Objective: Outcomes of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN) are highly heterogeneous among some populations because of interactions between genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and socioeconomic factors. A better characterization of social and ethnic disparities in mixed populations may thus help to develop individualized treatment regimens.
Materials and methods: Retrospective observational study including all patients with LN diagnosed between January 1993 and January 2014 in the only Nephrology Department of French Polynesia.
Results: The annual incidence of SLE and LN in French Polynesia was 3.6 and 0.96 per 100,000, respectively. Among the 45 patients with biopsy-proven LN (pediatric onset, 26.7%), LN occurred during the first SLE flare-up in 68.8%. At presentation, median eGFR was 72 mL/min/1.73m<sup>2</sup> (31 - 105), 32 patients had class-III/IV active glomerulonephritis (GN), and 10 had pure or mixed class-V GN. During the follow-up, 5 patients died (11.1%) and 2 reached end-stage renal disease (4.4%). Cumulative incidences of complete and partial renal responses were 31.1% and 40% at 12 months. Complete renal response (CR)<bold> </bold>was only predicted by renal presentation (lack of leukocyturia, low proteinuria). Among the 36 patients with renal response, 18 relapsed. Maintenance treatment (mycophenolate mofetil) and place of residence (Windward Islands as compared to remote islands) were the only factors that protected from relapse.
Conclusion: Renal presentation was the main predictive factor for a renal response whereas geographical residence and maintenance-treatment regimen were predictive of LN relapses in patients from French Polynesia, an area characterized by a specific genetic background and including several isolated islands that have limited access to healthcare. .