Rituximab And Its Mechanism Of Action

Rituximab is an IgGK chimeric monoclonal antibody derived from murine antibody against CD20. It has a fragment ab (Fab) domain that binds to the CD20 antigen on B lymphocytes, and a fragment c (Fc) domain that recruits immune effector cells to rituximab-coated tumor cells. CD20 antigen has been found on various lymphoid hema-tologic malignancies including B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), B-cell CLL. and some acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The function of CD20 antigen has not been fully elucidated. However, it is generally accepted that CD20 plays an important role in regulating cell cycle progression in B cells (3). Several previous investigations showed that intracellular signals following binding of rituximab to CD20 antigen on lymphoma cells lead to apoptosis (4,7,8,9).

Several mechanisms have been proposed for the action mechanism of rituximab including ADCC, CDC, complement dependent cellular cytotoxicity (CDCC), and a direct pro-apoptotic effect (3,4,10). However, the mechanism of action of rituximab has yet to be fully elucidated.

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