Is lead chelation therapy effective for chronic kidney disease? A meta-analysis

Nephrology (Carlton). 2014 Jan;19(1):56-9. doi: 10.1111/nep.12162.


The heavy metal lead (Pb) is a major environmental and occupational hazard. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a strong association between lead exposure and the presence of chronic kidney injury. Some studies have suggested that chelation therapy with calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (calcium disodium EDTA) might help decrease the progression of chronic kidney disease among patients with measurable body lead burdens. However, calcium disodium EDTA chelation in lead exposure is controversial due to the potential for adverse effects such as acute tubular necrosis. Therefore, we investigated the available randomized controlled trials assessing the renoprotective effects of calcium disodium EDTA chelation therapy. Our meta-analysis shows that calcium disodium EDTA chelation therapy can effectively delay the progression of chronic kidney disease in patients with measurable body lead burdens reflected by increasing the levels of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and creatinine clearance rate (Ccr). There appears to be no conclusive evidence that calcium disodium EDTA can decrease proteinuria.

Keywords: calcium disodium EDTA; chelation; chronic kidney disease; lead.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chelating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chelation Therapy*
  • Edetic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy*


  • Chelating Agents
  • Edetic Acid