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      Profile of sarilumab and its potential in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

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          Abstract

          In recent years the use of biotechnological agents has drastically revolutionized the therapeutic approach and the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In particular, interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been demonstrated as a pivotal cytokine in the pathogenesis of the disease by contributing to both the innate and the adaptive immune system perturbation, and to the production of acute-phase proteins involved in the systemic expression of the disorder. The first marketed IL-6 blocker was tocilizumab, a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor (anti-IL-6R) monoclonal antibody. The successful use of tocilizumab in RA has encouraged the development of other biologic agents specifically targeting the IL-6 pathway, either directed against IL-6 cytokine (sirukumab, olokizumab, and clazakizumab) or IL-6 receptor (sarilumab). One Phase II and six Phase III randomized controlled trials demonstrated a broad efficacy of sarilumab across all RA patient subtypes, ranging from methotrexate (MTX) to tumor necrosis factor inhibitor insufficient responders. In particular, sarilumab as monotherapy demonstrated a clear head-to-head superiority over adalimumab in MTX-intolerant subjects. In addition, compared with tocilizumab, sarilumab showed a similar safety profile with significantly higher affinity and longer half-life, responsible for a reduction of the frequency of administration (every other week instead weekly). All these aspects may be important in defining the strategy for positioning sarilumab in the treatment algorithm of RA. Indeed, observational data coming from post-marketing real-life studies may provide crucial additional information for better understanding the role of sarilumab in the management of the disease. This review summarizes both the biological role of IL-6 in RA and the clinical data available on sarilumab as an alternative therapeutic option in RA patients.

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          Most cited references 72

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          TGFbeta in the context of an inflammatory cytokine milieu supports de novo differentiation of IL-17-producing T cells.

          We describe de novo generation of IL-17-producing T cells from naive CD4 T cells, induced in cocultures of naive CD4 T cells and naturally occurring CD4+ CD25+ T cells (Treg) in the presence of TLR3, TLR4, or TLR9 stimuli. Treg can be substituted by TGFbeta1, which, together with the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6, supports the differentiation of IL-17-producing T cells, a process that is amplified by IL-1beta and TNFalpha. We could not detect a role for IL-23 in the differentiation of IL-17-producing T cells but confirmed its importance for their survival and expansion. Transcription factors GATA-3 and T-bet, as well as its target Hlx, are absent in IL-17-producing T cells, and they do not express the negative regulator for TGFbeta signaling, Smad7. Our data indicate that, in the presence of IL-6, TGFbeta1 subverts Th1 and Th2 differentiation for the generation of IL-17-producing T cells.
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            Effect of interleukin-6 receptor inhibition with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (OPTION study): a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial.

            Interleukin 6 is involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis via its broad effects on immune and inflammatory responses. Our aim was to assess the therapeutic effects of blocking interleukin 6 by inhibition of the interleukin-6 receptor with tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel group phase III study, 623 patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned with an interactive voice response system, stratified by site with a randomisation list provided by the study sponsor, to receive tocilizumab 8 mg/kg (n=205), tocilizumab 4 mg/kg (214), or placebo (204) intravenously every 4 weeks, with methotrexate at stable pre-study doses (10-25 mg/week). Rescue therapy with tocilizumab 8 mg/kg was offered at week 16 to patients with less than 20% improvement in both swollen and tender joint counts. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with 20% improvement in signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis according to American College of Rheumatology criteria (ACR20 response) at week 24. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00106548. The intention-to-treat analysis population consisted of 622 patients: one patient in the 4 mg/kg group did not receive study treatment and was thus excluded. At 24 weeks, ACR20 responses were seen in more patients receiving tocilizumab than in those receiving placebo (120 [59%] patients in the 8 mg/kg group, 102 [48%] in the 4 mg/kg group, 54 [26%] in the placebo group; odds ratio 4.0 [95% CI 2.6-6.1], p<0.0001 for 8 mg/kg vs placebo; and 2.6 [1.7-3.9], p<0.0001 for 4 mg/kg vs placebo). More people receiving tocilizumab than those receiving placebo had at least one adverse event (143 [69%] in the 8 mg/kg group; 151 [71%] in the 4 mg/kg group; 129 [63%] in the placebo group). The most common serious adverse events were serious infections or infestations, reported by six patients in the 8 mg/kg group, three in the 4 mg/kg group, and two in the placebo group. Tocilizumab could be an effective therapeutic approach in patients with moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis. F Hoffmann-La Roche, Chugai Pharmaceutical.
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              Interleukin-6: from basic science to medicine--40 years in immunology.

              This essay summarizes my 40 years of research in immunology. As a young physician, I encountered a patient with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, and this inspired me to study the structure of IgM. I began to ask how antibody responses are regulated. In the late 1960s, the essential role of T cells in antibody production had been reported. In search of molecules mediating T cell helper function, I discovered activities in the culture supernatant of T cells that induced proliferation and differentiation of B cells. This led to my life's work: studying one of those factors, interleukin-6 (IL-6). To my surprise, IL-6 turned out to play additional roles, including myeloma growth factor and hepatocyte-stimulating factor activities. More importantly, it was involved in a number of diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Castleman's disease. I feel exceptionally fortunate that my work not only revealed the framework of cytokine signaling, including identification of the IL-6 receptor, gp130, NF-IL6, STAT3, and SOCS-1, but also led to the development of a new therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2017
                24 May 2017
                : 11
                : 1593-1603
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Sciences and Health Community, Division of Rheumatology, University of Milan
                [2 ]Department of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Milan, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ennio Giulio Favalli, Department of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Via Gaetano Pini 9, 20122 Milan, Italy, Tel +39 02 5829 6421, Fax +39 02 5829 6315, Email ennio.favalli@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                dddt-11-1593
                10.2147/DDDT.S100302
                5447699
                © 2017 Raimondo et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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