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Regression of peripheral and pulmonary rheumatoid nodules under therapy with rituximab

, : Regression of peripheral and pulmonary rheumatoid nodules under therapy with rituximab. Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie 72(2): 166-171

We report on a retrospective study of 16 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with reduction in size of pulmonary and peripheral rheumatoid nodules following treatment with rituximab (RTX). The 8 female and 8 male patients had an average disease duration of 12.2 years, 88 % were anti-CCP positive and 94 % seropositive. Prior treatment included an average of 2.9 DMARD and 1.4 biological therapies. On average 6.1 rheumatoid nodules were found on hands and elbows and 5 patients had pulmonary nodules. In 6 out of 16 patients the nodules disappeared completely, in 2 patients a pulmonary nodule disappeared. In 10 out of 16 patients the size of the nodules decreased by approximately 50%, 1 out of the 16 patients with significant increase in size and number of nodules prior to RTX therapy showed a reduction in size but no new nodules occurred. The regression in size of the nodules occurred 34.2±39.1 weeks following RTX therapy, correlating with 1.3±0.59 RTX infusion cycles. Overall, increases in size or new nodules were reported in none of the patients. One nodule examined histologically following RTX therapy did not show any specific differences. RTX may lead to a marked reduction in size of rheumatoid nodules in RA patients. More studies are necessary to confirm whether this is an RTX-specific effect.


PMID: 23052405

DOI: 10.1007/s00393-012-1054-0

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