Remission induction therapy with rituximab for microscopic polyangiitis: A feasibility study

Ayako Saito, Yoichi Takeuchi, Saeko Kagaya, Yoshie Ojima, Hirotaka Fukami, Hiroyuki Sato, Ken Matsuda, Tasuku Nagasawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) is systemic vascular inflammation. Microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) is a major type of AAV in Japan. MPA often affects the kidneys and lungs, leading to death if untreated. Induction therapy (i.e., initial treatment) for MPA has not been optimized, although methylprednisolone and cyclophosphamide are commonly used. Recently, rituximab (RTX) (a monoclonal antibody against the protein CD20) has also been used to treat refractory AAV. RTX at 375 mg/m2/week for 4 weeks (i.e., the conventional lymphoma dosing schedule) is used, but the optimal dosing schedule is controversial. Indeed, a single-dose of RTX successfully controlled nephrotic syndrome. However, to date, the effectiveness of a single RTX dose in treating MPA has not been fully investigated in Japan. This was a retrospective observational study. Six newly diagnosed patients with MPA were initially treated with methylprednisolone and a single dose of RTX (375 mg/m2). We investigated the patients’ clinical features, as well as the efficacy and safety of RTX treatment. All patients attained remission on a tapered prednisolone dose of < 10 mg/day during the first 12 months. One patient relapsed after 12 months whereas another required hospitalization owing to infective spondyloarthritis. Adverse reactions to RTX infusion and late-onset neutropenia were not observed. Therefore, a single-dose treatment with RTX induced remission with few complications, and allowed tapering the prednisolone treatment. We conclude that a single dose of RTX is a promising induction therapy for MPA, reducing the cost associated with multiple doses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May


  • ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • B cell depletion
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Microscopic polyangiitis
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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