Two cases of refractory warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia treated with rituximab



Autoimmune hemolytic anemia is thought to be mediated via auto-antibodies produced by lymphoid B cells. This may be an idiopathic process or secondary to an underlying infection or lymphoproliferative disorder. Conventional treatment comprises immunosuppression with corticosteroids and, in some cases, splenectomy. A proportion of patients require lifelong immunosuppression to maintain disease remission. Monoclonal antibody rituximab has gained widespread acceptance in the management of B-cell malignancies. Additionally, it has been used to treat disorders associated with auto-antibody production, such as cold hemagglutinin disease, immune thrombocytopenia, and Evans syndrome. Its use in the treatment of patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia in the setting of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation as well as in patients with an underlying lymphoproliferative disease has also been reported. We report herein the successful use of rituximab in the treatment of two patients with idiopathic refractory warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia, who are still in remission at 15 and 9 months following treatment. Am. J. Hematol. 78:123–126, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss,Inc.