The Noninvasive Urinary Polyomavirus Haufen Test Predicts BK Virus Nephropathy in Children After Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: A Pilot Study

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BackgroundAfter hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), polyoma-BK virus is associated with hemorrhagic cystitis and also with polyomavirus nephropathy (PVN). However, the true burden of post-HCT PVN is unknown because kidney biopsies are avoided due to their bleeding risk. The novel, noninvasive urinary PV-Haufen test detects PVN in kidney transplant recipients with greater than 95% positive/negative predictive values. We hypothesized that the detection of PV-Haufen in voided urine samples—a positive PV-Haufen test—was also clinically significant after HCT.MethodsWe examined 21 suitable urine samples from 14 patients (median age, 15 years; 71.4% male) who were selected from repositories for having varying degrees of BK viremia (range, 0-1.0 × 108 copies/mL), hemorrhagic cystitis (present/absent), and data on kidney function. Urine samples were obtained at a median of 88 days post-HCT.ResultsThe PV-Haufen were detected in 5 of 14 patients (35.7%) and 7 of 21 (33.3%) urine samples, with histologic confirmation of PVN in 1 autopsy specimen. After a median of 285 days post-HCT, patients with PV-Haufen had an increased risk of dialysis-dependent renal failure (P < 0.05). All 3 dialysis-dependent patients had PV-Haufen and died. The presence of urinary PV-Haufen was not significantly correlated with hemorrhagic cystitis. From the 16 urines collected during BK viremia, 43.8% were PV-Haufen–positive, and 56.2% were negative. The PV-Haufen were not present in the 5 urines from patients without concomitant BK-viremia.ConclusionsIn this proof-of-concept study, a positive PV-Haufen test was only seen in some patients with BK viremia and was not associated with hemorrhagic cystitis. The detection of PV-Haufen suggests underlying PVN with an increased risk of kidney failure and dialysis.

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