Which diseases are associated with polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)?

Updated: Dec 17, 2020
  • Author: Dana Jacobs-Kosmin, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Controversy has surrounded the potential association of hepatitis C virus (HCV) with PAN. HCV may be linked to cutaneous PAN, a benign, limited form of PAN. In a study of 16 patients with cutaneous PAN, 5 tested positive for hepatitis C. [18] HCV-associated PAN has also been described in 31 patients included in a larger 161 patient cohort with HCV-related vasculitis in France. [19] Despite the presence of serum cryoglobulins, these patients were diagnosed with HCV-PAN on the basis of typical histopathologic features of PAN and/or the presence of microaneurysms and/or multiple stenoses on abdominal and/or renal angiography.

A number of other infectious organisms have been reported in association with PAN or PAN-like diseases, but causal evidence is inconsistent. These organisms include varicella-zoster virus, parvovirus B-19, cytomegalovirus, human T-cell leukemia virus, streptococcal species, Klebsiella species, Pseudomonas species, Yersinia species, Toxoplasma gondii, Rickettsiae, trichinosis, and sarcosporidiosis. [20, 21] Recently, reports of associations with PAN and human immunodeficiency virus [22] and cutaneous PAN and tuberculosis [23] have been published as well.

Some syndromes, including rheumatic diseases, malignancies, and infections have been associated with clinical syndromes indistinguishable from idiopathic PAN. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Sjögren syndrome have been associated with PAN. Notably, the incidence of RA-associated vasculitis has decreased greatly since the 1980s, likely attributable to improvements in the management of RA. [24] Cutaneous PAN occurring with HLA-B39 spondyloarthritis, [25] common variable immunodeficiency, [26] and psoriatic arthritis in an 11-year-old boy [27] have also been reported.

Hematologic malignancies, such as hairy cell leukemia and, in one case, angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma, have been associated with PAN-like vasculitides. [28, 29]

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