Rituximab (RTX) has been successfully used as a rescue therapy in children with steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome (SDNS). However, little is known regarding maintenance therapy after a successful response to RTX in such patients. The efficacy and safety of a single RTX infusion (375 mg/m(2)) were assessed in ten patients who had persistent SDNS associated with minimal-change disease (MCD) despite the long-term use of cyclosporine (CsA). The mean follow-up after RTX infusion was 17 months. Applying RTX resulted in a significant reduction in the mean prednisolone (PSL) dose from 0.39 +/-0.18 to 0.15 +/- 0.14 mg/kg per day. The mean 12-month relapse rates significantly decreased from 4.1 +/- 1.7 to 0.6 +/- 0.6. All but one patient who had continued CsA as maintenance therapy after a single RTX infusion were able to withdraw from PSL without any relapses during the study period, whereas the remaining five patients who discontinued CsA experienced relapses after CD19 cells re-emerged, leading to the reintroduction of CsA or an additional RTX infusion. Infusion reactions occurred in five of ten patients. These data indicate that a single RTX infusion may improve response to CsA in patients with persistent SDNS due to the phenomenon of secondary resistance to CsA.