Previous studies reported conflicting results regarding an association between serum albumin concentration and the cumulative incidence of remission of proteinuria in adult patients with minimal change disease (MCD). The present study aimed to clarify the clinical impact of serum albumin concentration and the cumulative incidence of remission and relapse of proteinuria in 108 adult patients with MCD at 40 hospitals in Japan, who were enrolled in a 5-year prospective cohort study of primary nephrotic syndrome, the Japan Nephrotic Syndrome Cohort Study (JNSCS). The association between serum albumin concentration before initiation of immunosuppressive treatment (IST) and the cumulative incidence of remission and relapse were assessed using multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models. Remission defined as urinary protein < 0.3 g/day (or g/gCr) was observed in 104 (96.3%) patients. Of 97 patients with remission within 6 month of IST, 42 (43.3%) developed relapse defined as ≥ 1.0 g/day (or g/gCr) or dipstick urinary protein of ≥ 2+. Serum albumin concentration was significantly associated with remission (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] per 1.0 g/dL, 0.57 [0.37, 0.87]), along with eGFR (per 30 mL/min/1.73 m2: 1.43 [1.08, 1.90]), whereas they were not associated with relapse. A multivariable-adjusted model showed that patients with high eGFR level (≥ 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) and low albumin concentration (≤ 1.5 g/dL) achieved significantly early remission, whereas those with low eGFR (< 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) and high albumin concentration (> 1.5 g/dL) showed significantly slow remission. In conclusion, lower serum albumin concentration and higher eGFR were associated with earlier remission in MCD, but not with relapse.
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