Background: Large-scale studies comparing glomerular disease frequencies across continents are lacking.
Methods: We surveyed 29 nephropathology laboratories in four continents using a standardized data collection form. We obtained recent consecutive kidney biopsy diagnosis frequencies at each center and summary demographics for each diagnosis. This report focuses on glomerular disease frequencies by region and race/ethnicity.
Results: Among 42 603 glomerular disease diagnoses reported (median age 47 years, 52% male, 57% white), from a total of 60 340 diagnoses, glomerular disease subtype frequencies differed considerably by continent. Diabetic glomerulosclerosis (GS; 19.1%) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS; 19.1%) predominated in North America; lupus nephritis (38.1%) and FSGS (15.8%) predominated in Latin America; IgA nephropathy (IgAN; 22.1%) and FSGS (14.9%) predominated in Europe; and IgAN (39.5%) and lupus nephritis (16.8%) predominated in Asia. After stratifying by race, diabetic GS (17.4% versus 4.3%, P < 0.001) and FSGS (17.3% versus 11.8%, P < 0.001) were more, and lupus nephritis less (15.8% versus 45.6%, P < 0.001), frequent among Latinos in North versus Latin America; FSGS was more (13.1% versus 7.1%, P < 0.001), and IgAN less (27.4% versus 40.5%, P < 0.001), frequent among Asians in North America versus Asia; and FSGS (18.9% versus 13.5%, P < 0.001) and diabetic GS (18.7% versus 6.5%, P < 0.001) were more, and IgAN less (14.4% versus 25.4%, P < 0.001), frequent among whites in North America versus Europe.
Conclusions: We determined that glomerular disease frequencies differed by continent, even among patients of similar race/ethnicity. Regional environmental and lifestyle factors, and local biopsy policies, might influence glomerular disease epidemiology independently of race/ethnicity.