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1.  Rituximab for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: an update 
Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets the CD20 molecule expressed on the surface of B cells. It was first used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and later approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that does not respond adequately to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, including the anti-tumor-necrosis-factor (TNF) biologics. Sustained efficacy in RA can be achieved by repeated courses of rituximab. However, the optimal dose and retreatment schedule of rituximab in RA remains to be established. Seropositivity, complete B cell depletion shortly after treatment, and previous failure to no more than one anti-TNF agent are three factors associated with greater clinical benefits to rituximab. Infusion reaction to the first dose of rituximab occurs in approximately 25% of RA patients, and the incidence reduces with subsequent exposure. Immunogenicity to the chimeric compound occurs in 11% of RA patients, but this does not correlate with its efficacy in B cell depletion. Extended observation of randomized controlled trials in RA does not reveal a significant increase in the incidence of serious infections related to rituximab compared to placebo groups, and the infection rate remains static over time. Repeated treatment with rituximab is associated with hypogammaglobulinemia, which may increase the risk of serious, but rarely opportunistic, infections. Reactivation of occult hepatitis B infection has been reported in RA patients receiving rituximab, but no increase in the incidence of tuberculosis was observed. Screening for baseline serum immunoglobulin G level and hepatitis B status (including occult infection) is important, especially in Asian countries where hepatitis B infection is prevalent. The rare but fatal progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy linked to the use of rituximab has to be noted. Postmarketing surveillance and registry data, particularly in Asia, are necessary to establish the long-term efficacy and safety of rituximab in the treatment of RA.
PMCID: PMC3883598  PMID: 24403823
biologics; B-cell depletion; rheumatoid arthritis; prognosis
2.  Safety of rituximab in the treatment of B cell malignancies: implications for rheumatoid arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2003;5(Suppl 4):S12-S16.
The chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab has been used extensively in the treatment of B cell malignancies, and more recently it has emerged as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), via selective B lymphocyte depletion. Experience in oncology shows that rituximab is well tolerated in a variety of settings, with mild-to-moderate infusion related reactions following the first infusion being the most common adverse event. Current data suggest that the safety profile of rituximab in patients with RA is similar to that in oncology, but that the adverse events are less frequent and less severe in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC2833440  PMID: 15180892
B cell depletion; oncology; rheumatoid arthritis; rituximab; safety
3.  Rituximab Resistance 
Rituximab has become a ubiquitous component of treatment regimens for follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Despite widespread clinical use, the mechanisms by which tumor cells resist rituximab-mediated destruction remain unclear. Rituximab relies in part on immune effector mechanisms for its antitumor effect, and thus resistance may be mediated not only by intrinsic tumor-cell alterations but also by the host immunological environment. In this article, we explore the mechanisms of action of rituximab, the incidence of rituximab resistance, and potential mechanisms of resistance. Finally, we discuss novel approaches to modulate the antibody, the tumor cell, and the host immunologic environment to overcome rituximab resistance. Further research into the mechanisms of rituximab resistance will be essential to improving the efficacy of anti-CD20 therapy in NHL, and may also pay dividends in the optimization of monoclonal antibody therapy across a wide range of diseases.
PMCID: PMC3113665  PMID: 21658619
Lymphoma; Follicular; Antibodies; Monoclonal; Drug Resistance; Neoplasm; Pharmacokinetics
4.  The spectrum of use of rituximab in chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
OncoTargets and therapy  2010;3:227-246.
