Objective: To evaluate the use of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha blockade for treatment of patients with Kawasaki syndrome (KS) who fail to become afebrile or who experience persistent arthritis after treatment with intravenous gamma globulin (IVIG) and high-dose aspirin.
Study design: Cases were retrospectively collected from clinicians throughout the United States who had used infliximab, a chimeric murine/human immunoglobulin (Ig)G1 monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to human TNF-alpha-1, for patients with KS who had either persistent arthritis or persistent or recrudescent fever > or =48 hours following infusion of 2 g/kg of IVIG.
Results: Response to therapy with cessation of fever occurred in 13 of 16 patients. C-reactive protein (CRP) level was elevated in all but one patient before infliximab infusion, and the level was lower following infusion in all 10 patients in whom it was re-measured within 48 hours of treatment. There were no infusion reactions to infliximab and no complications attributed to infliximab administration in any of the patients.
Conclusion: The success of TNF-alpha blockade in this small series of patients suggests a central role of TNF-alpha in KS pathogenesis. Controlled, randomized clinical trials are warranted to determine the role of anti-TNF-alpha therapy in KS.