Rituximab: Uses in Dermatology

Kristyna Gleghorn, BS; Janice Wilson, MD; Michael Wilkerson, MD

Disclosures

Skin Therapy Letter. 2016;21(5) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with considerable potential in dermatology due to an increase in off-label indications. Chronic graft-versus-host disease and pemphigus vulgaris are two of the most promising indications for off-label use of rituximab. It is a generally safe alternative that should be considered when traditional therapy with corticosteroids or immunosuppressants has failed or caused significant intolerance. Currently, rituximab is only FDA-approved for treatment of follicular and diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener's granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis. Herein, off-label uses of rituximab and its efficacy in the treatment of cutaneous diseases are reviewed.

Introduction

Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with considerable potential in the medical field. Rituximab is currently FDA-approved for treatment of follicular and diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and, most recently, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA, formerly Wegener's granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).[1] However, off-label indications have increased in recent years due to the discovery that rituximab may be useful not only in diseases in which autoantibodies are involved, but also in diseases where B cells play a major role, such as autoimmune and many dermatologic diseases.[1–3]

In order to use rituximab more frequently and appropriately, dermatologists should be aware of the characteristics of anti-CD20 antibodies and the role of B cells in multiple skin diseases. Herein, we provide physicians with an overview of trends in rituximab's clinical outcomes so that they can evaluate current therapy and make adjustments to achieve optimal goals.[4]

Comments

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