De-escalation of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (Rituximab) protocols in Pemphigus Vulgaris–a systematic review

Jessica McClatchy, Tami Yap, Kendrick Koo, Johannes S. Kern, Laura Scardamaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Introduction: This review assesses current evidence supporting dose de-escalated rituximab therapy in pemphigus vulgaris, compared to standard protocols. Primary outcome measures were remission and relapse rates. Adverse effects, cumulative steroid dosages, and serological markers of disease activity were also reported. Areas covered: A literature search was performed to look for reports describing the use of de-escalated rituximab therapy in pemphigus vulgaris. Results from heterogenous studies showed a large variation in remission and relapse rates. Complete remission rates from de-escalated treatment ranged from 41.7 to 100.0%, while rates in the control groups ranged from 60.0 to 90.9%. Relapse rates varied from 8.0 to 81.3% in the de-escalated group and from 0.0 to 72.4% in the control group. Of the 165 patients included in this report, only two major adverse effects were reported. Expert Opinion: Overall, dose de-escalated rituximab protocols reported to date appear effective and safe. However, it is unclear if treatment effect parallels that of standard regimens in regard to disease control in the long term. A lower limit of effective dosing for rituximab in pemphigus vulgaris has not yet been reached or defined. The role for and timing of repeated cycles of low-dose rituximab therapy require further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1591-1601
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-CD20
  • dose de-escalation
  • low dose
  • pemphigus vulgaris
  • rituximab

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