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Autoimmun Rev. 2011 Nov;11(1):35-9. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Anti-CD 20 monoclonal antibody (rituximab) treatment for inflammatory ocular diseases.

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Department of Ophthalmology, University Vita-Salute, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, Milan, Italy.


Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody directed against the CD20 antigen expressed on B cells and widely used in the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. There is a growing amount of literature which suggests that rituximab may be useful for inflammatory ocular diseases and intraocular lymphoma. Few cases have been reported on treatment of refractory scleritis, peripherative ulcerative keratitis, uveitis and ocular surface inflammatory disorders. Rituximab may be effective in the treatment of ocular inflammatory diseases in particular the most aggressive, recalcitrant and sight-threatening forms of inflammation such as uveitis associated to juvenile idiopathic arthritis. We review the literature covering the use of Rituximab in these conditions and report our results on the efficacy of Rituximab in the treatment of 8 children with very severe and long-standing uveitis who failed to respond to one or more TNF blockers. Our patients showed improvement in activity of uveitis, reduction of concomitant corticosteroids and immunosuppressants after a mean follow-up time of 14.87 months on rituximab. No serious adverse events were encountered in our treated patients. Although further studies are needed for assessing the efficacy of rituximab and the exact dosing regimen, rituximab may be considered as a treatment alternative in patients with the most aggressive forms of inflammatory ocular diseases who fail to respond to conventional and anti-TNF immunosuppressive agents.

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