Utilization of Biomarkers in Lupus Nephritis

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2019 Sep;26(5):351-359. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2019.09.001.


Lupus nephritis (LN) occurs in up to 60% of SLE patients, and is a leading cause of disability and death. Current treatment of LN consists of a combination of high dose corticosteroids that non-specifically decrease inflammation and cytotoxic medications that reduce auto-antibody production. That combination of therapy is associated with significant side effects while remission rates remain inadequate. Since the introduction of biologics into the pharmacological armamentarium, there has been hope for less toxic and more effective therapies for LN. Unfortunately, after multiple clinical trials, no biologic has improved efficacy over standard of care therapies for LN. This is likely, in part, due to disease heterogeneity. The utilization of biomarkers in LN may provide a way to stratify patients and guide therapeutic options. In this review, we summarize traditional and novel LN biomarkers and discuss how they may be used to diagnose, stratify, and guide therapy in patients with LN, bringing precision medicine to the forefront of LN therapy.

Keywords: Auto-antibodies; Biomarkers; Genetic biomarkers; Lupus nephritis; Precision medicine; Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological / analysis*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Lupus Nephritis* / blood
  • Lupus Nephritis* / genetics
  • Lupus Nephritis* / therapy
  • Lupus Nephritis* / urine
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Precision Medicine / trends
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Biomarkers
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological
  • Genetic Markers
  • Immunologic Factors