With recent advances and commercial implementation of minimally invasive biomarkers in kidney transplantation, new strategies for the surveillance of allograft health are emerging. Blood and urine-based biomarkers can be used to detect the presence of rejection, but their applicability as diagnostic tests has not been studied. A Banff working group was recently formed to consider the potential of minimally invasive biomarkers for integration into the Banff classification for kidney allograft pathology. We review the existing data on donor-derived cell-free DNA, blood and urine transcriptomics, urinary protein chemokines, and next-generation diagnostics and conclude that the available data do not support their use as stand-alone diagnostic tests at this point. Future studies assessing their ability to distinguish complex phenotypes, differentiate T cell-mediated rejection from antibody-mediated rejection, and function as an adjunct to histology are needed to elevate these minimally invasive biomarkers from surveillance tests to diagnostic tests.
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