Biomedicines, Vol. 11, Pages 1503: Rituximab Biosimilar BCD020 Shows Superior Efficacy above Conventional Non-Biologics Treatment in Pediatric Lupus Nephritis: The Data of Retrospective Cohort Study

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Biomedicines, Vol. 11, Pages 1503: Rituximab Biosimilar BCD020 Shows Superior Efficacy above Conventional Non-Biologics Treatment in Pediatric Lupus Nephritis: The Data of Retrospective Cohort Study

Biomedicines doi: 10.3390/biomedicines11051503

Authors:
Mikhail Kostik
Elvira Kalashnikova
Raupov Rinat
Eugenia Isupova
Ekaterina Gaidar
Anton A. Soloviev
Vera Masalova
Ludmila Snegireva
Tatyana Kornishina
Natalia Abramova
Evgeny Suspitsin
Lubov Sorokina
Maria Kaneva
Margarita F. Dubko
Natalia Lubimova
Ekaterina Kuchuinskaya
Olga Kalashnikova
Vyacheslav Chasnyk

Background: Pediatric lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the most serious manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in children, determining the outcomes of the disease. There are no standardized treatment protocols for pediatric LN, and the role of biologics has not yet been conclusively defined. Objectives: analyze the safety and efficacy of rituximab biosimilar BCD020 in pediatric patients with lupus nephritis. Methods: in a retrospective cohort study, the data from the case histories of 25 patients with LN (10 boys and 15 girls) with an onset age of 13 (9–16) years, who failed conventional non-biologic treatment or developed corticosteroid dependence/toxicity, were included. The diagnosis was made using Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics (SLICC) classification criteria. Rituximab biosimilar BCD020 was prescribed in a dosage of 375 mg/m2 every week (2–4 infusions) with repeated courses every 6–12 months (2–4 infusions) according to disease activity, B-cell depletion, and IgG levels. The dynamics of clinical and laboratory data, the activity of the disease by SLEDAI, and corticosteroid doses were assessed at the onset and during the rituximab trial. Results: The main patient’s characteristics were: Pre-rituximab non-biologic conventional treatment included: cyclophosphamide 15 (60%), MMF 8 (32%), azathioprine 3 (12%), hydroxychloroquine 12 (48%), and pulse therapy of methylprednisolone followed by oral methylprednisolone 25 (100%). The time before rituximab was 7.0 (3.0–24.0) months, and the whole observation period was 7.0 (0; 24) months. The initial pre-rituximab treatment slightly reduced SLEDAI levels and the proportion of patients with LN. A significant reduction of SLEDAI, the anti-dsDNA level, proteinuria, hematuria, C4 complement, ESR, and the median corticosteroid dose by 80% from the initial value, as well as the proportion of patients without corticosteroids, was observed after rituximab administration. Two deaths were observed due to catastrophic SLE with macrophage activation syndrome, accompanied by a severe infection (invasive aspergillosis, n = 2). Three patients developed serious adverse events: pneumonia (n = 2), transient agranulocytosis (n = 1) after the third rituximab infusion, and meningitis, caused by Listeria monocytosis, after the first rituximab infusion. Eight patients received antibacterial treatment for different respiratory infections without hospital admissions. Conclusions: Rituximab biosimilar BCD020 showed effectiveness in LN, whereas previous non-biologic treatment was insufficiently effective. Randomized controlled trials are required to evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab and evaluate the benefits when compared with conventional SLE treatment.

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