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Rituximab therapy in adult patients with relapsed or refractory immune thrombocytopenic purpura: long-term follow-up results

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Abstract Objective: 

To evaluate the long-term activity and toxicity profile of rituximab in adult patients with idiopathic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Patients and methods: 

Twenty-six patients with active and symptomatic ITP relapsed or refractory received weekly infusions of rituximab 375 mg/m2 for 4 wk. Median time from diagnosis to rituximab was 34.5 months. The following parameters of efficacy and toxicity were considered: complete response (CR) and partial response (PR), relapse rate, relapse-free survival (RFS), therapy-free survival (TFS), short- and long-term toxicity. Results: 

CR and PR were 14/26 (54%) and 4/26 (15%), respectively. Median time of observation was 56.5 months (range 39–77). Nine of the 18 responding patients relapsed after a median of 21 months (range 8–66); 9/26 patients (35%) maintained the response, with a median follow-up of 57 months (range 39–69), and 11/26 (42%) did not necessitate further therapy; estimated 5 yr RFS and TFS were 61% and 72%, respectively. Younger age and shorter interval from diagnosis to rituximab appeared indicators of better outcome. Rituximab administration was associated with two episodes of short-term toxicity, with one case of serum sickness syndrome; no infectious or other significant long-term complications were documented. Conclusion: 

Rituximab therapy may achieve long-lasting remission in nearly one-third of patients with relapsed or refractory ITP, with a good safety profile.
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Keywords: immune thrombocytopenic purpura; long-term activity; rituximab

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Clinica Ematologica, DIRM, University of Udine, Udine, Italy 2: Istituto di Ematologia ed Oncologia Medica L. e A. Seragnoli, Bologna, Italy 3: Istituto di Statistica, DIRM, University of Udine, Udine, Italy

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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