Thirteen (5 KTX and 8 KPTX) patients (2.1%) had PV nephritis diagnosed on multiple biopsies (n = 22) among 504 KTX and 106 KPTX recipients. The incidence of PV nephritis was higher in cadaver donor transplants (2.6% cadaver vs. 0.7% living donors), after KPTX (1% KTX vs. 7.5% KPTX), in males (3.3% male vs. 0.7% female), and in diabetic patients (4.4% diabetic vs. 0.8% nondiabetic). The mean time to diagnosis of PV nephritis was 18 (range 6-48) months after KTX and 17 (range 9-31) months after KPTX. Three KTX patients and 5 KPTX patients had calcineurin inhibitor toxicity on biopsy prior to developing PV nephritis. Reduction in immunosuppression occurred in 100% of KTX and 63% of KPTX patients. Three patients (23%) developed rejection within 3 months of diagnosis of PV, 1 after a reduction in immunosuppression. Despite multiple antiviral treatment regimens, renal allograft failure requiring dialysis occurred in 60% of KTX and 50% of KPTX patients. All KPTX patients remain insulin independent and 2 were successfully retransplanted with living donor kidneys. 2 patients (15%) died but there was no mortality directly related to the virus. Conclusions. Polyomavirus nephritis may be increasing in incidence and appears to be unresponsive to either conventional antiviral agents or a reduction in immunosuppression. Most of our cases occurred in male diabetic patients undergoing cadaveric donor transplantation and were preceded by biopsy-proven nephrotoxicity. Further studies are needed to better define the pathogenesis of PV and effective antiviral treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Immunosuppression
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Pancreas transplantation
  • Polyomavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology


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