Safety and efficacy of B-cell depletion with rituximab for the treatment of systemic sclerosis–associated pulmonary arterial hypertension: A multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

NIH ASC01 Study Group

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19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Week 24, the adjusted mean change in 6MWD at 24 weeks favored the treatment arm but did not reach statistical significance (23.6 6 11.1 m vs. 0.5 6 9.7 m; P = 0.12). Although a negative study, when data through Week 48 were also considered, the estimated change in 6MWD at Week 24 was 25.5 6 8.8 m for rituximab and 0.4 6 7.4 m for placebo (P = 0.03). Rituximab treatment appeared to be safe and well tolerated. Low levels of RF (rheumatoid factor), IL-12, and IL-17 were sensitive and specific as favorable predictors of a rituximab response as measured by an improved 6MWD (receiver operating characteristic area under the curve, 0.88–0.95). Conclusions: B-cell depletion therapy is a potentially effective and safe adjuvant treatment for SSc-PAH. Future studies in these patients can confirm whether the identified biomarkers predict rituximab responsiveness. Rationale: Systemic sclerosis (SSc)–pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is one of the most prevalent and deadly forms of PAH. B cells may contribute to SSc pathogenesis. Objectives: We investigated the safety and efficacy of B-cell depletion for SSc-PAH. Methods: In an NIH-sponsored, multicenter, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial, 57 patients with SSc-PAH on stable-dose standard medical therapy received two infusions of 1,000 mg rituximab or placebo administered 2 weeks apart. The primary outcome measure was the change in 6-minute-walk distance (6MWD) at 24 weeks. Secondary endpoints included safety and invasive hemodynamics. We applied a machine learning approach to predict drug responsiveness. Measurements and Main Results: We randomized 57 subjects from 2010 to 2018. In the primary analysis, using data through.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Volume204
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021

Keywords

  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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