Gastric presentation (vasculitis) mimics a gastric cancer as initial symptom in granulomatosis with polyangiitis: a case report and review of the literature

Rheumatol Int. 2015 Nov;35(11):1925-9. doi: 10.1007/s00296-015-3334-x. Epub 2015 Aug 7.


Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), formerly called Wegener's Granulomatosis, is characterized by necrotizing granulomatous inflammation and belongs to the family of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides. The main clinical symptoms of GPA are vasculitis primarily involving upper and lower respiratory tracts, as well as kidneys. Gastrointestinal manifestations of GPA are less common (0-20 %), with gastric presentation mimicking a gastric cancer as an initial symptom. This is a descriptive case report of one patient, together with systematic review of the literature. We described a 31-year-old Chinese woman who presented with complaints of abdominal distention, anorexia for 2 months. Gastroscopy was carried out for three times, and stomach cancer was suspected. However, histopathology of gastric biopsy revealed a chronic inflammation with mucosal ulceration, frequent neutrophils and lymphocytes infiltration, and local granulomatous formation, whereas no sign of stomach carcinoma was observed. In view of the positive cANCA test, a diagnosis of GPA was considered. From the onset of the GPA in the patients, no other organs have been involved in the disease. The patient was successfully treated with corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide. As shown in the report, patients who present only with gastrointestinal manifestations represent challenges to diagnosis. ANCA testing can serve as a decisive diagnostic tool. Although uncommon, GI involvement may be a major feature in GPA, sometimes presenting as gastric tumor-like lesions. Diagnosis should be considered in patients presenting with GI symptoms accompanied by evidence of systemic vasculitis, and ANCA test should be used as a diagnostic measurement to clarify differential diagnosis.

Keywords: Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides; Gastric cancer; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA); Wegener’s Granulomatosis (WG).

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / analysis
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gastroscopy
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / diagnosis*
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / drug therapy
  • Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stomach Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Diseases / drug therapy
  • Stomach Diseases / immunology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents