Our experience with rituximab therapy for adult-onset primary glomerulonephritis and review of literature
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B cell-targeted immunosuppression with rituximab as primary treatment or when conventional therapy is contraindicated or unsuccessful can induce remission in idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN). We explored the efficacy and safety of rituximab therapy in an adult population with IMN and other primary glomerulonephritides.
This study is a single-centre retrospective case review of 24 adult patients who received rituximab (RTX) for IMN (n = 11), minimal change disease (MCD, n = 7), focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS, n = 4), and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN, n = 2). Outcomes included the proportion of patients with complete and partial remission, frequency of relapse, the amount of post-RTX immunosuppression, and toxicity.
The median follow-up for all patients was 31.5 months (IQR: 15.0–44.0). Rituximab therapy induced remission in 19/24 (79.2 %) patients (IMN: 63.6 %, MCD: 100 %, FSGS: 75 %, and MPGN: 100 %). Disease recurrence in patients with ≥3 relapses pre-RTX therapy (MCD, n = 6 and FSGS, n = 1) decreased from 37.0 to 19.6 events per 1,000 patient-months. All patients with steroid maintenance, discontinued or achieved at least a 50 % dose reduction at 3.0 months (IQR: 1.5–8.0) post-treatment. One patient ceased CSA in addition to a 50 % steroid dose reduction 13 months post-RTX. Rituximab was well tolerated with a single serious infection (4.2 %) responsive to treatment.
Rituximab induced remission in IMN comparable with published reports but had an additional benefit in inducing remission in other common glomerulonephritides. Additional randomized studies are needed to confirm its potential therapeutic benefit and optimal dosing for adult-onset primary glomerulonephritis.
KeywordsB lymphocyte Primary glomerulonephritis Rituximab