Rituximab for the Primary Treatment of Denovo Extensive Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD)

2014-08-27 03:12:16 | BioPortfolio


Rituximab is an attractive agent to bring to the upfront treatment of cGVHD due to its favorable toxicity profile, its proven efficacy in the treatment of steroid-refractory chronic GVHD, and its ability to serve as a steroid sparing agent in other autoimmune diseases. The investigators hope to demonstrate that Rituximab has significant activity in chronic GVHD when utilized early in the course of the process. In addition, the investigators hope to show that the early use of Rituximab may allow for the earlier discontinuation of immunosuppression while obviating the need for long courses of systemic corticosteroids, which should translate into reduced treatment-related morbidity and mortality associated with cGVHD.


Although allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) remains an important curative therapy for many patients with hematological malignancies, treatment-related morbidity and mortality continue to be a major challenge. Chronic GVHD remains a major complication following allogeneic HSCT, with more than half of patients being affected. Although chronic GVHD has been associated with decreased relapse risk due to the well documented graft-versus-malignancy effect, it is also associated with significant adverse consequences in terms of morbidity, mortality, quality-of-life, and treatment costs associated with HSCT.

Rituximab has been investigated in a small number of patients with refractory cGVHD using the standard regimen of 375 mg/m2/week for 4 weeks. Ratanatharathorn et al. documented a sustained response in four of eight patients with steroid-refractory cGVHD with diffuse or localized sclerodermatous manifestations. Similarly, Canninga-vanDijk et al. and Okamoto et al. observed cases with clinical, laboratory and histological improvement after Rituximab treatment. Cutler et al. reported the results of their phase I-II study with Rituximab in 21 patients with steroid-refractory cGVHD. Treatment was well tolerated, and toxicity limited to infectious events, without any hematological toxicities and only a significant reduction in circulating immunoglobulins documented after therapy. Objective responses were documented in 70% of patients (including 10% complete response) primarily for those with skin and musculoskeletal involvement, allowing tapering, and in some cases withdrawing, of previous immunosuppressant therapy. A correlation between clinical response and decrease in the titre of antibodies against Y chromosome-encoded minor HLA antigens was shown. The results of these preliminary studies highlight the potential therapeutic activity of Rituximab on some cGVHD manifestations and a particularly high efficacy for skin involvement, including scleroderma. Recently, Zaja et al. confirmed the activity of Rituximab in refractory cGVHD in a larger series of 38 patients. Treatment was generally well tolerated and nearly 60% and 50% of patients had a clinical improvement of their skin and mouth manifestations, respectively. The median time-to-response was nearly 2 months and in some cases responses were durable. Responses were also detectable in some patients with eye, liver, lung, gut and joint involvement, allowing reduction and/or suspension of previous baseline immunosuppressive therapy in a significant number of patients

Study Design

Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Extensive Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease




Northside Hospital
United States


Not yet recruiting


Northside Hospital, Inc.

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:12:16-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An immunological attack mounted by a graft against the host because of tissue incompatibility when immunologically competent cells are transplanted to an immunologically incompetent host; the resulting clinical picture is that of GRAFT VS HOST DISEASE.

The clinical entity characterized by anorexia, diarrhea, loss of hair, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, growth retardation, and eventual death brought about by the GRAFT VS HOST REACTION.

The immune responses of a host to a graft. A specific response is GRAFT REJECTION.

The survival of a graft in a host, the factors responsible for the survival and the changes occurring within the graft during growth in the host.

Manipulation of the host's immune system in treatment of disease. It includes both active and passive immunization as well as immunosuppressive therapy to prevent graft rejection.

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Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders are conditions that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders. Normally the immune system's white blood cells help protect ...

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