Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (Rituximab) for life-threatening autoimmune haemolytic anaemia in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus

Br J Haematol. 2002 Feb;116(2):465-7.


Innovative approaches are needed for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who develop autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) that does not respond to conventional treatment. Rituximab, a chimaeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has been demonstrated to be highly effective for in vivo B-cell depletion. We report an 18-year-old-girl with SLE and life-threatening AIHA that did not respond to steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and cyclosporin A. Rituximab was given weekly at 375 mg/m2 for two doses. The drug was well tolerated and the patient had no adverse effects. Her haemolytic disorder markedly ameliorated, with a progressive increase of haemoglobin levels, starting a few days after therapy. The patient remains disease-free 7 months later.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / complications*
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / drug therapy*
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Rituximab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Rituximab