In cross-sectional studies autoantibodies against complement C1q (anti-C1q) were found to be highly associated with active lupus nephritis. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the value of anti-C1q as follow-up marker of disease activity and renal involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Fifty-two patients with SLE and a minimum of three anti-C1q measurements during follow-up were analyzed. Anti-C1q levels correlated with global disease activity scores. In subgroup analyses, patients without renal involvement did not show a significant correlation between anti-C1q levels and disease activity. In contrast, in patients with renal involvement, anti-C1q levels correlated well with global disease activity. In addition, a positive correlation with the urine protein-to-creatinine ratio and anti-dsDNA antibody levels as well as a negative correlation with complement levels was observed. Anti-C1q antibodies were found to strongly correlate with parameters of SLE disease activity during follow-up, in particular with regard to renal involvement.