Combined treatment with immunoadsorption and rituximab leads to fast and prolonged clinical remission in difficult-to-treat pemphigus vulgaris.
ABSTRACT Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune bullous disorder which is characterized by blisters and erosions of the skin and mucous membranes. A frequently applied first-line therapy for PV consists of systemic corticosteroids (CS) combined with immunosuppressive agents. In refractory cases, novel therapeutic strategies such as immunoadsorption (IA) and the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (Rtx) aim at directly interfering with pathogenic autoantibodies (auto-Abs).
To investigate the long-term efficacy of IA in combination with Rtx in patients with difficult-to-treat PV, we assessed the clinical response to treatment by monitoring the Autoimmune Bullous Skin Disorder Intensity Score, IgG auto-Abs against desmoglein 1 and 3 (Dsg1 and Dsg3) and the dose of systemic CS.
We retrospectively analysed clinical and serological parameters of 10 patients with difficult-to-treat PV who received IA at 4-week intervals, followed by Rtx either twice at 1000 mg or four times at 375mg m(-2) . During a 12-month follow-up period, CS were tapered according to the individual clinical status.
Six months after the first IA treatment eight of 10 patients were in complete remission on therapy while one patient showed a partial response and one patient was unresponsive to the treatment. At 12 months, six of eight patients were in complete remission on therapy, one patient showed stable disease and one patient had relapsed. Overall, anti-Dsg3 IgG and anti-Dsg1 IgG auto-Abs correlated well with the clinical activity and systemic CS were tapered gradually.
The present findings show that the combination of IA and Rtx induces rapid clinical remission and long-term control in difficult-to-treat pemphigus.
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Article: Immunoadsorption in dermatology.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Immunoadsorption (IA) has been successfully used in a large variety of autoantibody-mediated disorders. In dermatology, IA is increasingly applied as adjuvant treatment for severe and/or refractory autoimmune bullous diseases. These disorders are characterized by autoantibodies against structural proteins of the skin and/or mucous membranes and include, among others, pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus foliaceus, and bullous pemphigoid. Autoimmune blistering diseases are associated with a high mortality (pemphigus) or morbidity (bullous pemphigoid) and in particular in pemphigus diseases, treatment is challenging. The pathogenetic role of autoantibodies in most of the immunobullous diseases has been clearly demonstrated, therefore, removal of these autoantibodies is a rational therapeutic approach. IA has been shown to effectively lower the serum autoantibodies and to lead to rapid clinical responses. Most recently, IA has been successfully applied in patients with severe atopic dermatitis and high total serum IgE levels. Here, the different treatment protocols, clinical efficacy, and adverse events are summarized.Therapeutic apheresis and dialysis: official peer-reviewed journal of the International Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Apheresis, the Japanese Society for Dialysis Therapy 08/2012; 16(4):311-20. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GC) represent the main treatment for pemphigus; however, some patients show GC resistance. GC sensitivity was evaluated in 19 pemphigus patients and 41 controls by the number of binding sites [B(max) (fmol/mg protein)] and the affinity of GC receptor [Kd (nM)] to dexamethasone (DEX) as well as by the pattern of cytokine by DEX-mediated inhibition of concanavalin-A (Con-A)-stimulated PBMC proliferation. The Kd (15.7 ± 2.8 vs.8.1 ± 1.3) and Bmax (6.5 ± 0.9 vs. 3.9 ± 0.3) were higher in pemphigus than controls (p = 0.002). Considering the values above the 95th percentile of normal group as a cut-off (K(d) > 24.9 nM and B(max) > 8.1 fmol/mg protein), elevated K(d) and B(max) were observed in 9.8% and 2.4% of controls and 15.8% and 36.8% of patients (p = 0.02). PBMC proliferation was stimulated by Con-A and inhibited by DEX (p < 0.001) in both pemphigus and control groups. IL-6 and TNFα (pg/mL) basal production were higher in patients than controls. There was an increment of these cytokines after Con-A stimulation, and they were inhibited by DEX (p = 0.002) in controls and remained elevated in pemphigus (p < 0.02). Patients and controls showed no difference in basal and stimulated production of IL-8 and IL-10. There is an alteration on GC sensitivity in pemphigus patients and a higher production of proinflammatory cytokines. Therefore, in pemphigus patients, proinflammatory cytokines might be involved in the mechanism of GC resistance and/or in its maintenance.Journal of Clinical Immunology 03/2012; 32(4):786-93. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Rituximab is a monoclonal therapeutic anti-CD20 antibody that has been approved for use in lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. Over the past decade several reports based on case series and observational studies have recorded the benefits of rituximab in particular groups of dermatological patients. Off-label use of rituximab in many dermatological indications is not uncommon in many countries in the world. This article reviews the available data that may be of use to the practicing dermatologist. Because of its potential complications, paucity of clinical data, and cost considerations, rituximab is favoured only when standard systemic therapies fail or corticosteroids are absolutely contraindicated. Further research is required in this field.Indian dermatology online journal. 07/2014; 5(3):250-9.