The monoclonal chimeric anti-CD20 antibody, rituximab, has considerably improved therapeutic outcome in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Rituximab has limited clinical activity when used as a single agent. The combination of the monoclonal antibody with fludarabine-based regimens clearly demonstrated, in Phase II and randomized trials, an increase in clinical efficacy in previously untreated and pretreated patients. Furthermore the addition of rituximab enabled the eradication of minimal residual disease, which is correlated with the prognosis in a high proportion of patients. Although the combination of rituximab with fludarabine-based regimens increased myelosuppression and immunosuppression, incidence of infections did not increase. The benefit of adding rituximab to other purine analogs or other chemotherapeutic combination regimens has also been explored. Moreover there could be a role for achieving better quality of responses with the combination of different monoclonal antibodies, considering that they target different antigens and exert different mechanism of action. Although the role of rituximab as maintenance therapy in low grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas has been determined, the benefit and optimal schedule in chronic lymphocytic leukemia are still under investigation. This review brings together knowledge of the pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action and clinical use of rituximab in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3024887  PMID: 21289858
rituximab; B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia; first-line treatment; refractory/relapsed
5.  A Case of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis That Progressed Rapidly after Treatment Involving Rituximab 
Case Reports in Gastroenterology  2013;7(1):195-201.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a progressive liver disease for which limited therapies are recommended. Rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, is expected to be a useful therapeutic regimen for PBC. Previous studies indicated biochemical and immunological improvement in PBC after rituximab treatment. Although rituximab shows therapeutic potential for PBC, few cases have been reported and histological improvement and long-term outcome remain uncertain. Here, we report a case of PBC in a 66-year-old Japanese female patient who presented with a gastric lymphoma and who had been treated with a regimen containing rituximab for incidental malignant lymphoma. She showed biochemical and immunological improvements, and liver histology before and after rituximab treatment confirmed a decrease in liver inflammation. However, she developed liver cirrhosis a short time after rituximab treatment without biochemical or immunological worsening. Rituximab treatment for PBC might be considered and careful observation is required after treatment.
PMCID: PMC3656669  PMID: 23687488
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Rituximab; Transforming growth factor beta
6.  Expanded use of rituximab in the management of non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
OncoTargets and therapy  2009;2:189-197.
Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody targeting the B cell antigen CD20. Since its first approval for clinical use in 1997, rituximab has become an inherent part of the treatment of CD20-positive lymphoma. In previously untreated non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) conventional chemotherapy supplemented by rituximab (R-chemotherapy) was shown to be more effective than chemotherapy alone. This holds true for indolent as well as aggressive NHL. Rituximab was also shown to be beneficial when used as maintenance therapy or part of salvage and re-induction regimens in relapsed NHL. Administration of rituximab is generally well tolerated. The most common side effects including fever, urticaria and bronchospasm are mostly mild, treatable and restricted to the infusion period. Thus, rituximab can usually be administered in an outpatient setting. Due to its favorable effect/side effect ratio, clinical trials are currently evaluating a possible role for rituximab in several other diseases such as Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-malignant autoimmune disorders. This review aims at giving an overview of the pharmacological properties of rituximab and summarizing key publications and recent literature on its use in NHL.
PMCID: PMC2886316  PMID: 20616906
rituximab; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; immunochemotherapy
7.  Trial Watch 
Oncoimmunology  2014;3(1):e27048.
In 1997, for the first time in history, a monoclonal antibody (mAb), i.e., the chimeric anti-CD20 molecule rituximab, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in cancer patients. Since then, the panel of mAbs that are approved by international regulatory agencies for the treatment of hematopoietic and solid malignancies has not stopped to expand, nowadays encompassing a stunning amount of 15 distinct molecules. This therapeutic armamentarium includes mAbs that target tumor-associated antigens, as well as molecules that interfere with tumor-stroma interactions or exert direct immunostimulatory effects. These three classes of mAbs exert antineoplastic activity via distinct mechanisms, which may or may not involve immune effectors other than the mAbs themselves. In previous issues of OncoImmunology, we provided a brief scientific background to the use of mAbs, all types confounded, in cancer therapy, and discussed the results of recent clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of this approach. Here, we focus on mAbs that primarily target malignant cells or their interactions with stromal components, as opposed to mAbs that mediate antineoplastic effects by activating the immune system. In particular, we discuss relevant clinical findings that have been published during the last 13 months as well as clinical trials that have been launched in the same period to investigate the therapeutic profile of hitherto investigational tumor-targeting mAbs.
PMCID: PMC3937194  PMID: 24605265
bevacizumab; brentuximab vedotin; cetuximab; nimotuzumab; trastuzumab; tumor-associated antigen
8.  A study of hepatitis B virus reactivation associated with rituximab therapy in real-world clinical practice: a single-center experience 
The widespread use of cytotoxic chemotherapy and immunosuppressants has resulted in reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) recently becoming an issue. Although rituximab (an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody) has revolutionized the treatment of lymphoma, recent reports have suggested that rituximab therapy increases the risk of viral-mediated complications, and particularly HBV reactivation. This study analyzed real clinical practice data for rituximab-related HBV reactivation.
Between January 2005 and December 2011, 169 patients received treatment with rituximab. Screening status of the HBV infection and frequency of preemptive therapy were determined in these patients, and the clinical features of HBV reactivation were analyzed.
