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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016 Jun;68(6):1432-41. doi: 10.1002/art.39594.

Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease in Patients With Lupus Nephritis, 1971-2015: A Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis.

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University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.



End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is a major consequence of lupus nephritis, but how this risk has changed over time is unknown. We conducted this systematic review to examine changes in ESRD among adults with lupus nephritis from 1971 to 2015 and to estimate risks of ESRD among contemporary patients.


We searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for cohort studies and clinical trials on ESRD in adults with lupus nephritis. We analyzed studies from developed and developing countries separately. The outcome was probability of ESRD at 5, 10, and 15 years of lupus nephritis.


We included 187 articles that reported on 18,309 patients. In developed countries, the 5-year risk of ESRD decreased from 16% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 14-17%) in 1970-1979 to 11% (95% CI 10-12%) in the mid-1990s and then plateaued. ESRD risks at 10 years and 15 years showed steeper declines in the 1970s and 1980s but also plateaued in 1993-1997, with a notable increase in the late 2000s. The decrease in risk after 1980 coincided with increased use of cyclophosphamide. The 15-year ESRD risk was higher in developing countries than in developed countries. Patients with class IV lupus nephritis had the greatest risk of ESRD, with a 15-year risk of 44% during the 2000s.


Risks of ESRD in lupus nephritis improved between the 1970s and the mid-1990s and then plateaued, with an increase in the late 2000s. This pattern suggests limitations in the effectiveness of, or access to, current treatments.

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