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Blood. 2010 Jul 22;116(3):326-34; quiz 504-5. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-10-248518. Epub 2010 May 3.

Rituximab plus Peg-interferon-alpha/ribavirin compared with Peg-interferon-alpha/ribavirin in hepatitis C-related mixed cryoglobulinemia.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpétrière, Paris, France.


Treatment of hepatitis C (HCV)-mixed cryoglobulinemia (MC) may target either the viral trigger (HCV) or the downstream B-cell clonal expansion. Prospective cohort study of 38 HCV-MC patients who received a combination of rituximab (375 mg/m(2)) once a week for 1 month followed by Peg-interferon-alpha (Peg-IFN-alpha; 2a, 180 microg or 2b, 1.5 microg/kg) weekly plus ribavirin (600-1200 mg) daily for 48 weeks were compared with 55 HCV-MC patients treated by Peg-IFN-alpha/ribavirin with the same modalities. In the whole population of HCV-MC patients (n = 93), a complete clinical response was achieved in 73.1% (68 of 93), cryoglobulin clearance in 52.7% (49 of 93), and a sustained virologic response in 59.1% (55 of 93). Compared with Peg-IFN-alpha/ribavirin, rituximab plus Peg-IFN-alpha/ribavirin-treated patients had a shorter time to clinical remission (5.4 +/- 4 vs 8.4 +/- 4.7 months, P = .004), better renal response rates (80.9% vs 40% of complete response, P = .040), and higher rates of cryoglobulin clearance (68.4% vs 43.6%, P = .001) and clonal VH1-69(+) B-cell suppression (P < .01). Treatment was well tolerated with 11% of discontinuation resulting from antiviral therapy and no worsening of HCV RNA under rituximab. Our findings indicate that rituximab combined with Peg-IFN-alpha/ribavirin is well tolerated and more effective than Peg-IFN-alpha/ribavirin in HCV-MC.

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