T-cell adoptive immunotherapy for BK nephropathy in renal transplantation

Transpl Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;22(6):e13399. doi: 10.1111/tid.13399. Epub 2020 Jul 14.


Introduction: BK virus (BKPyV) nephropathy occurs in 1%-10% of kidney transplant recipients, with suboptimal therapeutic options.

Case: A 54-year-old woman received a transplant in March 2017. BKPyV was detected at 1.5 × 102 copies/mL within a month, necessitating halving of mycophenolate and addition of leflunomide. Allograft histology in December showed polyomavirus nephropathy treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and cessation of mycophenolate. In February 2018, cidofovir and ciprofloxacin were commenced. In April, tacrolimus was reduced while introducing everolimus. A second graft biopsy in August showed increasing polyoma virus infection and a subsequent biopsy in September for worsening renal function showed 30% of tubular reactivity for simian virus 40 (SV40). Allogeneic BKPyV-reactive T cells were generated from the patient's daughter and infused over 10 sessions starting late September. The fourth allograft biopsy in November 2018 demonstrated involvement of BKPyV in 50% of tubules. Allograft function continued to decline, requiring hemodialysis from December 2018. Allograft nephrectomy after 6 months showed <1% SV40 in preserved tubules and 80% interstitial fibrosis.

Discussion: We conclude that the T-cell adoptive immunotherapy reduced BKPyV load significantly despite extensive infection, but attendant fibrosis and tubular atrophy led to graft failure. Early intervention with T-cell therapy may prove efficacious in BKPyV nephropathy.

Keywords: BK virus; BKPyV nephropathy; T-cell adoptive immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • BK Virus*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyomavirus Infections* / therapy
  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Tumor Virus Infections* / therapy