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Diagnosis and management of ANCA-associated vasculitis.

Lancet 2024 Februrary 18
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis consists of two main diseases, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis, and remains among the most devastating and potentially lethal forms of autoimmune inflammatory disease. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis are characterised by a necrotising vasculitis that can involve almost any organ, and have generally been studied together. The diseases commonly affect the kidneys, lungs, upper respiratory tract, skin, eyes, and peripheral nerves. Granulomatous inflammation and multinucleated giant cells are key pathological hallmarks of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, but are absent in microscopic polyangiitis. Many immune system events are essential to disease aetiopathogenesis, such as activation of the alternative complement pathway, neutrophil activation via complement receptors, and the influx of inflammatory cells, including monocytes and macrophages. These cells perpetuate inflammation and lead to organ damage. During the 21st century, the management of ANCA-associated vasculitis has moved away from reliance on cytotoxic medications and towards targeted biological medications for both the induction and maintenance of disease remission. Earlier diagnosis, partly the result of more reliable ANCA testing, has led to improved patient outcomes and better survival. Reductions in acute disease-related mortality have now shifted focus to long-term morbidities related to ANCA-associated vasculitis and their treatments, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic approaches in both clinical trials and clinical practice still remain too reliant on glucocorticoids, and continued efforts to reduce toxicity from glucocorticoids remain a priority in the development of new treatment strategies.

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