• B lymphocyte;
  • Autoantibody;
  • Immune suppression;
  • Rituximab;
  • Bullous skin diseases


Autoimmune bullous skin disorders are induced by autoantibodies against distinct adhesion complexes of the epidermal and dermal-epidermal junction. Since most of these disorders are characterized by a severe, potentially lethal course,they require long-term immunosuppressive treatment to reduce the de novo synthesis of pathogenic autoantibodies by B lymphocytes. Rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody against CD20 on B lymphocytes, has shown promise in several case reports or cohort studies in the treatment of paraneo-plastic pemphigus,refractory cases of pemphigus vulgaris and foliaceus and in other autoimmune bullous disorders.Treatment with rituximab leads to depletion of pathogenic B-cells which may last up to 12 months resulting in a reduction of plasma cells secreting pathogenic autoantibodies.Rituximab is usually administered in an adjuvant setting at a dose of 375 mg/m2 weekly intervals for four consecutive weeks in addition to the standard immunosuppressive treatment.The present consensus statement of German-speaking derma-tologists,rheumatologists and oncologists summarizes and evaluates the current evidence for the use and mode of application of rituximab in autoimmune bullous skin disorders.