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

Authors Raimondo MG, Biggioggero M, Crotti C, Becciolini A, Favalli EG

Received 16 March 2017

Accepted for publication 25 April 2017

Published 24 May 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 1593—1603


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Qiongyu Guo

Maria Gabriella Raimondo,1 Martina Biggioggero,1 Chiara Crotti,1 Andrea Becciolini,2 Ennio Giulio Favalli2

1Department of Clinical Sciences and Health Community, Division of Rheumatology, University of Milan, 2Department of Rheumatology, Gaetano Pini Institute, Milan, Italy

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.

Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, interleukin-6, sarilumab, monoclonal antibody, biologic drugs

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