Long-term remission, relapses and maintenance therapy in adult primary central nervous system vasculitis: A single-center 35-year experience

Carlo Salvarani, Robert D. Brown, Teresa J.H. Christianson, John Huston, Caterina Giannini, Gene G. Hunder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate long-term treatment and outcomes of patients with primary central nervous system vasculitis (PCNSV). Methods: In this cohort of 191 consecutive patients with PCNSV seen at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, over 35 years with long-term follow-up we analyzed response to and duration of therapy, frequency of relapses, long-term remission, efficacy of maintenance therapy and initial intravenous glucocorticoid (GC) pulses, survival and degree of disability. We also compared the efficacy of initial IV and oral cyclophosphamide (CYC). Results: A favorable initial response was observed in 83% of patients treated with prednisone (PDN) alone, 81% of those treated with PDN and CYC and 95% of those initially treated with PDN and an immunosuppressant other than CYC. One or more relapses were observed in 30% of patients, 35% had discontinued therapy by last follow-up, and 21.5% maintained remission for at least 12 months after discontinuing therapy. Maintenance therapy was prescribed in 19% of all patients and 34% of patients initially treated with CYC and PDN. High disability scores (Rankin 4–6) and deaths were less frequently observed in patients receiving maintenance therapy and more frequently in patients with Aβ-related angiitis. Large vessel involvement and cerebral infarction at diagnosis were associated with a poor treatment response. Aspirin use was positively associated with long-term remission and having gadolinium-enhanced cerebral lesions or meninges was negatively associated. A high disability score at last follow-up and higher mortality rate were associated with increasing age, cerebral infarction and cognitive dysfunction at diagnosis. Lymphocytic vasculitis on biopsy was associated with a more benign course with reduced disability and mortality. Patients initially treated with mycophenolate mofetil had better outcomes compared to those treated with CYC and PDN. No therapeutic advantages were observed in the patients initially treated with intravenous GC pulses. Intravenous and oral CYC were equally effective in inducing the remission. Conclusions: The majority of patients with PCNSV responded to treatment. We found patient subsets with different outcomes. Mycophenolate mofetil may be an effective alternative to CYC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102497
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Flares
  • Long-term remission
  • Maintenance therapy
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-term remission, relapses and maintenance therapy in adult primary central nervous system vasculitis: A single-center 35-year experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this