Background: After transplantation, cell-free deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) derived from the donor organ (ddcfDNA) can be detected in the recipient's circulation. We aimed to investigate the role of plasma ddcfDNA as biomarker for acute kidney rejection.
Methods: From 107 kidney transplant recipients, plasma samples were collected longitudinally after transplantation (Day 1 to 3 months) within a multicentre set-up. Cell-free DNA from the donor was quantified in plasma as a fraction of the total cell-free DNA by next generation sequencing using a targeted, multiplex polymerase chain reaction-based method for the analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Results: Increases of the ddcfDNA% above a threshold value of 0.88% were significantly associated with the occurrence of episodes of acute rejection (P = 0.017), acute tubular necrosis (P = 0.011) and acute pyelonephritis (P = 0.032). A receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an equal area under the curve of the ddcfDNA% and serum creatinine of 0.64 for the diagnosis of acute rejection.
Conclusions: Although increases in plasma ddcfDNA% are associated with graft injury, plasma ddcfDNA does not outperform the diagnostic capacity of the serum creatinine in the diagnosis of acute rejection.
Keywords: acute kidney rejection; biomarker; donor-derived cell-free DNA; kidney transplantation.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.