Refractory autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura: Responses to treatment with a recombinant antibody to lymphocyte membrane antigen CD20 (rituximab)



“Refractory” autoimmune thrombocytopenia represents a life-threatening condition, having failed to respond to a variety of therapeutic measures. We report a series of cases, all failing splenectomy and multiple therapeutic programs, including, in two patients, marrow transplant. Five of the six cases reported responded to a recombinant antibody to the lymphocyte membrane antigen CD20 (rituximab), an agent commonly employed in the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Our experiences over a period of 4 years are documented. The results support the use of this product, rituximab, in the treatment of patients with autoimmune thrombocytopenia who have not attained a hemostatically effective platelet count following splenectomy and require a continuing therapeutic management program. Am. J. Hematol. 74:263–267, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.