Severe T-cell immunodeficiency after solid organ or bone marrow transplantation may result in the uncontrolled outgrowth of latently Epstein-Barr virus-infected B cells, leading to B-lymphoproliferative disorder (BLPD). Given the potentially important pathogenic role of IL-6 in BLPD, it was tested whether the in vivo neutralization of IL-6 by a monoclonal anti-IL-6 antibody could contribute to the control of BLPD. Safety and efficacy were assessed in 12 recipients of transplanted organs who had BLPD refractory to the reduction of immunosuppression over 8 days. Five patients received 0.4 mg/kg per day. The next 7 patients received 0.8 mg/kg per day. Treatment was scheduled to last 15 days. It was completed in 10 patients, and in the other 2 patients was discontinued early (days 10 and 13, respectively) because of disease progression. Treatment tolerance was good, and no major side effects were observed. High C-reactive protein levels were found in 9 patients before treatment but were normalized under treatment in all patients, demonstrating efficient IL-6 neutralization. Complete remission (CR) was observed in 5 patients and partial remission (PR) in 3 patients. Relapse was observed in 1 of these 8 patients in whom remission was observed. This relapse was unresponsive to treatment. Disease was stable in 1 patient, but it progressed in 3 patients. Seven patients are alive and well. Two patients died because of disease progression, and 3 patients died while in CR (chronic rejection in 2 patients and BLPD sequelae in 1 patient). These data suggest that the anti-IL-6 antibody is safe and should be further explored in the treatment of BLPD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology