What Disease Conditions could be Considered for Potential Therapeutic Kidney Donations?
ISSN: 2475-7640
Journal of Clinical and Experimental Transplantation

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  • Case Report   
  • J Clin Exp Transplant 2016 1:106, Vol 1(1)
  • DOI: 10.4172/2475-7640.1000106

What Disease Conditions could be Considered for Potential Therapeutic Kidney Donations?

Yoshihide Ogawa1*, Rensuke Mannami2, Makoto Mannami2, Mitsuo Nishi3 and Naoki Mitsuhata4
1Department of Urology, Tokyo-West Tokushukai Hospital, Akishima, Tokyo, Japan
2Department of Urology, Uwajima Tokushukai Hospital, Uwajima, Japan
3Department of Urology, Saint Martin’s Hospital, Sakaide, Japan
4Department of Urology, Kure-Kyosai Hospital, Kure, Japan
*Corresponding Author: Yoshihide Ogawa, Department of Urology, Tokyo-West Tokushukai Hospital, 3chome-1-1 Matsubara-cho, Akishima Tokyo, 196-0003, Japan, Tel: +81-42-500-4433, Fax: +81-42-500-6632, Email: [email protected]

Received Date: Mar 31, 2016 / Accepted Date: Jul 18, 2016 / Published Date: Jul 25, 2016


We coined the term “therapeutic kidney donation” specifically in reference to donatable kidneys that have been nephrectomized due to urologic diseases and reviewed various series of reports and empirical sporadic reports. Kidneys with small renal tumors and distal ureter tumors in addition to benign kidney pathologies have historically been used for transplantation. Some ethical problems exist in cases in which therapeutic donor kidneys are used for unrelated living transplantation but not for related transplantation. Therefore, a well-organized national project, such as the OPTN policy, is awaited. Kidneys with small renal masses are an attractive source for donation, but these organs have several unsolved problems, including locally advanced stages, high histological grades, multifocality, and distant metastasis. Further clinical studies are warranted to organize and recruit proper therapeutic kidney donation for restored kidney transplantation.

Keywords: Therapeutic donor kidney; Urologic disease; Restored kidney transplantation; High-risk recipient

The OPTN/UNOS Living Donor Committee, UNOS Policy Department, coined the term “therapeutic organ donor” to describe an individual who has an organ removed as a component of their treatment for a medical problem, and their removed organ is suitable for transplantation into a transplant candidate. The committee suggested that potential therapeutic donors may have conditions, such as renal cell carcinoma (with the tumor removed after recovery and before transplantation), ureteral trauma (a transected ureter), or maple syrup urine disease (which is the most common type of domino liver donor) [1]. Many chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on a transplant waiting list are eagerly anticipating this new OPTN policy proposal. In this manuscript, we would like to concentrate on the kidney as a therapeutic organ and propose a list of renal conditions associated with “therapeutic donatable kidneys” which include “donatable kidneys that are nephrectomized due to urologic diseases”.

The shortage of donor kidneys is a serious problem in Japan, and this trend has become worse partly because altruistic donations and paired kidney exchange programs are not currently accepted in Japan, while ABO-incompatible living kidney transplantation has increased to 30%. In addition, restored kidney transplantation by “therapeutic kidney donation” was banned by the Japanese government in 2007, with the exception of transplantations conducted as part of clinical trials. This donor shortage crisis prompts dialysis-intolerant patients to seek transplantation and donor kidneys in foreign countries, leading to an increase in transplant tourism. To reverse this situation, the Tokushukai group launched two clinical trials of therapeutic kidney donation (TKD) in 2009, which are still ongoing, to transplant restored kidney allografts in patients without appropriate donors among their family members or who have used all of the possible living donors in their family. Therefore, the Tokushukai group is attempting to save “unrescuable” dialysis patients using restored kidney transplantations conducted as part of clinical trials [2,3]. These restored kidney transplantations include living renal transplantations conducted in clinical studies between family members using restored kidneys with small renal tumors, renal stones, ureteral tumors, ureteral strictures, or renal cysts and a clinical study of living renal transplantations between third parties using restored kidneys (partial resection and renorrhaphy) with a solitary small renal tumor. Therefore, in cases of living related or altruistically donated renal transplantation using therapeutic donatable kidneys, the surgical indication for a therapeutic donor nephrectomy could be elective, while in cases of living unrelated renal transplantations, the surgical indication for a therapeutic donor nephrectomy should be relatively imperative (depending on the decision of an expert urologist regarding whether to perform nephron-sparing surgery or discard the kidney, considering that renal salvage is always a primary goal for the urologist). It is necessary to determine and discuss which conditions could be clinically implicated for potential therapeutic kidney donation (elective or imperative) and transplantation into a transplant candidate. Therefore, in this communication, the relevant literature on “therapeutic kidney donors” was reviewed to identify potential disease conditions and clarify their contextual clues.

