Vasculitides associated with malignancies: Analysis of sixty patients


  • Presented in part at the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, San Antonio, TX, October 2004.



To describe characteristics and outcomes of vasculitides associated with malignancies.


The requirement for inclusion in this retrospective, 10-year study was development of vasculitis in patients with a progressing malignancy. Malignancies secondary to immunosuppressants used to treat vasculitis were excluded. The main characteristics of vasculitides were analyzed and compared according to the type of malignancy.


Sixty patients were included (male/female sex ratio 2.53, mean age 62.4 years). Mean followup duration was 45.2 months. Vasculitides were cutaneous leukocytoclastic (45%), polyarteritis nodosa (36.7%), Wegener's granulomatosis (6.7%), microscopic polyangiitis (5%), and Henoch-Schönlein purpura (5%). Malignancies were distributed as follows: hematologic in 63.1%, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 32.3%, lymphoid in 29.2%, and solid tumor in 36.9%. Vasculitides were diagnosed concurrently with malignancy in 38% of the cases. Manifestations of vasculitides were fever (41.7%), cutaneous involvement (78.3%), arthralgias (46.7%), peripheral neuropathy (31.7%), renal involvement (23.3%; 11.7% glomerulonephritis, 11.7% microaneurysms, 6.7% renal insufficiency), and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (20.4%). Vasculitis treatments were corticosteroids (78.3%) and immunosuppressant(s) (41.7%). Vasculitis was cured in 65% of patients, but 58.3% died, with 1 death secondary to vasculitis. Independent of subtype, patients with vasculitides associated with MDS more frequently had renal manifestations (P = 0.02) and steroid dependence (P = 0.04) and achieved complete remission less often (P = 0.04) than patients with vasculitides associated with other malignancies. Patients with vasculitides associated with a solid tumor more frequently had peripheral neurologic involvement (P = 0.05). Patients with vasculitides associated with lymphoid malignancy had less frequent arthralgias (P = 0.01) and renal involvement (P = 0.02).


Vasculitides occurring during malignancies present distinctive features according to the vasculitis subtype and nature of the malignancy.