Biomarkers of drug-induced kidney injury

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Purpose of review

Drug-induced kidney injury (DIKI) is an important and potentially modifiable cause of acute kidney injury (AKI). The reliance on traditional markers of kidney injury to diagnose DIKI impedes early detection. Biomarkers of DIKI that facilitate early diagnosis and the identification of high-risk patients are essential to ameliorate the clinical burden of this complication.

Recent findings

Recent progress in this area supports the potential utility of several biomarkers for the diagnosis of DIKI, for the prediction of outcomes and also for monitoring responses to potential nephrotoxic or beneficial therapies. Data regarding the impact of clinically relevant factors, such as chronic kidney disease, on biomarker levels represents a further recent advancement. Emerging novel biomarkers include microRNAs, which are showing promise as markers of drug-induced tubular damage. They may also have a role in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of AKI.


There is compelling evidence to support the use of biomarkers for the early detection of DIKI. Ongoing research is required to delineate their role in prognostication and for the prediction of outcomes. The inclusion of biomarkers in more clinical studies of DIKI would be a welcome advance, which may accelerate their integration into clinical diagnostics.

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