Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) is a frequent and severe complication in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is reported in almost 20-25% of renal biopsies of patients with lupus nephritis (LN) and is associated with a poor renal prognosis. We report the case of a patient suffering from an aggressive form of proliferative LN in association with thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA-LN), who was resistant to standard combined immunosuppressive treatment with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide, as well as to plasma exchange (PEX). Eculizumab was given as a rescue therapy with an optimal clinical response. We performed a systematic review of the literature and identified 11 papers, published between 2011 and 2018, with a total of 20 patients, in which eculizumab was used, always as rescue therapy, to treat TMA-LN. All reported cases showed a positive clinical response to eculizumab with a high rate of remission. Even if sparse, available clinical cases and case series support the use of eculizumab in highly selected cases as rescue treatment for LN-TMA resistant to conventional combined immunosuppressive treatment.
Keywords: lupus nephritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Thrombotic microangiopathy, eculizumab