A pilot study of rituximab in immune-mediated inner ear disease

Stanley Cohen, Peter Roland, Angela Shoup, Mitchell Lowenstein, Herbert Silverstein, Arthur Kavanaugh, Jeffrey Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Immune-mediated inner ear disease (IMED) is a cause of rapidly progressive auditory dysfunction. Patients are often responsive to high-dose corticosteroids and the disease is believed to be mediated by an antibody to inner ear proteins. To date, no therapies have proven effective as corticosteroid-sparing agents. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that depletes B cells, resulting in a reduction in autoantibody production. For that reason, rituximab was evaluated in a small pilot study in patients with IMED to see if there was a signal suggesting benefit. In all, 5/7 patients met the primary endpoint of an improvement in pure tone average (500-3000 Hz) by 10 dB in at least one ear, or an improvement in word identification score by at least 12% at 24 weeks, both relative to screening precorticosteroid values after 1 course of treatment. No significant adverse events were reported. The results of this study suggest further evaluation of rituximab as a treatment for IMED is indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalAudiology and Neurotology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • B cells
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune-mediated inner ear disease
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Speech and Hearing


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