Cyclophosphamide-refractory scleroderma-associated interstitial lung disease: remarkable clinical and radiological response to a single course of rituximab combined with high-dose corticosteroids.
We would like to report our experience of using rituximab in cyclophosphamide refractory, rapidly progressive interstitial lung disease (ILD) in a patient with limited scleroderma. A 40-year-old man presented with 10-week history of inflammatory polyarthritis, which responded to a short course of oral corticosteroids. However, 3 weeks later, he developed new onset of exertional dyspnoea. High-resolution CT of the thorax was suggestive of early ILD. Surgical lung biopsy showed features of fibrotic non-specific interstitial pneumonia. He was diagnosed with scleroderma on the basis of: presence of anticentromere antibodies, Raynaud's phenomenon, pulmonary fibrosis, digital oedema and hypomotility along with a dilated oesophagus. He was treated aggressively with pulse doses of corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide; however, his ILD continued to deteriorate. At this stage, he received rituximab (two pulses of 1 g each), which led to a gradual clinical improvement. Now, 12 months since his rituximab infusion, he walks 2 miles daily without any exertional dyspnoea.
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