Article Text

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Immunosuppressant Therapy Clinical Trials in Membranous Lupus Nephritis
  1. Joshua T. Swan, PharmD, BCPS*,
  2. Daniel M. Riche, PharmD, BCPS, CDE,
  3. Krista D. Riche, PharmD, BCPS,
  4. Vikas Majithia, MD§
  1. From the *PGY-2 Critical Care Pharmacy, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX; †Pharmacy Practice and Medicine, University of Mississippi Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine; ‡Clinical Pharmacy, Mississippi Baptist Medical Center; and §Medicine, University of Mississippi Health Care, Jackson, MS.
  1. Received August 29, 2010, and in revised form October 18, 2010.
  2. Accepted for publication November 2, 2010.
  3. Reprints: Joshua T. Swan, PharmD, BCPS, 6565 Fannin St, DB1-09, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail: swan.joshua{at}
  4. None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to disclose. This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
  5. All authors had access to the data and contributed to writing the manuscript.


Purpose We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare response rates (complete remission plus partial remission) for nonsteroid immunosuppressant therapy to steroid-only immunosuppressant therapy in patients with membranous lupus nephritis.

Methods A literature review was conducted from June 25, 2010 by querying PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases. Inclusion criteria were trials containing remission data on patients with confirmed pure class V (Va and Vb) membranous lupus nephritis. The primary analysis evaluates response rates for regimens that contain at least one nonsteroid immunosuppressant therapy and steroid-only immunosuppressant therapy. A proportion meta-analysis using a DerSimonian-Laird random-effects model was performed. Data are reported as pooled proportions in percentages with 95% confidence intervals. Significant heterogeneity and/or bias were compensated for by trial exclusion.

Results Twenty-four studies met inclusion criteria for meta-analysis, which yielded 34 groups of patients' data. Upon meta-analysis, the response rate for nonsteroid immunosuppressant therapy is higher than for steroids alone (81% [74%-87%] vs 60% [39%-79%]), even when compensating for significant heterogeneity and bias (76% [71%-81%] versus 60% [39%-79%]).

Conclusion Nonsteroid immunosuppressant therapies in combination with steroids seem to be more effective than steroids alone for inducing partial or complete remission in patients with membranous lupus nephritis who have nephrotic proteinuria at baseline. This trial was not able to analyze adverse events, flares, relapses, or patient survival because of underreporting.

Key Words
  • membranous lupus nephritis
  • meta-analysis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • glomerulonephritis
  • class V lupus nephritis

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