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The role of kidney biopsy in the management of lupus nephritis

Mittal, Bharatia; Rennke, Helmutb; Singh, Ajay Ka

Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension: January 2005 - Volume 14 - Issue 1 - p 1-8
Special commentary

Purpose of review This review evaluates the role of kidney biopsy as a tool in the diagnosis, prognostication and therapeutic management of lupus nephritis. The renal biopsy is the only method available for diagnosing and classifying lupus nephritis. However, disagreements persist regarding the appropriate role of a renal biopsy in the management and identification of predictors of short and long-term outcomes.

Recent findings Recent modifications to the classification of lupus nephritis, the emergence of newer scoring indices, and the availability of a variety of therapeutic options predicate a reassessment of the role of the renal biopsy in the management of lupus nephritis, especially for high-risk patients.

Summary Despite some controversy, the renal biopsy has been shown to provide information over and above that provided by the clinical variables, and remains a pivotal element in optimizing therapy and the rational management of lupus nephritis.

aRenal Division, and bDepartment of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Ajay K. Singh, Clinical Director, Renal Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 732 5951; fax: +1 617 732 6392; e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.