Objectives We investigated whether soluble immune checkpoints (sICPs) predict treatment resistance, relapse and infections in patients with antineutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV).
Methods Plasma sICP concentrations from available samples obtained during conduct of the RAVE trial were measured by immunoabsorbent assays from patients with either proteinase 3 (PR3) or myeloperoxidase (MPO)-ANCA vasculitis and were correlated with clinical outcomes, a set of biomarkers and available flow cytometry analyses focusing on T cell subsets. Log-rank test was used to evaluate survival benefits, and optimal cut-off values of the marker molecules were calculated using Yeldons J.
Results Analysis of 189 plasma samples at baseline revealed higher concentrations of sTim-3, sCD27, sLag-3, sPD-1 and sPD-L2 in patients with MPO-ANCA vasculitis (n=62) as compared with PR3-ANCA vasculitis (n=127). Among patients receiving rituximab induction therapy (n=95), the combination of lower soluble (s)Lag-3 (<90 pg/mL) and higher sCD27 (>3000 pg/mL) predicted therapy failure. Twenty-four out of 73 patients (32.9%) in the rituximab arm reaching remission at 6 months relapsed during follow-up. In this subgroup, high baseline values of sTim-3 (>1200 pg/mL), sCD27 (>1250 pg/mL) and sBTLA (>1000 pg/mL) were associated with both sustained remission and infectious complications. These findings could not be replicated in 94 patients randomised to receive cyclophosphamide/azathioprine.
Conclusions Patients with AAV treated with rituximab achieved remission less frequently when concentrations of sLag-3 were low and concentrations of sCD27 were high. Higher concentrations of sTim-3, sCD27 and sBTLA at baseline predicted relapse in patients treated with rituximab. These results require confirmation but may contribute to a personalised treatment approach of AAV.
- systemic vasculitis
- autoimmune diseases
Data availability statement
Data are available on reasonable request.
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Handling editor Josef S Smolen
Contributors All authors contributed to sample collection. GG, FM, US, JHS and AK designed the study. KH, LC, NL and FM performed statistical analyses. All authors contributed to drafting the manuscript, revised it and approved the final version. AK takes full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study.
Funding This research was performed as a project of the Immune Tolerance Network (Protocol number ITN401).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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