Effect of Continuous B Cell Depletion With Rituximab on Pathogenic Autoantibodies and Total IgG Levels in Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody–Associated Vasculitis

Frank B. Cortazar, William F. Pendergraft, Julia Wenger, Charles T. Owens, Karen Laliberte, John L. Niles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the effect of rituximab on pathogenic autoantibodies and total Ig levels, and to identify serious adverse events in patients with antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)–associated vasculitis (AAV) treated with continuous B cell depletion. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 239 patients with AAV treated with rituximab-induced continuous B cell depletion. Two treatment cohorts were analyzed: an induction group (n = 52) and a maintenance group (n = 237). Changes in ANCA titers and total Ig levels over time were evaluated using mixed-effects models. Risk factors for serious infections during maintenance treatment were evaluated using Poisson regression. Results: During induction, IgG levels fell at a mean rate of 6% per month (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 4, 8%), while ANCA levels declined at a mean rate of 47% per month (95% CI 42, 52%) and 48% per month (95% CI 42, 54%) for patients with antimyeloperoxidase (anti-MPO) antibodies and those with anti–proteinase 3 (anti-PR3) antibodies, respectively. During maintenance treatment, with a median duration of 2.4 years (interquartile range 1.5, 4.0 years), IgG levels declined a mean of 0.6% per year (95% CI −0.2, 1.4%). New significant hypogammaglobulinemia (IgG level of <400 mg/dl) during maintenance treatment occurred in 4.6% of the patients, all of whom were in the lowest baseline IgG quartile. Serious infections during maintenance therapy occurred at a rate of 0.85 per 10 patient-years (95% CI 0.66, 1.1) and were independently associated with an IgG level of <400 mg/dl. Conclusion: B cell–targeted therapy causes a preferential decline in ANCA titers relative to total IgG levels. Despite prolonged maintenance therapy with rituximab, IgG levels remain essentially constant. Serious infections were rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1045-1053
Number of pages9
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Volume69
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology

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