Mycophenolate mofetil in systemic lupus erythematosus: results from a retrospective study in a large monocentric cohort and review of the literature

Immunol Res. 2014 Dec;60(2-3):270-6. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8609-x.


In the present study, we performed a retrospective study on the indication, efficacy and causes of withdrawal of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Moreover, a review of the literature concerning the use of MMF in the real life was performed. We recorded data about indications, mean dosage, duration of treatment and reasons for drug withdrawal. The efficacy was evaluated according to changes in SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 (SLEDAI-2K), renal SLEDAI-2K and daily proteinuria, after 4 and 12 months of treatment. Six hundred and nine SLE patients were evaluated; among them, 109 patients (17.9 %) were treated with MMF (mean treatment duration 33.9 ± 31.2 months, mean dosage 28.1 ± 10.6 mg/kg). The most frequent indications for using MMF were lupus nephritis (55.9 %) and musculoskeletal manifestations (33.0 %). After 4 and 12 months, a significant reduction of mean SLEDAI-2K, renal SLEDAI and daily proteinuria, compared with baseline, was demonstrated. Thirty-one patients (28.4 %) discontinued MMF therapy (mean treatment duration at the time of discontinuation 17.5 ± 21.2 months). The incidence risks of MMF discontinuation due to inefficacy and side effects were 0.09 and 0.1, respectively. Patients with disease duration longer than 36 months (70.6 %) had a significant increased risk of MMF withdrawal (RR 0.4, P = 0.03). The results of the present study demonstrated that MMF should be considered a treatment option for SLE manifestation other than renal involvement in daily clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid