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Leuk Lymphoma. 2007 Jul;48(7):1307-12.

Rituximab-related viral infections in lymphoma patients.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Hacettepe University Institute of Oncology, Ankara, Turkey.


Recently, a human/mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody, rituximab, has been successfully used to treat cases of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and some autoimmune diseases. However, several viral infections related to rituximab have been reported in the literature, but were not well characterized. To further investigate this topic, relevant English language studies were identified through Medline. There were 64 previously reported cases of serious viral infection after rituximab treatment. The median age of the cases was 61 years (range: 21 - 79). The median time period from the start of rituximab treatment to viral infection diagnosis was 5.0 months (range: 1 - 20). The most frequently experienced viral infections were hepatitis B virus (HBV) (39.1%, n = 25), cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) (23.4%, n = 15), varicella-zoster virus (VZV) (9.4%, n = 6), and others (28.1%, n = 18). Of the patients with HBV infections, 13 (52.0%) died due to hepatic failure. Among the 39 cases that had viral infections other than HBV, 13 died due to these specific infections. In this study, about 50% of the rituximab-related HBV infections resulted in death, whereas this was the case in only 33% of the cases with other infections. Close monitoring for viral infection, particularly HBV and CMV, in patients treated with rituximab should be recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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