Patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) are at high risk of developing immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and/or autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AHA). Given their underlying immunodeficiency, immunosuppressive treatment of these manifestations may increase the risk of infection. To assess efficacy and safety of rituximab in patients with CVID-associated ITP/AHA, a multicentre retrospective study was performed. Thirty-three patients, 29 adults and four children, were included. Patients received an average of 2·6 treatments prior to rituximab including steroids, intravenous immunoglobulin and splenectomy (21%). The median ITP/AHA duration at time of first rituximab administration was 12 months [range 1-324] and the indication for using rituximab was ITP (22 cases), AHA (n = 5) or both (n = 7); 1 patient was treated sequentially for ITP and then AHA. The overall initial response rate to rituximab was 85% including 74% complete responses. After a mean follow-up of 39 ± 30 months after rituximab first administration, 10 of the initial responders relapsed and re-treatment with rituximab was successful in 7/9. Severe infections occurred after rituximab in eight adults (24%), four of whom were not on immunoglobulin replacement therapy. In conclusion, rituximab appears to be highly effective and relatively safe for the management of CVID-associated severe immune cytopenias.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.