Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most severe complications of SLE patients. We aim to validate urinary ALCAM as a biomarker in predicting renal disease histpathology in a Chinese lupus cohort.
In this cross-sectional study, a total of 256 patients and controls were recruited. Urinary levels of ALCAM were determined by ELISA. Renal histopathology was reviewed by an experienced renal pathologist.
Urinary ALCAM levels were significantly increased in active LN patients when compared to active SLE patients without renal involvement ( p < 0.001), inactive LN patients ( p = 0.023), inactive SLE patients without renal involvement ( p < 0.001), and healthy controls ( p < 0.001). Correlation analysis revealed a positive correlation between urinary ALCAM and general disease activity—SLEDAI score ( r = 0.487, p < 0.001), as well as renal disease activity—rSLEDAI ( r = 0.552, p < 0.001) and SLICC RAS ( r = 0.584, p < 0.001). Urinary ALCAM also correlated with lab parameters including 24-h urine protein, hemoglobin, and complement 3. Moreover, urinary ALCAM levels were significantly increased in class III and IV (proliferative) LN as compared to those in class V (membranous) LN. It outperformed conventional biomarkers (anti-dsDNA antibody, C3, C4, proteinuria) in discriminating the two groups of LN. On renal histopathology, urinary ALCAM levels correlated positively with activity index ( r = 0.405, p < 0.001) but not chronicity index ( r = 0.079, p = 0.448).