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Proteinuria is a distinguishing feature in primary and secondary forms of chronic glomerulonephritis, which contribute to no more than the 20% of the end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) population. The contribution of non-proteinuric nephropathies to the global ESKD burden is still poorly focused and scarce research efforts are dedicated to the elucidation of risk factors and mechanistic pathways triggering ESKD in these diseases. We abstracted information on proteinuria in the main renal diseases other than glomerulonephritides that may evolve into ESKD. In type 2 diabetes, non-proteinuric diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is more frequent than proteinuric DKD, and risk factors for non-proteinuric forms of DKD now receive increasing attention. Similarly, proteinuria is most often inconspicuous or absent in the most frequent cause of ESKD, i.e. hypertension-related chronic kidney disease (CKD), as well as in progressive cystic diseases like autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease and in pyelonephritis/tubulo-interstitial diseases. Maintaining a high degree of attention in the care of CKD patients with proteinuria is fundamental to effectively retard progression toward kidney failure. However, substantial research efforts are still needed to develop treatment strategies that may help the vast majority of CKD patients who eventually develop ESKD via mechanistic pathways other than proteinuria.