The concept of using high-dose immunosuppressive treatment (HDIT) with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) to treat patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis has been provided by animal studies and anecdotal case reports. Over the past five years, an increasing number of patients with refractory rheumatoid arthritis have received HDIT with ASCT as an adjunct to intense immunosuppression. Here, we present a case of refractory rheumatoid arthritis in a 54-yr-old woman using HDIT with ASCT. Peripheral blood stem cells were mobilized with cyclophosphamide (4 g/m(2)) followed by G-CSF (5 microg/kg/day). Leukapheresis continued daily until the number of harvested progenitor cells reached 2 x 10(6) CD34+ cells/kg after CliniMax CD34+ positive selection. For HDIT, high-dose cyclophosphamide (total dose 200 mg/kg) and antithymocyte globulin (total dose 90 mg/kg) were administered and CD34+ cells were infused 24 hr after HDIT. The patient tolerated the treatment well but experienced an episode of neutropenic fever. She achieved an early dramatic improvement of joint symptoms during therapy. Fifty percent of improvement of rheumatoid arthritis by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR 50) preliminary definition was fulfilled during the 6 months following ASCT. Although further long-term follow-up is required, the patient's activity of arthritis has been stable since receiving HDIT with ASCT
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