Rituximab in adult patients with immunosuppressive-dependent minimal change disease

E Hoxha, R A K Stahl, S Harendza
Clinical Nephrology 2011, 76 (2): 151-8

BACKGROUND: Minimal change disease (MCD) is one of the leading causes of nephrotic syndrome. Steroid therapy is effective in achieving remission, but relapses, steroid dependence, and steroid resistance are therapeutic challenges. The use of second-line agents such as cyclophosphamide is associated with toxicity and adverse effects. Therefore, we studied the effect of rituximab (RTX) on proteinuria in adult patients with immunosuppressive (IS)-dependent MCD.

METHODS: In this single-center, prospective, open series study, 6 consecutive patients with IS-dependent MCD and frequent relapses on different IS regimens - one of them after previous RTX treatment - were included. Patients were treated with a single dose of RTX (375 mg/m²). An additional dose of RTX was administered depending on B-cell count and proteinuria.

RESULTS: 5 out of 6 patients achieved complete remission at the end of the follow-up; the other patient had a partial remission. All patients are free of additional IS agents and other medications were remarkably reduced. Three patients had a relapse, which was successfully treated with a further RTX treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: RTX could be an alternative in the therapy of patients with IS-dependent MCD, leading to successful cessation of other IS treatment.

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