We describe a prospective study of 2-year moderate-dose cyclosporin (CS) treatment in 13 children with steroid-dependent minimal change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS). CS treatment was commenced at 100-150 mg/m2 per day after remission was attained with prednisolone therapy, was adjusted to a target trough level of 100 ng/ml, and was administered for 2 years. The number of relapses during CS treatment significantly decreased compared with before CS treatment, all patients were able to discontinue prednisolone therapy, and steroid toxicity was reduced; 54% of patients remained in remission during CS treatment. Renal biopsies performed before CS treatment all showed MCNS without tubulointerstitial lesions. Creatinine clearance and urinary beta 2-microglobulin levels during CS treatment were normal in all patients, but renal biopsies performed after CS treatment revealed chronic CS nephrotoxicity in 7 patients. Clinical data, including CS dose and CS trough blood levels, were not significantly different between patients with and without nephrotoxicity. In conclusion, 2-year moderate-dose CS treatment in children with steroid-dependent MCNS is effective in preventing relapse and decreasing steroid toxicity. This treatment can, however, result in a high incidence of chronic nephrotoxicity. Renal function is not a reliable indicator of chronic CS nephrotoxicity. Renal biopsy is therefore necessary to monitor chronic CS nephrotoxicity.