Successful Treatment of Life-Threatening Interstitial Lung Disease Secondary to Antisynthetase Syndrome Using Rituximab: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

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We are presenting a case of antisynthetase syndrome (ASS) that manifested with severe interstitial pneumonitis in the presence of anti-Jo-1 and Ro (SSA) antibodies. Our patient developed respiratory failure with high oxygen requirements despite treatment by high-dose steroids. The patient was then treated with rituximab. This treatment led to significant improvement in the patient condition, with resolution of the ground glass opacities on high-resolution computerized tomography and near normalization of pulmonary function tests. In this communication, we performed a literature review and summarized previous reports pertinent to using of rituximab to treat interstitial lung disease (ILD) secondary to ASS by searching the PubMed database from 1980 to 2014. We were able to find 14 reports that included total of 45 patients with ILD secondary to ASS. A significant improvement in ILD was reported in the majority of reported patients who received rituximab, while there was only 1 mortality-related to Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Rituximab treatment was tolerated well in the majority of cases. It is our conclusion that rituximab can be considered a therapeutic option in ILD secondary to ASS based on our experience with this case and the currently available evidence in the literature. Nevertheless, there is a need for additional controlled studies to assess the efficacy and safety of rituximab in ILD secondary to ASS compared with other immunosuppressive regimens.

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