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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2012 Jun;23(6):1117-24. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2011080775. Epub 2012 May 10.

Rituximab in children with resistant idiopathic nephrotic syndrome.

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Division of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation and Laboratory on Pathophysiology of Uremia, Istituto G. Gaslini, Largo G. Gaslini 5, Genoa, Italy.


Idiopathic nephrotic syndrome resistant to standard treatments remains a therapeutic dilemma in pediatric nephrology. To test whether the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab may benefit these patients, we conducted an open-label, randomized, controlled trial in 31 children with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome unresponsive to the combination of calcineurin inhibitors and prednisone. All children continued prednisone and calcineurin inhibitors at the doses prescribed before enrollment, and one treatment group received two doses of rituximab (375 mg/m(2) intravenously) as add-on therapy. The mean age was 8 years (range, 2-16 years). Rituximab did not reduce proteinuria at 3 months (change, -12% [95% confidence interval, -73% to 110%]; P=0.77 in analysis of covariance model adjusted for baseline proteinuria). Additional adjustment for previous remission and interaction terms (treatment by baseline proteinuria and treatment by previous remission) did not change the results. In conclusion, these data do not support the addition of rituximab to prednisone and calcineurin inhibitors in children with resistant idiopathic nephrotic syndrome.

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