Use of mycophenolate in ANCA-associated renal vasculitis: 13 years of experience at a university hospital

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Standard therapy with corticosteroids (CS) and cyclophosphamide (CYC) followed by azathioprine has been shown to improve renal and patient survival in ANCA-associated renal vasculitis (rAAV). Mycophenolate mofetil (MF) has been progressively introduced for the treatment of rAAV in the last years because of its immunosuppressive efficacy combined with a lower toxicity profile. In this study, we retrospectively analyse the results of the introduction of MF for maintenance and induction therapy in rAAV in our institution from 2001 to 2013.


We reported 67 patients treated with MF as a maintenance treatment, divided by baseline serum creatinine (>500 µmol/L: Group 1 and <500 µmol/L: Group 2) and treatment schedule. Twenty-nine of the 67 patients were also treated with MF as induction treatment, mostly in Group 2. During the follow-up (2 years after the diagnosis) creatinine levels for serum glomerular filtration rate, ANCA titres, C-reactive protein and percentage of haematuria decreased in all groups. In Group 2, parameters and also relapse rates were similar at 24 months in patients treated with CYC or MF as an induction treatment (Subgroups 2a and 2b, respectively). Median dose of MF in maintenance treatment was 1000 mg daily and prednisone dose was tapered to 10 mg daily from Month 3. After 24 months, 82% of patients remained on MF therapy, 18% had discontinued the treatment, seven of them due to medical indication and two because of gastrointestinal intolerance. The percentage of patients that started renal replacement therapy was irregular in Group 1 depending on the subgroup (25–100%), and 10% in Group 2. Adverse effects, such as neutropenia, infections and neoplasia, were more prevalent in groups treated with CYC.


In conclusion, in our patients with rAAV, MF demonstrated to be an effective and well-tolerated option for maintenance treatment. As an induction treatment, MF seems to be similar to CYC for patients with moderate renal failure in the diagnosis.

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