Clinical and Epidemiological Studies of Wegener´s Granulomatosis
Sammanfattning: Wegener´s granulomatosis (WG) is an unusual, serious, systemic vasculitis with specific clinical findings. The studies in this thesis aim at broadening our understanding of the aetiology and outcome of WG.Patients with WG were identified in the In-patient Register 1975-2001. During this time the incidence increased three-fold, and neither ANCA-related increased awareness, nor diagnostic drift, seem to fully explain this trend, but it is still unclear if a true rise in incidence exists.Anti- neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) have been presented as highly specific for vasculitis. In a series of consecutive cANCA/PR3-ANCA positive patients, we investigated the positive predictive value for ANCA, and the outcome of patients with a positive cANCA/PR3-ANCA but not vasculitis. These patients have a low future risk of developing vasculitis, possibly indicating that ANCA, in this setting, reflects neutrophil activating properties not specific to vasculitis.By linkage of the WG-cohort, and randomly selected population controls, to the Multi-generation register, we identified all first-degree relatives and spouses of patients and controls, totally encompassing some 2,000 patients and 70,000 relatives. Familial aggregation of WG was the exception, with absolute risks of < 1 per 1000.However, relative risks in first-grade relatives amounted to 1.56 (95% CI 0.35-6.90) such that a moderate familial aggregation cannot be excluded.In the WG-cohort, cancer occurrence and risk was compared to that of the general population. Patients with WG have an overall doubled risk of cancer, with particularly increased risks of bladder-cancer, haematopoietic cancers including lymphomas and squamous skin-cancer. In a case-control study nested within the WG-cohort, treatment with cyclophosphamide was compared among bladder-cancer patients and matched cancer-free controls. Absolute risk of bladder cancer as high as 10% some years after diagnosis were found, and this risk can partly be attributed to cyclophosphamide-treatment, with a dose-response relationship.
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