Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis and malignancy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) have an increased malignancy risk compared with the general population. This review aims to evaluate recent evidence for changes in the incidence of malignancy in patients with AAV and to examine explanations for the association between AAV and malignancy.

Recent findings

The overall malignancy risk in patients with AAV has decreased, most likely as a result of recent changes in therapeutic regimen, that is, a decrease in the exposure to cyclophosphamide. The risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), however, remains increased, which is probably attributable to treatment with azathioprine. Malignancy risk in patients with AAV treated with rituximab was found to be lower than in cyclophosphamide-treated patients. The incidence of malignancy prior to AAV is not increased compared with the general population.

Summary

Continuing efforts to reduce the exposure to cyclophosphamide have led to a decrease in malignancy risk in patients with AAV, except for NMSC. Rituximab could be a well tolerated alternative for cyclophosphamide regarding the development of malignancies.

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