CD20-depleting therapy in autoimmune diseases: from basic research to the clinic

J Intern Med. 2010 Mar;267(3):260-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2009.02207.x.


The B lymphocyte-associated antigen CD20 is becoming an important immunotherapy target for autoimmune diseases, although its biological function has not been defined. Besides rheumatoid arthritis, growing experience with B cell-depleting therapy indicates that it may be effective in Sjögren's syndrome, dermatomyositis-polymyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus and some types of vasculitides. However, controlled clinical trials are still lacking for some of these indications. Infection has not been seen as a major limitation to this therapy, but reports of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in an extremely small number of patients are of concern. Here, we review the therapeutic actions of anti-CD20 antibodies, and the recent and ongoing clinical trials with CD20-depleting therapy in autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rituximab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Rituximab