Value of renal gene panel diagnostics in adults waiting for kidney transplantation due to undetermined end-stage renal disease

Kidney Int. 2019 Jul;96(1):222-230. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2019.01.038. Epub 2019 Mar 15.


End-stage renal disease (ESRD) of undetermined etiology is highly prevalent and constitutes a significant clinical challenge, particularly in the context of kidney transplantation (KT). Despite the identification of numerous rare hereditary nephropathies over the last few decades, patients with undetermined ESRD are not being systematically investigated for rare genetic causes in clinical practice. To address this, we utilized mutation analysis in patients on the kidney transplant waitlist and scrutinized underlying renal diagnoses of 142 patients in a single center KT-waitlist. This cohort was stratified into 85 cases of determined and 57 cases of undetermined ESRD. The latter patients were analyzed by a renal gene panel for mutations in 209 genes associated with ESRD. The most likely genetic diagnoses in 12% of the tested individuals with undetermined ESRD were established. All of these patients showed mutations in genes encoding components of the glomerular filtration barrier. Taken together, hereditary nephropathies, including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, were identified in 35 of the 142 patients of the waitlist cohort. By significantly increasing the proportion of hereditary diagnoses from 29 to 35 patients, the rate of undetermined ESRD significantly decreased from 57 to 51 patients. This study demonstrates the beneficial use of genetic diagnostics in significantly unraveling undetermined ESRD cases prior to KT. Thus, in the absence of renal histology or the presence of unspecific histological conditions, such as hypertensive nephrosclerosis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or thrombotic microangiopathy, genetic analysis may provide a robust and specific renal diagnosis and allow for optimizing pre- and post-KT management.

Keywords: CKD; ESRD; genetic analysis; hereditary nephropathy; renal gene panel; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Biopsy
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / complications
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / diagnosis*
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / genetics
  • Preoperative Period
  • Waiting Lists


  • Biomarkers