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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2012 Jan-Feb;30(1 Suppl 70):S90-3. Epub 2012 May 11.

Rescue treatment with tocilizumab for Takayasu arteritis resistant to TNF-α blockers.

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Rheumatology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera ASMN, IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy.


Anti-TNF-α therapy has successfully been used to treat Takayasu arteritis (TA) refractory to conventional immunosuppressive treatment. However, some patients fail to respond even to TNF-α blockers. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a key player in the pathogenesis of TA. Preliminary data also suggest efficacy of the IL-6 receptor inhibitor tocilizumab in patients with large-vessel vasculitis. We report a patient with TA refractory to multiple conventional immunosuppressive agents and two TNF-α blockers successfully treated with monthly tocilizumab infusions (8 mg/kg body weight) for 6 consecutive months. Clinical indices of disease activity, inflammatory markers, and 18Ffluorodeoxyglucose positron emission/computerised tomography findings normalised, while the prednisone dosage could be tapered. Serum IL-6 and soluble IL-6 receptor (sIL-6R) levels raised during tocilizumab treatment consistent with the mode of action of tocilizumab. Tocilizumab holds promise for patients with refractory TA. Larger studies are required to confirm our findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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