Purpose: To evaluate the incidence of renal dysfunction after total body irradiation (TBI).
Methods and materials: Between 1990 and 1997, 64 patients (median age 50 years) received TBI as part of the conditioning regimen before bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Five patients with abnormal renal function at the beginning of treatment or with incomplete data were excluded. All patients received a total of 12 Gy (6 fractions twice daily for 3 consecutive days) prescribed to the peak lung dose (corrected for lung transmission) at a dose rate of 7.5 cGy/min. Renal shielding was not used. Renal dysfunction was assessed on the basis of the serum creatinine levels measured at the start and end of TBI and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after completion of BMT. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to evaluate the various factors known to affect renal function.
Results: Only 4 patients had elevated serum creatinine levels at 12 months and subsequently only 2 of the 33 surviving patients had persistent elevated renal serum creatinine levels 24 months after BMT. A fifth patient developed proteinuria and mildly elevated serum creatinine levels at 2.5 years. In 2 patients, the elevation coincided with disease relapse and normalized once remission was achieved. In the third patient, the elevation in serum creatinine levels coincided with relapse of multiple myeloma and the presence of Bence-Jones proteinuria. The fourth patient was the only patient who developed chronic renal failure secondary to radiation nephritis at 2 years. The etiology of the fifth patient's rise in creatinine was unknown, but may have been secondary to radiation nephritis. On univariate analysis, but not on multivariate analysis, a significant correlation was found between TBI-related renal dysfunction and hypertension before and after BMT.
Conclusion: A dose of 12 Gy at 2 Gy/fraction resulted in only 1 case of radiation nephritis in the 59 patients studied 24 months after the completion of TBI and BMT.