Background: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder characterized
by chronic inflammation, which can result in a multitude of systemic or organ-limited manifestations,
including the skin, lungs, heart, and kidney. SLE nephritis is present in an average of 38% of patients
at the time of diagnosis, and may occur as the initial presentation of disease with progression to
End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in roughly 10-20% of patients.
Methods: A review of the current literature was undertaken to investigate the evolution of treatment of
SLE nephritis based on randomized trials and robust observational studies. We aimed to provide a
timeline of the development of current induction and maintenance therapy, as well as the development
of novel targeted therapies, all leading to current guidelines.
Results: Based on all available current data on standard of care therapies for SLE nephritis, there is at
best a complete remission rate of 50-60%, and roughly 13-25% of patients experience periods of relapse
during maintenance therapy for SLE nephritis. Therefore, the need for newer, targeted therapies
has been the focus of many current, ongoing clinical trials.
Conclusion: Standard induction and maintenance therapies at present are anti-proliferative and nonspecific,
that is, interfering with the process of autoantigen presentation and activation of autoreactive
leukocytes. However, newer agents with specific T-cell, B-cell, or proteasome targets are currently being