Prior to the 1970s, severe cases of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis (AAV) were thought to be invariably fatal. However, the use of cyclophosphamide-based treatment regimens fundamentally altered disease outcomes, transforming AAV into a manageable, chronic illness. Despite the tremendous success of cyclophosphamide in the treatment of AAV, there remained a need for alternative therapies, due to high rates of treatment failures and significant toxicities. In recent years, with the introduction of targeted biologic response modifiers into clinical practice, many have hoped that the treatment options for AAV could be expanded. Rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the B-lymphocyte protein CD20, has been the most successful biologic response modifier to be used in AAV. Following the first report of its use in AAV in 2001, experience with rituximab for treatment of AAV has rapidly expanded. Rituximab, in combination with glucocorticosteroids, is now well established as a safe and effective alternative to cyclophosphamide for remission induction for severe manifestations of granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis. In addition, initial experiences with rituximab for remission maintenance in these diseases have been favorable, as have experiences for remission induction in eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis.
- antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody
- antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis
- eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg–Strauss syndrome)
- granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener’s granulomatosis)
- microscopic polyangiitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine