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      Treatment of Resistant Glomerular Diseases with Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Gel: A Prospective Trial

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          Background: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) has shown promising results in glomerular diseases resistant to conventional therapies, but the reported data have solely been from retrospective, observational studies. Methods: In this prospective, open-label study (NCT01129284), 15 subjects with resistant glomerular diseases were treated with ACTH gel (80 units subcutaneously twice weekly) for 6 months. Resistant membranous nephropathy (MN), minimal change disease (MCD), and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) were defined as failure to achieve sustained remission of proteinuria off immunosuppressive therapy with at least 2 treatment regimens; resistant IgA nephropathy was defined as >1 g/g urine protein:creatinine ratio despite maximally tolerated RAAS blockade. Remission was defined as stable or improved renal function with ≥50% reduction in proteinuria to <0.5 g/g (complete remission) or 0.5–3.5 g/g (partial remission). Results: The study included 5 subjects with resistant idiopathic MN, 5 subjects with resistant MCD (n = 2)/FSGS (n = 3), and 5 subjects with resistant IgA nephropathy. Two resistant MN subjects achieved partial remission on ACTH therapy, although 3 achieved immunologic remission of disease (PLA<sub>2</sub>R antibody disappeared by 4 months of therapy). One subject with resistant FSGS achieved complete remission on ACTH; one subject with resistant MCD achieved partial remission but relapsed within 4 weeks of stopping ACTH. Two subjects with resistant IgA nephropathy demonstrated >50% reductions in proteinuria while on ACTH, with proteinuria consistently <1 g/g by 6 months. Three of 15 subjects reported significant steroid-like adverse effects with ACTH, including weight gain and hyperglycemia, prompting early termination of therapy without any clinical response. Conclusions: ACTH gel is a promising treatment for resistant glomerular diseases and should be studied further in controlled trials against currently available therapies for resistant disease.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Remission of proteinuria improves prognosis in IgA nephropathy.

          Proteinuria has been shown to be an adverse prognostic factor in IgA nephropathy. The benefit of achieving a partial remission of proteinuria, however, has not been well described. We studied 542 patients with biopsy-proven primary IgA nephropathy in the Toronto Glomerulonephritis Registry and found that glomerular filtration rate (GFR) declined at -0.38 +/- 0.61 ml/min per 1.73 m2/mo overall, with 30% of subjects reaching end-stage renal disease. Multivariate analysis revealed that proteinuria during follow-up was the most important predictor of the rate of GFR decline. Among the 171 patients with 3 g/d (n = 121) lost renal function 25-fold faster than those with or =3 g/d who achieved a partial remission (<1 g/d) had a similar course to patients who had < or =1 g/d throughout, and fared far better than patients who never achieved remission. These results underscore the relationship between proteinuria and prognosis in IgA nephropathy and establish the importance of remission.
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            Adult minimal-change disease: clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcomes.

            Minimal-change disease (MCD) counts for 10 to 15% of cases of primary nephrotic syndrome in adults. Few series have examined this disease in adults. A retrospective review was performed of 95 adults who had MCD and were seen at a single referral center. Examined were presenting features, response to daily versus alternate-day steroids, response to second-line agents, relapse patterns, complications of the disease and therapy, presence of acute renal failure (ARF), and outcome data. Sixty-five patients received daily and 23 received alternate-day steroids initially. There were no differences in remissions, time to remission, relapse rate, or time to relapse between daily- and alternate-day-treated patients. More than one quarter of patients were steroid resistant. At least one relapse occurred in 73% of patients; 28% were frequently relapsing. A significant proportion of frequently relapsing patients became steroid dependent. Second-line agents were used for steroid dependence, steroid resistance, or frequent relapses. No single agent proved superior. There were more remissions with second-line agents in steroid-dependent patients compared with steroid-resistant patients, and remissions were more likely to be complete in steroid-dependent patients. ARF occurred in 24 patients; they tended to be older and hypertensive with lower serum albumin and more proteinuria than those without ARF. At follow up, patients with an episode of ARF had higher serum creatinine than those without ARF. Four patients progressed to ESRD. These patients were less likely to have responded to steroids and more likely to have FSGS on repeat renal biopsy. In this referral MCD population, response to daily and alternate-day steroids is similar. Second-line agents give greater response in patients who are steroid dependent. ARF occurs in a significant number of adult MCD patients and may leave residual renal dysfunction. Few patients progress to ESRD.
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              Cyclosporine in patients with steroid-resistant membranous nephropathy: a randomized trial.

              A clinical trial of cyclosporine in patients with steroid-resistant membranous nephropathy (MGN) was conducted. Although MGN remains the most common cause of adult-onset nephrotic syndrome, its management is still controversial. Cyclosporine has been shown to be effective in cases of progressive MGN, but it has not been used in controlled studies at an early stage of the disease. We conducted a randomized trial in 51 biopsy-proven idiopathic MGN patients with nephrotic-range proteinuria comparing 26 weeks of cyclosporine treatment plus low-dose prednisone to placebo plus prednisone. All patients were followed for an average of 78 weeks, and the short- and long-term effects on renal function were assessed. Seventy-five percent of the treatment group versus 22% of the control group (P < 0.001) had a partial or complete remission of their proteinuria by 26 weeks. Relapse occurred in 43% (N = 9) of the cyclosporine remission group and 40% (N = 2) of the placebo group by week 52. The fraction of the total population in remission then remained almost unchanged and significant different between the groups until the end of the study (cyclosporine 39%, placebo 13%, P = 0.007). Renal function was unchanged and equal in the two groups over the test medication period. In the subsequent follow-up, renal insufficiency, defined as doubling of baseline creatinine, was seen in two patients in each group, but remained equal and stable in all of the other patients. This study suggests that cyclosporine is an effective therapeutic agent in the treatment of steroid-resistant cases of MGN. Although a high relapse does occur, 39% of the treated patients remained in remission and were subnephrotic for at least one-year post-treatment, with no adverse effect on filtration function.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                July 2012
                19 June 2012
                : 36
                : 1
                : 58-67
                aDivision of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, N.Y., and bSection of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass., USA
                Author notes
                *Andrew S. Bomback, MD, MPH, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Columbia University Medical Center, 622 West 168th Street, PH 4-124, New York, NY 10032 (USA), Tel. +1 212 305 0320, E-Mail
                339287 Am J Nephrol 2012;36:58–67
                © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 4, Pages: 10
                Original Report: Patient-Oriented, Translational Research


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