Polyomavirus BK nephropathy (PyVAN) remains an important cause of early graft dysfunction and graft loss in kidney transplantation.
In this retrospective, single centre cohort study we studied the incidence and outcome of BK viral infection in 352 patients transplanted in 2008–2011.
During follow-up viral replication was detected in 48 patients (13.6%); 22 patients (6.2%) had biopsy proven PyVAN.
In multivariate logistic regression analyses risk factors for BK-viremia were lack of enrolment into randomized controlled trials (RCTs), biopsy proven acute rejections, cytomegaly virus (CMV) serostatus of both donor and recipient and previous transplantation.
In patients without PyVAN reduction or switch of immunosuppression was associated with rapid viral clearance and stable graft function. In contrast, in most patients with PyVAN graft function deteriorated and 5 patients prematurely lost their allograft. Switch of immunosuppression to a low dose cyclosporine plus mTOR inhibitor based regimen in patients with PyVAN was safe, well tolerated and tended to be associated with a better short-term outcome in terms of graft function compared to reduction of existing immunosuppression alone.
With the lack of licensed anti-polyoma viral drugs reduction or conversion of immunosuppression remains the mainstay of therapy in patients with PyVAN. The combination of low dose cyclosporine plus mTOR inhibition appears to be safe and warrants further investigation.