A pilot study using mycophenolate mofetil in relapsing or resistant ANCA small vessel vasculitis

Melanie S. Joy, Susan L. Hogan, J. Charles Jennette, Ronald J. Falk, Patrick H. Nachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background. The treatment approaches to antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) small vessel vasculitis expose patients to the risks associated with long-term use of corticosteroids and cytotoxic agents. In an effort to explore approaches to minimize risks, we conducted a pilot efficacy and safety study of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in the treatment of subjects with nonlife-threatening recurrent or cyclophosphamide-resistant ANCA-vasculitis. Methods. MMF was initiated at 500mg orally twice daily and gradually increased to a target dose of 1000mg twice daily for a duration of 24 weeks. Concomitant therapy with corticosteroids was allowed. The Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS) was used to assess disease activity and treatment efficacy. ANCA titres, serum creatinine and adverse events were secondary measures of efficacy and/or toxicity. Results. Twelve subjects were enrolled in the study. Treatment with MMF led to an improvement in disease activity as measured by the BVAS at 24 weeks (P= 0.0013) and 52 weeks (P= 0.0044) as compared to baseline. The BVAS decreased from an average of 9.1±3.5 at baseline (range, 3-17) to an average of 2.8±1.9 (range, 1-6) at 24 weeks and to 2.8±4.3 (range, 0-13) at 52 weeks. Early and sustained reductions in BVAS occurred in subjects initially classified as disease relapses vs those with treatment resistance. Side effect profile was consistent with the mechanism of action and pharmacokinetic disposition of MMF. Conclusions. MMF is a reasonable option in the treatment of non-life-threatening recurrent or resistant vasculitis and may obviate the immediate need for recurrent use of cytotoxic agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2725-2732
Number of pages8
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We are indebted to Jean C. Brown for assistance in the preparation of the manuscript. This study was presented in part at the 11th International ANCA Workshop, May 2000, Groningen, the Netherlands, and the 33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, October 2000, Toronto, Canada. This study was supported by a grant from Roche Pharmaceuticals.


  • ANCA
  • Antineutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies
  • Microscopic polyangiitis
  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Vasculitis
  • Wegener's granulomatosis

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