Kidney transplant function and histological clearance of virus following diagnosis of polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (PVAN)

Am J Transplant. 2006 May;6(5 Pt 1):1025-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2006.01296.x.


Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (PVAN) is managed by reduced immunosuppression with or without antiviral therapy. Data from 55 patients with biopsy-proven PVAN were analyzed for adverse outcomes and influence of baseline variables and interventions. During 20+/-11 months follow-up, the frequencies of graft loss, major and any functional decline were 15%, 24% and 38%, respectively. Repeat biopsies were performed in 45 patients with persistent PVAN in 47%. Low-dose cidofovir, IVIG and cyclosporine conversion were used in 55%, 20% and 55% of patients. No single intervention was associated with improved outcome. Of the variables examined, only degree of interstitial fibrosis at diagnosis was associated with kidney function decline. In contrast, donor source, interstitial fibrosis, proportion of BKV positive tubules and plasma viral load at diagnosis were all associated with failure of histological viral clearance. This retrospective, nonrandomized analysis suggests that: (i) Graft loss within 2 years of PVAN diagnosis is now uncommon, but ongoing functional decline and persistent infection occur frequently. (ii) Low-dose cidofovir, IVIG and conversion to cyclosporine do not abrogate adverse outcomes following diagnosis. (iii) Fibrosis at the time of diagnosis predicts subsequent functional decline. Further elucidation of the natural history of PVAN and its response to individual interventions will require prospective clinical trials.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Cidofovir
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Cytosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Cytosine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression / methods
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery
  • Kidney Diseases / virology*
  • Kidney Transplantation / pathology
  • Kidney Transplantation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organophosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Polyomavirus Infections / complications*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Organophosphonates
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cytosine
  • Cidofovir