Long-term Outcome of Kidney Recipients Transplanted for Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy

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Aristolochic acids (AA) are nephrotoxic and carcinogenic. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term outcome of patients with AA nephropathy (AAN) after kidney transplantation.


Observational study. Patients' characteristics, long-term surveillance and follow-up data, patient and graft survival, as well as outcomes with respect to rejection, cardiovascular complications, infections, and cancers with a focus on urothelial carcinomas, are reported.


Twenty patients transplanted for AAN were included. All were submitted to prophylactic bilateral ureteronephrectomy and annual surveillance of the bladder. Median duration of posttransplant follow-up was 12.5 (3-19) years. Time from diagnosis of AAN to renal replacement therapy was relatively short (1 [0-15] years). Immunosuppression consisted of a triple therapy in the majority of patients. Nineteen patients had upper urinary tract multifocal atypia. Eleven patients presented with urothelial carcinomas of the upper tract; 2 of them with additional bladder urothelial carcinomas. Of these 2 patients, one required radical cystectomy. One patient developed a hepatocarcinoma. Patient survival was 100% in AAN patients at 5, 10, and 15 years after transplantation. Graft survival at 5, 10, and 15 years was 95%, 83%, and 75%.


Despite a high prevalence of urothelial carcinoma and the risk of bladder carcinoma, the long-term patient and kidney graft survival is excellent in patients with AAN, provided that prophylactic bilateral ureteronephrectomy and lifelong surveillance of the bladder are performed.

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