Treatment with IFN-α,-β,or-γ is associated with collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

Glen S. Markowitz, Samih H. Nasr, M. Barry Stokes, Vivette D. D'Agati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Background and objectives: Treatment with IFN is rarely associated with nephrotic syndrome and renal biopsy findings of minimal-change disease or FSGS. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: We report 11 cases of collapsing FSGS that developed during treatment with IFN and improved after discontinuation of therapy. Results: The cohort consists of seven women and four men with a mean age of 48.2 yr. Ten of the 11 patients were black. Six patients were receiving IFN-α for hepatitis C virus infection (n = 5) or malignant melanoma (n = 1), three were receiving IFN-β for multiple sclerosis, and two were treated with IFN-γ for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. After a mean and median duration of therapy of 4.0 and 12.6 months, respectively, patients presented with acute renal failure (mean creatinine 3.5 mg/dl) and nephrotic-range proteinuria (mean 24-hour urine protein 9.7 g). Renal biopsy revealed collapsing FSGS with extensive foot process effacement and many endothelial tubuloreticular inclusions. Follow-up was available for 10 patients, all of whom discontinued IFN. At a mean of 23.6 months, nine of 10 patients had improvement in renal function, including one with complete remission and two with partial remission. Among the seven patients with available data, mean proteinuria declined from 9.9 to 3.0 g/d. Four of the seven patients were treated with immunosuppression, and there was no detectable benefit. Conclusions: Collapsing FSGS may occur after treatment with IFN-α,-/ β,or-γ and is typically accompanied by the ultrastructural finding of endothelial tubuloreticular inclusions. Optimal therapy includes discontinuation of IFN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-615
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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