Browsing by Subject "Rituximab"

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  • Honkila, Minna; Niinimaki, Riitta; Taskinen, Mervi; Kuismin, Outi; Kettunen, Kaisa; Saarela, Janna; Turunen, Sami; Renko, Marjo; Tapiainen, Terhi (2019)
    BackgroundSymptomatic primary Epstein-Barr virus infection is a usually self-limiting illness in adolescents. We present a case of an adolescent who had been receiving azathioprine for inflammatory bowel disease for four years and developed a life-threatening primary Epstein-Barr virus infection successfully treated with rituximab.Case presentationAn 11-year-old girl presented with chronic, bloody diarrhea. Endoscopic biopsies confirmed a diagnosis of chronic ulcerative colitis with features of Crohn's disease. Azathioprine was initiated after one year due to active colitis. She responded well and remission was achieved. At the age of 16years she developed a life-threatening Epstein-Barr virus infection including severe multiple organ failure and was critically ill for 4weeks in the intensive care unit. Natural killer cells were virtually absent in the lymphocyte subset analysis. Azathioprine was stopped on admission. She was initially treated with corticosteroids, acyclovir and intravenous immunoglobulin. Approximately 30days after admission, she developed signs of severe hepatitis and pneumonitis and received weekly rituximab infusions for 8weeks. Primary immunodeficiency was excluded by whole exome sequencing in two independent laboratories. Persistent viremia stopped when the natural killer cell count started to rise, approximately 90days after the cessation of azathioprine.ConclusionsWe found 17 comparable cases in the literature. None of the previous cases reported in the literature, who had been treated with azathioprine and developed either a severe or a fatal Epstein-Barr virus infection, underwent full genetic and prospective immunological workup to rule out known primary immunodeficiencies. Recently, azathioprine has been shown to cause rather specific immunosuppression, resulting in natural killer cell depletion. Our case demonstrates that slow recovery from azathioprine-induced natural killer cell depletion, 3months after the stopping of azathioprine, coincided with the clearance of viremia and clinical recovery. Finally, our choice of treating the patient with rituximab, as previously used for patients with a severe immunosuppression and Epstein-Barr virus viremia, appeared to be successful in this case. We suggest testing for Epstein-Barr virus serology before starting azathioprine and measuring natural killer cell counts during the treatment to identify patients at risk of developing an unusually severe primary Epstein-Barr virus infection.
  • Honkila, Minna; Niinimäki, Riitta; Taskinen, Mervi; Kuismin, Outi; Kettunen, Kaisa; Saarela, Janna; Turunen, Sami; Renko, Marjo; Tapiainen, Terhi (BioMed Central, 2019)
    Abstract Background Symptomatic primary Epstein-Barr virus infection is a usually self-limiting illness in adolescents. We present a case of an adolescent who had been receiving azathioprine for inflammatory bowel disease for four years and developed a life-threatening primary Epstein-Barr virus infection successfully treated with rituximab. Case presentation An 11-year-old girl presented with chronic, bloody diarrhea. Endoscopic biopsies confirmed a diagnosis of chronic ulcerative colitis with features of Crohn’s disease. Azathioprine was initiated after one year due to active colitis. She responded well and remission was achieved. At the age of 16 years she developed a life-threatening Epstein-Barr virus infection including severe multiple organ failure and was critically ill for 4 weeks in the intensive care unit. Natural killer cells were virtually absent in the lymphocyte subset analysis. Azathioprine was stopped on admission. She was initially treated with corticosteroids, acyclovir and intravenous immunoglobulin. Approximately 30 days after admission, she developed signs of severe hepatitis and pneumonitis and received weekly rituximab infusions for 8 weeks. Primary immunodeficiency was excluded by whole exome sequencing in two independent laboratories. Persistent viremia stopped when the natural killer cell count started to rise, approximately 90 days after the cessation of azathioprine. Conclusions We found 17 comparable cases in the literature. None of the previous cases reported in the literature, who had been treated with azathioprine and developed either a severe or a fatal Epstein-Barr virus infection, underwent full genetic and prospective immunological workup to rule out known primary immunodeficiencies. Recently, azathioprine has been shown to cause rather specific immunosuppression, resulting in natural killer cell depletion. Our case demonstrates that slow recovery from azathioprine-induced natural killer cell depletion, 3 months after the stopping of azathioprine, coincided with the clearance of viremia and clinical recovery. Finally, our choice of treating the patient with rituximab, as previously used for patients with a severe immunosuppression and Epstein-Barr virus viremia, appeared to be successful in this case. We suggest testing for Epstein-Barr virus serology before starting azathioprine and measuring natural killer cell counts during the treatment to identify patients at risk of developing an unusually severe primary Epstein-Barr virus infection.
