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Transplantation. 2015 Nov;99(11):2382-6. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000750.

Intravitreal Antivascular Endothelial Growth Factor Therapy May Induce Proteinuria and Antibody Mediated Injury in Renal Allografts.

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1 Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. 2 Department of Laboratory Medicine and Anatomic Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. 3 The William J von Liebig Center for Transplantation and Clinical Regeneration, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.



Systemic adverse effects of intravenous antivascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy include: hypertension, proteinuria, renal failure, and thrombotic microangiopathy. Intravitreal therapy with these agents is generally believed to be safe.


We report 2 cases of renal transplant recipients who developed significant allograft dysfunction after the initiation of intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy.


The first case is a 67-year-old man with polycystic kidney disease and recipient of a zero-antigen mismatch kidney allograft which developed worsening proteinuria over the first year after transplantation. At 4 months, a biopsy showed only minimal fibrosis and atrophy. At 1 year, an allograft biopsy showed phospholipase A 2 receptor-negative membranous nephropathy. The second patient was a 52-year-old man with tuberous sclerosis who was a recipient of a living related kidney allograft with diminished but stable graft function 16 years from transplantation. After the initiation of intravitreal anti-VEGF therapy, there was an escalating degree of proteinuria. Renal biopsy revealed acute and chronic antibody-mediated rejection with glomerular thrombi and transplant glomerulopathy.


These cases, although do not prove causality, point to the need for careful follow-up of renal transplant recipients undergoing intravitreal therapy with anti-VEGF agents. These locally administered agents may play a role in the development of proteinuria and modulate antibody-mediated phenomena. We recommend that in renal transplant recipients undergoing therapy with intravitreal anti-VEGF agents, proteinuria be checked monthly, and there should be a low threshold for performing a biopsy to evaluate for allograft injury.

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