Exposure to silica and risk of ANCA-associated vasculitis

Am J Ind Med. 2006 Jul;49(7):569-76. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20327.


Background: Exposure to silica dust is considered to be one of etiological factors of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) -associated vasculitis (AAV).

Methods: Subjects exposed to silica dust in Central Bohemia and followed in the Department of Occupational Medicine, Charles University, were selected for study. A group of 86 men exposed to SiO2 for at least 5 years were examined. The association between occupational exposure to silica dust and ANCA positivity is analyzed.

Results: The subjects had a mean age of 66.7 years, and mean exposure to silica of 22.3 years. ANCA were detected significantly more frequently in patients group (17.1%; P-ANCA 18x, C-ANCA 3x) than in controls (n = 28, mean age 64.2 years, P-ANCA 1x, i.e., 3.6%). ANCA positivity was found less frequently (7.1%) in the group with history of SiO2 exposure without signs of pronounced silicosis, than in the group with simple (30.3%) or complicated silicosis (36.0%). Odds ratio for ANCA positivity and relative risk estimate in patients with silicosis were highly significant. Among possible predictor factors for ANCA positivity, silicosis and tuberculosis were relevant. No typical AAV was present among the patients.

Conclusion: Long-term silica exposure may be one of the exogenous factors contributing to ANCA production, however, silica exposure alone, without typical silicosis, was not associated with ANCA positivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / blood
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / immunology*
  • Ceramics / adverse effects
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Czech Republic
  • Dust
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pneumoconiosis / immunology
  • Silicon Dioxide / adverse effects*
  • Silicosis / complications
  • Silicosis / immunology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Vasculitis / etiology*
  • Vasculitis / immunology


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Dust
  • Silicon Dioxide