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Features of phospholipase A2 receptor and thrombospondin type-1 domain-containing 7A in malignancy-associated membranous nephropathy


Aims Phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) and thrombospondin type-1 domain-containing 7A (THSD7A) were identified as pathogenic antigens in patients with membranous nephropathy (MN). Notably, PLA2R is detected in few patients with malignancy-associated MN, and a high incidence of cancer is reported in patients with THSD7A-associated MN. Therefore, the roles of PLA2R and THSD7A in malignancy-associated MN must be clarified.

Methods Serum anti-PLA2R antibodies and glomerular PLA2R staining were assessed in 36 patients with malignancy-associated MN, followed by examination of serum anti-THSD7A antibodies and glomerular THSD7A. THSD7A staining in cancer tissues was also assessed in 9 of the 36 patients.

Results Twelve (33%) of 36 patients were positive for both glomerular PLA2R and serum anti-PLA2R antibodies, one of whom had enhanced glomerular THSD7A staining. Two patients were positive for either glomerular PLA2R or serum anti-PLA2R antibody. All these patients had IgG4-dominant deposits in glomeruli. Among the 22 (61%) patients who were double negative for glomerular PLA2R and serum anti-PLA2R antibodies, 17 of 20 (85%) had IgG1-dominant deposits in glomeruli, and 2 (9.1%) were positive for glomerular THSD7A staining. Serum anti-THSD7A antibody was not detected in any of the 36 patients. Among the nine patients with available cancer tissues, positive staining of THSD7A in the cancer tissues was observed in five (56%) patients, and one showed enhanced glomerular staining of THSD7A.

Conclusions Screening of glomerular PLA2R antigen and serum anti-PLA2R antibodies is necessary in patients with malignancy-associated MN, whereas the incidence of glomerular THSD7A antigen or circulating anti-THSD7A antibodies is uncommon.

  • PLA2R
  • THSD7A
  • malignancy
  • membranous nephropathy
  • igg subclasses

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