Long-term survival after lymphocytotoxic monoclonal antibody therapy for rheumatoid arthritis
© BioMed Central Ltd 2005
Received: 11 January 2005
Published: 17 February 2005
In the early 1990s, we used the monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab (MabCampath, Schering AG, Berlin, Germany) to treat patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis. This treatment provided temporary relief of symptoms but was associated with long-term lymphopenia, particularly of T lymphocytes . We continue to follow these patients to exclude any adverse effects of their long-term lymphopenia.
The objective of the current study was to compare 10-year mortality in this patient cohort with mortality in a control patient cohort.
Fifty-three rheumatoid arthritis patients that received alemtuzumab (median dose, 172 mg; range, 1–420 mg) between 1991 and 1994 (cases) were monitored via the Office for National Statistics Central Registry, to ensure notification of death. A retrospective, matched-cohort study of mortality was performed with 102 control subjects selected from the European League Against Rheumatism database. This database comprises patients with rheumatic disorders who have received immunosuppressive drugs, usually cyclophosphamide or azathioprine.
Despite long-term lymphopenia, there was no excess mortality in recipients of alemtuzumab at a median follow-up of 10.3 years from treatment.
This work was supported by Ilex Oncology, Inc. and the Arthritis Research Campaign
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