Rituximab Reduces Pulmonary Artery Systolic Pressure in ILD-SSc

lung cancer concept. doctor explaining results of lung check up from x-ray scan chest on digital tablet screen to patient.
Researchers studied the changes of pulmonary artery systolic pressure among patients with interstitial lung disease associated with systemic sclerosis receiving rituximab therapy.

Rituximab therapy among patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) associated with systemic sclerosis (SSc) was shown to have a significant reduction in pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP), according to results of research presented at the 2022 CHEST Annual Meeting, held from October 16 to 19, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Researchers sought to determine the effects of rituximab therapy on PASP among patients with ILD-SSc.

A total of 30 patients (87% women; mean age, 52.6 years) were selected from a group of 103 patients with SSc receiving rituximab for ILD. At baseline, elevated PASP was detected using echocardiography (≥35 mmHg) in all patients (43% with diffuse cutaneous SSc). All patients tested positive for antinuclear antibodies (ANAs) and received prednisolone (11.3±3.7 mg/d), and 47% received immunosuppressant therapy. Patients received rituximab at a cumulative mean dose of 2.3±1.1 g and the mean follow-up was 25.3±2.4 months.

Researchers observed a significant increase in forced vital capacity (FVC; 75.6%±20.1% to 88.2%±22.5% of predicted; P =.002) and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide % predicted (DLCO) stabilization. They noted improvements in lung function and a significant decrease in PASP (48.2±13.8 to 39.5±11.8 mm Hg; P =.004), and a moderate negative statistically significant correlation between PASP and FVC (r=-0.522; P =.003).

Researchers noted improvements in the activity index (3.3±1.5 to 1.4±1.1; P =.001), Rodnan skin score (11.1±12.4 to 6.1±7.6; P =.0001), and the ejection fraction of left ventricular (61.6%±5.5% to 65.8%±5.7%; P =.01) and 6-minute walk distance (419.6±103 to 453.8±85 m; P =.02).

Researchers noted, “[Rituximab] could be considered as [p]otentially effective in [the] combined treatment of ILD-SSc, complicated with pulmonary hypertension.”


Garzanova L, Ananyeva L, Koneva O, et al. Improvement of lung function and pulmonary artery systolic pressure in patients with interstitial lung disease associated with systemic sclerosis on rituximab treatment. Presented at: 2022 CHEST Annual Meeting; October 16-19; Nashville, TN. Abstract 38A.

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor