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Background The renoprotective benefits of adding immunosuppressant therapy to corticosteroid (CS) treatment for immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) patients with less than 25% crescent formation (C1) remains uncertain, warranting further research. Methods A retrospective study was conducted on IgAN patients with crescent C1 lesions confirmed by renal biopsy at Xinqiao Hospital between May 1, 2017, and May 1, 2020. Patients were stratified into either the CS treatment group or the CS combined with an additional immunosuppressant therapy group. Follow-up assessments were conducted within 24 months. Propensity score analysis was used to match patients receiving CS and CS+immunosuppressant drug treatment in a 1:1 ratio. Primary outcomes included changes in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR). Subgroup analyses were performed to evaluate the benefits of different populations. Composite endpoint outcomes comprised a 30% eGFR decrease, end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) necessitating dialysis or transplant, or kidney disease-related mortality. Adverse events were also compared between the two groups. Results: 296 IgAN patients with C1 lesions were included in the analysis. Baseline characteristics indicated that IgAN patients in the CS+immunosuppressant group exhibited poorer renal function and higher UACR levels. Propensity score analysis effectively minimized the influence of baseline clinical characteristics, including age, serum creatinine, initial eGFR, UACR, and 24-hour proteinuria. Both treatment groups demonstrated continuous eGFR improvement and significant UACR reduction during follow-up, especially at 6 months. However, no significant differences in eGFR and UACR reduction rates were observed between the two groups throughout the entire follow-up period, both before and after matching. Subgroup analysis revealed improved eGFR in both treatment groups, notably among patients with an initial eGFR below 90 ml/min/1.73 m2. Conversely, IgAN patients with C1 lesions and a cellular crescent ratio exceeding 50% treated with CS and immunosuppressant therapy experienced a significant improvement in renal function and a decline in urinary protein creatinine ratio. Composite endpoint outcomes did not significantly differ between the two groups, while the incidence of adverse events was comparable. Conclusion Our findings suggest that the addition of immunosuppressant therapy to corticosteroid monotherapy did not confer significant therapeutic advantages in patients with C1 lesions compared to CS monotherapy, although some specific patient populations appeared to derive modest benefits from this combined approach.

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