Research Papers: Immunology:

Rituximab as a front-line therapy for adult-onset minimal change disease with nephrotic syndrome

Roberta Fenoglio _, Savino Sciascia, Giulietta Beltrame, Paola Mesiano, Michela Ferro, Giacomo Quattrocchio, Elisa Menegatti and Dario Roccatello

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:28799-28804. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25612

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Roberta Fenoglio1, Savino Sciascia1,2, Giulietta Beltrame1, Paola Mesiano1, Michela Ferro1, Giacomo Quattrocchio1, Elisa Menegatti2 and Dario Roccatello1,2

1Nephrology and Dialysis Unit, S. Giovanni Bosco Hospital and University of Turin, Turin, Italy

2Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Center of Research of Immunopathology and Rare Diseases, Coordinating Center of the Network for Rare Diseases of Piedmont and Aosta Valley, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

Correspondence to:

Roberta Fenoglio, email: [email protected]

Keywords: adult minimal change; rituximab; nephrotic syndrome; CD20; monoclonal antibody; Immunology

Received: December 05, 2017     Accepted: May 30, 2018     Published: June 22, 2018


Minimal change disease (MCD) accounts for 15% of adult nephrotic syndrome (NS) cases. Adult-MCD patients may have more severe clinical features than pediatric patients. In children, Rituximab (RTX) has been used since 2006 to treat frequently relapsing NS. In adults, data about the efficacy of RTX for MCD are limited. We report our experience on the use of RTX in adult biopsy-proven MCD. Our series includes 6 adult patients (2 males and 4 females), age 45–73 years, treated with RTX (4 weekly doses of 375 mg/m2). Proteinuria decreased from 11,2 (23–4.8) g/24 hours to 0.6 (0–2) g/24 hours after 6 months, and to 0.4 (0–1, 4) g/24 h in the 4 pts with the longer follow-up. Creatinine decreased from 1.95 (0.5–5) mg/dl to 0.88 (0.6–1.3) mg/l. Five patients achieved a complete renal remission, while in 1 pt proteinuria decreased by 75%. RTX successfully depleted CD19 lymphocytes in 100% of pts for at least 6 months. No clinically relevant adverse events have been observed. This case series shows a remarkable efficacy of RTX in treatment of MCD. RTX can be an attractive alternative both in recurrent forms and in induction-therapy of MCD. RTX may be preferentially used in patients at a high risk of development of the adverse effects of corticosteroids and should be considered as an alternative option in patients with recurrent NS. Additional data are needed to inform clinical practice on how best to use RTX in this patient population, so that definitive randomized trials can be planned.

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