The sensitivity and specificity of the routine kidney biopsy immunofluorescence panel are inferior to diagnosing renal immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis by mass spectrometry

Maria L. Gonzalez Suarez, Pingchuan Zhang, Samih H. Nasr, Insara Jaffer Sathick, Wonngarm Kittanamongkolchai, Paul J. Kurtin, Mariam P. Alexander, Lynn D. Cornell, Mary E. Fidler, Joseph P. Grande, Loren P. Herrera Hernandez, Samar M. Said, Sanjeev Sethi, Angela Dispenzieri, Morie A. Gertz, Nelson Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Immunoglobulin light chain amyloidosis is the most frequent type of renal amyloidosis in the United States, accounting for 81% of cases. Accurate typing is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment of immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis and to avoid treating other amyloidoses with potentially toxic chemotherapy. Immunofluorescence is the first step to type renal immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis but the performance characteristics of this method are largely unknown. Here, we establish the sensitivity and specificity of immunofluorescence for diagnosing immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis in patients whose amyloid typing was performed by the current gold standard of laser microdissection/mass spectrometry. Renal biopsy pathology reports originating from several institutions with a diagnosis of amyloidosis and which had amyloid typing by laser microdissection/mass spectrometry performed at our center were reviewed. Reported immunofluorescence staining for kappa or lambda of 2+ or more, with weak or no staining for the other light chain was considered positive for light chain amyloidosis by immunofluorescence. Based on microdissection/mass spectrometry results, of the 170 cases reviewed, 104 cases were typed as immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis and 66 were typed as non-immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis. Immunofluorescence sensitivity for diagnosing immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis was 84.6%. The remaining 16 cases could not be diagnosed by immunofluorescence due to reported weak staining for all antigens or reported lack of preferential staining for one antigen. Immunofluorescence specificity was 92.4%. Five cases, all amyloid A amyloidosis, were misdiagnosed as immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis by immunofluorescence. Immunofluorescence failed to accurately differentiate immunoglobulin-derived from non-immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis in 12.3% of cases of renal amyloidosis. Relying on immunofluorescence alone for determining immunoglobulin-derived vs. non-immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis may lead to misdiagnosis. Thus, immunofluorescence has inferior sensitivity and specificity compared with laser microdissection/mass spectrometry in the typing of immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1009
Number of pages5
JournalKidney international
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • immunofluorescence
  • mass spectrometry
  • renal amyloidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'The sensitivity and specificity of the routine kidney biopsy immunofluorescence panel are inferior to diagnosing renal immunoglobulin-derived amyloidosis by mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this