BACKGROUND: Minimal change disease (MCD) is characterized by a nephrotic syndrome usually steroid-sensitive and a high incidence of relapse of proteinuria. Previous cohort studies have reported conflicting results regarding the association between the time to remission and incidence of relapse. METHODS: This multicenter prospective cohort study included 102 adult patients with steroid-sensitive MCD or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis from a 5-year cohort study of primary nephrotic syndrome, the Japan Nephrotic Syndrome Cohort Study, who achieved remission of proteinuria within 2 months of immunosuppressive therapy (IST). The association between the time to remission of proteinuria after immunosuppressive therapy and incidence of relapse was assessed using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for clinically relevant factors. RESULTS: Remission was observed at 3-7, 8-14, 15-21, 22-28, and 30-56 days after initiation of immunosuppressive therapy in 17 (16.7%), 37 (36.3%), 21 (20.6%), 13 (12.7%), and 14 (13.7%) patients, respectively. During a median observation period of 2.3 years after the end of the 2nd month after initiation of immunosuppressive therapy, 46 (45.1%) patients relapsed. The time to remission was associated with the incidence of relapse in an inverse U-shaped pattern (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios [95% confidence intervals] of the time to remission of 3-7, 8-14, 15-21, 22-28, 30-56 days: 1.00 [reference], 1.76 [0.56, 5.51], 6.06 [1.85, 19.80], 5.46 [1.44, 20.64], and 2.19 [0.52, 9.30], respectively). CONCLUSION: The time to remission was identified as a significant predictor of relapse in steroid-sensitive patients.
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