Minimal change disease (MCD) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are common causes of nephrotic syndrome in children and adults. However, frequent relapses, steroid dependence, steroid resistance, and side effects of immunosuppressive therapy remain a therapeutic challenge. Rituximab (RTX) has evolved as an efficacious alternative in childhood MCD/FSGS. We report the effect of RTX in 5 adult patients with multirelapsing/steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome due to MCD or FSGS.
All five patients treated with RTX achieved sustained complete remission and additional immunosuppression was withdrawn. One patient had a relapse after 23 months, which was successfully treated with a further series of RTX infusion without reinitiation of steroid therapy. Serious adverse events related to RTX therapy were not observed in our patients.
Our results indicate that RTX is effective and cessation of additional immunosuppressants could be achieved in all patients reported in this study. RTX may be an effective alternative therapy in adult patients with multirelapsing/steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome due to MCD or FSGS.