Seventy-nine of the 169 patients with chronic or past HBV infection were selected for evaluation of HBV reactivation. Of the 90 patients who were excluded, 22 (13.0%) were not assessed for HBsAg and anti-HBc, and 14 (8.3%) were not assessed for anti-HBc due to seronegativity for HBsAg. The selected patients were divided into those with chronic HBV infection (n=12) and those with past HBV infection (n=67); six patients (7.6%) experienced HBV reactivation. Eight patients received preemptive therapy, but three patients (37.5%) underwent HBV reactivation. Although HBsAg seropositivity was an independent risk factor for HBV reactivation (P=0.038), of the six patients with HBV reactivation, two (33.3%) had past HBV infection and three (50%) died of liver failure.
The findings of this study demonstrate that adherence to guidelines for screening and preemptive therapy for HBV reactivation was negligent among the included cohort. Attention should be paid to HBV reactivation in patients with past as well as chronic HBV infection during and after rituximab therapy.
PMCID: PMC3622856  PMID: 23593610
Hepatitis B virus; Immunosuppressant; Rituximab
9.  Antibody Therapy for CLL 
Seminars in hematology  2008;45(2):95-103.
The introduction of the monoclonal antibodies rituximab (anti-CD20) and alemtuzumab (anti-CD52) has revolutionized the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Both antibodies were first studied as single agents in relapsed CLL, but rituximab is increasingly used in combination chemoimmunotherapy regimens in previously untreated patients. Phase II studies demonstrated that the addition of rituximab to fludarabine-based chemotherapy improves complete response (CR) rates and progression-free survival (PFS), but long-term survival benefit has not been shown. Alemtuzumab is less commonly used, due to its greater infusion, hematologic and immune toxicity. Subcutaneous (SC) administration significantly reduces infusion toxicity, but hematologic and infectious complications, most notably cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation, still occur with SC dosing. Alemtuzumab’s unique clinical properties include its clinical activity in relapsed CLL patients with del(17p13) and its ability to eradicate minimal residual disease (MRD) in bone marrow. Its use as consolidation therapy to eradicate MRD after nucleoside analog therapy is under active study. Several investigational monoclonal antibodies are in preclinical or clinical studies, most notably lumiliximab (anti-CD23) and ofatumumab (HuMax CD20), and are briefly discussed in this review.
PMCID: PMC2390995  PMID: 18381104
10.  B cell depletion in treating primary biliary cirrhosis: Pros and cons 
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a progressive autoimmune liver disease of unknown etiology that affects almost exclusively women. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is currently the only approved drug by Food and Drug Administration for patients with PBC. Although the precise pathogenesis of PBC remains unclear, it has been postulated that many cell populations, including B cells, are involved in the ongoing inflammatory process, which implicates, not surprisingly, a potential therapeutic target of depleting B cell to treat this disorder. Rituximab is a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that has been approved for the treatment of lymphoma and some autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Whether it is effective in the treatment of PBC has not been evaluated. Recently, Tsuda et al[1] demonstrated that B cell depletion with rituximab significantly reduced the number of anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMA)-producing B cells, AMA titers, the plasma levels of immunoglobulins (IgA, IgM and IgG) as well as serum alkaline phosphatase, and it was well tolerated by all the treated patients with no serious adverse events. This observation provides a novel treatment option for the patients with PBC who have incomplete response to UDCA.
PMCID: PMC3419989  PMID: 22912543
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Rituximab; B cell depletion; Anti-mitochondrial antibodies
11.  The role of ofatumumab in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia resistant to previous therapies 
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is an indolent but incurable disease. Despite the improvement of the available therapies, the management of heavily-treated CLL patients represents a challenge for modern practitioners. Ofatumumab is a second-generation, fully human anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that has shown activity in CLL patients who have failed very effective therapies such as fludarabine, alemtuzumab and rituximab. Potential benefits of ofatumumab include powerful complement-dependent cytotoxicity, less immunogenicity, faster infusions and activity in resistant CLL patients. Recently, the FDA has approved ofatumumab for the treatment of CLL patients who have failed fludarabine and alemtuzumab-based regimens. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge regarding pharmacology, mechanism of action, pre-clinical and clinical development, and the role of ofatumumab for the treatment of CLL patients who have failed previous therapies. Further research is necessary to further define the role of ofatumumab in the treatment of CLL.
