Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis are anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides (AAVs) that are prone to cycles of remission and relapse. The introduction of cytotoxic therapy has changed the prognosis for these diseases from typically fatal to manageable chronic illnesses with a relapsing course. Despite improvements in outcomes, recurrence of disease and drug-related toxicity continue to produce significant morbidity and mortality. Better understanding of the pathogenesis of AAV and the mechanism of action of cyclophosphamide has led to investigation of therapies that target B cells. Two randomized controlled trials have shown that rituximab is not inferior to cyclophosphamide for induction of remission in severe AAV, with no significant difference in the incidence of overall adverse events in rituximab- versus cyclophosphamide-treated patients. Data from ongoing clinical trials will determine the role of rituximab in the maintenance of remission.
- Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody
ASJC Scopus subject areas