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Kidney Int. 2012 Mar;81(6):513-5. doi: 10.1038/ki.2011.428.

Chinese herbs nephropathy and Balkan endemic nephropathy: toward a single entity, aristolochic acid nephropathy.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium.


Chinese herbs nephropathy (CHN) and Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) are chronic tubulointerstitial renal diseases associated with urothelial carcinoma. The clinical expression and pathological lesions observed at different stages of CHN and BEN are strikingly similar. Both have been linked to exposure to aristolochic acid (AA), a powerful nephrotoxin and human carcinogen. Jelaković et al. present molecular epidemiological evidence relating urothelial carcinoma in patients with BEN to dietary exposure to AA. It is time to abandon the terms 'CHN' and 'BEN' and introduce 'aristolochic acid nephropathy' to cover both clinical conditions.

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