Development of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis and Thrombotic Microangiopathy in a Liver Transplant Patient on Sorafenib for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Case Report

Transplant Proc. 2018 Dec;50(10):4033-4037. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2018.07.020.


Transplant patients are at risk for hemodynamic injury and glomerular diseases such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). Calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) can cause various patterns of acute kidney injury (AKI) in transplant patients and their effects must be differentiated from kidney injury due to other agents. Transplant populations are also at risk for atypical infections and malignancies. These conditions and the agents that are used to treat them can then induce their own set of glomerular diseases. We report a patient with hepatitis C who had received an orthotopic liver transplant and then developed recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma, which was treated with the oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) sorafenib. In a manner temporally related to the initiation of the TKI, progressive AKI and high-grade rising proteinuria were noted. A biopsy disclosed FSGS and concomitant TMA. Despite the discontinuation of the TKI and high-dose steroid treatment, the patient developed end-stage renal disease and was initiated on hemodialysis. After determining the TKI as the probable culprit, as opposed to CNIs, the patient successfully received a living related renal transplant. CNIs are used to maintain renal and hepatic allografts without the development of hematuria, significant proteinuria, or significant impairment of renal function. It is noted that the pathologic phenotype observed in this case is only the second reported case of concomitant TMA and FSGS in a sorafenib-treated patient.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced
  • Acute Kidney Injury / surgery
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sorafenib / adverse effects*
  • Thrombotic Microangiopathies / chemically induced*
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Sorafenib