Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a life-threatening disease that occurs mainly in young adults. Acquired cases are usually a result of antibodies directed against ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease [reprolysin type] with thrombospondin type 1 motif 13), a protease that cleaves the von Willebrand factor multimers. Prognosis has been improved by plasma therapy, but some acute severe forms are refractory to this treatment and achieving a sustained remission is still a challenge in chronic relapsing forms. We therefore conducted a multicentric open-label prospective trial to test the efficacy of rituximab, an anti-B-cell monoclonal antibody, as a curative and prophylactic treatment in patients with TTP as a result of anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies. Six patients were included during an acute refractory TTP episode. Five patients with severe relapsing TTP and persistent anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies were prophylactically treated during remission. All patients received 4 weekly infusions of rituximab. The target of treatment was to restore a significant ADAMTS13 plasma activity (> 10%). Treatment with rituximab led to clinical remission in all cases of acute refractory TTP. In all patients, anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies disappeared, and a significant (18%-75%) plasma ADAMTS13 activity was detected following treatment. Tolerance of rituximab was good. Rituximab is a promising first-line immunosuppressive treatment in patients with acute refractory and severe relapsing TTP related to anti-ADAMTS13 antibodies.
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