Objective: To compare individually tailored, based on trimestrial biological parameter monitoring, to fixed-schedule rituximab reinfusion for remission maintenance of antineutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitides (AAVs).
Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed or relapsing granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) or microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) in complete remission after induction therapy were included in an open-label, multicentre, randomised controlled trial. All tailored-arm patients received a 500 mg rituximab infusion at randomisation, with rituximab reinfusion only when CD19+B lymphocytes or ANCA had reappeared or ANCA titre rose markedly based on trimestrial testing until month 18. Controls received a fixed 500 mg rituximab infusion on days 0 and 14 postrandomisation, then 6, 12 and 18 months after the first infusion. The primary endpoint was the number of relapses (new or reappearing symptom(s) or worsening disease with Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score (BVAS)>0) at month 28 evaluated by an independent Adjudication Committee blinded to treatment group.
Results: Among the 162 patients (mean age: 60 years; 42% women) included, 117 (72.2%) had GPA and 45 (27.8%) had MPA. Preinclusion induction therapy included cyclophosphamide for 100 (61.7%), rituximab for 61 (37.6%) and methotrexate for 1 (0.6%). At month 28, 21 patients had suffered 22 relapses: 14/81 (17.3%) in 13 tailored-infusion recipients and 8/81 (9.9%) in 8 fixed-schedule patients (p=0.22). The tailored-infusion versus fixed-schedule group, respectively, received 248 vs 381 infusions, with medians (IQR) of 3 (2-4) vs 5 (5-5) administrations.
Conclusion: AAV relapse rates did not differ significantly between individually tailored and fixed-schedule rituximab regimens. Individually tailored-arm patients received fewer rituximab infusions.
Trial registration number: NCT01731561; Results.
Keywords: ANCA; ANCA vasculitis; CD19+ B lymphocytes; granulomatosis with polyangiitis; microscopic polyangiitis.
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