Treatment of childhood autoimmune haemolytic anaemia with rituximab

Lancet. 2001 Nov 3;358(9292):1511-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(01)06573-4.


Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia commonly has a severe course in young children, thus requiring multiple immunosuppressive treatments. Five children with refractory idiopathic autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, and one child with the disease after bone-marrow transplantation, were treated with rituximab-a monoclonal antibody against CD20. Tolerance of the treatment was good. However, circulating Bcells were absent and hypogammaglobulinaemia was seen for 9 months after treatment. All patients remained in complete remission 15-22 months after the start of rituximab therapy. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs were stopped or their dose markedly reduced. We suggest that rituximab could be a valuable treatment for autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, although a long-lasting but transient B-cell deficiency develops.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Rituximab
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Rituximab
  • Prednisone