International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-011-0855-2 Pages: 578-585

Rituximab for prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease

1. American University of Beirut, Division of Hematology-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Department of Internal Medicine

2. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Division of Hematological Malignancies, Department of Medical Oncology

Correspondence to:
Corey S. Cutler
Email: corey_cutler@dfci.harvard.edu

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Abstract

Growing understanding of the important role of B lymphocytes in alloreactivity has paved the way for evaluating anti-B cell therapy with rituximab in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. Data suggesting a beneficial reduction in incidence and severity of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) are limited to non-randomized studies from single institutions using higher than conventional doses of rituximab. Additionally, rituximab is used as an effective treatment of corticosteroid-refractory chronic GVHD with good responses, particularly in cases of dermatologic and mucosal involvement. Post-transplant administration of rituximab appears to reduce the rate of chronic GVHD in preliminary studies.

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