Rituximab to Treat Hepatitis C-Associated Cryoglobulinemic Vasculitis

23:34 EDT 26th March 2015 | BioPortfolio


This study will examine the safety and effectiveness of the drug Rituximab in treating hepatitis C-associated cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. About 5 percent of patients with hepatitis C develop cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. This syndrome, characterized by inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis), may involve the skin, joints, kidneys, nerves and other sites, and cause skin rashes, joint pain, weakness, fatigue, and numbness. About 10 to 30 percent of patients develop kidney disease, which, in some cases, can lead to kidney failure.

Although the cause of cryoglobulinemic vasculitis is not known, a critical component is the presence of cryoglobulins-abnormal proteins that white blood cells called B lymphocytes produce in response to the chronic hepatitis C infection. Rituximab decreases the number of B cells. The Food and Drug Administration approved Rituximab in 1997 for the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Patients between 18 and 75 years of age with hepatitis C and signs and symptoms of cryoglobulinemic vasculitis may be eligible for this study. They must have failed, or been unable to tolerate, treatment with IFN-a and ribavirin. Candidates will be screened with a history and physical examination, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood and urine tests, 24-hour urine collection and chest X-ray, if clinically indicated.

Participants will be randomly assigned to receive Rituximab upon entering the study or 6 months after entering the study. Those whose treatment is delayed 6 months will be followed once a month at NIH for disease evaluation and blood tests during that time.

Patients will be given Rituximab intravenously (through a vein) once a week for 4 weeks. For the first dose, patients will be admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours after the infusion for monitoring. Subsequent infusions will be given on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on how the infusion is tolerated. The day before each infusion they will have a history and physical examination, blood work, and other tests, such as X-rays, as clinically indicated.

After the four infusions, patients will be followed for drug side effects and response to treatment. They will have blood tests every week for 4 weeks and will then return to NIH for 1 day every month for 12 months for a physical examination, blood tests, and X-rays, if medically indicated. Visits may be more frequent, if necessary, and patients may be asked to stay longer than a day if test findings requ...


The purpose of this study is to assess the safety and efficacy of Rituximab (anti-CD20) in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C associated cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (HCV-CV) who have failed or are intolerant to interferon-alpha/ribavirin therapy. Up to 75 patients may be screened to enroll 34 adult patients with active HCV-CV in this randomized, non-blinded phase I/II trial. Patients will be randomized to receive either Rituximab 375 mg/M(2) on days 1, 8, 15 and 22 beginning at the time of enrollment or 6 months following enrollment. Patients in both groups will be maintained on stable doses of any immunosuppressive therapies that they were receiving at the time of enrollment. Response to Rituximab will be assessed by clinical and laboratory parameters.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Hepatitis C




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
United States




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans due to infection by VIRUSES. There are several significant types of human viral hepatitis with infection caused by enteric-transmission (HEPATITIS A; HEPATITIS E) or blood transfusion (HEPATITIS B; HEPATITIS C; and HEPATITIS D).

A family of hepatotropic DNA viruses which contains double-stranded DNA genomes and causes hepatitis in humans and animals. There are two genera: AVIHEPADNAVIRUS and ORTHOHEPADNAVIRUS. Hepadnaviruses include HEPATITIS B VIRUS, duck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, DUCK), heron hepatitis B virus, ground squirrel hepatitis virus, and woodchuck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, WOODCHUCK).

A species in the genus HEPATOVIRUS containing one serotype and two strains: HUMAN HEPATITIS A VIRUS and Simian hepatitis A virus causing hepatitis in humans (HEPATITIS A) and primates, respectively.

INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS DELTA VIRUS, a defective RNA virus that can only infect HEPATITIS B patients. For its viral coating, hepatitis delta virus requires the HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGENS produced by these patients. Hepatitis D can occur either concomitantly with (coinfection) or subsequent to (superinfection) hepatitis B infection. Similar to hepatitis B, it is primarily transmitted by parenteral exposure, such as transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products, but can also be transmitted via sexual or intimate personal contact.

INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS C VIRUS, a single-stranded RNA virus. Its incubation period is 30-90 days. Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily by contaminated blood parenterally, and is often associated with transfusion and intravenous drug abuse. However, in a significant number of cases, the source of hepatitis C infection is unknown.

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