B-cell depletion induces prolonged remission in patients with giant cell hepatitis and autoimmune hemolytic anemia

Lorenza Matarazzo, Teresa Di Chio, Silvia Nastasio, Alberto Tommasini, Alessando Ventura, Giuseppe Maggiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Giant cell hepatitis with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (GCH-AHA) is a rare and severe immune-mediated disorder. Despite aggressive immunosuppressive treatments, the mortality is high. Prednisone has been effectively employed to achieve remission, but with a risk of relapse, if discontinued, and with severe side effects. A possible causative role of humoral immune response has paved the way to anti CD-20 monoclonal antibody (rituximab; RTX). Nevertheless, data about timing of remission and long-term side effects are sparse. Methods and matherials: We have retrospectively evaluated 3 refractory GCH-AHA patients in whom a prolonged remission has been achieved with RTX. In all patients, response to first and second line therapy was incomplete or transitory and severe steroid side effects occurred. Results: A stable and sustained remission was achieved after multiple doses of RTX allowing withdrawing all the other treatments. No life-threatening infections have been recorded, however two patients developed persistent, paucisymptomatic hypogammaglobulinaemia. The only patient who did not develop hypogammaglobulinemia received IgG replacement during RTX. Conclusion: RTX induced complete and long-lasting remission allowing discontinuing all the other immunosuppressive drugs. A persistent, paucisymptomatic hypogammaglobulinaemia has been the unique side effect. Although further studies need to replicate our data, RTX can be considered as an effective and safe therapy for sustained remission in patients with severe refractory GCH-AHA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
JournalClinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020



  • Giant cell hepatitis with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (GCH-AHA)
  • Hypogammaglobulinemia
  • Rituximab (RTX)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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