Background: Hyperlipidemia is not merely a complication but a major exacerbating factor in longstanding nephrotic syndrome (NS). Low-density lipoprotein apheresis (LDL-A) has been reported to ameliorate dyslipidemia and induce rapid remission of NS. Several clinical studies have suggested the therapeutic efficacy of LDL-A, but the level of clinical evidence is insufficient. Therefore, a multicenter prospective study, POLARIS (Prospective Observational Survey on the Long-Term Effects of LDL Apheresis on Drug-Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome), was initiated in Japan. Method: Patients with drug-resistant NS were prospectively recruited into the study and treated with LDL-A in facilities that were registered in advance. In the POLARIS study design, the clinical data are to be followed up for 2 years. In the current study, we aimed at evaluating the short-term efficacy based on the treatment outcome of LDL-A immediately after completion of treatment. Results: Along with rapid improvement of hyperlipidemia, LDL-A significantly improved proteinuria and hypoproteinemia after treatment. More than half of the patients showed remission of NS based on the urinary protein level at the completion of LDL-A. The duration of NS before the start of treatment was significantly shorter in patients who responded to LDL-A. Conclusions: An analysis of patients registered in the POLARIS study indicated that LDL-A has short-term efficacy for drug-resistant NS. Rapid relief of dyslipidemia by LDL-A may provide early remission in about half of the NS patients who are resistant to conventional medication. Completion of the POLARIS study may reveal additional long-term effects of LDL-A in these patients.
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