Predicting relapse in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Catherine King*, Katie L Druce, Peter Nightingale, Ellen Kay, Neil Basu, Alan D Salama, Lorraine Harper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Objectives: Relapses affect 30–50% of patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) over 5 years, necessitating long-term treatment. Although there have been studies looking at predictors of relapse in AAV, this research has yet to translate clinically into guidance on tailored therapy. The aim of this systematic review was to identify and meta-analyse existing risk factors from the literature and produce a model to calculate individualised patient risk of relapse.

Method: A search strategy was developed to include all studies identifying predictors of AAV relapse using multivariate analysis. Individual risk factors were extracted and pooled hazard ratios (HRs) calculated. A model to predict the time to first relapse based on identified risk factors was tested retrospectively using a cohort of patients with AAV.

Results: The review of 2674 abstracts identified 117 papers for full text review, with 16 eligible for inclusion. Pooled HRs were calculated from significant risk factors, including anti-PR3 ANCA positivity [HR 1.69 (95% CI 1.46, 1.94)], cardiovascular involvement [HR 1.78 (95% CI 1.26, 2.53)], creatinine >200 µmol/l (relative to creatinine ≤100) [HR 0.39 (95% CI 0.22, 0.69)] and creatinine 101–200 µmol/l [HR 0.81 (95% CI 0.77, 0.85)]. Using data from 182 AAV patients to validate the model gave a C-statistic of 0.61.

Conclusion: Anti-PR3 ANCA positivity, lower serum creatinine and cardiovascular system involvement are all associated with an increased risk of relapse, and a combination of these risk factors can be used to predict the individualised risk of relapse. In order to produce a clinically useful model to stratify risk, we need to identify more risk factors, with a focus on robust biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkab018
Number of pages10
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Issue number3
Early online date9 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


  • ANCA
  • vasculitis
  • relapse
  • immunosuppression
  • maintenance


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