Idiopathic membranous nephropathy: clinical and histologic prognostic features and treatment patterns over time at a tertiary referral center

Am J Nephrol. 2012;36(1):78-89. doi: 10.1159/000339628. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Background: Idiopathic membranous nephropathy (i-MN) is a leading cause of nephrotic syndrome in adults and results in end-stage renal disease in approximately one third of patients. There are few large, long-term US studies evaluating clinical and histologic prognostic factors in i-MN.

Methods: We describe 132 patients with biopsy-proven i-MN who were followed for a mean period of 68 months at our tertiary referral center from 1977 to 2009, and we analyzed clinical and histologic features that predicted renal outcomes.

Results: The presence of hypertension and treating physician's decision to institute immunosuppression were negative predictors of attaining complete or partial remission. Among clinical variables, impaired renal function (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m(2)) at time of presentation was the only variable at presentation associated with an increased risk of reaching end-stage renal disease. The use of statins and RAAS blockers were protective. The choice of corticosteroids as the initial immunosuppressive agent by referring physicians decreased over time but even in the most recent era (2000-2008) was significant (33%).

Conclusion: Renal function at presentation and non-white race were the main predictors of a worse renal outcome. Corticosteroid therapy is still being adopted as first-line therapy in a significant number of patients in this era. The development of guidelines may help clarify the treatment strategies of i-MN.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / diagnosis*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United States


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents