Concentration and Glycoform of Rituximab in Plasma of Patients with B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Atushi Yonezawa, Yuki Otani, Toshiyuki Kitano, Mayuko Mori, Sho Masui, Yui Isomoto, Masahiro Tsuda, Satoshi Imai, Yasuaki Ikemi, Masaya Denda, Yuki Sato, Shunsaku Nakagawa, Tomohiro Omura, Takayuki Nakagawa, Ikuko Yano, Makoto Hayakari, Akifumi Takaori-Kondo, Kazuo Matsubara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Therapeutic antibodies have heterogeneities in their structures, although its structural alteration in the body is unclear. Here, we analyzed the change of amino acid modifications and carbohydrate chains of rituximab after administration to patients. Methods: Twenty B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who were treated with rituximab for the first time or after more than one year’s abstinence were recruited. Structural analysis of rituximab was carried out at 1 h after administration and at the trough by using liquid chromatography/time-of-flight-mass spectrometry. Plasma rituximab concentration and pharmacodynamic markers were also determined. Results: Of recruited twenty, 3 patients exhibited rapid rituximab clearance. Nine types of carbohydrate chains were detected in rituximab isolated from the blood. The composition ratios in some glycoforms were significantly different between at 1 h after administration and at the trough, although consisted amino acids remained unchanged. The patients with high clearance showed extensive alterations of glycoform composition ratios. However, pharmacodynamics makers were not different. Conclusion: Inter-individual variations in plasma concentrations of rituximab were found in some B-NHL patients. We could analyze a change in glycoforms of rituximab in the patients, and this finding may affect the pharmacokinetics of rituximab.

Original languageEnglish
Article number82
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • carbohydrate chain
  • pharmacokinetics
  • rituximab
  • therapeutic monoclonal antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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