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Indexed/Abstracted in: Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Sauter M. 1, Anders H.-J. 1,2
1 Department of Nephrology Medical Policlinic University of Munich, Germany
2 Department of Rheumatology Medical Policlinic University of Munich, Germany
Lupus nephritis is a common complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Early recognition of lupus nephritis requires routine serum creatinine determination, urinalysis and urinary microscopy. Since mild urinary abnormalities such as leucocyturia or proteinuria can be associated with severe lupus nephritis, a renal biopsy is usually indicated in patients with SLE and urinary abnormalities. A renal biopsy is required to determine the class of lupus nephritis which is based on histopathological criteria which have recently been revised. Aggressive immunosuppressive therapy is indicated in diffuse proliferative lupus nephritis. In class III or class V the treatment indication depends on additional prognostic criteria. Intravenous cyclophosphamide is still used but doses and intervals have been modified based on large clinical trials. Mycopheno-late may establish as an alternative for cyclophosphamide in the induction phase, but the data of the transcontinental multicenter Aspreva Lupus Management Study (ALMS) trial have not yet been published in detail. Controlled clinical trials support the use of azathioprine and mycophenolate for maintaining remission of lupus nephritis, and cyclophosphamide is no longer used in that phase. Additional control of cardiovascular risk factors and combined angiotensin and angiotensin receptor blockade are mandatory for all proteinuric SLE patients. Novel treatment options are ahead of us based on the molecular mechanisms of SLE and lupus nephritis, but as evidence from controlled clincial trials is still lacking they are not yet approved for broad clinical use. However, the treatment options for severe lupus nephritis have been improved and are likely to further improve in the near future.