  • Adem, Jemal; Eray, Mine; Eeva, Jonna; Nuutinen, Ulla; Pelkonen, Jukka (2017)
    Antibodies produced by B-cells provide protection from infectious agents. However, impaired cell death signaling pathways in B-cells can lead to cancer, immunodeficiency or autoimmune diseases. B-cell signaling molecules such as CD20, CD19, Btk, and BAFF-R are targeted by therapeutic drugs and used to treat B-cell derived lymphomas or autoimmune diseases. Nevertheless, B-cells could develop resistance to these therapeutic drugs or the therapeutic drugs may have off-target effects. For instance, repeated rituximab (anti-CD20 antibody) treatment may lead to the loss of its target cell surface molecule, CD20. In addition, in B-cell malignancies, loss of CD19 expression has been observed. Another target molecule, Btk is expressed not only in B-cells but also in mast cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Thus, targeting Btk could negatively regulate the functions of innate immunity. The expression of BAFF-R is thought to be restricted to B-cells but it is also expressed on T cells. Targeting BAFF-R, therefore, may lead to depletion of T-cells in addition to B-cells. B cell receptor (BCR) expression and signaling, however, are critically important for development, differentiation and survival of B cells. Moreover, BCR is exclusively expressed on B-cells, which makes it an excellent target to avoid off-target effects.
  • Chatzidionysiou, Katerina; Lie, Elisabeth; Nasonov, Evgeny; Lukina, Galina; Hetland, Merete Lund; Tarp, Ulrik; Ancuta, Ioan; Pavelka, Karel; Nordstrom, Dan C.; Gabay, Cem; Canhao, Helene; Tomsic, Matija; van Riel, Piet L. C. M.; Gomez-Reino, Juan; Kvien, Tore K.; van Vollenhoven, Ronald F.; Rheumatic Dis Portuguese Register (2016)
    Background: The approved dose of rituximab (RTX) in rheumatoid arthritis is 1000 mg x 2, but some data have suggested similar clinical efficacy with 500 mg x 2. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the regular and low doses given as first treatment course. Methods: Twelve European registries participating in the CERERRA collaboration (The European Collaborative Registries for the Evaluation of Rituximab in Rheumatoid Arthritis) submitted anonymized datasets with demographic, efficacy and treatment data for patients who had started RTX. Treatment effectiveness was assessed by DAS28 reductions and EULAR responses after 6 months. Results: Data on RTX dose were available for 2,873 patients, of whom 2,625 (91.4 %) and 248 (8.6 %) received 1000 mg x 2 and 500 mg x 2, respectively. Patients treated with 500 mg x 2 were significantly older, had longer disease duration, higher number of prior DMARDs, but lower number of prior biologics and lower baseline DAS28 than those treated with 1000 mg x 2. Fewer patients in the low-dose group received concomitant DMARDs but more frequently received concomitant corticosteroids. Both doses led to significant clinical improvements at 6 months. DAS28 reductions at 6 months were comparable in the 2 dose regimens [mean DeltaDAS28 +/- SD -2.0 +/- 1.3 (high dose) vs. -1.7 +/- 1.4 (low dose), p = 0.23 adjusted for baseline differences]. Similar percentages of patients achieved EULAR good response in the two dose groups, 18.4 % vs. 17.3 %, respectively (p = 0.36). Conclusions: In this large observational cohort initial treatment with RTX at 500 mg x 2 and 1000 mg x 2 led to comparable clinical outcomes at 6 months.
