Nucleic Acid Tests for BK Polyomavirus Is Critical in Renal Transplant Recipients
Yin-Lun Chang¹, Yuan-Tso Cheng¹, Te-Chuan Chen2, Yu-Shu Chien2, Wen-Chin Lee², Yuan-Chi Shen¹
¹Department of Urology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
²Department of Nephrology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Purpose: This study evaluates the incidence of BK polyomavirus (BKV) and prognosis of BKV infection in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) who received transplantation in our hospital before and after regular BKV nucleic acid test (NAT) was implemented.
Materials and Methods: The study included 74 KTRs who received a single kidney either from standard- or expanded-criteria deceased donor between March 2011 and March 2017. BKV NATs were regularly checked in 26 patients (group 1) in the first posttransplant year in accordance with current guidelines since NAT was implemented in our laboratory in 2014. We retrospectively compared 48 KTRs (group 2) who either received NAT when necessary in another laboratory or were not checked before 2014.
Results: There was no significant difference in patient characteristics between groups. BKV viruria were confirmed in 8 of 26 (30.8%) group 1 patients, whereas only 2 of 48 (4.2%) BKV infections were confirmed in group 2. None of the BKV(+) KTRs in group 1 developed BK polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (BKVAN), whereas 2 BKV(+) patients (100%) of group 2 developed BKVAN, which indicates renal function deterioration and biopsy-validated nephropathy. There was no significant difference in graft survival and renal function between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: The risk of BKV infection is considerably higher in KTRs using NAT. Because there is no approval treatment, early diagnosis of BKV infection and early reduction of immunosuppression agents is critical for KTRs. Implementation of regular BKV NAT is mandatory before BKVAN and malignant neoplasms develop.