OBJECTIVE: The polymorphism 158V/F of Fc fragment of IgG (FCGR) type 3A may influence the response to rituximab (RTX) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the FCG3A polymorphism in a large cohort of RA patients treated with RTX, also by considering the possible loss of response from month +4 to +6 after RTX and the presence of established predictors of response. METHODS: The study analysed 212 RA patients. European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response was evaluated at months +4 and +6 after the first RTX infusion. The FCGR3A polymorphism was analysed by PCR followed by Sanger sequencing. RESULTS: The FCGR3A genotypes were associated with EULAR response (good or moderate) at month +6 (response in 34/38 (89.5%) VV vs 70/106 (66%) VF and in 51/77 (66.2%) FF patients; p=0.01), but not at month +4 (response in 32/37 (86.5%) VV vs 69/102 (67.6%) VF and 53/73 (72.6%) FF patients; p=0.09). Loss of response was observed only in VF and FF carriers ((VV vs VF vs FF: 0/37 (0%) vs 11/102 (10.8%) vs 12/73 (16.4%); p=0.02)).Probability of response at month +6 was very high when at least two of the three following items selected by multivariate analysis were present: positive rheumatoid factor and/or anticyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, previous treatment with ≤1 anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agent, and 158VV FCGR3A genotype (p<0.0001; OR 7.9, 95% CI 4.1 to 15.1). CONCLUSIONS: The 158VV FCGR3A genotype was associated with response to RTX in a large cohort of RA patients. Patient genotyping may be helpful to plan RTX treatment, and may be integrated with clinical predictors
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