OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of rituximab (RTX) with cyclophosphamide (CYC) in patients who have central nervous system (CNS) involvement in antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV). METHODS: A computer-assisted search was conducted to identify all adults who received a diagnosis of AAV with CNS involvement from January 1, 1997, through July 1, 2017, at our institution. RESULTS: Of the 17 patients identified, 11 had received RTX, and 6 had received CYC. Age at diagnosis of CNS involvement was similar in both groups. In the RTX group, 91% of the patients were women; in the CYC group, 33% were women (p = 0.03). At the time of CNS presentation, orbital involvement had occurred in 6 patients in the RTX group and in none of the patients in the CYC group. Initial remission of induction was achieved in all patients (100%) in the CYC group and in 10 patients (91%) in the RTX group. Two patients had no response to RTX: 1 patient when RTX was used for remission induction at the time of diagnosis and the second patient when RTX was used for remission induction after relapse. The median follow-up was 38 months (range, 9-127 months). Central nervous system relapse occurred in 4 patients in the RTX group and in 1 patient in the CYC group. Of the 4 patients in the RTX group with relapse, 3 had marked ocular involvement. Both nonresponder patients in the RTX group had ocular involvement. CONCLUSION: Rituximab is as effective as CYC in remission induction in patients with CNS involvement in AAV.
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