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J Neurol. 2018 Apr;265(4):917-925. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-8771-5. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Treatment of neuromyelitis optica with rituximab: a 2-year prospective multicenter study.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, 97261, Fort de France, Martinique. pcabre_fr@yahoo.fr.
2
Department of Radiology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, 97261, Fort de France, Martinique.
3
Department of Neurology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, 97261, Fort de France, Martinique.
4
Department of Ophthalmology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, 97261, Fort de France, Martinique.
5
Department of Biological Hematology, Pierre Zobda-Quitman University Hospital, 97261, Fort de France, Martinique.
6
Department of Neurology, Pierre-Wertheimer Hospital, Civilian Hospices of Lyon, Lyon, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a very severe autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system. It affects young subjects and has a poor prognosis both on a functional and vital level. Therefore, it is imperative to reduce the frequency of relapses. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and neuroradiological effectiveness of rituximab (RTX) on active forms of NMO.

METHODS:

We conducted a 2-year open prospective multicenter study that included 32 patients treated with RTX at a dose of 375 mg/m2/week for 1 month. When the number of circulating CD19+ B cells reached 1%, a maintenance therapy was started, consisting of two infusions of 1 g of RTX, administered at a 15-day interval. The primary objective was to reduce the annual relapse rate (ARR), in comparison to that observed in the 2 years before treatment onset.

RESULTS:

Rituximab administration reduced the ARR from 1.34 to 0.56 (p = 0.0005). The average Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score significantly improved by 1.1 point, from 5.9 (2-9) to 4.8 (0-9) after 2 years (p = 0.03). Anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies' level predicted treatment failure (p = 0.03). Frequency of Gad+ lesions in spinal cord decreased from 23.3 to 14.2%. RTX treatment did not prevent the death of three patients (treatment failure in two patients and acute myeloid leukemia in a patient previously treated with mitoxantrone).

CONCLUSION:

Rituximab is clinically effective in active forms of NMO, although few patients are resistant to the treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuromyelitis optica; Rituximab; Treatment

PMID:
29455361
DOI:
10.1007/s00415-018-8771-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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