An open-label randomized controlled trial of low-dose corticosteroid plus enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium versus standard corticosteroid treatment for minimal change nephrotic syndrome in adults (MSN Study)

Kidney Int. 2018 Dec;94(6):1217-1226. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2018.07.021. Epub 2018 Oct 29.


First-line therapy of minimal change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS) in adults is extrapolated largely from pediatric studies and consists of high-dose oral corticosteroids. We assessed whether a low corticosteroid dose combined with mycophenolate sodium was superior to a standard oral corticosteroid regimen. We enrolled 116 adults with MCNS in an open-label randomized controlled trial involving 32 French centers. Participants randomly assigned to the test group (n=58) received low-dose prednisone (0.5 mg/kg/day, maximum 40 mg/day) plus enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium 720 mg twice daily for 24 weeks; those who did not achieve complete remission after week 8 were eligible for a second-line regimen (increase in the prednisone dose to 1 mg/kg/day with or without Cyclosporine). Participants randomly assigned to the control group (n=58) received conventional high-dose prednisone (1 mg/kg/day, maximum 80 mg/day) for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint of complete remission after four weeks of treatment was ascertained in 109 participants, with no significant difference between the test and control groups. Secondary outcomes, including remission after 8 and 24 weeks of treatment, did not differ between the two groups. During 52 weeks of follow-up, MCNS relapsed in 15 participants (23.1%) who had achieved the primary outcome. Median time to relapse was similar in the test and control groups (7.1 and 5.1 months, respectively), as was the incidence of serious adverse events. Five participants died from hemorrhage (n=2) or septic shock (n=3), including 2 participants in the test group and 3 in the control group. Thus, in adult patients, treatment with low-dose prednisone plus enteric-coated mycophenolate sodium was not superior to a standard high-dose prednisone regimen to induce complete remission of MCNS.

Trial registration: NCT01197040.

Keywords: clinical trial; idiopathic nephrotic syndrome; mycophenolate; steroids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / adverse effects
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycophenolic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Nephrosis, Lipoid / drug therapy*
  • Nephrosis, Lipoid / immunology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remission Induction / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid

Associated data