Interleukin-1 blockade in refractory giant cell arteritis

Joint Bone Spine. 2014 Jan;81(1):76-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Giant cell arteritis is a primary large-vessel vasculitis characterized by an arterial wall inflammation associated with intimal hyperplasia leading to arterial occlusion. Glucocorticoids remain the mainstay of giant cell arteritis treatment. However, relapses and glucocorticoid-related complications are frequent and therapeutic options for refractory giant cell arteritis are quite limited. Like tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6, interleukin-1β is also highly expressed in inflamed arterial walls of patients with giant cell arteritis and may contribute in the pathogenesis of this disease. We report treatment of three cases of refractory giant cell arteritis successfully treated with anakinra, an interleukin-1 blockade therapy. Anakinra was effective for all patients, yielding improvement in their inflammation biomarkers and/or in their symptoms, as well as a disappearance of arterial inflammation in PET/CT for two of them.

Keywords: Case report; Giant cell arteritis; Interleukin-1 blockade.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / drug therapy*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / therapeutic use*
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Male
  • Positron-Emission Tomography


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-1