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Nephron Extra. 2011 Jan;1(1):251-61. doi: 10.1159/000333068. Epub 2011 Dec 24.

Rituximab treatment for membranous nephropathy: a French clinical and serological retrospective study of 28 patients.

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  • 1Service de Néphrologie et Dialyses, Hôpital Tenon, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, France.


The development of well-tolerated and effective therapies that target the pathogenesis of membranous nephropathy (MN) would be useful. Our objective was to evaluate the efficacy of rituximab in MN. We analyzed the outcome of 28 patients treated with rituximab for idiopathic MN. Anti-PLA(2)R antibodies in serum and PLA(2)R antigen in kidney biopsy were assessed in 10 and 9 patients, respectively. Proteinuria was significantly decreased by 56, 62 and 87% at 3, 6 and 12 months, respectively. At 6 months, 2 patients achieved complete remission (CR) and 12 partial remission (PR; overall renal response, 50%). At 12 months (n = 23), CR was achieved in 6 patients and PR in 13 patients (overall renal response, 82.6%). Three patients suffered a relapse of nephrotic proteinuria 27-50 months after treatment. Univariate analysis suggested that the degree of renal failure (MDRD estimated glomerular filtration rate <45/ml/min/1.73 m(2)) is an independent factor that predicts lack of response to rituximab. Anti-PLA(2)R antibodies were detected in the serum of 10 patients, and PLA(2)R antigen in immune deposits in 8 of 9 patients. Antibodies became negative in all 5 responsive patients with available follow-up sera. In this retrospective study, a high rate of remission was achieved 12 months after treatment.


Membranous nephropathy; Proteinuria; Renal failure; Rituximab

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