A higher foci density of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy predicts progressive CKD after a radical nephrectomy for tumor

Luisa Ricaurte Archila, Aleksandar Denic, Aidan F. Mullan, Ramya Narasimhan, Marija Bogojevic, R. Houston Thompson, Bradley C. Leibovich, S. Jeson Sangaralingham, Maxwell L. Smith, Mariam P. Alexander, Andrew D. Rule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Chronic tubulointerstitial injury on kidney biopsy is usually quantified by the percentage of cortex with interstitial fibrosis/tubular atrophy (IF/TA). Whether other patterns of IF/TA or inflammation in the tubulointerstitium have prognostic importance beyond percentage IF/TA is unclear. Methods We obtained, stained, and digitally scanned full cortical thickness wedge sections of renal parenchyma from patients who underwent a radical nephrectomy for a tumor over 2000–2015, and morphometrically analyzed the tubulointerstitium of the cortex for percentage IF/TA, IF/TA density (foci per mm2 cortex), percentage subcapsular IF/TA, striped IF/TA, percentage inflammation (both within and outside IF/TA regions), and percentage subcapsular inflammation. Patients were followed with visits every 6–12 months. Progressive CKD was defined as dialysis, kidney transplantation, or 40% decline from the postnephrectomy eGFR. Cox models assessed the risk of CKD or noncancer mortality with morphometric measures of tubulointerstitial injury after adjustment for the percentage IF/TA and clinical characteristics. Results Among 936 patients (mean age, 64 years; postnephrectomy baseline eGFR, 48 ml/min per 1.73m2), 117 progressive CKD events and 183 noncancer deaths occurred over a median 6.4 years. Higher IF/TA density predicted both progressive CKD and noncancer mortality after adjustment for percentage IF/TA and predicted progressive CKD after further adjustment for clinical characteristics. Independent of percentage IF/TA, age, and sex, higher IF/TA density correlated with lower eGFR, smaller nonsclerosed glomeruli, more global glomerulosclerosis, and smaller total cortical volume. Conclusions Higher density of IF/TA foci (a more scattered pattern with more and smaller foci) predicts higher risk of progressive CKD after radical nephrectomy compared with the same percentage of IF/TA but with fewer and larger foci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2623-2633
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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