Background: The immunosuppressant mycophenolic acid (MMF) has been used successfully to manage proliferative forms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) glomerulonephritis (GN) World Health Organization (WHO) Classes III and IV. Less is known about MMF treatment of membranous SLE GN (WHO Class V, SLE MN).
Methods: We report our experience with MMF therapy in 13 consecutive SLE MN patients participating in a prospective study of risk factors for SLE flare.
Results: Baseline characteristics were: mean age 33 +/- 14 SD years, female/male ratio 11/2, Caucasians 7, African Americans 5, Oriental 1, serum creatinine 1.02 +/- 0.41, and mean 24-hour urine protein (P)/creatinine (C), ratio 5.1 +/- 4.1. Initial therapy was prednisone mean dose 31 +/- 17 mg/day, and MMF mean dose 1173 +/- 746 mg/day. Therapy also featured interventions to achieve renoprotection and proteinuria reduction. At 6 months of therapy, complete or partial remission was achieved in 10 of 13 patients. At most recent follow-up visit (mean follow-up 16 +/- 8 months), 9 of 13 patients were in complete remission, and in 11 of 13 patients, urine P/C ratio was < 0.8. During follow-up, serum creatinine either stabilized or was improved. The only serious complication during 208 patient months of follow-up was histoplasma pneumonia in 1 patient.
Conclusion: These promising results suggest that moderate dose MMF in combination with renoprotective/antiproteinuria therapy warrants further study in the management of SLE MN.