MULTICENTER STUDY
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Light chain deposition disease without glomerular proteinuria: a diagnostic challenge for the nephrologist.

BACKGROUND: Renal involvement in light chain (LC) deposition disease (LCDD) is typically characterized by nodular glomerulosclerosis and nephrotic range proteinuria. Rare cases of LCDD without glomerular symptoms have been reported, but clinical and pathological characteristics of this entity remain poorly described.

METHODS: This multi-centre retrospective study included 14 patients with biopsy-proven renal LCDD and proteinuria <0.5 g/day at diagnosis.

RESULTS: Baseline median serum creatinine was 281 (136-594) μmol/L, with a glomerular filtration rate of 20 (6-48) mL/min/1.73 m(2). A serum monoclonal immunoglobulin was detected in 12 cases and LC proteinuria only in 7, always of kappa isotype. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance/indolent multiple myeloma (MM) was diagnosed in nine cases, symptomatic MM in three cases. Hypertension was almost constant (10 of 14). Immunofluorescence studies of kidney biopsies showed linear kappa LC deposition along tubular basement membranes in all cases, with linear glomerular and vascular LC deposits in 11 and 10 patients, respectively. By light microscopy, tubulo-interstitial lesions were prominent in all patients and focal nodular glomerulosclerosis was only observed in two cases. Identification of LCDD led to initiation of chemotherapy in 12 cases. After a median follow-up of 25.5 months, five patients died and four progressed to end-stage renal disease. Renal response occurred in five of the eight patients who achieved sustained haematological response.

CONCLUSIONS: LCDD can cause severe renal dysfunction, despite the absence of glomerular symptoms. Early identification of the disease and introduction of a chemotherapy targeting the underlying plasma cell disorder may preserve long-term renal prognosis.

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