Management of ANCA-associated vasculitis: Current trends and future prospects

Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2010 Jun 24:6:253-64. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s6112.


The antineutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides are a spectrum of heterogeneous autoimmune diseases characterized by necrotizing small vessel vasculitis and the presence of ANCA. These chronic multisystem disorders may be life-threatening if there is major organ involvement, such as acute renal failure or pulmonary hemorrhage, and require significant initial immunosuppression and long-term maintenance treatment. Long-established protocols using cyclophosphamide and prednisolone have resulted in dramatically improved outcomes for patients since the 1970s. Subsequently, international collaboration has contributed to a growing evidence base and consensus in the management of these rare disorders. Modifications to traditional treatment protocols by the use of azathioprine or methotrexate rather than cyclophosphamide, and the introduction of newer agents, such as rituximab, has maintained outcomes whilst decreasing toxicity. However, the treatment limitations of incomplete efficacy, infection, and cumulative toxicity persist. These issues have continued to drive the search for safer and more effective modulation of the immune system using targeted immunotherapy. This review will explore the current evidence base for management of ANCA-associated vasculitis and future treatment prospects.

Keywords: ANCA; treatment; vasculitis.