A pilot study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the long-acting interleukin-1 inhibitor rilonacept (interleukin-1 Trap) in patients with familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome

Arthritis Rheum. 2008 Aug;58(8):2432-42. doi: 10.1002/art.23620.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthralgia / drug therapy*
  • Arthralgia / genetics
  • Arthralgia / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Exanthema / drug therapy*
  • Exanthema / genetics
  • Exanthema / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fever / drug therapy*
  • Fever / genetics
  • Fever / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / administration & dosage
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • Pilot Projects
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human
  • Receptors, Interleukin-1
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • rilonacept

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00094900