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Blood. 2013 Mar 14;121(11):1976-81. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-09-455691. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Rituximab and dexamethasone vs dexamethasone monotherapy in newly diagnosed patients with primary immune thrombocytopenia.

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Department of Hematology, Copenhagen University Hospital Roskilde, Roskilde, Denmark.


In this study, we report the results from the largest cohort to date of newly diagnosed adult immune thrombocytopenia patients randomized to treatment with dexamethasone alone or in combination with rituximab. Eligible were patients with platelet counts ≤25×10(9)/L or ≤50×10(9)/L with bleeding symptoms. A total of 133 patients were randomly assigned to either dexamethasone 40 mg/day for 4 days (n = 71) or in combination with rituximab 375 mg/m(2) weekly for 4 weeks (n = 62). Patients were allowed supplemental dexamethasone every 1 to 4 weeks for up to 6 cycles. Our primary end point, sustained response (ie, platelets ≥50×10(9)/L) at 6 months follow-up, was reached in 58% of patients in the rituximab + dexamethasone group vs 37% in the dexamethasone group (P = .02). The median follow-up time was 922 days. We found longer time to relapse (P = .03) and longer time to rescue treatment (P = .007) in the rituximab + dexamethasone group. There was an increased incidence of grade 3 to 4 adverse events in the rituximab + dexamethasone group (P = .04). In conclusion, rituximab + dexamethasone induced higher response rates and longer time to relapse than dexamethasone alone. This study is registered at as NCT00909077.

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