A review of the current use of rituximab in autoimmune diseases

Center for Blistering Diseases, New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA 02120, USA.
International Immunopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.47). 12/2008; 9(1):10-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.intimp.2008.10.004
Source: PubMed


Rituximab is a human/murine chimeric monoclonal antibody primarily used for treating non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma. Recently it has also been used in the treatment of several autoimmune diseases. A literature review was conducted to determine the efficacy of rituximab in the treatment of some of these autoimmune diseases. Multiple mechanisms proposed for the rituximab mediated B cell depletion are also discussed. The efficacy of rituximab is well-established and it is FDA approved for treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis. In this review, data on the use of rituximab is presented from 92 studies involving 1197 patients with the following diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody associated vasculitis, Grave's disease, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, pemphigus vulgaris, hemophilia A, cold agglutinin disease, Sjogren's syndrome, graft vs. host disease, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, cryoglobulinemia, IgM mediated neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, idiopathic membranous nephropathy, dermatomyositis, and opsoclonus myoclonus. The efficacy varies among different autoimmune diseases. The cumulative data would suggest that in the vast majority of studies in this review, RTX has a beneficial role in their treatment. While rituximab is very effective in the depletion of B cells, current research suggests it may also influence other cells of the immune system by re-establishing immune homeostasis and tolerance. The safety profile of RTX reveals that most reactions are infusion related. In patients with autoimmune diseases the incidence of serious and severe side effects is low. Systemic infection still remains a major concern and may result in death.

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    • "Recognizing these developments, dermatologists should be able to use rituximab more regularly and suitably in patients besides drawing up consensus guidelines grounded on the large case series. In other words, establishing the indications for rituximab will make it possible to shorten disease course and reduce morbidity due to more specific drugs.[78] B cells played a significant role in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and numerous clinical trials attested that B-cell depletion therapy significantly assisted patients who had hitherto failed other remedies.[910111213] "
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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.
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    • "Infections occurred an average of 3 months after RTX treatment commenced and the most common were septic shock, Escherichia coli septicemia, pneumonia, pyelonephritis, CMV, HSV, HBV reactivation, candidemia, aspergillosis, pneumocystosis, and cryptococcal meningitis [15]. A review of RTX use in autoimmune diseases (excluding rheumatoid arthritis) across 25 studies involving 389 patients shows the incidence of serious infections to range from 3 to 33% [16]. The mortality rate from infectious complications was 9% overall [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This case report describes a patient with an idiopathic acquired Factor VIII inhibitor and severe bleeding. She was treated with rituximab after failing first-line treatment with steroids and cyclophosphamide. Two months following rituximab treatment, our patient developed a succession of severe opportunistic infections requiring intensive care unit admission. Over a period of 12 weeks she required treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa septicaemia, herpes simplex gingivostomatitis and pharyngotonsillitis, clostridium difficile-related diarrhoea, systemic cytomegalovirus infection, pneumocystis jiroveci, and invasive pulmonary aspergillosis lung infections. After significant rehabilitation, the patient was finally discharged following a 5-month admission. This case highlights the complexity of balancing a life-threatening condition with the side effects of treatment. It also raises the issue of routine prophylaxis for immunosuppression in nonmalignant conditions, which will become a common dilemma with the expanding indications for rituximab use.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013
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    • "However, one course was sufficient to induce a rapid and dramatic response with clinical and biochemical improvement within few days. The majority of the patients with other auto-immune disorders treated with rituximab received the lymphoma protocol (four infusions at a dose of 375 mg m À2 , given on four consecutive weeks) [9]. Some studies had minor variations . "
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    ABSTRACT: Auto-immune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic progressive hepatitis of unknown aetiology whose clinical presentation ranges from asymptomatic to fulminant hepatic failure. Corticosteroids and azathioprine, which are considered standard therapy for AIH, may, however, be associated with treatment failures and toxicities. Among the alternative medications under investigation, rituximab, used to treat successfully various auto-immune disorders, has fewer side effects. We report herein the case of a 68-year-old woman who developed AIH with worsening clinical, laboratory and histological features despite high-dose prednisone. On rituximab, the patient showed rapid and dramatic clinical improvement, suggesting a therapeutic role for this medication in severe AIH. Indeed, prospective controlled studies are needed to assess and validate this role.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Arab Journal of Gastroenterology
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