Increased fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a risk factor for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and progression of chronic kidney disease. Limited data exist comparing the association of either c-terminal FGF23 (cFGF23) or intact FGF23 (iFGF23) in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) with overall (all-cause) graft loss. Methods
We conducted a prospective observational cohort study in 562 stable kidney transplant recipients. Patients were followed for graft loss and all-cause mortality for a median follow-up of 48 months.
During a median follow-up of 48 months, 94 patients had overall graft loss (primary graft loss or death with functioning graft). Both cFGF23 and iFGF23 concentrations were significantly higher in patients with overall graft loss than those without (24.59 [11.43–87.82] versus 10.67 [5.99–22.73] pg/ml; p < 0.0001 and 45.24 [18.63–159.00] versus 29.04 [15.23–60.65] pg/ml; p = 0.002 for cFGF23 and iFGF23, respectively). Time-dependent ROC analysis showed that cFGF23 concentrations had a better discriminatory ability than iFGF23 concentrations in predicting overall (all-cause) graft loss. Cox regression analyses adjusted for risk factors showed that cFGF23 (HR for one unit increase of log transformed cFGF23: 1.35; 95% CI, 1.01–1.79; p = 0.043) but not iFGF23 (HR for one unit increase of log transformed iFGF23: 0.97; 95% CI, 0.75–1.25; p = 0.794) was associated with the overall graft loss.
Elevated cFGF23 concentrations at baseline are independently associated with an increased risk of overall graft loss. iFGF23 measurements were not independently associated with overall graft loss. The cFGF23 ELISA might detect bioactive FGF23 fragments that are not detected by the iFGF23 ELISA.