Rituximab for the treatment of refractory idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP): Report of three cases



Three patients (one with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [ITP] and two with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura [TTP]) were treated with rituximab (anti-CD20 chimeric antibody) at a dose of 325 mg/m2 administered weekly after they failed standard therapies. The patient with ITP who did not respond to steroids and anti-D antibody administration achieved augmentation of her platelet counts up to 180 × 103/μL after four doses of rituximab. Six months later, when her counts started to decrease, she received maintenance therapy with an additional course of 4 standard doses of antibody that resulted in consolidation of her platelet counts around 100 × 103/μL. One patient with TTP and concurrent idiopathic nephropathy who was previously treated with plasmapheresis, steroids, and vincristine improved only after 4 weekly administrations of the antibody. Moreover, his nephrotic-range proteinuria resolved after he received rituximab. The other patient with chronic TTP who still relapsed after splenectomy received 5 doses of rituximab with concomitant plasmapheresis. His thrombocytopenia improved slowly, and his platelet count stabilized at 300 × 103/μL. All three patients showed evidence of response to anti-CD20 antibody with improvement in clinical outcome as well as augmentation of platelet counts to normal levels. We conclude that rituximab is a useful immunomodulating adjunct in the treatment of refractory ITP and TTP. Am. J. Hematol. 78:49–54, 2005. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.