Remission of refractory lupus nephritis with a protocol including rituximab

Lupus. 2003;12(10):783-7. doi: 10.1191/0961203303lu453cr.


Immunosuppression with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide is the standard of care for lupus nephritis. We report a 19-year old woman with lupus nephritis and nephrotic syndrome who had not achieved complete remission after treatment with 15.7 g cyclophosphamide and 13.7 g prednisone. We planned a consolidation phase with: 1) cyclophosphamide 20 mg/kg i.v. every 28 days for three cycles; 2) anti-CD20 chimeric monoclonal antibody (rituximab) 375 mg/m2 i.v. weekly for four weeks; and 3) slow tapering of prednisone p.o., q.o.d., after a reinduction dose during rituximab administration. At the end of this phase the patient achieved complete remission. An indefinite maintenance treatment with methotrexate, cyclosporin and low-dose prednisone was then started. Twenty-four months later the patient remains in remission. In the immunosuppressive treatment of lupus nephritis the insertion of a consolidation phase with rituximab combined with cyclophosphamide achieves a therapeutically important and lasting deletion of the lymphocyte clone responsible for autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Lupus Nephritis / drug therapy*
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Proteinuria / drug therapy
  • Remission Induction
  • Rituximab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Rituximab
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Prednisone