Three new ACR guidelines recommend treatment for six forms of vasculitis



AAV guideline

Regarding the management and treatment of GPA, MPA, and EGPA, the guideline offers 41 recommendations and 10 ungraded position statements. All recommendations were conditional, and many address GPA and MPA together because, as the authors noted, “pivotal trials have enrolled both groups and presented results for these diseases together.”

One notable recommendation is their preference for rituximab over cyclophosphamide for remission induction and for rituximab over methotrexate or azathioprine for remission maintenance in patients with severe GPA or MPA. “I don’t think this is a surprise to people, but I think it reaffirms where our current practice is moving,” Dr. Chung said.

“The literature supports that in patients with relapsing disease, rituximab works better than cyclophosphamide for remission induction,” Dr. Spiera said. “But in these guidelines, even in new disease, rituximab is suggested as the agent of choice to induce remission. I would say that that is reasonable, but you could make an argument that it’s maybe beyond what the literature supports, particularly in patients with advanced renal insufficiency attributable to that initial vasculitis flare.”

Other recommendations include being against routinely adding plasma exchange to remission induction therapy in GPA or MPA patients with active glomerulonephritis – although they added that it should be considered in patients at high risk of end-stage kidney disease – as well as preferring cyclophosphamide or rituximab over mepolizumab for remission induction in patients with severe EGPA.

“We, to the surprise of many, were more supportive for the use of rituximab in EGPA than others were expecting, given the limited evidence,” Dr. Chung said. “One of the reasons for that is the wide experience we’ve had with rituximab in GPA and MPA, and our recognition that there is a population of patients with EGPA who are ANCA positive who do seem to benefit from rituximab therapy.”

And although the voting panel strongly favored treatment with methotrexate or azathioprine over trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for GPA patients in remission, they ultimately labeled the recommendation as conditional “due to the lack of sufficient high-quality evidence comparing the two treatments.”

“There has been progress in terms of well-done clinical trials to inform our decision-making, particularly for ANCA-associated vasculitis, both in terms of how to induce and maintain remission,” Dr. Spiera said. “Though the recommendations were conditional, I think there’s very strong data to support many of them.”

PAN guideline

Regarding the management and treatment of PAN, the guideline offers 16 recommendations – all but one are conditional – and one ungraded position statement. Their strong recommendation was for treatment with TNF inhibitors over GCs in patients with clinical manifestations of deficiency of adenosine deaminase 2, which they asked doctors to consider “in the setting of a PAN-like syndrome with strokes.” Other conditional recommendations include treating patients with newly diagnosed, severe PAN with cyclophosphamide and GCs, as well as the use of abdominal vascular imaging and/or a deep-skin biopsy to help establish a diagnosis.

According to the authors, a fourth guideline on treating and managing Kawasaki syndrome will be released in the coming weeks.

The guidelines were supported by the ACR and the Vasculitis Foundation. Several authors acknowledged potential conflicts of interest, including receiving speaking and consulting fees, research grants, and honoraria from various pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Spiera has received grant support or consulting fees from Roche-Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Chemocentryx, Corbus, Formation Biologics, InflaRx, Kadmon, AstraZeneca, AbbVie, CSL Behring, Sanofi, and Janssen.


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