Long-lasting treatment effect of rituximab in MuSK myasthenia

J. Díaz-Manera, E. Martínez-Hernández, L. Querol, R. Klooster, R. Rojas-Garciá, X. Suaŕez-Calvet, J. L. Munõz-Blanco, C. Mazia, K. R. Straasheijm, E. Gallardo, C. Juaŕez, J. J. Verschuuren, I. Illa

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232 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Rituximab has emerged as an efficacious option for drug-resistant myasthenia gravis (MG). However, reports published only describe the short-term follow-up of patients treated and little is known about their long-term clinical and immunologic evolution. Our objective was to report the clinical and immunologic long-term follow-up of 17 patients (6 MuSK+MG and 11 AChR+MG) and compare the response between AChR+MG and MuSK+MG patients. Methods: Myasthenia Gravis Foundation America postintervention status and changes in treatment and antibody titers were periodically determined. Lymphocyte subpopulations, total immunoglobulin, immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-MuSK subclasses, and anti-tetanus toxoid IgG before and after treatment were also studied. Results: After a mean post-treatment period of 31 months, 10 of the AChR+MG patients improved but 6 of them needed reinfusions. In contrast, all MuSK+MG patients achieved a remission (4/6) or minimal manifestations (2/6) status and no reinfusions were needed. Consequently, in the MuSK+MG group, prednisone doses were significantly reduced and concomitant immunosuppressants could be withdrawn. Clinical improvement was associated with a significant decrease in the antibody titers only in the 6 MuSK+MG patients. At last follow-up MuSK antibodies were negative in 3 of these patients and showed a decrease of over 80% in the other 3. Conclusion: In view of the long-lasting benefit observed in MuSK+MG patients, we recommend to use rituximab as an early therapeutic option in this group of patients with MG if they do not respond to prednisone. Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that IV rituximab improves the clinical and immunologic status of patients with MuSK+MG. Copyright © 2012 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
JournalNeurology
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2012

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