Nephrotic syndrome after stem cell transplantation

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Nephrotic syndrome occurs rarely after bone marrow transplantation. We describe three patients with myeloid malignancy who developed nephrotic syndrome from 5, 22 and 25 months after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT), confirmed by electron microscopy as membranous glomerulonephritis in two and minimal change glomerulonephritis in one. Proteinuria was initially severe in all and clinically distinct from prior graft-vs.-host disease in two patients. While all responded initially to prednisolone and cyclosporine therapy, two recipients with high-risk leukemia developed late solid organ and bone marrow relapse of their disease, which ultimately proved fatal. The third patient remains alive and disease-free with minimal proteinuria off immunosuppressive therapy. Hence, the onset of de novo high-grade proteinuria after allogeneic SCT should prompt renal histological confirmation, and a trial of immunosuppressive therapy after other causes of nephritic syndrome have been excluded.

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