  • Kontro, Mika; Lehto, Minna (2018)
  • Laajala, Aleksi; Kuismin, Outi; Tastula, Mikko; Tiitto, Leena; Kauppila, Saila; Salo, Anna; Astrom, Pirjo; Nissinen, Antti; Glumoff, Virpi; Seppänen, Mikko R. J.; Hautala, Timo (2020)
    Background Rare tonsillar granulomas may be caused for example by infections, malignancies or sarcoidosis. Granulomas also occur in inborn errors of immunity (IEI) such as common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) with B cell maturation defects and hypogammaglobulinemia. CVID shares various features with sarcoidosis and drug-induced secondary hypogammaglobulinemia; careful consideration of differential diagnosis between these conditions is warranted. Case presentation A 29-year-old female with epilepsy developed dysphagia, dyspnea and impaired exercise tolerance. Obstruction caused by swollen lingual tonsil and edema in the epiglottis and arytenoid mucosa were found. Lingual tonsil and epiglottis biopsies displayed non-necrotizing granulomas. There was no evidence of viral, bacterial, mycobacterial or fungal infections. Chest X-ray, computerized tomography of chest and ultrasound of neck and abdomen remained unremarkable. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) showed laryngeal enhancement. Empiric antimicrobials combined with prednisolone were insufficient to control her disease. In immunological evaluation, the patient had normal counts of B and T cells. Proportions of CD27(+)memory B cells (30.3%) and IgD(-)IgM(-)CD27(+)switched memory B cells (7.2%; normal range 6.5-29.2%) were normal. Percentage of activated CD21(low)B cells was high (6.6%; normal range 0.6-3.5%). IgG (3.5 g/L; normal range 6.77-15.0 g/l) and all IgG subclass concentrations were low. Anti-polysaccharide responses were impaired, with 3/10 serotypes reaching a level of 0.35 mu g/ml after immunization with Pneumovax(R). The findings were consistent with hypogammaglobulinemia resembling CVID, possibly secondary to antiepileptic medication. Her dyspnea and dysphagia responded favorably to subcutaneous IgG and rituximab. Conclusions Tonsillar granulomas can be the presenting and only clinical feature of B cell deficiency, highlighting the diversity of symptoms and findings in primary or secondary immunodeficiencies.
  • Laajala, Aleksi; Kuismin, Outi; Tastula, Mikko; Tiitto, Leena; Kauppila, Saila; Salo, Anna; Åström, Pirjo; Nissinen, Antti; Glumoff, Virpi; Seppänen, Mikko R. J.; Hautala, Timo (BioMed Central, 2020)
    Abstract Background Rare tonsillar granulomas may be caused for example by infections, malignancies or sarcoidosis. Granulomas also occur in inborn errors of immunity (IEI) such as common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) with B cell maturation defects and hypogammaglobulinemia. CVID shares various features with sarcoidosis and drug-induced secondary hypogammaglobulinemia; careful consideration of differential diagnosis between these conditions is warranted. Case presentation A 29-year-old female with epilepsy developed dysphagia, dyspnea and impaired exercise tolerance. Obstruction caused by swollen lingual tonsil and edema in the epiglottis and arytenoid mucosa were found. Lingual tonsil and epiglottis biopsies displayed non-necrotizing granulomas. There was no evidence of viral, bacterial, mycobacterial or fungal infections. Chest X-ray, computerized tomography of chest and ultrasound of neck and abdomen remained unremarkable. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) showed laryngeal enhancement. Empiric antimicrobials combined with prednisolone were insufficient to control her disease. In immunological evaluation, the patient had normal counts of B and T cells. Proportions of CD27+ memory B cells (30.3%) and IgD−IgM−CD27+ switched memory B cells (7.2%; normal range 6.5–29.2%) were normal. Percentage of activated CD21low B cells was high (6.6%; normal range 0.6–3.5%). IgG (3.5 g/L; normal range 6.77–15.0 g/l) and all IgG subclass concentrations were low. Anti-polysaccharide responses were impaired, with 3/10 serotypes reaching a level of 0.35 µg/ml after immunization with Pneumovax®. The findings were consistent with hypogammaglobulinemia resembling CVID, possibly secondary to antiepileptic medication. Her dyspnea and dysphagia responded favorably to subcutaneous IgG and rituximab. Conclusions Tonsillar granulomas can be the presenting and only clinical feature of B cell deficiency, highlighting the diversity of symptoms and findings in primary or secondary immunodeficiencies.