Objective: Improved biomarkers of current disease activity and prediction of relapse are needed in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody–associated vasculitis (AAV). For clinical relevance, biomarkers must perform well longitudinally in patients on treatment and in patients with nonsevere flares. Methods: Twenty-two proteins were measured in 347 serum samples from 74 patients with AAV enrolled in a clinical trial. Samples were collected at Month 6 after remission induction, then every 3 months until Month 18, or at the time of flare. Associations of protein concentrations with concurrent disease activity and with future flare were analyzed using mixed-effects models, Cox proportional hazards models, and conditional logistic regression. Results: Forty-two patients had flares during the 12-month follow-up period, and 32 remained in remission. Twenty-two patients had severe flares. Six experimental markers (CXCL13, IL-6, IL-8, IL-15, IL-18BP, and matrix metalloproteinase-3 [MMP-3]) and ESR were associated with disease activity using all three methods (P < 0.05, with P < 0.01 in at least one method). A rise in IL-8, IL-15, or IL-18BP was associated temporally with flare. Combining C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-18BP, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), and sIL-2Rα improved association with active AAV. CXCL13 and MMP-3 were increased during treatment with prednisone, independent of disease activity. Marker concentrations during remission were not predictive of future flare. Conclusion: Serum biomarkers of inflammation and tissue damage and repair have been previously shown to be strongly associated with severe active AAV were less strongly associated with active AAV in a longitudinal study that included mild flares and varying treatment. Markers rising contemporaneously with flare or with an improved association in combination merit further study.
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