There are some racial differences in the prevalence and prognosis of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome; however, reports about minimal change disease (MCD) in Chinese were rare. We retrospectively analyzed 123 Chinese adults with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, who received percutaneous renal biopsy in our institution within the last 10 years. In total, 46 patients (37.4%) were compatible with the pathological diagnosis of MCD. The male to female ratio was 1.2:1. The mean age of onset was 30.9 years, and 80% of the patients with MCD were less than 40 years. The mean daily proteinuria was 10.2 g, and serum albumin was 1.8 mg/dl. Azotemia occurred in 16 (35%) of 46 cases; hypertension, 13%; and microscopic hematuria, 13%. High selectivity index for proteinuria (SI <0.1) was noted in 12 (39%) of 31 cases; and high IgE level was found in 83.7% of the study subjects, although only one case had allergic history. Complete remission inn 36 MCD patients treated with corticosteroid was achieved by 42% (15/36), 80% (29/36), and 94% (34/36) within 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively. The time interval to remission was similar between the younger group (<40 years old, 1.7 months) and older group (>40 years old, 1.6 months). Nineteen (56%) of 34 cases with steroid response did not relapse, and the other cases (44%) had a mean relapse rate of 1.5 times per patient within a period of 45 months. The age of onset in MCD cases was not significantly correlated with steroid-responsive rate, and the time interval to remission. However, a tendency existed between the onset in the young age and the sequentially relapsing rate (p = 0.06). Two cases with primary steroid resistance and 5 cases with frequent relapse or steroid dependence responded well to intravenous pulse therapy of cyclophosphamide, except one refractory case. No thrombotic episode was ever noted in our group. Regarding infectious complications, primary peritonitis occurred in one, pneumonia in one, and cellulitis in 6 cases during active nephrotic stage. Two mortality cases, one with E. coli-related necrotizing fasciitis and one from pneumonia, were noted. In brief, compared with children, adult patients with MCD had lesser high selectivity index for proteinuria, the same steroid-responsive rate (94%), but slower response, and significantly lesser relapsing rate. The intravenous pulse therapy of cyclophosphamide may be an alternative regimen for adult patients with steroid resistance or dependency. In addition, the Asian adult-onset MCD had younger age, male predominance, and lesser relapsing rate in comparison to those of the Western population.
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