A Pilot Open-Label Phase II Trial of Rituximab for Non-Criteria Manifestations of Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Associate Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY. .
Arthritis & Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 7.76). 02/2013; 65(2). DOI: 10.1002/art.37759
Source: PubMed


The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety of rituximab in antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-positive patients with non-criteria manifestations of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). The secondary objectives were to evaluate the effect of rituximab on the aPL profile and to evaluate the efficacy of rituximab treatment for non-criteria manifestations of APS.

In this 12-month, phase II pilot study, adult aPL-positive patients with thrombocytopenia, cardiac valve disease, skin ulcer, aPL nephropathy, and/or cognitive dysfunction received 2 doses of rituximab (1,000 mg) on days 1 and 15. Antiphospholipid antibody profiles and clinical outcome measures, which were categorized as complete response, partial response, no response, or recurrence, were analyzed at preset time points.

Two of 19 patients experienced infusion reactions, resulting in early termination. Twelve serious adverse events and 49 nonserious adverse events were recorded. All patients who had positive results of lupus anticoagulant, anticardiolipin, and anti-β(2)-glycoprotein I antibody tests at baseline had positive results at 24 weeks and 52 weeks. The numbers of patients with a complete response, a partial response, no response, and recurrence for the clinical outcome measures at 24 weeks were as follows: for thrombocytopenia, 1, 1, 2, and 0, respectively; for cardiac valve disease, 0, 0, 3, and not analyzed, respectively; for skin ulcer, 3, 1, 0, and 1, respectively; for aPL nephropathy, 0, 1, 0, and 0, respectively; and for cognitive dysfunction, 3, 1, 1, and not analyzed, respectively.

The results of this uncontrolled and nonrandomized pilot study suggest that the safety of rituximab in aPL-positive patients is consistent with the safety profile of rituximab. Despite causing no substantial change in aPL profiles, rituximab may be effective in controlling some but not all non-criteria manifestations of APS.

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    • "Isolated reports on the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulins, plasmapheresis, and rituximab have been published as well, in cases with unsatisfactory response to conventional drugs [92]. A recent pilot phase II trial of rituximab for noncriteria APS manifestations has been published, and its results suggest that this anti-CD20-monoclonal antibody may be helpful in controlling cognitive dysfunction [93]. However, randomized clinical trials are needed to determine whether B cell depleters such as rituximab or B cell modulators can be effective in treating thrombotic and nonthrombotic manifestations of APS [94]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is a multiorgan disease often affecting the central nervous system (CNS). Typically, neurological manifestations of APS include thrombosis of cerebral vessels leading to stroke and requiring prompt initiation of treatment with antiplatelet drugs or anticoagulant therapy. In these cases, alterations of the coagulation system at various levels caused by multiple effects of antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) have been postulated to explain the vascular damage to the CNS in APS. However, several nonvascular neurological manifestations of APS have progressively emerged over the past years. Nonthrombotic, immune-mediated mechanisms altering physiological basal ganglia function have been recently suggested to play a central role in the pathogenesis of these manifestations that include, among others, movement disorders such as chorea and behavioral and cognitive alterations. Similar clinical manifestations have been described in other autoimmune CNS diseases such as anti-NMDAR and anti-VGCK encephalitis, suggesting that the spectrum of immune-mediated basal ganglia disorders is expanding, possibly sharing some pathophysiological mechanisms. In this review, we will focus on thrombotic and nonthrombotic neurological manifestations of APS with particular attention to immune-mediated actions of aPL on the vascular system and the basal ganglia.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Immunology Research
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    ABSTRACT: The antiphospholipid syndrome is characterized by a combination of laboratory findings (i.e., the presence of at least one antiphospholipid antibody) and clinical manifestations (arterial and/or venous thrombosis, obstetrical complications). Long-term oral anticoagulant is recommended to prevent recurrence of both arterial and venous thrombosis, whereas (low molecular weight) heparin plus aspirin is the treatment of choice to prevent further obstetrical complications. In the rare case of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, heparin plus high-dose corticosteroids plus plasma exchange is associated with the highest recovery rate. Some new, non-antithrombotic-based treatments of antiphospholipid syndrome with rituximab, autologous stem cell transplantation, or hydroxychloroquine are also reviewed.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2013 · Autoimmunity Highlights
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