Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of rituximab in central nervous system (CNS) manifestations of patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS).
Methods: Prospective data from patients with pSS and CNS involvement included in the French AutoImmunity and Rituximab registry were analysed. All patients had diffuse white matter T2-weigted hypersignals. Neurological response was defined as improvement or disappearance of neurological signs.
Results: Eleven patients (mean age 55 years [38-77]) were treated with rituximab for their neurological involvement. The mean duration of pSS was 9 years (4-24). Mean baseline ESSDAI score was 17 (5-25). Neurological features were progressive multiple sclerosis-like manifestations (n=6), transverse myelitis (n=1), anxiety and depression disorder (n=1) and cognitive dysfunction (n=3). Mean Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) before rituximab was 4 (3-5.5). The mean follow-up was of 13 months (6-58). No neurological change occurred in all 6 patients with multiple sclerosis-like symptoms, in 2/3 patients with cognitive dysfunction or in the patient with anxiety-depression. One patient with depression and cognitive dysfunction disclosed subjective improvement. One patient with transverse myelitis, refractory to cyclophosphamide had an improvement of his walk perimeter (160 meters vs. 116). Mean EDSS score and ESSDAI remained stable.
Conclusions: Rituximab does not seem to be effective in progressive multiple sclerosis-like manifestations of patients with pSS-related CNS involvement.