Published online Jul 12, 2013. doi: 10.5499/wjr.v3.i2.9
Revised: April 23, 2013
Accepted: June 1, 2013
Published online: July 12, 2013
Evidence suggests that B cells may participate in the fibrotic process Based on this experimental evidence, treatment with rituximab (RTX) has been tried in systemic sclerosis (SSc) with promising results. In a randomized controlled study from our research group it was shown that treatment with 2 courses of RTX leads to a significant improvement of lung function at 1 year compared to baseline. All relevant studies have so far reported clinical and/or histologic improvement of skin fibrosis something that adds further evidence in favor of a disease modifying role of RTX in SSc. It is more than obvious that novel therapies for SSc-associated lung disease are needed. A large scale, randomized, controlled study assessing the efficacy of RTX in SSc associated interstitial lung disease is warranted. If RTX turns out to be effective it would be a major therapeutic advance in SSc since it can be administered on a long term basis due to its acceptable safety profile.
Core tip: Rituximab (RTX) may be an effective treatment for systemic sclerosis (SSc)-associated interstitial lung disease (ILD). A large scale study assessing the efficacy of RTX in SSc associated ILD is warranted. If RTX turns out to be effective, it would be a major therapeutic advance in SSc since it can be administered on a long term basis due to its acceptable safety profile.