Advances in the care of children with lupus nephritis

Pediatr Res. 2017 Mar;81(3):406-414. doi: 10.1038/pr.2016.247. Epub 2016 Nov 17.


The care of children with lupus nephritis (LN) has changed dramatically over the past 50 y. The majority of patients with childhood-onset systemic lupus erythematosus (cSLE) develop LN. In the 1960's, prognosis in children was worse than in adults; therapies were limited and toxic. Nearly half of cases resulted in death within 2 y. Since this time, several diagnostic recommendations and disease-specific indices have been developed to assist physicians caring for patients with LN. Pediatric researchers are validating and adapting these indices and guidelines for the treatment of LN in cSLE. Classification systems, activity, and chronicity indices for kidney biopsy have been validated in pediatric cohorts in several countries. Implementation of contemporary immunosuppressive agents has reduced treatment toxicity and improved outcomes. Biomarkers sensitive to LN in children have been identified in the kidney, urine, and blood. Multi-institutional collaborative networks have formed to address the challenges of pediatric LN research. Considerable variation in evaluation and treatment has been addressed for proliferative forms of LN by development of consensus treatment practices. Patient survival at 5 y is now 95-97% and renal survival exceeds 90%. Moreover, international consensus exists for quality indicators for cSLE that consider the unique aspects of chronic disease in childhood.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / diagnosis
  • Lupus Nephritis / history
  • Lupus Nephritis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / history
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents