A prospective multicentre study of mycophenolate mofetil combined with prednisolone as induction therapy in 213 patients with active lupus nephritis

Lupus. 2008 Jul;17(7):622-9. doi: 10.1177/0961203308089428.


Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) with prednisolone has been associated with high remission rates when used as induction treatment for lupus nephritis. This prospective, multicentre, cohort study investigates the efficacy and safety of this regimen over 24 weeks in 213 Chinese patients with active lupus nephritis (Classes III, IV, V or combination). Baseline activity index (AI) was 6.91+/-3.33 and chronicity index (CI) was 1.9+/-1.2. The remission rate was 82.6% at 24 weeks (complete remission, 34.3%; partial remission, 48.4%). There were significant (P<0.01) improvements in kidney function shown by reductions in proteinuria, serum albumin, serum creatinine and creatinine clearance, as well as in systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI) scores. Independent risk factors influencing remission were pathological classification (including Class V and III or Class V and IV nephritis) and elevated serum creatinine at baseline (OR 2.967, 95% CI: 1.479-6.332, P=0.001 and OR 1.007, 95% CI: 1.002-1.011, P=0.001, respectively). Patients with concomitant membranous features on biopsy had a lower remission rate than those with Class III and IV nephritis (66.7% vs 87.3%, P=0.002). Renal biopsy was repeated in 25 patients following treatment. There was a transition to less severe pathological morphologies in majority of subjects. Infections were monitored throughout treatment: eight patients (3.8%) experienced bacterial infections, whereas herpes zoster occurred in seven patients. Nine patients (4.2%) suffered from gastrointestinal upset, which resolved without discontinuation of MMF. One patient became leucopenic, whereas another died from active disease unrelated to kidney symptoms. MMF combined with prednisolone is an effective and well-tolerated induction treatment for patients with active lupus nephritis and for controlling SLE systemic activity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • China
  • Drug Therapy, Combination*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Nephritis / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Nephritis / pathology
  • Male
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Prednisolone
  • Mycophenolic Acid