Efficacy and safety of rituximab in Korean patients with refractory inflammatory myopathies

Ga Young Ahn, Chang Hee Suh, Yong Gil Kim, Yong Beom Park, Seung Cheol Shim, Sang Heon Lee, Shin Seok Lee, Sang Cheol Bae, Dae Hyun Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rituximab (RTX), a monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to CD20+ B cells, showed favorable outcomes in patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) in small case series, but the evidence is still not enough. Our goal was to determine the efficacy and safety of RTX for Korean patients with refractory IIM. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 16 patients with refractory IIM treated with RTX in seven tertiary rheumatology clinics in the Korea. The efficacy of RTX was evaluated with the improvement of serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) level and physician's global assessment (PGA), and daily corticosteroid dose reduction. A > 25% decrease in CPK level, corticosteroid dose, or PGA was considered significant. A complete response (CR) was designated by meeting three efficacy criteria and a partial response (PR) by only two criteria. Results: Sixteen patients with IIM were evaluated (13 female; median age, 51.8 years). All patients had received at least one conventional immunosuppressive agent (median, 3.6 [2.0-5.0]) and concomitant corticosteroids. The median CPK level and median dose of prednisolone was 421.0 units/L and 20.0 mg/day respectively. Eleven patients were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin. Seven patients received 2,000 mg of RTX and the others received lower dose. Twenty-four weeks after RTX treatment, 11 patients achieved a > 25% reduction in corticosteroid dose and CPK levels, and nine showed improved PGA. The overall response rate was 68.8% (11 patients). At the end of follow-up (median 24 weeks), 12 (75.0%) patients responded overall: four (25.0%) and eight (50.0%) patients achieved CR and PR, respectively. Baseline muscle enzyme levels were higher in responders than non-responders, but disease duration, RTX dose, ESR and serum CRP were not significantly different between the two groups. The rate of adverse event was 25.4/1,000 person-years. Conclusion: RTX could be an effective and relatively safe therapeutic option in patients with refractory IIM.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere335
JournalJournal of Korean medical science
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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