Affiliation: Department of Medical Sciences “M. Aresu”, Unit of Internal Medicine, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, University of Cagliari, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria, SS 554-Bivio Sestu, I-09042 Monserrato (CA), Italy.
The antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides (AAV) are a group of necrotizing vasculitides with a potential fatal outcome. Conventional therapy is based on the use of glucocorticoids (GCs) and cyclophosphamide (CYC), which is associated with severe toxic effects and is unable to control the disease activity in some refractory and relapsing cases. Several authors focused their efforts on the identification of safe and more efficient drugs, primarily investigating biological agents. Rituximab (RTX) demonstrated to be an alternative to CYC as remission-induction therapy for microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) and granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) in two clinical controlled randomized trials. Contrasting data emerged regarding anti-TNF-α agents, and their use should be limited to some selected refractory or relapsing cases. Mepolizumab (MPZ) and Omalizumab (OMZ) are potentially beneficial treatments for patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). Hereby, we perform a review focused on the use of biological drugs for AAV treatment.