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Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 68, n° 3
pages 499-506 (mars 2013)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.10.018

Critical analysis of the use of rituximab in mucous membrane pemphigoid: A review of the literature

Shawn Shetty, MD, A. Razzaque Ahmed, MD, DSc
Center For Blistering Diseases, Boston, Massachusetts 

Reprint requests: A. Razzaque Ahmed, MD, DSc, Center For Blistering Diseases, 697 Cambridge St #302, Boston, MA 02135.

Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is an autoimmune blistering disease. In patients who do not respond to conventional therapy, rituximab (RTX) may be an option. The current literature on the treatment of MMP with RTX is limited.


In this review, the data on 28 patients with MMP treated with RTX are critically analyzed. The goal is to provide objective information useful in decision making and treatment.


A PubMed search using the key words “rituximab” and “mucous membrane pemphigoid” was made in the English language only. The studies were divided into case reports and case series.


In the final analysis, 20 of 28 patients had a complete response, 3 had a partial response, 2 were nonresponders, and 1 had stabilization of disease. In 1 patient, stabilization of upper airway disease was observed but the patient developed bilateral blindness as a result of progression of disease. Hence, the patient was considered a treatment failure. One died from infection. At least half of the patients were treated with a second cycle because of relapse or lack of response.


Long-term follow-up after RTX therapy is lacking. Hence, the clinical benefit of inducing long-term remissions cannot be assessed. Responses of individual mucosal sites cannot be differentiated. Studies on B-cell levels and antibody responses are lacking.


Using the protocol described, RTX benefits patients with recalcitrant MMP. Some patients fail treatment or experience a relapse. The ability of RTX to influence the clinical course of MMP remains to be determined.

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Key words : blindness, clinical response, conventional therapy, death, infection, mucous membrane pemphigoid, partial response, rituximab therapy

Abbreviations used : CR, IV, MMP, NR, PR, RA, RTX

 Funding sources: None.
 Conflicts of interest: None declared.

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