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Monday 01 December 2003

Rituximab induces remission in refractory HCV associated cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis.

By: Lamprecht P, Lerin-Lozano C, Merz H, Dennin RH, Gause A, Voswinkel J, Peters SO, Gutzeit O, Arlt AC, Solbach W, Gross WL.

Ann Rheum Dis 2003 Dec;62(12):1230-3

OBJECTIVES: To report the successful induction of remission with the monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab in a patient with hepatitis C virus (HCV) associated cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis and a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) resistant to previously advocated conventional treatments. Case report: The patient was a 45 year old woman with HCV associated cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis, with purpura, arthralgia, constitutional symptoms, and a polyneuropathy. A malignant NHL was found as underlying lymphoproliferative disease. At this stage the disease was refractory to interferon alpha2b and ribavirin and to subsequent immunosuppressive treatment with cyclophosphamide. Six rituximab infusions targeting the CD20 antigen on cells of the B cell lineage induced remission of the vasculitis. Bone marrow biopsy disclosed absence of the NHL. Remission has subsequently been maintained and HCV eliminated with the new pegylated interferon alpha2b and ribavirin for nearly one year. CONCLUSIONS: Transition of the underlying "benign" lymphoproliferative disease to a malignant lymphoma may result in difficult to treat HCV associated cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis. Rituximab offers a new possibility for inducing remission in refractory HCV associated cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis and the lymphoproliferative disorder. After remission, HCV may subsequently be eliminated with pegylated interferon alpha2b and ribavirin.

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