Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Also called lupus, SLE is an autoimmune disease. With lupus, the body's immune system targets its own body tissues. Lupus nephritis happens when lupus involves the kidneys. Two hundred and thirty systemic lupus erythematosus patients with history of renal involvement (predominantly Class III/IV lupus nephritis with or without membranous features) were included.
The follow-up was 4076.6 person-years (mean 17.7 ± 8.9 years). Twenty-four patients (10.4%) died, and 85% of the deaths occurred after 10 years of follow-up. The 5-, 10-, and 20-year survival rates were 98.6, 98.2 and 90.5%, respectively. The leading causes of death were infection (50.0%), cardiovascular disease (20.8%) and malignancy (12.5%). The renal survival rates at 5, 10 and 20 years were 99.5, 98.0 and 89.7%, respectively.
Standard treatment includes a corticosteroid, usually prednisone, to reduce inflammation in the kidneys. An immunosuppressive medication, such as cyclophosphamide or mycophenolate mofetil, is typically used with prednisone. These medications—when taken as prescribed by a health care provider—further decrease the activity of the immune system and block the body’s immune cells from attacking the kidneys directly or making antibodies that attack the kidneys.
Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) and Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB) announced that a Phase III study of Rituxan® (rituximab) plus mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and corticosteroids in patients with lupus nephritis did not meet its primary endpoint of significantly reducing disease activity at 52 weeks. The primary endpoint evaluated improvements in kidney response as measured by standard laboratory tests used to assess kidney health.