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Keywords:

  • Banff lesions;
  • microarrays;
  • pathology of renal transplantation

Emerging molecular analysis can be used as an objective and independent assessment of histopathological scoring systems. We compared the existing Banff i-score to the total inflammation (total i-) score for assessing the molecular phenotype in 129 renal allograft biopsies for cause. The total i-score showed stronger correlations with microarray-based gene sets representing major biological processes during allograft rejection. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed that total-i was superior (areas under the curves 0.85 vs. 0.73 for Banff i-score, p = 0.012) at assessing an abnormal cytotoxic T-cell burden, because it identified molecular disturbances in biopsies with advanced scarring. The total-i score was also a better predictor of graft survival than the Banff i-score and essentially all current diagnostic Banff categories. The exception was antibody-mediated rejection which is able to predict graft loss with greater specificity (96%) but at low sensitivity (38%) due to the fact that it only applies to cases with this diagnosis. The total i-score is able to achieve moderate sensitivities (60–80%) with losses in specificity (60–80%) across the whole population. Thus, the total i-score is superior to the current Banff i-score and most diagnostic Banff categories in predicting outcome and assessing the molecular phenotype of renal allografts.