Intravenous tocilizumab for the treatment of giant cell arteritis: a phase Ib dose-ranging pharmacokinetic bridging study.
Summary: This study investigated the safety and effectiveness of tocilizumab (TCZ) in the treatment of patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA).
Conclusion: In patients with giant cell arteritis, treatment with tocilizumab was well-tolerated.
Background: Subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ SC) is approved globally for giant cell arteritis (GCA). This phase Ib study investigated the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety, and exploratory efficacy of intravenous (IV) TCZ 6 and 7 mg/kg in patients with GCA. This study explored an IV dose resulting in a minimum exposure level within the range of effective trough concentrations achieved with TCZ SC dosing in GCA and not exceeding the exposure of the well-tolerated 8 mg/kg IV every 4 weeks (Q4W) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: Patients with GCA who had received ≥ 5 doses of TCZ IV 8 mg/kg Q4W and achieved remission were enrolled. Patients received 5 doses of TCZ IV 7 mg/kg Q4W in period 1 and, if still in remission, 5 doses of 6 mg/kg Q4W in period 2. Pharmacokinetic endpoints were maximum concentration (Cmax), minimum concentration (Ctrough), area under the curve over a dosing interval (AUCτ), and mean concentration (Cmean) of TCZ after the last dose of each period. Other endpoints included pharmacodynamic markers, safety, and exploratory efficacy.
Results: In 24 patients, the median (range) age was 65.5 (57-90) years, and 62.5% were female. TCZ exposures (Cmax and AUCτ) were 11.2% and 20.0% lower at the 6- than 7-mg/kg dose. The mean interleukin 6 (IL-6) serum concentrations were elevated at baseline and remained elevated, with slightly higher concentrations in period 1 than in period 2. The mean serum soluble IL-6 receptor concentrations were elevated at baseline and comparable between the 2 doses at steady state. C-reactive protein levels and most erythrocyte sedimentation rates were within normal ranges throughout the study. Overall, 22 patients (91.7%) had ≥ 1 adverse event, and 4 (16.7%) had a serious adverse event. No patients experienced a GCA flare, and all remained in remission throughout the study.
Conclusions: Both doses of TCZ IV Q4W were generally well tolerated in patients with GCA. The Cmax and Cmean achieved with 6 mg/kg IV Q4W in patients with GCA were similar to those in patients with RA treated with 8 mg/kg IV Q4W, and Ctrough was within the range observed in patients with GCA treated with SC dosing every week or every 2 weeks. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT03923738.