Vascular markers support lupus treatment

Lupus nephritis, or kidney inflammation, is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). Patients can have flares of lupus nephritis, and these may lead to chronic kidney disease. Researchers presenting at the 2011 American College of Rheumatology annual meeting may have identified biomarkers that could support diagnosis treatment and help research.

The researchers looked at the outcomes from treatment with mycophenolate mofetil or azathioprine in 52 patients from the maintenance phase of the Aspreva Lupus Management Study. The patients who failed therapy had higher levels of urinary adiponectin, plasma and urinary monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and plasma nitric oxide. Increased levels of endothelial protein C receptor also appeared to mark those patients who failed therapy.

Using predictive and prognostic biomarkers could help doctors predict when flares might happen and what the outcome from treatment might be, so supporting treatment choices. They could also direct drug development down some new routes.

"These findings support my hypothesis that vascular derived biomarkers would have clinical utility to segregate patients on the bases of response and non-response. So, I think we are headed in the right direction and that this can lead to new ways of treating lupus nephritis," lead investigator Robert Clancy, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine told Renal & Urology News.

- see the article in Renal & Urology News