The aim of the study was to report the clinical, biological, and pathological characteristics of patients with glomerulonephritis (GN) secondary to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)/antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) overlap syndrome.
A nationwide survey was conducted to identify cases of SLE/AAV overlap syndrome. Data were collected from SLE and AAV French research groups. Inclusion criteria were diagnosis of both SLE and AAV according to international classification criteria and biopsy-proven GN between 1995 and 2014. Additional cases were identified through a systematic literature review. A cohort of consecutive biopsy-proven GN was used to study the prevalence of overlapping antibodies and/or overlap syndrome.
The national survey identified 8 cases of SLE/AAV overlap syndrome. All patients were female; median age was 40 years. AAV occurred before SLE (n = 3), after (n = 3), or concomitantly (n = 2). Six patients had rapidly progressive GN and 3/8 had alveolar hemorrhage. All patients had antinuclear antibodies (ANA); 7/8 had p-ANCA antimyeloperoxidase (MPO) antibodies. Renal biopsies showed lupus nephritis (LN) or pauci-immune GN. Remission was obtained in 4/8 patients. A literature review identified 31 additional cases with a similarly severe presentation. In the GN cohort, ANCA positivity was found in 30% of LN, ANA positivity in 52% of pauci-immune GN, with no correlation with pathological findings. The estimated prevalence for SLE/AAV overlap syndrome was 2/101 (2%).
In patients with GN, SLE/AAV overlap syndrome may occur but with a low prevalence. Most patients have an aggressive renal presentation, with usually both ANA and anti-MPO antibodies. Further studies are needed to assess shared pathogenesis and therapeutic options.