Efficacy and safety of high-dose of mycophenolate mofetil compared with cyclophosphamide pulse therapy as induction therapy in Japanese patients with proliferative lupus nephritis

Mod Rheumatol. 2022 Oct 15;32(6):1077-1085. doi: 10.1093/mr/roab113.


Objectives: To clarify the effectiveness and safety of induction therapy with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in patients with lupus nephritis (LN).

Methods: Patients with LN administered MMF (n = 35) or intravenous cyclophosphamide pulse therapy (IVCY) (n = 25) plus high-dose corticosteroids between July 2015 and June 2020 were included. MMF was increased from 2 to 3 g/day, with no adverse events (AEs). The primary endpoint was the 6 month renal remission rate. Secondary endpoints were retention rate and AEs.

Results: There were no significant differences in age, sex, disease duration, renal histological type, SLE disease activity index, and urine protein creatinine ratio between the two groups. Twenty-six patients (74%) continued with MMF therapy, whereas 12 (48%) completed six IVCY courses. The retention rate was significantly higher in the MMF than in the IVCY group (p = 0.048). Twenty-four and 14 patients in MMF and IVCY groups, respectively, achieved renal remission with insignificant differences. Grade 3 or higher AEs were observed in 8 and 14 patients in the MMF and IVCY groups, respectively (p = 0.014).

Conclusions: The efficacy of high-dose MMF was comparable to that of IVCY in Japanese patients with proliferative LN, with fewer AEs and a higher retention rate than IVCY, suggesting the high tolerability of MMF.

Keywords: Induction therapy; lupus nephritis; mycophenolate mofetil; systemic lupus erythematosus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Creatinine / therapeutic use
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Induction Chemotherapy
  • Japan
  • Lupus Nephritis* / drug therapy
  • Mycophenolic Acid* / adverse effects
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Creatinine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid