Inhibition of IL-6 Can Offer “Profound Protection” from Acute GVHD

Grade II-IV and grade III-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is significantly reduced in transplant recipients receiving a monoclonal antibody inhibiting interleukin-6 (IL-6), according to research results presented at ASH. Thirty-six of 48 enrolled patients were evaluable beyond day 100, and at a median follow up of 297 days, the incidence of grade II-IV GVHD was 11.1% in recipients of IL-6 inhibition versus 39.6% in a matched (n=53) control group (p=0.004). The incidence of grade III/IV acute GVHD was 5.6% in recipients of IL-6 inhibition versus 20.8% in the control group (p=0.045). The lead author of the study concluded that IL-6 inhibition "appears to offer profound protection from acute GVHD despite robust immune reconstitution, without compromise of the graft-versus-leukemia effect."

Kennedy GA, et al. Blood