The mechanisms of clearance of circulating plasma DNA are not fully understood, and so we aimed to examine it in patients with impaired renal function compared with healthy individuals. We also assessed the effect of peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis on circulating plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in our treated patients. Overall, 20 healthy volunteers, 20 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), 18 patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis (PD), and 17 patients on hemodialysis (HD; high-flux polysulfone membrane) were examined. Cell-free DNA levels were determined using real-time GADPH gene sequence amplification. The levels of cfDNA in all groups of our patients did not differ significantly from those of healthy volunteers. In HD patients, cfDNA levels were significantly increased compared with those of CKD patients (P < 0.05) and PD-treated patients (P < 0.01). In PD-treated patients, cfDNA was detectable in overnight effluent, with its levels correlating inversely with the duration of PD treatment (r=−0.619, Spearman's coefficient, P= 0.008). Factors contributing to these differences may include changes in the quality and quantity of the cell population of the peritoneum, highlighting the need for additional studies clarifying the dynamics of cfDNA during PD. The plasma levels of cfDNA do not seem to be dramatically altered even in CKD patients or those on PD or HD (as long as they are measured prior to the procedure in the latter two). Our data suggest renal elimination is not the main mechanism of circulating cfDNA clearance.