Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Significant differences in struvite and cystine stone frequency seen among Chinese nephrolithiasis patients living in North America compared to those living in China



Interracial disparities in nephrolithiasis prevalence have been reported, but the interplay between genetics and the environment for urinary stone disease risk factors is poorly understood. To examine how environment may alter genetic predisposition for stone formation, we established the International Chinese Consortium on Nephrolithiasis (ICCON) as a multi-institutional collaboration to examine patterns of nephrolithiasis presentation between Chinese patients living in different countries.


Chinese patients undergoing percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) at six participating institutions in China and North America over 4 years were reviewed retrospectively. Patient demographics and clinical data were compared between Chinese patients living in China and North America.


A total of 806 patients were included, encompassing 721 Chinese patients living in China and 85 living in North America. Nephrolithiasis patients living in China were more likely to be male (67% vs. 56%, P=0.02), present at a younger age (48.6±15.0 vs. 55.0±13.0 years, P<0.01), and have a lower BMI (24.6±4.0 vs. 25.9±5.7, P=0.04) but were less likely to form struvite stones (5.5% vs. 14.1%, P<0.01). No cystine stone patients were seen in North American Chinese patients, whereas 1.8% of nephrolithiasis patients living in China presented with cystine stones. Similar rates of calcium-based and uric acid calculi as well as urinary pH were seen among both groups.


Significant differences exist between Chinese nephrolithiasis patients living in China compared to those living in North America, highlighting the importance of environmental factors in addition to genetics in modulating risk for urinary stone disease.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View