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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,536
Online ISSN 1827-1758
Ganzemueller J. 1, Hartmann B. 1, Keller F. 1, Stracke S. 2
1 Department of Nephrology, School of Medicine, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany;
2 Department of Nephrology, School of Medicine, University Hospital Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
AIM: Rituximab is increasingly being used in the treatment of patients with kidney disease. We evaluated our clinical experience at the Ulm University Hospital.
METHODS: Since 2004, we have administered rituximab as rescue therapy to twenty-seven patients with kidney disease non-responsive to standard treatment. Indications for rituximab were progressive loss of kidney function in thirteen cases; nephrotic syndrome in five cases; humoral rejection after kidney transplantation in five cases and single cases of catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome (CAPS), pre-emptive removal of ABO incompatible antibodies, pre-transplant removal of panel-reactive antibodies (PRA), and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). Sixteen patients were treated with both, plasmapheresis and rituximab.
RESULTS:Kidney function recovered in five of thirteen cases. Nephrotic syndrome response was observed in two of five cases. In two of five patients with humoral rejection, kidney transplant function could be preserved. Antiphospholipid antibodies, blood group A antibodies and panel reactive antibodies successfully were reduced, and remission was achieved in the case of the patient with PTLD. Four patients died (15%). Adverse events (N.=10) and infectious complications (N.=15) were most likely due to immunosuppression in general and not to rituximab alone. Toxic leukoencephalopathy was a serious but reversible complication in three cases and occurred particularly after the administration of high-dose rituximab (>375 mg/m2).
CONCLUSION: Rituximab rescue was successful in 48% of our cases (13 of 27). Rituximab did not increase the complication risk of standard immunosuppression. But toxic leukoencephalopathy was identified as a significant rituximab complication.