Background/Aims: LDL apheresis (LDL-A) is used for drug-resistant nephrotic syndrome (NS) as an alternative therapy to induce remission by improvement of hyperlipidemia. Several clinical studies have suggested the efficacy of LDL-A for refractory NS, but the level of evidence remains insufficient. A multicenter prospective study, POLARIS (Prospective Observational Survey on the Long-Term Effects of LDL Apheresis on Drug-Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome), was conducted to evaluate its clinical efficacy with high-level evidence. Methods: Patients with NS who showed resistance to primary medication for at least 4 weeks were prospectively recruited to the study and treated with LDL-A. The long-term outcome was evaluated based on the rate of remission of NS 2 years after treatment. Factors affecting the outcome were also examined. Results: A total of 58 refractory NS patients from 40 facilities were recruited and enrolled as subjects of the POLARIS study. Of the 44 subjects followed for 2 years, 21 (47.7%) showed remission of NS based on a urinary protein (UP) level <1.0 g/day. The UP level immediately after LDL-A and the rates of improvement of UP, serum albumin, serum creatinine, eGFR, and total and LDL cholesterol after the treatment session significantly affected the outcome. Conclusions: Almost half of the cases of drug-resistant NS showed remission 2 years after LDL-A. Improvement of nephrotic parameters at termination of the LDL-A treatment was a predictor of a favorable outcome.
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