International survey on the management of patients with SLE. III. The results of a questionnaire regarding renal involvement

A. Doria, C. Vltali, A. Tincani, G. Balestrieri, M. Galeazzi, P. L. Meroni, P. Migliorini, R. Neri, A. Tavoni, S. Bombardieri

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Objective. To assess the practice patterns in the management of lupus nephritis (LN) of physicians dealing with systemic lupus erythematosus. Methods. A multiple choice questionnaire was sent to 135 lupus centers, mainly in Europe. It was divided into 4 sections, one of which regarded LN. Sixty-one centers (40%) sent the questionnaire back before the meeting; however, two of them did not fill out the LN section. Therefore, 59 valid LN questionnaires were collected and analyzed. Statistical evaluation was performed using frequency analysis and the chi-square test. Results. In 50 centers (85%), renal biopsy is performed in all patients with clinically evident renal involvement, and in most of them it is repeated in cases of relapse and/or ineffectiveness of treatment. Oral steroid alone is the therapy preferred by 67% of responding physicians in patients with WHO class II LN. Multi-drug therapy is favoured by 57% in patients with class III LN, by 79% for mild-to-moderate forms of class IV LN (IVm), by 84% for moderate-to-severe forms of class IV LN (IVs), by 47% for mild-to-moderate forms of class V LN (Vm), and by 65% for moderate-to-severe forms of class V LN (Vs). Steroids plus cyclophosphamide (CYPH) is the association most commonly used for class III, IVm and IVs LN, having been indicated by 70%, 80% and 88% of the centers, respectively. Furthermore, pulse CYPH is largely preferred to oral CYPH by the majority of centers. It is worth noting that 41 centers (70%, p <0.01) utilise the same drugs in the treatment of both WHO class IVm and IVs LN. No clear trends in the use of multi-drug associations were identifiable in the treatment of class V LN. Moreover, most of the centers (64%) said that they rely on histologic parameters in order to define renal prognosis and that they consider the chronicity index to be the best predictor of poor renal outcome (74% of the centers). Conclusions. It was possible to identify some clear trends in the behaviour of physicians who are 'expert' in lupus patients: (i) they perform a renal biopsy in order to charaterize the LN and repeat it when they are faced with relapse or ineffective therapy; (ii) they treat WHO class II LN with oral steroids alone and class III and IV LN with steroids associated with CYPH (CYPH, generally in a pulse regimen); and (iii) they define renal prognosis by means of histologic predictors, especially the chronicity index. However, no trend seemed to exist for the treatment of class V LN, particularly Vm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue numberSUPPL. 16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • prognosis
  • renal biopsy
  • renal involvement
  • SLE
  • therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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