Rituximab in the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia: what is the role of this agent in 2019?

Elisa Lucchini, Francesco Zaja, James Bussel
Haematologica 2019, 104 (6): 1124-1135
The use of rituximab for the treatment of immune thrombocytopenia was greeted enthusiastically: it led to up to 60% response rates, making it, nearly 20 years ago, the main alternative to splenectomy, with far fewer side effects. However, long-term follow-up data showed that only 20-30% of patients maintained the remission. No significant changes have been registered using different dose schedules and timing of administration, while the combination with other drugs seemed promising. Higher response rates have been observed in young women before the chronic phase, but apart from that, other clinical factors or biomarkers predictive of response are still lacking. In this review we examine the historical and current role of rituximab in the management of immune thrombocytopenia, 20 years after its first use for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.


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