PMCID: PMC3262337  PMID: 22282677
ofatumumab; CLL; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; monoclonal antibodies; CD20
12.  The potential utility of B cell-directed biologic therapy in autoimmune diseases 
Rheumatology International  2007;28(3):205-215.
Increasing awareness of the importance of aberrant B cell regulation in autoimmunity has driven the clinical development of novel B cell-directed biologic therapies with the potential to treat a range of autoimmune disorders. The first of these drugs—rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody against the B cell-specific surface marker CD20—was recently approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis in patients with an inadequate response to other biologic therapies. The aim of this review is to discuss the potential use of rituximab in the management of other autoimmune disorders. Results from early phase clinical trials indicate that rituximab may provide clinical benefit in systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren’s syndrome, vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura. Numerous case reports and several small pilot studies have also been published reporting the use of rituximab in conditions such as myositis, antiphospholipid syndrome, Still’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. In general, the results from these preliminary studies encourage further testing of rituximab therapy in formalized clinical trials. Based on results published to date, it is concluded that rituximab, together with other B cell-directed therapies currently under clinical development, is likely to provide an important new treatment option for a number of these difficult-to-treat autoimmune disorders.
PMCID: PMC2134974  PMID: 17957371
Biologic therapies; B-lymphocytes; CD20; Lupus; Rituximab; Sjögren’s syndrome; Thrombocytopenic purpura; Vasculitis
13.  Rituximab in Relapsing and Progressive Forms of Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e66308.
Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved for non Hodgkin lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. It is being considered for the treatment of MS.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab for MS treatment.
Data collection
Studies were selected if they were clinical trials, irrespective of the dosage or combination therapies.
Main results
Four studies with a total of 599 patients were included. One assessed the efficacy of rituximab for primary progressive (PP) MS while the other three focused on relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. In the PPMS study, rituximab delayed time to confirmed disease progression (CDP) in pre-planned sub-group analyses. The increase in T2 lesion volume was lower in the rituximab group at week 96 compared with placebo. For the RRMS studies, an open-label phase I study found that rituximab reduced the annualized relapse rate to 0.25 from pre-therapy baseline to week 24, while in the randomized placebo-controlled phase II trial, annualized relapse rates were 0.37 in the rituximab group and 0.84 in the placebo group (p = 0.04) at week 24. Rituximab dramatically reduced the number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions on brain MRI scans for both RRMS studies. Off-label rituximab as an add-on therapy in patients with breakthrough disease on first-line agents was associated with an 88% reduction when comparing the mean number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions prior to and after the treatment. Although frequent adverse events classified as mild or moderate occurred in up to 77% of the patients, there were no grade 4 infusion-related adverse events.
Author’s conclusion
Despite the frequent mild/moderate adverse events related to the drug, rituximab appears overall safe for up to 2 years of therapy and has a substantial impact on the inflammatory disease activity (clinical and/or radiological) of RRMS. The effect of rituximab on disease progression in PPMS appears to be marginal.
PMCID: PMC3699597  PMID: 23843952
14.  Role of rituximab in first-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a biologically heterogeneous illness that primarily afflicts the elderly. For many decades, the initial therapy for most patients requiring treatment was limited to single-agent alkylator therapy. Within the last two decades, we have seen remarkable progress in understanding the biology of CLL and the development of more effective treatment strategies that have employed monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab (anti-CD20). Furthermore, recognition of the synergy between fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (FCR) prompted investigators to explore the clinical activity of FCR in Phase II and III trials in patients with relapsed/refractory or previously untreated CLL. On the basis of these findings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved rituximab in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory or previously untreated CD20-postive CLL. Recent data from a randomized Phase III trial has confirmed improved overall survival with FCR in patients with previously untreated CLL. However, FCR is not for everyone. More tolerable regimens using rituximab for the elderly and less fit patients are being pursued in clinical trials. Recent Phase II trials have explored potentially less myelosuppressive approaches by using lower doses of fludarabine and cyclophosphamide, replacing fludarabine with pentostatin, and combining rituximab with chlorambucil. Furthermore new biomarkers predictive of early disease progression have prompted investigators to explore the benefits of early treatment with rituximab combined with other agents. In addition to the proven utility of rituximab as a frontline agent for CLL, rituximab has a favorable toxicity profile both as a single agent and in combination with chemotherapy. The majority of adverse events are Grade 1 and 2 infusion-related reactions (fevers, chills, and rigors) and occur with the first dose of rituximab. The improved tolerability observed with second and subsequent infusions allows for shorter infusion times. Rituximab’s proven activity and favorable toxicity profile has made it an ideal agent for expanding treatment options for patients with CLL, the majority of whom are elderly.
