Objective: Familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS) is caused by mutations in the CIAS1 gene, leading to excessive secretion of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), which is associated with cold-induced fevers, joint pain, and systemic inflammation. This pilot study was conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of rilonacept (IL-1 Trap), a long-acting IL-1 receptor fusion protein, in patients with FCAS.
Methods: Five patients with FCAS were studied in an open-label trial. All patients received an initial loading dose of 300 mg of rilonacept by subcutaneous injection, were evaluated 6 and 10 days later for clinical efficacy, and remained off treatment until a clinical flare occurred. At the time of flare, patients were again treated with 300 mg of rilonacept and then given maintenance doses of 100 mg/week. Patients whose FCAS was not completely controlled were allowed a dosage increase to 160 mg/week and then further to 320 mg/week during an intrapatient dosage-escalation phase. Safety, disease activity measures (daily diary reports of rash, joint pain and/or swelling, and fevers), health quality measures (Short Form 36 health survey questionnaire), and serum markers of inflammation (erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR], high-sensitivity C-reactive protein [hsCRP], serum amyloid A [SAA], and IL-6) were determined at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months after initiation of rilonacept and were compared with baseline values.
Results: In all patients, clinical symptoms typically induced by cold (rash, fever, and joint pain/swelling) improved within days of rilonacept administration. Markers of inflammation (ESR, hsCRP, and SAA) showed statistically significant reductions (P < 0.01, P < 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively) at doses of 100 mg. Dosage escalation to 160 mg and 320 mg resulted in subjectively better control of the rash and joint pain. Furthermore, levels of the acute-phase reactants ESR, hsCRP, and SAA were lower at the higher doses; the difference was statistically significant only for the ESR. All patients continued taking the study drug. The drug was well-tolerated. Weight gain in 2 patients was noted. No study drug-related serious adverse events were seen.
Conclusion: In this study, we present 2-year safety and efficacy data on rilonacept treatment in 5 patients with FCAS. The dramatic improvement in clinical and laboratory measures of inflammation, the sustained response, and the good tolerability suggest that this drug may be a promising therapeutic option in patients with FCAS, and the data led to the design of a phase III study in this patient population.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00094900.