IL-6 Blocker Wins in Vasculitis

Among a cohort of 251 patients with biopsy or imaging-confirmed giant-cell arteritis who underwent a 26-week prednisone taper, 56% of those who received subcutaneous tocilizumab once weekly were in sustained remission at week 52, as were 53% of those who were given the interleukin-6 receptor alpha inhibitor every other week, according to John H. Stone, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.

In contrast, only 14% of patients given placebo with a 26-week prednisone taper had sustained remission after 1 year, as did 18% of those given placebo with a 52-week prednisone taper (P<0.001 for both tocilizumab groups versus placebo), the researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, longer-term follow-up is needed to more fully assess the safety of tocilizumab.