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Br J Haematol. 2002 Feb;116(2):465-7.

Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (Rituximab) for life-threatening autoimmune haemolytic anaemia in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, 2nd University of Naples, Naples, Italy.


Innovative approaches are needed for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who develop autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) that does not respond to conventional treatment. Rituximab, a chimaeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has been demonstrated to be highly effective for in vivo B-cell depletion. We report an 18-year-old-girl with SLE and life-threatening AIHA that did not respond to steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and cyclosporin A. Rituximab was given weekly at 375 mg/m2 for two doses. The drug was well tolerated and the patient had no adverse effects. Her haemolytic disorder markedly ameliorated, with a progressive increase of haemoglobin levels, starting a few days after therapy. The patient remains disease-free 7 months later.

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