Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disorder with a worldwide distribution, potentially life-threatening with considerable morbidity. The elimination of pathogenic B cells has emerged as a rational therapeutic option. Many open label studies have reported encouraging results in which clinical and serological remission have invariably been described, often enabling the reduction of steroid and immunosuppressive treatment. However, the results from randomized controlled studies have been disappointing and several questions remain to be answered. In this review we will focus on results of B cell direct depletion in the treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
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