Interleukin-6 (IL6) plays a central role in multiple myeloma pathogenesis and confers resistance to corticosteroid-induced apoptosis. We therefore evaluated the efficacy and safety of siltuximab, an anti-IL6 monoclonal antibody, alone and in combination with dexamethasone, for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who had ≥2 prior lines of therapy, one of which had to be bortezomib-based. Fourteen initial patients received siltuximab alone, 10 of whom had dexamethasone added for suboptimal response; 39 subsequent patients were treated with concurrent siltuximab and dexamethasone. Patients received a median of four prior lines of therapy, 83% were relapsed and refractory, and 70% refractory to their last dexamethasone-containing regimen. Suppression of serum C-reactive protein levels, a surrogate marker of IL6 inhibition, was demonstrated. There were no responses to siltuximab but combination therapy yielded a partial (17%) + minimal (6%) response rate of 23%, with responses seen in dexamethasone-refractory disease. The median time to progression, progression-free survival and overall survival for combination therapy was 4·4, 3·7 and 20·4 months respectively. Haematological toxicity was common but manageable. Infections occurred in 57% of combination-treated patients, including ≥grade 3 infections in 18%. Further study of siltuximab in modern corticosteroid-containing myeloma regimens is warranted, with special attention to infection-related toxicity.
- Multiple myeloma
- Targeted therapy