Conference Coverage

Cutaneous manifestations can signify severe systemic disease in ANCA-associated vasculitis


AT SID 2017

– Clinicians who treat or diagnose ANCA-associated vasculitis should watch for a variety of skin lesions, which can signify severe systemic manifestations of disease, according to the results of a cross-sectional study of 1,184 patients from 130 centers worldwide.

Dr. Robert G. Micheletti

Dr. Robert G. Micheletti

Examples of severe systemic manifestations included scleritis, sensorineural deafness, spinal cord lesions, stroke, mesenteric ischemia, alveolar hemorrhage, cranial nerve palsy, respiratory failure, red blood cell casts in the urine, or a greater than 25% drop in creatinine clearance, among others. The results were reported by Robert G. Micheletti, MD, of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, together with his associates in a poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology.

This cohort is part of the Diagnostic and Classification Criteria in Vasculitis Study (DCVAS), which aims to develop classification and diagnostic criteria for primary systemic vasculitis. Fully 35% of patients had cutaneous manifestations of ANCA-associated vasculitis, including 47% of those with EGPA, 34% of those with GPA, and 28% of those with microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).

Petechiae/purpura were the most common cutaneous manifestations of all three subtypes, affecting 15% of the overall cohort, 21% of patients with EGPA, 16% of those with GPA, and 9% of those with MPA (P less than .01 for differences among groups). Petechiae/purpura did not more accurately predict systemic disease than other cutaneous findings, and skin lesions were not significantly associated with severe systemic disease in patients with MPA (HR, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.35-1.14; P = .13), the investigators reported.

Besides petechiae/purpura, patients with EGPA most often presented with allergic and nonspecific cutaneous manifestations, such as pruritus (13% of patients), urticaria (8%), and maculopapular rash (8%), they said. In contrast, patients with GPA most often had painful skin lesions (10%) or maculopapular rash (7%), while those with MPA were more likely to have livedo reticularis or racemosa (7%).

Study participants tended to be in their mid-50s to mid-60s at diagnosis, about 48% were male, and most were Northern European, Southern European, or American whites, while 28% of those with MPA were Han Chinese, of another Chinese ethnicity, or Japanese.

“This study demonstrates that skin lesions are quite common and varied in granulomatosis with polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis,” the investigators concluded.

Funders included the American College of Rheumatology, the European League Against Rheumatism, the Vasculitis Foundation, and the Dermatology Foundation. Dr. Micheletti had no conflicts of interest.