The first organ transplant in Japan occurred at Niigata University in 1956 (T. Kusunoki) when a living kidney obtained from a patient with idiopathic renal bleeding was temporarily transplanted to a patient with acute renal failure. In 1964, a living kidney was transplanted into a patient with chronic renal failure at the University of Tokyo, which was the first full-scale transplant intended for permanent grafting [4]. Some empirical experiences with unrelated kidney transplantation have been conducted using therapeutic kidneys that were removed due to kidney diseases, including kidney stones and hydronephrosis; however, most of these sporadic cases were semi-confidentially managed, accepted locally without ethical approval, or not actually reported to the general public. Therefore, only a few people were aware of the data. Mannami et al. reported their clinical experiences using a new source of 42 kidneys, which included eight cases of benign pathologies, eight of small renal cancer, eight cases of ureteral cancer, six cases of aneurysms, four cases of severe nephrotic syndrome, and four cases of ureteral stenosis, that were restored to transplant into “unrescuable” dialysis patient [5]. Kidneys that were removed due to various diseases and used for renal transplantation, according to the Japanese literature, are shown in Table 1. In Australian and Spanish reports, restored kidneys with complex cysts, benign tumors, or complicated ureteric injuries were transplanted after nephrectomy (Table 2) [6,7]. The transplantation of kidneys removed to treat small RCCs has been reported by several investigators and performed in more than 97 patients [8]. Despite differences in the interpretation of the risk categories of tumor transmission by Nalesnik et al. [9] several guidelines for renal transplantation unanimously accept that small renal tumors pose some risk [10,11] and encourage further expansion of the living-donor pool. The renal transplantation procedure is demanding, similar to the living kidney transplantation procedure, and has the advantages of allowing sufficient time for preoperative immunological screening, short ischemic time, and potential immediate renal function; the renal transplantation procedure is also similar to deceased kidney transplantation in terms of providing benefits to unrelated high risk recipients and also expanding the donor pool. The spirit of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” or the “Mottainai campaign” (Prof. Wangari Maathai) should be encouraged to solve the organ shortage crisis by utilizing therapeutic kidneys donated for transplantation. Regarding the discussion about the cancer transmission risk, the perioperative mortality rates for nephrectomy (0.03% of living donor nephrectomies and 0.3-1.7% of RCC nephrectomies) and of transplantation (1.7%) and the transmission risk of small RCCs from the restored kidney (0.015-1%) in clinical settings should be noted [3].

Year Donor kidney Tx Institution
1956 Idiopathic renal bleeding Niigata University (T. Kusunoki)
1965 Floating kidney Tokyo University (T. Inou)
1983 Idiopathic renal bleeding * Uwajima City Hospital (M. Mannami)
1985 Renal aneurysm Sendai Hoken Hospital (S. Ohtsuki)
1987 Renal aneurysm Hokkaido Univeristy (M. Togashi)
1988 Renal aneurysm Tokyo Women's Medical Univeristy
1989 Renal aneurysm Kyoto Prefectual University(N. Yoshimura)
1989 Renal aneurysm Fukuoka Red Cross Hospital (K. Anan)
1990 Renal aneurysm Hokkaido Univeristy (M. Kanekawa)
1991 Renal aneurysm * Kure Kyosai Hospital (N. Mitsuhata)
1991 Renal aneurysm × 2 cases Hiroshima University ( T Okimoto)
1992 Renal aneurysm Tachikawa General Hospital (T Kawano)
1992 Renal aneurysm Sendai Shakaihoken Hospital (H Murakami)
1993 Renal aneurysm × 2 cases Kyoto Prefectual University (T Hamashima)
1993 Renal aneurysm Fujita Health University (K. Hoshinaga)
1994 Free kidney Kitasato University (T. Endou)
1994 Renal aneurysm Hamamatsu University (A. Ishikawa)
1998 Renal aneurysm × 8 cases Tokyo Women's Medical University (F Toda)
2000 Renal aneurysm × 3 cases Tokyo Women's Medical University (S Koga)
2001 Renal aneurysm Toda Central General Hospital (T Nozaki)
2003 Renal aneurysm Sapporo City University
2007 Small renal tumor Akita University (T. Habuchi)
2009 Renal aneurysm Kumamoto Red Cross Hospital (S I)
2009 Small renal cell carcinom ** UwajimaTokushukai Hospital (M. Mannami)
2015 Small renal cell carcinoma Ehime Prefectural Hospital (K. Okamoto)
* Benign pathologies (8 cases), ureter cancer (8), aneurysm (6), severe nephrotic syndrome (4), ureter stenosis (4), small renal cell carcinoma (8)
** Small renal cell carcinoma (17 cases to date in 2016)

