Nephrotic syndrome associated with chronic graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

Bone Marrow Transplant. 2006 Sep;38(5):351-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bmt.1705446. Epub 2006 Jul 24.


Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is the most common late complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) causing significant morbidity and mortality. The kidneys are not considered a target organ for cGVHD in humans, although animal models show renal damage. Renal involvement in patients with cGVHD, presenting as nephrotic syndrome (NS), has rarely been reported in patients who received allogeneic transplantation. Herein we describe, by far, the largest series of nine patients with NS associated with cGVHD, including two patients who received a reduced-intensity regimen. Pathological features of membranous nephropathy were the most common finding on renal biopsy. The clinical course of the NS was temporally associated with the classical features of cGVHD in all but one of the nine cases. The clinicopathologic features of NS in our series as well as reports in the literature demonstrate an immunopathologic process typical of antibody-mediated damage consistent with cGVHD. Treatment directed against antibody-mediated damage, such as anti-B-cell antibody may play an important role in ameliorating NS associated with cGVHD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / complications*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplantation, Homologous