The use of rituximab as an adjuvant in the treatment of oral pemphigus vulgaris.J Oral Pathol Med. 2020 Jan; 49(1):91-95.JO
Pemphigus vulgaris patients with exclusive oral involvement (OPV) treated with conventional immunosuppressive therapy may be non-responders or experience severe side effects and/or relapses. In such cases, rituximab could be used as an adjuvant in recalcitrant OPV patients.
A retrospective single-center study on patients with oral pemphigus vulgaris treated with RTX at a dose of 375 mg/m2 was performed, evaluating the complete clinical and immunological remission, side effects of RTX, and possible correlation between anti-desmoglein (Dsg) 3 antibodies and clinical remission.
We treated 10 OPV patients, of which 60% had a moderate and 40% mild disease severity before therapy with RTX. Complete clinical remission (CCR) was achieved in 100% of OPV patients, of which 20% developed side effects and 20% experienced a relapse in a mean time of 15.2 ± 10.2 weeks. The mean time for CCR was achieved in 19.8 ± 10.3 weeks, whereas the duration of the CCR consisted in 37.4 ± 33.5 weeks. OPV patients underwent a mean follow-up of 57.2 ± 37.7 weeks. In all patients, the mean of pemphigus disease area index (PDAI) decreased from 20.3 ± 14.1 to 0.4 ± 0.0, whereas the mean Dsg3 value dropped from 157.1 ± 40.6 to 67.0 ± 26.6 after therapy with RTX. However, no correlation was found between PDAI and anti-Dsg3 antibodies before and after therapy with RTX (P > .05).
RTX represents a valid and safe alternative as an adjuvant in OPV patients with low rate of relapses and side effects.