Chronic Fatigue may be helped by chemotherapy treatment

A study published in BMC Neurology in July suggests that pateints with chronic fatigue syndrome may be helped by methotrexate treatment, an element in chemotherapy.
Having observed that the CFS symptoms of a patient with Hodgkin's disease and CFS markedly improved for five months during and after cytotoxic chemotherapy, the researchers reasoned that the transient CFS recovery could be related to the methotrexate treatment, which induces immunomodulation in part through B-cell depletion.

They therefore infused this patient and two additional CFS patients with the monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab in order to cause B-cell depletion. All three had improvement of all CFS symptoms which lasted from 16 – 44 weeks after the treatment. When the symptoms returned all were re-treated and, again, all three had marked symptom improvement, mimicking their first response. This pattern was repeated a third time and no unexpected toxicity was seen.

The researchers concluded that B-cells play a significant role in CFS and that treatment may be be possible by modifying B-cell number and function.

Clinical impact of B-cell depletion with the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab in chronic fatigue syndrome: a preliminary case series Øystein Fluge and Olav Mella
BMC Neurology 2009, 9:28doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-28

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First Published in July 2009 ?


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