To better assess the efficacy and safety of monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab in the treatment of refractory and recurrent autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
7 cases with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (including 1 case of Evans syndrome) were enrolled into this study, they were treated with rituximab (375 mg/m2, once per week, 2–6 times) and Cyclophosphamide(1g/10days, 2–6 times) combined with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) (10g/week, given 1 day after rituximab treatment).
All 7 patients showed good responses. 6 achieved complete remission (CR) and 1 achieved partial remission (PR). Responses were seen at 1th to 10th month after the first dose of rituximab and the mean response time was approximately 2. 5 months. Average follow-up time for them isfor the patients was 27 months. All patients remained in remission at the 12-month follow-up. At the time of 24-month follow up, 3 patients showed elevated indirect bilirubin and increased reticulocyte counts. One of the 3 patients achieved CR after additional rituximab therapy, and the other 2 PR after additional cyclophosphamide therapy. At the time of 36-month follow up, 1 patient relapsed and was retreated with 3 cycles of rituximab and eventually reached PR. All patients tolerated the treatment well with only mild side effects.
rituximab is highly effective and relatively safe in patients with refractory and recurrent autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Maybe Additional treatment can be given in patients with relapse after 1–2 years.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.