Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, Risk Factors for End Stage Kidney Disease, and Response to Immunosuppression

Benjamin M Forster, Robert Nee, Dustin J Little, Peter J Greasley, James B Hughes, Sarah M Gordon, Stephen W Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: FSGS is a heterogeneic glomerular disease. Risk factors for kidney disease ESKD and the effect of immunosuppression treatment (IST) has varied in previously published cohorts. These cohorts were limited by relatively small case numbers, short follow-up, lack of racial/ethnic diversity, a mix of adult and pediatric patients, lack of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibition, or lack of subgroup analysis of IST.

METHODS: We compared demographics, clinical characteristics, histopathology, and IST to long-term renal survival in a large, ethnically diverse, adult cohort of 338 patients with biopsy-proven FSGS with long-term follow-up in the era of RAAS inhibition using data from the US Department of Defense health care network.

RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that nephrotic-range proteinuria (NRP), eGFR <60 ml/min per 1.73 m 2, hypoalbuminemia, interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy, and interstitial inflammation at diagnosis and the absence of remission were all associated with worse long-term renal survival. IgM, C3, and a combination of IgM/C3 immunofluorescence staining were not associated with reduced renal survival. IST was not associated with improved renal survival in the whole cohort, or in a subgroup with NRP. However, IST was associated with better renal survival in a subgroup of patients with FSGS with both NRP and hypoalbuminemia and hypoalbuminemia alone.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that IST should be reserved for patients with FSGS and nephrotic syndrome. It also introduces interstitial inflammation as a potential risk factor for ESKD and does not support the proposed pathogenicity of IgM and complement activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2021


  • Adult
  • Child
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy/adverse effects
  • Kidney/pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


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