PMCID: PMC3039008  PMID: 21339937
rituximab; tolerability; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; fludarabine; pentostatin; chlorambucil; elderly
15.  Anti-CD47 antibody synergizes with rituximab to promote phagocytosis and eradicate non-Hodgkin lymphoma 
Cell  2010;142(5):699-713.
Monoclonal antibodies are standard therapeutics for several cancers including the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab for B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Rituximab and other antibodies are not curative, and must be combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy for clinical benefit. Here we report the eradication of human NHL solely with a monoclonal antibody therapy combining rituximab with a blocking anti-CD47 antibody. We identified increased expression of CD47 on human NHL cells, and determined that higher CD47 expression independently predicted adverse clinical outcomes in multiple NHL subtypes. Blocking anti-CD47 antibodies preferentially enabled phagocytosis of NHL cells and synergized with rituximab. Treatment of human NHL-engrafted mice with anti-CD47 antibody reduced lymphoma burden and improved survival, while combination treatment with rituximab led to elimination of lymphoma and cure. These antibodies synergized through a mechanism combining Fc receptor (FcR)-dependent and FcR-independent stimulation of phagocytosis that might be applicable to many other cancers.
PMCID: PMC2943345  PMID: 20813259
16.  Monoclonal Antibodies for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: State of the Art and Perspectives 
Monoclonal antibodies have been the most successful therapeutics ever brought to cancer treatment by immune technologies. The use of monoclonal antibodies in B-cell Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) represents the greatest example of these advances, as the introduction of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab has had a dramatic impact on how we treat this group of diseases today. Despite this success, several questions about how to optimize the use of monoclonal antibodies in NHL remain open. The best administration schedules, as well as the optimal duration of rituximab treatment, have yet to be determined. A deeper knowledge of the mechanisms underlying resistance to rituximab is also necessary in order to improve the activity of this and of similar therapeutics. Finally, new antibodies and biological agents are entering the scene and their advantages over rituximab will have to be assessed. We will discuss these issues and present an overview of the most significant clinical studies with monoclonal antibodies for NHL treatment carried out to date.
PMCID: PMC3061293  PMID: 21437222
17.  Immunotherapy for B-Cell Lymphoma: Current Status and Prospective Advances 
Therapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has progressed significantly over the last decades. However, the majority of patients remain incurable, and novel therapies are needed. Because immunotherapy ideally offers target selectivity, an ever increasing number of immunotherapies, both passive and active, are undergoing development. The champion of passive immunotherapy to date is the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab that revolutionized the standard of care for lymphoma. The great success of rituximab catalyzed the development of new passive immunotherapy strategies that are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. These include improvement of rituximab efficacy, newer generation anti-CD20 antibodies, drug-conjugated and radio labeled anti-CD20 antibodies, monoclonal antibodies targeting non-CD20 lymphoma antigens, and bispecific antibodies. Active immunotherapy aims at inducing long-lasting antitumor immunity, thereby limiting the likelihood of relapse. Current clinical studies of active immunotherapy for lymphoma consist largely of vaccination and immune checkpoint blockade. A variety of protein- and cell-based vaccines are being tested in ongoing clinical studies. Recently completed phase III clinical trials of an idiotype protein vaccine suggest that the vaccine may have clinical activity in a subset of patients. Efforts to enhance the efficacy of active immunotherapy are ongoing with an emphasis on optimization of antigen delivery and presentation of vaccines and modulation of the immune system toward counteracting immunosuppression, using antibodies against immune regulatory checkpoints. This article discusses results of the various immunotherapy approaches applied to date for B-cell lymphoma and the ongoing trials to improve their effect.
PMCID: PMC3342070  PMID: 22566889
anti-CD20; clinical trials; idiotype; immunotherapy; lymphoma; monoclonal antibodies; vaccines
18.  Chemotherapy Combinations With Monoclonal Antibodies in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 
Seminars in hematology  2008;45(2):90-94.
Although the use of monoclonal antibodies as single agents has had a tremendous impact on the care of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), the greatest benefit has been generated by the addition of monoclonal antibodies to conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Rituximab is the monoclonal antibody responsible for all clinical improvement noted to date. The addition of rituximab to cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) chemotherapy (R-CHOP regimen) improves the response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Adding rituximab to CHOP chemotherapy improves response rates and PFS in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Finally, the addition of rituximab to a variety of chemotherapy regimens improves the response rates, PFS, and OS in follicular lymphoma (FL). Several other (epratuzumab, bevacizumab, alemtuzumab) monoclonal antibody–chemotherapy combinations are currently under study in NHL. This review will summarize the data supporting the addition of rituximab to chemotherapy in NHL and discuss preliminary data regarding the use of other monoclonal antibodies in combination with chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2919066  PMID: 18381103
19.  B Cell Depletion: Rituximab in Glomerular Disease and Transplantation 
Nephron Extra  2013;3(1):125-130.
B cells play a central role in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Selective targeting can be achieved with the use of the monoclonal antibody rituximab. In addition to being a drug for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rituximab is also an FDA-approved treatment for refractory rheumatoid arthritis and, since recently, ANCA vasculitis. It has shown efficacy in many autoimmune diseases. This review will discuss current evidence and the rationale of the use of rituximab in glomerular diseases, including randomized controlled trials. The focus will be on the use of rituximab in idiopathic membranous nephropathy, systemic lupus erythematosus and ANCA-associated vasculitis. The emerging role of rituximab in renal transplantation, where it seems to be important for the desensitization protocols for highly sensitized patients as well as for the preconditioning of ABO-incompatible recipients and the treatment of antibody-mediated rejection, will also be addressed.
PMCID: PMC3919423  PMID: 24550930
B cell depletion; Rituximab; Membranous nephropathy; Lupus nephritis; ANCA-associated vasculitis; Transplantation

20.  Rapid-Infusion Rituximab in Lymphoma Treatment: 2-Year Experience in a Single Institution 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2012;8(3):141-143.
A rapid infusion rituximab over 90 minutes is well tolerated and safe when administered as the second and subsequent infusions in the course of therapy.
Rituximab is a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody. We aimed to explore the safety and tolerability of rapid infusion rituximab, (over 90 minutes) in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at Hacettepe University Department of Medical Oncology.
Patients and Methods:
Adult patients diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who were to receive rituximab were included in the study. The schedule of administration for cycle 1 was unaltered and delivered according to the product monograph. All subsequent cycles were administered over a total infusion time of 90 minutes (20% of the dose in the first 30 minutes, then the remaining 80% over 60 minutes, total dose delivered in 500 mL). All patients were observed for infusion-related reactions during the rituximab infusion, and vital signs were recorded every 15 minutes.
From July 2006 to December 2008, 75 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were treated with rituximab-based chemotherapy. A total of 372 infusions were administered. The majority of patients were treated with rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone, or rituximab only. The 90-minute rituximab infusion schedule was well tolerated, with no grade 3 or 4 infusion-related adverse events observed.
A rapid infusion rituximab over 90 minutes is well tolerated and safe when administered as the second and subsequent infusions in the course of therapy.
PMCID: PMC3396800  PMID: 22942806
21.  Rituximab in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
Biologics : Targets & Therapy  2008;2(4):619-633.
Besides traditional cytostatic drugs the introduction of monoclonal antibodies has substantially influenced current treatment concepts of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Rituximab, a monoclonal anti-CD20 chimeric antibody, now has been widely evaluated in the various B-cell lymphatic neoplasms. Large phase III studies helped to prove the value of this drug in follicular lymphoma as part of induction or relapse treatment as well as maintenance treatment. The addition of rituximab to the well established CHOP regimens has increased achievable cure rates in diffuse large cell lymphoma, and this combination is now accepted worldwide as standard of care. Although conflicting results are available, rituximab is widely used for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. For the less frequent lymphoma entities phase 2 studies show a considerable efficiency for most of these B-NHL variants. Current research focuses on combined chemoimmunotherapy approaches, optimization of dosing regimens, and combination with novel agents.
PMCID: PMC2727901  PMID: 19707443
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; rituximab; monoclonal-antibody; targeted therapy
22.  Practical considerations on the use of rituximab in autoimmune neurological disorders 
Rituximab (Mabthera, Rituxan) is a chimeric human/murine monoclonal antibody against CD-20 surface antigen expressed on B-cells. Rituximab, by causing B-cell depletion, appears to be effective in several autoimmune disorders; it has been approved for rheumatoid arthritis and is a promising new agent in the treatment of several autoimmune neurological disorders. A controlled study in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis has shown that rituximab significantly reduces the number of new MRI lesions and improves clinical outcome; it also showed some promise in a subset of patients with primary progressive MS. The drug is also effective in a number of patients with Devic’s disease, myasthenia gravis, autoimmune neuropathies, and inflammatory myopathies. The apparent effectiveness of rituximab has moved B-cells into the center stage of clinical and laboratory investigation of autoimmune neurological disorders. We review the evidence-based effectiveness of rituximab in neurological disorders based on controlled trials and anecdotal reports, including our own experience, and address the immunobiology of B-cells in autoimmune central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS) disorders. In addition, we provide practical guidelines on how best to use this drug in clinical practice and highlight its potential toxicity.
PMCID: PMC3002645  PMID: 21179602
rituximab; B-cells; autoimmune neurological disorders; practical guidelines; toxicity; immunotherapy; B cell depletion
23.  Rituximab therapy of recalcitrant bullous dermatoses 
Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody directed against CD20 cell surface antigen of B-lymphocytes. Recent studies have demonstrated effectivity in recalcitrant bullous pemphigoid. The data available on other types of autoimmune bullous disease is more scant.
Main observation
Here we report on the successful adjuvant use of rituximab in mucous membrane pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris in two patients with the most refractory course of disease. Both patients achieved a good clinical response.
Rituximab is a third line treatment of patients with pemphigus vulgaris and mucous membrane pemphigoid. In contrast to bullous pemphigoid, other bullous diseases do not always respond to a monotherapy with this monoclonal antibody. Nevertheless, biological therapy seems to work faster than established treatment in such cases. Risks and benefits of the treatment are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3157775  PMID: 21886702
monoclonal antibody; rituximab; bullous pemphigoid; mucous membrane pemphigoid; pemphigus vulgaris
24.  Rituximab used in three cases with relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
Molecular and Clinical Oncology  2013;1(3):550-552.
Relapsed or refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (B-NHL) patients have a poor prognosis. New treatment modalities have been used to improve survival rates in children with relapsed or refractory B-NHL. CD20 is expressed in >98% of childhood B-NHL and a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, rituximab, is increasingly being used at relapse. The aim of the present study was to determine the efficacy of rituximab on relapsed B-NHL. Three B-NHL cases were treated successfully with a combination of intensive chemotherapy protocol plus rituximab.
PMCID: PMC3915537  PMID: 24649209
rituximab; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; relapse; children
25.  A general process for the development of peptide-based immunoassays for monoclonal antibodies 
Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are an important and growing class of cancer therapeutics, but pharmacokinetic analyses have in many cases been constrained by the lack of standard and robust pharmacologic assays. The goal of this project was to develop a general method for the production of immunoassays that can measure the levels of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies in biologic samples at relevant concentrations.
Alemtuzumab and rituximab are monoclonal approved for the treatment of B-cell malignancies and were used as a model system. Phage-displayed peptide libraries were screened for peptide sequences recognized by alemtuzumab (anti-CD52) or rituximab (anti-CD20). Synthetic biotinylated peptides were used in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Peptides directly synthesized on polymer resin beads were used in an immunofluorescent-based assay.
Peptide mimetope sequences were recovered for both mAb and confirmed by competitive staining and kinetic measurements. A peptide-based ELISA method was developed for each. The assay for rituximab had a limit of detection of 4 μg/ml, and the assay for alemtuzumab had a limit of detection of 1 μg/ml. Antibody-specific staining of peptide conjugated beads could be seen in a dose-dependent manner.
Phage-displayed peptide libraries can be a source of highly specific mimetopes for therapeutic mAb. The biotinylated forms of those peptides are compatible with conventional ELISA methods with sensitivities comparable to other assay methods and sufficient for pharmacological studies of those mAb given at high dose. The process outlined here can be applied to any mAb to enable improved pharmacokinetic analysis during the development and clinical use of this class of therapies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00280-009-1240-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2921063  PMID: 20087593
Immunoassay; Monoclonal antibody; Peptide; ELISA; Phage display

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