Repeat protocol renal biopsy in ANCA-associated renal vasculitis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2014 Sep;29(9):1728-32. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfu042. Epub 2014 Feb 26.


Background: Histopathological lesions in renal biopsy (RB) at presentation of ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) have been described in depth but repeat protocolized renal biopsies are seldomly performed in AAV. In this study, we present a group of AAV patients with repeat protocolized biopsies, and we evaluate their clinical significance.

Methods: A total of 17 consecutive patients diagnosed between 1991 and 1995 with AAV and renal involvement confirmed by biopsy at presentation in a single center underwent a protocol planned rebiopsy in remission after a median of 13 months (range 11-28) from diagnosis. Biopsies were assessed by two independent pathologists, blinded to patient data. Clinical data were collected retrospectively.

Results: Patients were followed-up for a median of 189 months from diagnosis. Renal relapse was observed in eight patients (47.1%), seven patients died, three patients reached end-stage renal failure. There was a significant decrease in the percentage of acute lesions (cellular crescents, fibrinoid necrosis, P < 0.001) and a significant increase in chronic lesions (glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, P ≤ 0.01) in the repeat RB compared with the first RB. This resulted in a class change over the biopsies within most patients. The percentage of normal glomeruli in the first biopsy positively correlated with estimated GFR at the end of follow-up (rs = 0.509, P = 0.05).

Conclusions: This is the first study on protocolized repeat biopsies in AAV, giving insight into disease activity under immunosuppressive treatment. Apparently, many AAV patients have grumbling disease with ongoing activity, eventually leading to an increased amount of chronic lesions.

Keywords: ANCA; outcome; rebiopsy; renal biopsy; vasculitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis / pathology*
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents