Publications by authors named "Federica Pulvirenti"

30 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Human herpesvirus-8-positive primary effusion lymphoma in HIV-negative patients: Single institution case series with a multidisciplinary characterization.

Cancer Cytopathol 2021 Jan 10;129(1):62-74. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Department of Radiological, Oncological and Pathological Sciences, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a very rare non-Hodgkin lymphoma caused by human herpesvirus-8 (HHV8) that grows in liquid phase within body cavities. The diagnosis of PEL is based on cytology but requires confirmatory ancillary tests. PEL occurs mainly in association with HIV infection. This study describes 9 cases of PEL in HIV-negative patients and compares their characteristics with 10 HIV-associated cases of PEL diagnosed at a single institution in Italy between 1995 and 2019.

Methods: Clinical records were reviewed for demographic data, comorbidities, laboratory abnormalities, and outcome. PEL samples were evaluated for cytomorphology, immunophenotype, immunoglobulin (IG)/T cell receptor (TR) rearrangements, and HHV8 and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) viral loads in effusion supernatants.

Results: HIV-unrelated PEL occurred in 8 elderly patients (7 men, 1 woman) and 1 young adult with primary antibody deficiency. Cytology revealed HHV8-positive lymphoma cells lacking B/T cell antigens and exhibiting 2 cell patterns (polymorphous or monotonous). IG was clonally rearranged in all cases; aberrant TRG occurred in 2 cases. Effusion supernatants had more than 10 HHV8 DNA copies per mL and variable loads of EBV DNA. Compared with HIV-associated PEL, the HIV-negative cohort was characterized by older age, less frequent association with Kaposi sarcoma and/or multicentric Castleman disease, comparable but less abnormal laboratory parameters, and a nonsignificant survival benefit. PEL cases with low apoptosis were associated with better prognosis.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, our case series of HIV-unrelated PEL is the largest thus far, expands the spectrum of cytological findings, and supports the need for a multidisciplinary approach in the diagnostic workup.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncy.22344DOI Listing
January 2021

IGA Antibody Induced by Immunization With Pneumococcal Polysaccharides Is a Prognostic Tool in Common Variable Immune Deficiencies.

Front Immunol 2020 24;11:1283. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

The evaluation of the response to vaccination in patients with inborn errors of immunity is a tool to evaluate T-dependent and T-independent antibody residual function of B lymphocytes and it is part of the diagnostic definition for Common Variable Immune Deficiencies. Currently used classifications for Common Variable Immune Deficiencies patients are based on the frequency of B cell subsets, and have been proven as a valid instrument for identification of patients at higher risk of infectious and non-infectious complications. This 6-years period observational study delineated the measurement of specific IgA antibodies induced by a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharides vaccine by a standardized ELISA for the quantification of IgA antibodies to all 23 pneumococcal serotypes as an additional prognostic marker in 74 CVID patients. The inability to mount an IgA-mediated response against the pneumococcal polysaccharide antigens or the inability to maintain the antibody response over time identified poor IgA CVID responders with severe immunological impairment, great risk of co-morbidities, and poor prognosis. The division of CVID patient into specific IgA-non responders and IgA-responders discriminated better than other CVID classifications for infectious risk, while it overlapped for non-infectious complications. Our study suggested to add the evaluation of the antibody response by the 23-valent IgA assay in the clinical monitoring of CVID patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01283DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336165PMC
April 2021

Serum Free Light Chains in Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disorders: Role in Differential Diagnosis and Association With Clinical Phenotype.

Front Immunol 2020 31;11:319. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Medicine-DIMED, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

We report on an observational, multicenter study of 345 adult CVID patients, designed to assess the diagnostic value and the clinical association of serum free light chain (sFLC) pattern in Common Variable Immunodeficiency disorders (CVID). Sixty CVID patients were tested twice in order to assess intraindividual variability of sFLC. As control groups we included 138 patients affected by undefined primary antibody defects (UAD), lymphoproliferative diseases (LPDs), and secondary antibody deficiencies not related to hematological malignancies (SID). CVID patients presented lower κ and λ chain concentration compared to controls, showing low intraindividual sFLC variability. On the basis of the sFLC pattern, patients were classified into four groups: κ-λ+, κ+λ-, κ-λ-, κ+λ+. The most common pattern in CVID patients was κ-λ- (51%), followed by κ-λ+, (25%), κ+λ+ (22%), and κ+λ- (3%). In UAD, LPD, and SID groups κ+λ+ was the most common pattern observed. By analyzing the possible association between sFLC patterns and disease-related complications of CVID, we observed that patients belonging to the κ-λ- group presented more commonly unexplained enteropathy compared to the κ+λ+ group and showed higher frequency of bronchiectasis and splenomegaly compared to both the κ-λ+ and κ+λ+ patients. When compared to the other groups, κ-λ- had also lower serum IgG, IgA, and IgM concentrations at diagnosis, lower frequency of CD27+IgD-IgM- switched memory B cells, and higher frequency of CD21 B cells, receiving earlier CVID diagnosis. Thus, lower levels of sFLC might be an epiphenomenon of impairment in B cell differentiation, possibly leading κ-λ- patients to a higher risk for bacterial infections and chronic lung damage. Based on these results, we suggest adding sFLC assay to the diagnostic work-up of hypogammaglobulinemia and during follow-up. The assay may be useful to differentiate CVID from other causes of hypogammaglobulinemia and to early detect monoclonal lymphoproliferation occurring over years. Moreover, since the sFLC pattern seems to be related to disease phenotypes and clinical manifestations of CVID and after confirmation by further studies, sFLC assay might be considered a promising prognostic tool for identifying patients at higher risk of developing enteropathy and chronic lung damage or splenomegaly. This will allow designing a tailored follow-up for CVID patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.00319DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7136404PMC
March 2021

Health-Related Quality of Life in Common Variable Immunodeficiency Italian Patients Switched to Remote Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020 06 9;8(6):1894-1899.e2. Epub 2020 Apr 9.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: A rapidly expanding pandemic of the new coronavirus has become the focus of global scientific attention. Data are lacking on the impact of the pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 on health-related quality of life among patients affected by primary antibody deficiencies (PADs).

Objective: To identify factors impacting the health-related-quality of life (HRQOL) among Italian patients affected by PADs switched to remote assistance at the time of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Methods: The quality of life was surveyed in 158 patients with PADs by the Common Variable Immune Deficiency Quality of Life questionnaire, a disease-specific tool, and by the 12-item General Health Questionnaire, a generic tool to assess the risk of anxiety/depression. Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic, we shifted all patients with PADs to home therapy, and activated remote visits. Questionnaires were sent by email 4 weeks later. Common Variable Immune Deficiency Quality of Life questionnaire and 12-item General Health Questionnaire data scores were compared with the same set of data from a survey done in 2017.

Results: Of 210 patients, 158 (75%) agreed to participate. The quality of life was worse in the group of patients who were at risk of anxiety/depression at the study time. HRQOL was similar in patients forced to shift from hospital-based to home-based immunoglobulin treatment and in patients who continued their usual home-based replacement. The risk of anxiety/depression is associated with pandemia caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and with patients' fragility, and not with related clinical conditions associated with common variable immune deficiencies. Anxiety about running out of medications is a major new issue.

Conclusions: The coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic impacted HRQOL and the risk of anxiety/depression of patients with PADs. The remote assistance program was a useful possibility to limit personal contacts without influencing the HRQOL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2020.04.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7195351PMC
June 2020

Long-term follow-up of 168 patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia reveals increased morbidity and mortality.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 08 10;146(2):429-437. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

University Department of Pediatrics, Unit of Immune and Infectious Diseases, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and the Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Background: X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) is the prototype of primary humoral immunodeficiencies. Long-term follow-up studies regarding disease-related complications and outcome are scarce.

Objective: Our aim was to describe the natural history of XLA.

Methods: A nationwide multicenter study based on the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network registry was established in 2000 in Italy. Affected patients were enrolled by documenting centers, and the patients' laboratory, clinical, and imaging data were recorded on an annual base.

Results: Data on the patients (N = 168) were derived from a cumulative follow-up of 1370 patient-years, with a mean follow-up of 8.35 years per patient. The mean age at diagnosis decreased after establishment of the Italian Primary Immunodeficiency Network registry (84 months before vs 23 months after). Respiratory, skin, and gastrointestinal manifestations were the most frequent clinical symptoms at diagnosis and during long-term follow-up. Regular immunoglobulin replacement treatment reduced the incidence of invasive infections. Affected patients developed chronic lung disease over time (47% after 40 years of follow-up) in the presence of chronic sinusitis (84%). Malignancies were documented in a minority of cases (3.7%). Overall survival for affected patients was significantly reduced when compared with that for the healthy male Italian population, and it further deteriorated in the presence of chronic lung disease.

Conclusions: This is the first detailed long-term follow-up study for patients with XLA, revealing that although immunoglobulin replacement treatment reduces the incidence of invasive infections, it does not appear to influence the development of chronic lung disease. The overall survival of affected patients is reduced. Further studies are warranted to improve patients' clinical management and increase awareness among physicians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.03.001DOI Listing
August 2020

Lack of Gut Secretory Immunoglobulin A in Memory B-Cell Dysfunction-Associated Disorders: A Possible Gut-Spleen Axis.

Front Immunol 2019 8;10:2937. Epub 2020 Jan 8.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

B-1a B cells and gut secretory IgA (SIgA) are absent in asplenic mice. Human immunoglobulin M (IgM) memory B cells, which are functionally equivalent to mouse B-1a B cells, are reduced after splenectomy. To demonstrate whether IgM memory B cells are necessary for generating IgA-secreting plasma cells in the human gut. We studied intestinal SIgA in two disorders sharing the IgM memory B cell defect, namely asplenia, and common variable immune deficiency (CVID). Splenectomy was associated with reduced circulating IgM memory B cells and disappearance of intestinal IgA-secreting plasma cells. CVID patients with reduced circulating IgM memory B cells had a reduced frequency of gut IgA plasma cells and a disrupted film of SIgA on epithelial cells. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and transmembrane activator and calcium-modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor (TACI) induced IgM memory B cell differentiation into IgA plasma cells . In the human gut, TACI-expressing IgM memory B cells were localized under the epithelial cell layer where the TACI ligand a proliferation inducing ligand (APRIL) was extremely abundant. Circulating IgM memory B cell depletion was associated with a defect of intestinal IgA-secreting plasma cells in asplenia and CVID. The observation that IgM memory B cells have a distinctive role in mucosal protection suggests the existence of a functional gut-spleen axis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02937DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6960143PMC
November 2020

Health-Related Quality of Life and Emotional Difficulties in Chronic Granulomatous Disease: Data on Adult and Pediatric Patients from Italian Network for Primary Immunodeficiency (IPINet).

J Clin Immunol 2020 02 20;40(2):289-298. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Unit of Pediatric Haemato-Oncology, Policlinico Giovanni XXIII Hospital, University of Bari, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 11, 70124, Bari, Italy.

Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) is a primary immunodeficiency characterized by life-threatening infections, inflammation, and autoimmunity with an impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Few data are available for children, whereas no study has been conducted in adults. Here, we investigated HRQoL and emotional functioning of 19 children and 28 adults enrolled in Italian registry for CGD. PEDsQL and SDQ were used for children and their caregivers, and adults completed the SF-12 questionnaire. Mean scores were compared with norms and with patients affected by chronic diseases. Comparisons were made for CGD patients who underwent or not hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). When compared with norms, CGD children exhibited higher difficulties in social/school areas, peer relationship, and conduct/emotional problems (< 5 years of age), as scored by proxies. Differently, CGD adults reported higher difficulties both in mental and physical area than norms. Only for children, clinical status had a damaging effect on psychosocial and school dimensions, whereas age had a negative impact on social areas. No significant difference was observed between patients treated or not with HSCT. When compared with patients affected by chronic diseases, CGD children and adults both displayed fewer physical disabilities. Differently, in mental scale adults scored lower than those with rheumatology diseases and had similar impairment in comparison with patients with diabetes mellitus and cancer. This study emphasized the impact of CGD on HRQoL since infancy and its decline in adulthood, with emotional difficulties occurring early. HRQoL impairment should be considered in clinical picture of CGD and pro-actively assessed and managed by clinicians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-019-00725-1DOI Listing
February 2020

Appropriate lung management in patients with primary antibody deficiencies.

Expert Rev Respir Med 2019 09 30;13(9):823-838. Epub 2019 Jul 30.

Department of Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Roma , Roma , Italy.

: Human primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs) include a broad spectrum of more than 350 disorders, involving different branches of the immune system and classified as 'rare diseases.' Predominantly antibody deficiencies (PADs) represent more than half of the PIDs diagnosed in Europe and are often diagnosed in the adulthood. : Although PAD could first present with autoimmune or neoplastic features, respiratory infections are frequent and respiratory disease represents a relevant cause of morbidity and mortality. Pulmonary complications may be classified as infection-related (acute and chronic), immune-mediated, and neoplastic. : At present, no consensus guidelines are available on how to monitor and manage lung complications in PAD patients. In this review, we will discuss the available diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic instruments and we will suggest an appropriate and evidence-based approach to lung diseases in primary antibody deficiencies. We will also highlight the possible role of promising new tools and strategies in the management of pulmonary complications. However, future studies are needed to reduce of diagnostic delay of PAD and to better understand lung diseases mechanisms, with the final aim to ameliorate therapeutic options that will have a strong impact on Quality of Life and long-term prognosis of PAD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17476348.2019.1641085DOI Listing
September 2019

The high mortality of patients with common variable immunodeficiency and small bowel villous atrophy.

Scand J Gastroenterol 2019 Feb 21;54(2):164-168. Epub 2019 Apr 21.

a Coeliac Centre/First Department of Internal Medicine , Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo University of Pavia , Pavia , Italy.

Objectives: Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is a primary humoral immunodeficiency characterised by reduced serum levels of immunoglobulins, recurrent infections, autoimmune phenomena and lymphoproliferative disorders. Gastrointestinal symptoms are very common in these patients and a coeliac-like villous atrophy was described in some of them. Since mortality in CVID is much higher than in the general population, our aim was to evaluate mortality rates and clinical predictors of survival in patients with both CVID and duodenal villous atrophy.

Patients And Methods: Sex, date of diagnosis of villous atrophy, HLA genomic typing, date of death/last follow-up, type of complication were retrospectively collected from medical files. Univariate analysis for each predictor was conducted and Kaplan-Meier curves were generated to evaluate survival.

Results: Twenty-three patients were enrolled (9 females, mean age at diagnosis of villous atrophy 38 ± 13 years) and 8 of them died after a median time of 96 months (25th-75th 60-120 months) corresponding to a mortality rate of 3.9 per 100 person-years (95% CI 1.9-7.7). Mortality was higher in men compared to women (60 vs. 11/1000 person-years), although not statistically significant. Causes of death included onco-haematological disorders and infections.

Conclusions: Although based on a small cohort, our results confirm that patients with CVID and villous atrophy are burdened by a very high mortality mainly due to onco-immunological disorders and infections. Strict follow-up is required in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365521.2019.1568543DOI Listing
February 2019

Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial on low-dose azithromycin prophylaxis in patients with primary antibody deficiencies.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2019 08 22;144(2):584-593.e7. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Lacking protective antibodies, patients with primary antibody deficiencies (PADs) experience frequent respiratory tract infections, leading to chronic pulmonary damage. Macrolide prophylaxis has proved effective in patients with chronic respiratory diseases.

Objective: We aimed to test the efficacy and safety of orally administered low-dose azithromycin prophylaxis in patients with PADs.

Methods: We designed a 3-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial to test whether oral azithromycin (250 mg administered once daily 3 times a week for 2 years) would reduce respiratory exacerbations in patients with PADs and chronic infection-related pulmonary diseases. The primary end point was the number of annual respiratory exacerbations. Secondary end points included time to first exacerbation, additional antibiotic courses, number of hospitalizations, and safety.

Results: Eighty-nine patients received azithromycin (n = 44) or placebo (n = 45). The number of exacerbations was 3.6 (95% CI, 2.5-4.7) per patient-year in the azithromycin arm and 5.2 (95% CI, 4.1-6.4) per patient-year in the placebo arm (P = .02). In the azithromycin group the hazard risk for having an acute exacerbation was 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3-0.9; P = .03), and the hazard risk for hospitalization was 0.5 (95% CI, 0.2-1.1; P = .04). The rate of additional antibiotic treatment per patient-year was 2.3 (95% CI, 2.1-3.4) in the intervention group and 3.6 (95% CI, 2.9-4.3) in the placebo group (P = .004). Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae were the prevalent isolates, and they were not susceptible to macrolides in 25% of patients of both arms. Azithromycin's safety profile was comparable with that of placebo.

Conclusion: The study reached the main outcome centered on the reduction of exacerbation episodes per patient-year, with a consequent reduction in additional courses of antibiotics and risk of hospitalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2019.01.051DOI Listing
August 2019

Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adults with Primary Immunodeficiencies: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2019 Jul - Aug;7(6):1929-1957.e5. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

Department of Paediatrics, Sechenov University, Moscow, Russia; Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; The In-VIVO Global Network, an Affiliate of the World Universities Network (WUN), New York, NY; Healthcare Department of Moscow, Moscow Research and Clinical Center for Neuropsychiatry, Moscow, Russia. Electronic address:

Background: Primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDs) are a group of diseases that have been found to have an adverse impact on quality of life and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Objective: To systematically assess available evidence on the HRQOL of patients with PID.

Methods: We performed a literature search of all studies reporting HRQOL assessments in patients with PID published in English from inception to April 11, 2017, using MEDLINE and EMBASE.

Results: Of 1699 articles, 37 met the inclusion criteria. HRQOL was assessed by using various generic instruments. Child Health Questionnaire - Parent Form 50 and short-form 36 were the most frequently used (for children and adults, respectively). No PID-specific HRQOL instruments were used for children. HRQOL is significantly lower in adults with PID (mean score difference, -24.46; 95% CI, -34.57 to -14.34) and children (-10.06; 95% CI, -12.95 to -7.17) compared with the reference population and lower than in patients with other chronic conditions. There is a general agreement between child- and parent-reported data, although parents report child school-related HRQOL as more impaired than do children (6.19; 95% CI, 0.38 to 11.99). Most studies were of low to moderate quality and had methodological limitations.

Conclusions: Available evidence suggests that patients with PID have a lower HRQOL than do healthy individuals and patients with other chronic conditions, including diabetes mellitus and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. No disease-specific instruments are available for children, and few options are available for adults. This finding highlights the need for developing PID-specific instruments that would allow for a more sensitive evaluation of PID impact on patient health and psychological well-being, school/work, and social activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2019.02.013DOI Listing
September 2020

Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with CVID Under Different Schedules of Immunoglobulin Administration: Prospective Multicenter Study.

J Clin Immunol 2019 02 15;39(2):159-170. Epub 2019 Jan 15.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Objective: We assessed the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in CVID adults receiving different schedules of immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IgRT) by intravenous (IVIG), subcutaneous (SCIG), and facilitated (fSCIG) preparations. For these patients, IgRT schedule was chosen after a period focused on identifying the most suitable individual option.

Methods: Three hundred twenty-seven participants were enrolled in a prospective, observational, 18-month study. Participants received IgRT for at least 2 years. The first 6 months were devoted to the educational process during which the choices related to IgRT were regularly re-assessed, and the shift to alternative regimen was permitted. During the following 12 months, clinical data were prospectively collected, and only patients who did not further modify their IgRT schedule were included in the analysis of HRQoL measured by CVID_QoL, a specific instrument, and by GHQ-12, a tool to assess minor psychiatric nonpsychotic disorders.

Results: Three hundred four patients were included in the analysis. CVID_QoL global score and its dimensions (emotional functioning, relational functioning, gastrointestinal symptoms) were similar in IVIG, SCIG, and fSCIG recipients. Patients receiving IgRT by different routes of administration reported similar capacity to make long-term plans, discomfort due to therapy, and concern to run out of medications. Multivariate analysis revealed the GHQ-12 status, but not the IgRT mode of administration, as the major factor impacting on treatment-related QoL items, and a significant impact of age on discomfort related to IgRT.

Conclusions: IgRT schedules do not impact the HRQoL in CVID if the treatment is established after an extensive educational period focused on individualizing the best therapeutic regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-019-0592-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445807PMC
February 2019

Gastric Cancer Is the Leading Cause of Death in Italian Adult Patients With Common Variable Immunodeficiency.

Front Immunol 2018 5;9:2546. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

An increased prevalence of malignant lymphoma and of gastric cancer has been observed in large cohorts of patients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), the most frequently symptomatic primary immunodeficiency. Surveillance strategies for cancers in CVID should be defined based on epidemiological data. Risks and mortality for cancers among 455 Italian patients with CVID were compared to cancer incidence data from the Italian Cancer Registry database. CVID patients showed an increased cancer incidence for all sites combined (Obs = 133, SIR = 2.4; 95%CI = 1.7-3.5), due to an excess of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Obs = 33, SIR = 14.3; 95%CI = 8.4-22.6) and of gastric cancer (Obs = 25; SIR = 6.4; 95%CI = 3.2-12.5). CVID patients with gastric cancer and lymphoma had a worse survival in comparison to cancer-free CVID (HR: 4.8, 95%CI: 4.2-44.4 and HR: 4.2, 95%CI: 2.8-44.4). Similar to what observed in other series, CVID-associated lymphomas were more likely to be of B cell origin and often occurred at extra-nodal sites. We collected the largest case-series of gastric cancers in CVID subjects. In contrast to other reports, gastric cancer was the leading cause of death in CVID. Standardized mortality ratio indicated a 10.1-fold excess mortality among CVID patients with gastric cancer. CVID developed gastric cancer 15 years earlier than the normative population, but they had a similar overall survival. Only CVID diagnosed at early stage gastric cancer survived >24 months. Stomach histology from upper endoscopy performed before cancer onset showed areas of atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia or dysplasia. CVID patients might progress rapidly to an advanced cancer stage as shown by patients developing a III-IV stage gastric cancer within 1 year from an endoscopy without signs of dysplasia. Based on high rate of mortality due to gastric cancer in Italian CVID patients, we hereby suggest a strategy aimed at early diagnosis, based on regular upper endoscopy and on infection treatment, recommending an implementation of national guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02546DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230622PMC
September 2019

Risk factors for Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcal respiratory tract colonization in CVID.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2018 12 28;142(6):1999-2002.e3. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2018.08.014DOI Listing
December 2018

Hyper-IgE in the allergy clinic--when is it primary immunodeficiency?

Allergy 2018 11 2;73(11):2122-2136. Epub 2018 Oct 2.

Immunodeficiency Centre for Wales, Cardiff, UK.

The 2017 International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) classification recognizes 3 hyper-IgE syndromes (HIES), including the prototypic Job's syndrome (autosomal dominant STAT3-loss of function) and autosomal recessive PGM3 and SPINK5 syndromes. Early diagnosis of PID can direct life-saving or transformational interventions; however, it remains challenging owing to the rarity of these conditions. This can result in diagnostic delay and worsen prognosis. Within increasing access to "clinical-exome" testing, clinicians need to be aware of the implication and rationale for genetic testing, including the benefits and limitations of current therapies. Extreme elevation of serum IgE has been associated with a growing number of PID syndromes including the novel CARD11 and ZNF341 deficiencies. Variable elevations in IgE are associated with defects in innate, humoral, cellular and combined immunodeficiency syndromes. Barrier compromise can closely phenocopy these conditions. The aim of this article was to update readers on recent developments at this important interface between allergy and immunodeficiency, highlighting key clinical scenarios which should draw attention to possible immunodeficiency associated with extreme elevation of IgE, and outline initial laboratory assessment and management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.13578DOI Listing
November 2018

Health-Related Quality of Life and Patients' Empowerment in the Health Care of Primary Immune Deficiencies.

J Clin Immunol 2017 10 17;37(7):615-616. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-017-0428-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597681PMC
October 2017

Development and Initial Validation of a Questionnaire to Measure Health-Related Quality of Life of Adults with Common Variable Immune Deficiency: The CVID_QoL Questionnaire.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2016 Nov - Dec;4(6):1169-1179.e4. Epub 2016 Sep 21.

Link srl, Rome, Italy.

Background: Generic health status quality of life (QoL) instruments have been used in patients with common variable immune deficiency (CVID). However, by their nature, these tools may over- or underestimate the impact of diseases on an individual's QoL.

Objective: The objective of this study was to develop and validate a questionnaire to measure specific-health-related QoL for adults with CVID (CVID_QoL).

Methods: The 32-item content of the CVID_QoL questionnaire was developed using focus groups and individual patient interviews. Validation studies included 118 adults with CVID who completed Short Form-36, Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire, General Health Questionnaire-12, and EuroQol-5D questionnaire in a single session. Principal component and factor analysis solutions identified 3 scores to be similar in number and content for each solution. Validation of 3 factor scores was performed by construct validity. Reproducibility, reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity were evaluated. Matrices consisting of correlations between the 32 items in the CVID_QOL were calculated.

Results: Factor analysis identified 3 dimensions: emotional functioning (EF), relational functioning (RF), and gastrointestinal and skin symptoms (GSS). The instrument had good internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha, min. 0.74 for GSS, max. 0.84 for RF, n = 118) and high reproducibility (intraclass correlation coefficient, min. 0.79 for RF, max 0.90 for EF, n = 27). EF and RF scores showed good convergent validity correlating with conceptually similar dimensions of other study scales. Acute and relapsing infections had a significant impact on EF and RF.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence of the reliability and construct validity of the CVID_QoL to identify QoL issues in patients with CVID that may not be addressed by generic instruments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2016.07.012DOI Listing
October 2017

Self-administered hyaluronidase-facilitated subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy in complicated primary antibody deficiencies.

Immunotherapy 2016 09;8(9):995-1002

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza Medical University, Rome, Italy.

Hyaluronidase-facilitated subcutaneous immunoglobulin (fSCIg) is a new immunoglobulin product for replacement therapy in patients with primary antibody deficiencies (PAD). The pre-administration of recombinant human hyaluronidase associated with 10% immunoglobulin allowed the infusion of larger (up to 600 ml) amounts of immunoglobulin at a single infusion site, enabling patients to receive the necessary treatment in a single monthly dose. Here, we report the effectiveness and the tolerability of fSCIg in patients with severe PAD-related comorbidities: refractory autoimmune thrombocytopenia; systemic granulomatous disease; severe enteropathy, and Type I diabetes. We conclude that fSCIg could be a feasible option to improve the adherence to replacement therapy also by patients with severe PAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/imt-2016-0035DOI Listing
September 2016

Clinical Associations of Biallelic and Monoallelic TNFRSF13B Variants in Italian Primary Antibody Deficiency Syndromes.

J Immunol Res 2016 30;2016:8390356. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Department of Medical Genetics, Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi, Medical University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.

We assessed the prevalence of TNFRSF13B mutations and the clinical correlates in an Italian cohort of 189 CVID, 67 IgAD patients, and 330 healthy controls to substantiate the role of TACI genetic testing in diagnostic workup. We found that 11% of CVID and 13% of IgAD carried at least one mutated TNFRSF13B allele. Seven per cent of CVID had monoallelic-mutations and 4% had biallelic-mutations. The frequency of C104R monoallelic-mutations was not higher than that found in healthy controls. Biallelic-mutations were exclusively found in CVID. CVID patients carrying monoallelic-mutations had an increased prevalence of lymphadenopathy, granulomata, and autoimmune cytopenias. CVID carrying biallelic-mutations had a low prevalence of autoimmunity in comparison with TACI wild-type CVID. Moreover, biallelic-mutated CVID had higher frequency of switched memory B-cells and higher IgM and IgA antibodies to polysaccharide antigens than TACI wild-type and monoallelic-mutated CVID. TACI-mutated IgAD patients had only monoallelic-mutations and did not display clinical difference from IgAD wild-type patients. In conclusion, TNFRSF13B genetic screening of antibody deficiencies may allow the identification of mutational patterns. However, as with counseling for risk assessment, geneticists should be aware that the interpretation of genetic testing for TACI mutations is difficult and the potential impact on clinical management is still limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/8390356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829724PMC
November 2016

Immunoglobulin-induced hemolysis, splenomegaly and inflammation in patients with antibody deficiencies.

Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2016 Jul 3;12(7):725-31. Epub 2016 Mar 3.

a Centre for Primary Immune Deficiencies, Department of Molecular Medicine , Sapienza University of Rome , Rome , Italy.

IgG replacement for primary antibody deficiencies is a safe treatment administered to prevent recurrent infections and reduce mortality. Recently, several reports described acute hemolytic episodes following IgG administration due to a passive transfer of blood group alloantibodies, including anti-A, anti-B, as well as anti-Rh antibodies. Here, we reviewed and discussed the consequences of passively transferred RBCs antibodies. The chronic passive transfer of alloantibodies might also cause a subclinical condition due to a compensated extravascular chronic hemolysis with poorly understood consequences. This phenomenon might possibly represent an unrecognized cause of splenomegaly and might contribute to inflammation in patients with primary antibody deficiencies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/1744666X.2016.1151787DOI Listing
July 2016

Intravenous immunoglobulin replacement induces an in vivo reduction of inflammatory monocytes and retains the monocyte ability to respond to bacterial stimulation in patients with common variable immunodeficiencies.

Int Immunopharmacol 2015 Sep 28;28(1):596-603. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Intravenous IgG administration induces significant modifications in the innate and adaptive compartment of the immune system including the monocyte/macrophage system. We analyzed the in vivo effect of IgG administered at replacement dosages on the frequency of monocytes subsets, on the modulation of CD11b and sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectin receptor (Siglec 9) expression and on monocytes production of reactive oxygen species. We showed that patients with Common Variable Immune Deficiency have an increased frequency pro-inflammatory intermediate CD14(++)CD16(+) monocytes and an increased expression of CD11b and Siglec 9 on monocytes. IgG administered at replacement dosages exerted an in vivo anti-inflammatory effect as shown by a reduction of circulating monocytes, of intermediate pro-inflammatory monocytes, of CD11b and Siglec 9 expression and of ex vivo monocytes oxidative burst. Nevertheless, intravenous IgG administration did not affect the monocyte functional ability to respond to a bacterial stimulation in terms of CD11b and Siglec 9 expression and reactive oxygen species production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2015.07.017DOI Listing
September 2015

Lung magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion weighted imaging provides regional structural as well as functional information without radiation exposure in primary antibody deficiencies.

J Clin Immunol 2015 Jul 12;35(5):491-500. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale dell'Università 37, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: Primary antibody deficiency patients suffer from infectious and non-infectious pulmonary complications leading over time to chronic lung disease. The complexity of this pulmonary involvement poses significant challenge in differential diagnosis in patients with long life disease and increased radio sensitivity. We planned to verify the utility of chest Magnetic Resolution Imaging with Diffusion-Weighted Imaging as a radiation free technique.

Methods: Prospective evaluation of 18 patients with Common Variable Immunodeficiency and X-linked Agammaglobulinemia. On the same day, patients underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Diffusion Weighted Imaging sequences, High Resolution Computerized Tomography and Pulmonary Function Tests, including diffusing capacity factor for carbon monoxide. Images were scored using a modified version of the Bhalla scoring system.

Results: Magnetic Resonance Imaging was non-inferior to High Resolution Computerized Tomography in the capacity to identify bronchial and parenchymal abnormalities. HRCT had a higher capacity to identify peripheral airways abnormalities, defined as an involvement of bronchial generation up to the fifth and distal (scores 2-3). Bronchial scores negatively related to pulmonary function tests. One third of consolidations and nodules had Diffusion Weighted Imaging restrictions associated with systemic granulomatous disease and systemic lymphadenopathy. Lung Magnetic Resolution Imaging detected an improvement of bronchial and parenchymal abnormalities, in recently diagnosed patients soon after starting Ig replacement.

Conclusions: Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Diffusion Weighted Imaging was a reliable technique to detect lung alterations in patients with Primary Antibody Deficiencies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-015-0172-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502290PMC
July 2015

Hemolysis in patients with antibody deficiencies on immunoglobulin replacement treatment.

Transfusion 2015 May 22;55(5):1067-74. Epub 2014 Dec 22.

Unit of Immunohematology and Transfusion Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background: Immunoglobulin (Ig)G replacement with intravenous or subcutaneous immunoglobulins is a lifelong substitutive therapy in patients with primary antibody deficiencies (PADs). Hemolysis after immunoglobulin therapy was described in patients receiving high immunoglobulin dosages. The issue of hemolysis after immunoglobulin administration at replacement doses has been considered of little clinical significance.

Study Design And Methods: This was a single-center observational study over a 2-year period on immunoglobulin-induced hemolysis in a cohort of 162 patients with PADs treated with immunoglobulin administered at replacement dosages.

Results: Six patients had signs and symptoms of immunoglobulin-induced hemolysis. Two additional asymptomatic patients were identified by a short-term study run on 16 randomly selected asymptomatic patients. Alloantibodies eluted from patients' red blood cells (RBCs) had anti-A and Rh specificities (anti-D and anti-C). The immunoglobulins contained alloantibodies with the same specificities of the antibodies eluted from patients' RBCs.

Conclusion: Hemolysis occurred in patients receiving immunoglobulin at replacement dosages. Polyvalent immunoglobulin preparations contained multiple clinically significant antibodies that could have unexpected hemolytic consequences, as anti-C whose research and titration are not required by the European Pharmacopoeia. The issue of hemolysis in long-term recipients of immunoglobulin treatment administered at replacement dosages should be more widely recognized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.12939DOI Listing
May 2015

Longitudinal study on health-related quality of life in a cohort of 96 patients with common variable immune deficiencies.

Front Immunol 2014 26;5:605. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Roma , Rome , Italy.

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in common variable immunodeficiency diseases (CVID) was evaluated by different tools, which were mainly used to compare different schedules of immunoglobulins administration in cross-sectional or short-term longitudinal studies. We assessed the HRQoL and psychological status of CVID patients in a longitudinal study over a 6-year period by a generic, non-disease-specific instrument (SF-36), and by a General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) for the risk of depression/anxiety. At baseline, 96 patients were enrolled. After 1 year, a second assessment was performed on 92 patients and, after 6 years, a third assessment was performed on 66 patients. Eighteen patients died during the study time. HRQoL was low, with mental health scales less affected than physical scales. A decline in the score on SF-36 scales was observed between the first and the third assessment for the Physical Functioning, Body Pain, General Health, Social Functioning, and Role-Emotional scales. The General Health scale showed a lower score in these patients, when compared to patients with other chronic diseases. Approximately one-third of the patients were at risk of anxiety/depression at all observation times, a percentage that reached two thirds of the patients, considering only the group of females. Over the 6 years of the study, the health condition of 11/66 patients worsened, passing from "GHQ-negative" to "GHQ-positive"; their score on SF-36 scales also decreased. A decrement of one point in each of the Physical Functioning, Vitality, Social Functioning, and Mental Health SF-36 scales increased the risk of developing anxiety/depression from three to five percent. A negative variation of the Physical Functioning score increased the risk of psychological distress. In a survival analysis with dichotomized variables, Physical Functioning scores <50 were associated with a relative risk (RR) of 4.4, whereas Social Functioning scores <37.5 were associated with a RR of 10.0. In our study, it was the clinical condition, as opposed to the different treatment strategies with immunoglobulins, which had a major role on the deterioration of HRQoL. Moreover, in a quality-of-life evaluation, disorders such as anxiety/depression should be assessed, as they yet often go unrecognized. Our results might be helpful in the interpretation of currently available data on quality of life in CVID patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2014.00605DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244641PMC
December 2014

Adequate patient's outcome achieved with short immunoglobulin replacement intervals in severe antibody deficiencies.

J Clin Immunol 2014 Oct 22;34(7):813-9. Epub 2014 Jul 22.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale dell'Università 37, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: The optimal immune globulin replacement dosages required over time to minimize infection risks in patients with Primary Antibody Deficiencies are not definitely established. As with many interventions, there may be specific subgroups of patients who are more likely to benefit from treatment with higher or lower dosages. The aim of the study was to verify the efficacy of a rationale for individualized immune globulin utilization and to elucidate the effects of care on patient outcome.

Methods: Single centre interventional study on 108 patients with Primary Antibody Deficiencies. The objective was to determine for each patient the best interval between immune globulins administration in order to: • Keep IgG trough levels >500 mg/dL, • Minimize of major infections (pneumonias and infections requiring hospitalization), • Minimize of adverse events (AE).

Results: Ninthly eight per cent of patients achieved the objective of the study. Patients who had low switched memory B cells and low IgA serum levels and/or are affected by bronchiectasis and/or enteropathy and/or continued to experience adverse events despite pre-medications, achieved the study objective by shortening the administration intervals to 2-weeks or to 1-week without the need to increase the monthly cumulative immunoglobulin dosage and its relative cost. The adverse events were reduced by administrating low Ig dosages in a single setting. Patients without risk factors achieved the study objective with immune globulin replacement administered with the widely used interval of 3 or 4 weeks.

Conclusions: The exact timing and optimal immunoglobulin prophylaxis regimen might be tailored according to clinical and immunological markers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10875-014-0081-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165867PMC
October 2014

Idiopathic non cirrhotic portal hypertension and spleno-portal axis abnormalities in patients with severe primary antibody deficiencies.

J Immunol Res 2014 31;2014:672458. Epub 2014 Mar 31.

Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale dell'Università 37, 00186 Rome, Italy.

Background And Aim: Portal hypertension has been reported in association with acquired and primary immune deficiencies without a comprehensive description of associated spleno-portal axis abnormalities. Pathological mechanisms are poorly defined.

Methods: Observational, single centre study with the aim of assessing the prevalence of spleno-portal axis abnormalities in an unselected cohort of 123 patients with primary antibody deficiencies and without known causes of liver diseases regularly followed up for a mean time of 18 ± 14 years. A cumulative period of 1867 patients-year was analysed. Clinical and immunological data, abdominal ultrasounds, CT scans, and endoscopy features were included in the analysis.

Results: Twenty-five percent of patients with primary antibody deficiencies had signs of portal vein enlargement but only 4% of them had portal hypertension, with portal systemic collaterals. Liver biopsies showed liver sinusoids congestive dilatation, endothelization, and micronodularity fulfilling the criteria for noncirrhotic portal hypertension. Patients with portal vein enlargement had severe clinical and immunological phenotypes.

Conclusions: In primary antibody deficient patients, infections, inflammations, splenomegaly, increased blood venous flow, and lymphocyte abnormalities contribute to establishment of liver damage possibly leading to noncirrhotic portal hypertension. Patients with primary antibody deficiency should be considered a good model to give insight into the pathological mechanisms underlying noncirrhotic portal hypertension.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/672458DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988706PMC
December 2014

Polyvalent immunoglobulins: challenges and perspectives.

Blood Transfus 2013 Sep;11 Suppl 4:s40-4

Department of Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy Unit of Immunohaematology and Transfusion Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2013.008sDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3853976PMC
September 2013

Clinical use of polyvalent immunoglobulins.

Blood Transfus 2013 Sep;11 Suppl 4:s33-9

Department of Molecular Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2013.007sDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3853978PMC
September 2013

A phase II, single-arm multicenter study of low-dose rituximab for refractory mixed cryoglobulinemia secondary to hepatitis C virus infection.

Autoimmun Rev 2011 Sep 5;10(11):714-9. Epub 2011 May 5.

Department of Clinical Immunology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by antiviral therapy is the treatment of choice for mixed cryoglobulinemia secondary to this infection, but many patients fail to achieve sustained viral responses and need second-line treatments. Several studies have demonstrated that the infusion of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab is highly effective for refractory mixed cryoglobulinemia, with a clinical response in approximately 80% of patients, although the relapse rate is high. Virtually all published studies employed a rituximab dosage of 375mg/m(2) given four times, a schedule used for treating non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Based on a prior pilot study, we designed a phase II single-arm two-stage study (EUDRACT n. 2008-000086-38) to evaluate the efficacy of a lower dosage of rituximab, 250mg/m(2) given twice, for refractory mixed cryoglobulinemia. We present here the preliminary results in the first 27 patients enrolled. The overall response rate in 24 evaluable patients was 79%, and the mean time to relapse was 6.5months, similar to the 6.7months reported in studies with high-dose rituximab. Side effects were comparable to those seen in patients treated with high-dose. Increase of HCV viral load, reported in some high-dose studies, was not observed in our patients. Low-dose rituximab may provide a more cost/effective and possibly safer alternative for treating refractory HCV-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2011.04.033DOI Listing
September 2011