Moog, P; Probst, M; Kuechle, C; Hauser, C; Heemann, U; Thuermel, K
Single-dose rituximab for remission induction and maintenance therapy in ANCA-associated vasculitis: a retrospective analysis of 17 patients.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a repeated single-dose rituximab (RTX) regimen for remission induction and maintenance in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV).We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients with an established diagnosis of AAV who were treated with single-dose RTX infusions at our institution. Clinical outcome data were assessed over a period of 24 months.Sixteen patients were treated for remission induction and maintenance and one patient was treated for only maintenance therapy. Remission (absence of disease activity during the past 3 months and a prednisolone dose of <= 7.5 mg) was achieved in 11 patients (68%) with a mean time to remission of 9.4 (range 3-24) months. At 6 months, six patients (37.5%) were in remission and the mean prednisolone dose of all responding patients was 8.2 mg. Five patients had treatment failure due to early relapsing (n = 4) or persistently active (n = 1) disease. At 24 months, nine of the 11 responding patients (82%) were in remission. All patients still had concomitant steroid and/or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy at 24 months. Overall, 11 relapses were seen in nine patients (five non-responders and four responders) with a mean time to relapse of 5.3 (range 4-24) months. No major relapses were observed in the responding patients. Severe infections were only seen in patients who had been previously treated with cyclophosphamide (CYC).The combination of single-dose RTX with other immunosuppressants seems less effective than the standard RTX regimen for the induction of remission of AAV.