Rituximab use in adult primary glomerulopathy: where is the evidence?
Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, August 2016
Bassem Tanios, Samir Mallat, Houssam Itani, Rana Abou-Mrad, Rima Abou Arkoub
Rituximab is a chimeric anti-CD20 antibody that results in depletion of B-cell lymphocytes. It is currently used in the treatment of a variety of autoimmune diseases, in addition to CD20-positive lymphomas. The use of rituximab in the treatment of the adult primary glomerular diseases has emerged recently, although not yet established as first-line therapy in international guidelines. In patients with steroid-dependent minimal change disease or frequently relapsing disease, and in patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN), several retrospective and prospective studies support the use of rituximab to induce remission, whereas in idiopathic focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), the use of rituximab has resulted in variable results. Evidence is still lacking for the use of rituximab in patients with immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) and idiopathic membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN), as only few reports used rituximab in these two entities. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are warranted and clearly needed to establish the definitive role of rituximab in the management of steroid-dependent and frequently relapsing minimal change disease, IMN, both as first-line and second-line treatment, and in MPGN. We await the results of an ongoing RCT of rituximab use in IgAN. Although current evidence for the use of rituximab in patients with idiopathic FSGS is poor, more RCTs are needed to clarify its role, if any, in the management of steroid-resistant or steroid-dependent FSGS.
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