BackgroundChronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as a gradual loss of renal function progressing from very mild damage, with no obvious symptoms in stage one, to complete kidney failure in stage five, which ultimately requires kidney replacement therapy by organ transplantation or dialysis. Cancer incidence and other health problems, mainly diabetes and hypertension, are elevated in CKD, ultimately leading to elevated mortality.MethodsA literature search on the induction of micronuclei (MN) as endpoint for genomic damage in white blood cells and buccal mucosa cells of CKD patients was conducted. Possible associations with disease stage, treatment modalities, and vitamin or antioxidant supplementations were analyzed.ResultsIn total, 26 studies were enclosed in the data analysis. Patient groups in the predialysis or hemodialysis state of the disease exhibit higher levels of genomic damage, measured as micronucleus frequency in peripheral blood lymphocytes and buccal mucosa cells, than healthy control groups. Genomic damage seems to increase with the disease stage during the predialysis phase. The association with dialysis regimens or with years on dialysis is less clear, but there are indications that efficient removal of uremic toxins is beneficial. Patients with CKD receive a variety of medications, some of which could modulate genomic damage levels and thus contribute to the observed heterogeneity. In addition, supplementation with vitamins or antioxidants may in some cases lower the genomic damage. Meta-Analysis confirmed the high and significant levels of genomic damage present in CKD patients compared to matched healthy controls.ConclusionGenomic damage, as measured by the MN frequency, is elevated in CKD patients. Different strategies, including supplementation with antioxidants and optimizing dialysis processes, can reduce the levels of genomic damage and the different associated pathologies. Whether MN frequency can in the future also be used to assist in certain therapeutic decisions in CKD will have to be investigated further in larger studies.