Relapse rate, renal survival, and cancer morbidity in patients with Wegener's granulomatosis or microscopic polyangiitis with renal involvement

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Wegener's granulomatosis (WG) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) are both frequently associated with antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCA). Immunosuppressive treatment has dramatically improved outcome for these patients, but today we have to deal with the problems of relapses, cases refractory to treatment, and long-term side effects of therapy. This study comprises a consecutive series of 123 patients with WG (n=56) or MPA (n=67) with biopsy-confirmed renal involvement, followed up for a median of 55 mo (range, 0.1 to 273.2 mo). ANCA was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 97% of patients. Nearly half of the patients (46%) relapsed. There was no statistically significant difference in overall relapse rate according to type of ANCA. Renal survival was 78% in patients alive at the end of follow-up. Three variables seemed important for renal survival: serum creatinine, the titer of proteinase 3-ANCA measured by capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and B thrombocyte count, at time of referral. Cancer incidence data were obtained from the population-based South Swedish Regional Tumor Registry. Standardized morbidity ratio was calculated using expected values from the health care region. We found an 11-fold increase in risk for bladder cancer in patients treated with cyclophosphamide for at least 12 mo. Skin carcinoma had the strongest relationship with azathioprine use for at least 12 mo and with corticosteroid therapy for at least 48 mo. In addition, four patients developed myelodysplastic syndrome and five had carcinoma in situ of the skin. Because the therapeutic regimen used today is not efficient enough to prevent relapses and is associated with a host of side effects, of which the risk for cancer is by far the most important, improved therapy and medical care are needed for patients with WG and MPA.


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Sidor (från-till)842-852
TidskriftJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Utgåva nummer5
StatusPublished - 1998 maj
Peer review utfördJa