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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Aug;112(2):331-8.

The effects of an anti-CD11a mAb, efalizumab, on allergen-induced airway responses and airway inflammation in subjects with atopic asthma.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Health Sciences Centre, Hamilton, ON, Canada.



Efalizumab is a humanized IgG(1) mAb against the lymphocyte function antigen-1 (LFA-1) alpha chain, CD11a. Blocking of LFA-1/intercellular adhesion molecule interactions could inhibit asthmatic inflammation by blocking adhesion and activation of LFA-1-positive leukocytes.


A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel group, multicenter study investigated the effects of efalizumab on allergen-induced airway responsiveness and airway inflammation.


Thirty-five nonsmoking subjects with mild allergic asthma were randomized to receive efalizumab (n = 24) or placebo (n = 11) in 8 weekly subcutaneous doses (0.7 mg/kg conditioning dose followed by 7 weekly doses of 2.0 mg/kg). Allergen challenges were performed at screening and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Samples of sputum (n = 18 subjects) and blood (n = 35 subjects) were collected the day before challenges, and sputum was collected again at 7 and 24 hours after each challenge. Nonparametric tests were used to compare allergen-induced differences between efalizumab and placebo groups.


Subjects receiving efalizumab developed headache (48%) and flu syndrome (28%) compared to subjects receiving placebo (0%). After 8 weeks of efalizumab, the maximum late percent fall in FEV(1) (late asthmatic response) was inhibited by 50%, but neither the late response nor the late area under the curve was statistically different than placebo (P =.098 and.062, respectively). Efalizumab had no effect on the maximum early percent fall in FEV(1) (early asthmatic response) or early area under the curve compared to placebo (P >.59). Efalizu-mab significantly reduced the postallergen increase in sputum EG2-positive cells and metachromatic cells (P <.05). No other comparisons were statistically different.


Blocking of LFA-1/intercellular adhesion module interactions by efalizumab inhibits the development of allergen-induced cellular inflammatory responses measured in induced sputum and might attenuate the late asthmatic response. Larger studies are needed to confirm this.

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