Biologic agents in systemic vasculitis

Charles F. Henderson, Philip Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The treatment of systemic necrotizing vasculitis has made great strides in both efficacy and outcomes. Standard therapies, however, are associated with numerous side effects, and not all patients will respond to conventional immunosuppression. These realities have prompted the search for safer and more efficacious treatments, most notably among biologic agents. For example, the role of TNF-α in the pathophysiology of several vasculitides has led to the investigation of targeted inhibitors of this cytokine, albeit with mixed results. There have been some disappointing results in the area of giant cell arteritis and Wegeners granulomatosis (granulomatosis with polygiitis), but anti-TNF therapy has shown promise in the treatment of Takayasus arteritis, although additional trials to demonstrate its efficacy are required. Anti-B-cell therapy seems to be the most promising advance in the management of these diseases. Complete and partial responses have been seen in both primary and secondary mixed cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. Recent trials have demonstrated that rituximab is effective for the treatment of Wegeners granulomatosis and microscopic polyangiitis. These trials have, however, raised concerns regarding the long-term safety of these agents. The future holds promise for additional targeted therapies with improved patient response and fewer side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • TNF
  • antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies
  • biologic therapies
  • immunosuppression
  • rituximab
  • vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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