A rare case of atypical ANCA-associated vasculitis without crescents overlapping with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, successfully treated to remission with intravenous immunoglobulin therapy
CEN Case Rep. 2022 Mar 10. doi: 10.1007/s13730-022-00696-0. Online ahead of print.
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) is life-threatening without treatment, but aggressive immunosuppression increases the risk of exacerbating a coexisting infection. Finding the balance between efficacy and safety of immunosuppression is challenging. We describe a 74-year-old man who was diagnosed with AAV following the aggravation of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis that required an aggressive antifungal agent. The laboratory data on admission demonstrated severe kidney failure requiring hemodialysis. Due to the active infection, we chose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) as a low-risk initial treatment, which remarkably improved renal dysfunction (serum creatinine; 16.7 mg/dL-3.7 mg/dL) and systemic inflammation. Renal biopsy that was performed after renal recovery revealed atypical ANCA-associated nephritis without cellular crescents but with massive arteritis with multiple vascular sizes and diffuse interstitial inflammation. Despite these active AAV findings, adding plasma exchange therapy (PE) and low-dose steroids were sufficient to induce remission. The main pathogenesis of severe renal impairment was probably the reduction of blood flow, resulting from occlusions of small arteries by inflammatory cell infiltration and vascular endothelial injury due to AAV. Combination treatment with antifungal agents, IVIg, PE, and low-dose steroid treatment led to complete resolution of vasculitis. The specific histological findings and the good response to treatments suggest that pulmonary aspergillosis might trigger vasculitis through induction of ANCA antigen expression. IVIg could be an important option especially for cases of AAV associated with pulmonary aspergillosis.