Table 1:Therapeutic donor Kidneystransplanted in Japan

Mannamiet al.[5] Eight benign pathologies (two angiomyolipoma, 1 cavernous angioma, 1 necrosis of ureter, 1 pelvic kidney, 1 retroperitoneal chronic infection, one renal abscess, one renal cyst with calcification), eight small renal cell carcinomas, eight ureteral cancers, six aneurysms, eight severe nephrotic syndrome from 4 patients and four ureteral stenoses.
Nicol et al. [6] Small (<3 cm) incidentally detected renal lesions, consisting of clear cell carcinoma (25), papillary carcinoma (5), chromophobe carcinoma (1), oncocytoma (4), angiomyolipoma (3), and complex/multiloculated cysts (3)
Musquera et al.[7] Incidental renal masses, including clear renal cell carcinoma (5), chromophobe type (2), and lipoma (1)
He et al. [8] 21 kidneys with small RCCs and 3 kidneys with complicated ureteric injuries

Table 2: Therapeutics donor kidneys retrieved due to urologic disease transplanted in large series

Ex vivo restoration of therapeutic kidney donation is expected to expand the supply of available organs for renal transplantation in the future. However, some problems are still unanswered. Pahernik and colleagues proposed that clinical staging underestimates pathological staging for small RCCs (up to 4 cm) with respect to stage pT3. The rate of multifocality was 2.0%, 5.1%, and 7.05% of cases in the 2, 3, and 4 cm groups, respectively. Advanced tumor stage (pT3) was found in 3.0%, 5.1%, and 12.1%; grade 3 was noted in 7.1%, 9.0% and 14.0%; and metastases at diagnosis were identified in 3.0%, 2.6%, and 6.0% of cases in the 2, 3, and 4 cm groups, respectively [12]. Another study [13] also confirmed similar results and concluded that the aggressive potential of small RCC increases steeply beyond a tumor diameter of 3 cm, suggesting that the threshold for selecting patients for a surveillance strategy should be set well below a tumor size of 3 cm. Smaldone et al. [14] reported a systematic review and pooled analysis of small renal masses under active surveillance (18 retrospective studies comprising 880 patients and 936 SRMs) and revealed that eighteen lesions progressed to metastases with growth rates more than double (0.8 cm/year) those of non-progressors (0.3 cm/year), but these were generally late events (mean time to metastases 40.2 months) [14]. They also discussed one reported case of a 73-year-old male with a 2.4 cm renal mass progressing to bony metastases at 5 months with no increase in tumor size [15]. In consideration of these provocative results, the increased accuracy of diagnosis of frozen section histology performed immediately after tumor removal or biopsy may provide insight into the inherent biology of small renal tumors.

In conclusion, further studies are warranted regarding the following two points: 1) imperative therapeutic kidney donation could include selected cases of small renal cell carcinoma, renal aneurysm, complicated ureter injury, or distal ureteral tumor and 2) elective therapeutic kidney donation may include cases of benign renal tumors (AML), renal stones, renal injury, idiopathic renal bleeding, ureteric stenosis, complex renal cysts. A large-scale national project is necessary to organize transplant surgeons and urologists to work together to recruit therapeutic kidney donations for restored kidney transplantation. This will primarily rescue “dialysis-intolerant” patients who may benefit from renal transplantation. We welcome the therapeutic organ donation policy of the United States and anticipate utilizing living donors with therapeutic kidneys to provide a solution to the worldwide organ shortage problem in the future.


Citation: Ogawa Y, Mannami R, Mannami M, Nishi M, Mitsuhata N (2016) What Disease Conditions could be Considered for Potential Therapeutic Kidney Donations? J Clin Exp Transplant 1: 106. Doi: 10.4172/2475-7640.1000106

Copyright: © 2016 Ogawa Y, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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