Non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medications for steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome in children

Centre for Kidney Research, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW, Australia, 2145.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 10/2013; 10(10):CD002290. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002290.pub4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT About 80% to 90% of children with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS) have relapses. Of these children, around half relapse frequently, and are at risk of adverse effects from corticosteroids. Non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medications are used to prolong periods of remission in these children; however, these medications have significant potential adverse effects. Currently, there is no consensus about the most appropriate second line agent in children who are steroid sensitive, but who continue to relapse. This is the third update of a review first published in 2001 and updated in 2005 and 2008.
To evaluate the benefits and harms of non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medications in relapsing SSNS in children.
For this update we searched the Cochrane Renal Group's Specialised Register to June 2013.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-RCTs were included if they compared non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medications with placebo, prednisone or no treatment, different non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medications and different doses, durations or routes of administration of the same non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive medication.
Two authors independently assessed the risk of bias of the included studies and extracted data. Statistical analyses were performed using a random-effects model and results expressed as risk ratio (RR) or mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
We identified 32 studies (1443 children) of which one study is still ongoing. In the 31 studies with data, risk of bias assessment indicated that 11 (37%) and 16 (53%) studies were at low risk of bias for sequence generation and allocation concealment respectively. Six (29%) studies were at low risk of performance and detection bias. Twenty seven (87%) and 19 (60%) studies were at low risk of incomplete and selective reporting respectively. Alkylating agents (cyclophosphamide and chlorambucil) significantly reduced the risk of relapse at six to 12 months (RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.60) and 12 to 24 months (RR 0.20, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.46) compared with prednisone alone. There was no significant difference in relapse risk at two years between chlorambucil and cyclophosphamide (RR 1.31, 95% CI 0.80 to 2.13). There was no significant difference at one year between intravenous and oral cyclophosphamide (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.29). Cyclosporin was as effective as cyclophosphamide (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.48 to 2.35) and chlorambucil (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.44 to 1.53) at the end of therapy while levamisole (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.89) was more effective than steroids alone. However the effects of cyclosporin and levamisole were not sustained once treatment was stopped. In one small study cyclosporin significantly reduced the relapse rate compared with mycophenolate mofetil (MD 0.75, 95% CI 0.01 to 1.49). Limited data from a cross-over study suggested that cyclosporin was more effective than mycophenolate mofetil in maintaining remission. In steroid- and cyclosporin-dependent disease, rituximab significantly reduced the risk of relapse at three months compared with conventional therapy. Mizoribine and azathioprine were no more effective than placebo or prednisone alone in maintaining remission.
Eight-week courses of cyclophosphamide or chlorambucil and prolonged courses of cyclosporin and levamisole reduce the risk of relapse in children with relapsing SSNS compared with corticosteroids alone. Limited data indicate that mycophenolate mofetil and rituximab are valuable additional medications for relapsing SSNS. However clinically important differences in efficacy are possible and further comparative studies are still needed.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article overviews the pathogenesis and management of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, a common childhood glomerulopathy. While initial evidence supported an imbalance of T helper responses in patients with nephrotic syndrome, recent studies suggest alterations in both innate and adaptive immune responses, including evidence for impaired T regulatory function. The central role of the podocyte in causing proteinuria is confirmed by the observation of mutations in key podocyte proteins in steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome and experimental evidence of altered podocyte signaling and cytoskeletal organization, which might be corrected by medications. The outcome and management of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome in children are determined by the response to corticosteroids and the frequency of relapses. While patients with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome have a favorable long-term outcome, almost half of them relapse frequently and are at risk of adverse effects of corticosteroids. Various non-corticosteroid immunosuppressive agents are used to prolong disease remission, but require careful monitoring for potential adverse effects. While calcineurin inhibitors are the choice of therapy for patients with steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome, long-term management of disease is challenging due to variable response to immunosuppression, therapy-related adverse effects, and high rates of disease progression to end-stage renal disease. Information from recent randomized clinical trials has helped to clarify and improve the standard of care for childhood nephrotic syndrome and underscore the need for well-designed collaborative studies.
    12/2014; DOI:10.1007/s40124-014-0066-4
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rituximab is considered to be a promising drug for treating childhood refractory nephrotic syndrome. However, the efficacy and safety of rituximab in treating childhood refractory nephrotic syndrome remain inconclusive. This meta-analysis aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of rituximab treatment compared with other immunosuppressive agents in children with refractory nephrotic syndrome. Three randomized controlled trials and two comparative control studies were included in our analysis. The included studies were of moderately high quality. Compared with other immunotherapies, rituximab therapy significantly improved relapse-free survival (hazard ratio = 0.49, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.92, P = 0.03). Rituximab also achieved a higher rate of complete remission (risk ratio,1.62; 95% CI, 0.92 to 2.84, P = 0.09) and reduced the occurrence of proteinuria (mean difference = -0.25, 95% CI = -0.29 to -0.21, P < 0.00001); however, a more targeted rituximab treatment did not significantly increase serum albumin levels and did not significantly reduce adverse events. Rituximab might be a promising treatment for childhood refractory nephrotic syndrome; however, the long-term effects and cost-effectiveness of rituximab treatment were not fully assessed, and there were limited studies that evaluated the clinical benefits of a concurrent infusion of rituximab plus a steroid compared with an infusion of rituximab only. Additional studies are required to address these issues.
    Scientific Reports 02/2015; 5:8219. DOI:10.1038/srep08219 · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background To investigate the long-term outcome in children with frequently relapsing nephrotic syndrome (FRNS) we conducted a follow-up of a previous randomized controlled trial (RCT) 10 years after the initiation of the treatment protocol. Methods We previously conducted an RCT on the efficacy of cyclosporine for treating children with FRNS. After 2 years of treatment, a recommended a management protocol of steroids, and immunosuppressants was provided. Results Valid information was available for 46 of the 56 patients (82.1 %) enrolled in the original RCT. The median follow-up period was 10.3 years from the start of protocol treatment with cyclosporine. At last follow-up (mean age 18.7 years), only ten patients (21.7 %) showed disease-free remission (no relapse for at least 2 years). In contrast, 23 (50.0 %) continued to relapse frequently or were on immunosuppressants, eight patients (17.4 %) had infrequent relapses without immunosuppressants. Adverse effects attributable to treatment included short stature (6 patients), osteoporosis (six patients), obesity (4 patients), cataracts (3 patients) and hypertension (3 patients). No lethal event or renal dysfunction occurred during follow-up. Conclusions This 10-year follow-up study shows that most children with FRNS experience relapses after 2 years of cyclosporine treatment, in adolescence and into adulthood. Outcomes in terms of life expectancy and renal function are favorable.
    Pediatric Nephrology 10/2014; 30(3). DOI:10.1007/s00467-014-2955-8 · 2.88 Impact Factor