Clinical improvements in proliferative vs membranous lupus nephritis following B-cell depletion: pooled data from two cohorts.
ABSTRACT To compare the clinical results after treatment with B-cell depleting therapy in patients with membranous (WHO Class V) vs proliferative (WHO Class III or IV) lupus nephritis (LN).
Data were compiled from two European centres on all patients with LN who were treated with i.v. rituximab (RTX) in a combination protocol with i.v. cyclophosphamide and steroids. Laboratory and serological evaluations were performed at 3, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. No immunosuppressive drugs were given before B-cell repopulation.
Forty-three patients, 28 with proliferate and 15 with membranous LN by renal biopsy, were evaluated. Six months after treatment with RTX, both the membranous and the proliferative LN patients had a significant reduction in proteinuria and an increase in serum albumin. The main improvements were observed during the first 6 months and only minor non-significant changes in albumin and proteinuria were observed thereafter. As expected, the patients with membranous nephritis had lower anti-dsDNA titres and higher complement C3 levels at baseline, but in both groups a significant reduction in anti-dsDNA titre and improvements in complement C3 levels were seen during the first 6 months after treatment; the kinetics of improvement were similar in both groups.
The clinical course following B-cell depleting therapy is strikingly similar between patients with membranous and those with proliferative LN. These observational data suggest that, if controlled studies confirm the efficacy of B-cell depleting therapy in proliferative nephritis, clinicians may reasonably consider such therapy in membranous LN.
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ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) predominantly affects women in their reproductive years. Renal disease (glomerulonephritis) is one of the most frequent and serious manifestations of SLE. Of the various histological types of lupus glomerulonephritis, diffuse proliferative nephritis carries the worst prognosis. Combined with high-dose prednisone, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) has emerged as a first-line immunosuppressive treatment, although data regarding the efficacy of MMF on the long-term preservation of renal function are forthcoming. Cyclophosphamide is reserved for more severe forms of lupus nephritis, such as crescentic glomerulonephritis with rapidly deteriorating renal function, patients with significant renal function impairment at presentation, and refractory renal disease. Evidence for the calcineurin inhibitors in the treatment of lupus nephritis is weaker, and it concerns patients who are intolerant or recalcitrant to other agents. While further controlled trials are mandatory, B cell modulation therapies, such as rituximab, belimumab and epratuzumab are confined to refractory disease. Non-immunosuppressive measures, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, vigorous blood pressure control, prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and osteoporosis, are equally important.International Journal of Women's Health 01/2012; 4:213-22.