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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7407919, 7 pages
Research Article

Immunosuppressive Treatment for Lupus Nephritis: Long-Term Results in 178 Patients

1Nephrology Department, City Botkin Memorial Hospital, Moscow, Russia
2Nephrology Chair, State University of Medicine and Dentistry, Moscow, Russia

Received 15 September 2016; Accepted 27 October 2016

Academic Editor: Anil K. Singh

Copyright © 2016 Elena V. Zakharova et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lupus nephritis is one of the most severe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus features, defining treatment modality and prognosis. Our retrospective study, including 178 patients treated for lupus nephritis during 23 years with mostly cyclophosphamide-based initial regimens followed by azathioprine or mycophenolic acid, demonstrates 84.8% of renal response with 19.2% of flares, 15-year patient survival 78.7% and kidney survival 76.3%, and low damage accrual. Both patient and kidney survival significantly differ for subgroups that achieved complete or partial renal response and nonresponders: patient 15-year survival 95% versus 65% versus 35%; kidney 15-year survival 100% versus 58% versus 0%, respectively. 51% (24 out of 47) of patients evaluated at the end of the study period sustained complete renal response; however, only 9 of them had 0 disease activity according to SELENA SLEDAI scale, while 13 patients had scores 2–4 due to the serological abnormalities only. We conclude that (1) initial treatment with cyclophosphamide followed by azathioprine is effective and can be used in agreement with International Guidelines until the evidence for biological treatments benefits becomes available; (2) complete and even partial renal response have positive prognostic value, and failure to achieve renal response negatively influences kidney and patient survival; (3) the validity of complete renal response in SLE is questioned by the absence of conventional definition of SLE remission.