ESCMID Study Group for Infections in Compromised Hosts (ESGICH) Consensus Document on the safety of targeted and biological therapies: an infectious diseases perspective (Soluble immune effector molecules [II]: agents targeting interleukins, immunoglobulins and complement factors)

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2018 Jun:24 Suppl 2:S21-S40. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2018.02.002. Epub 2018 Feb 12.


Background: The present review is part of the ESCMID Study Group for Infections in Compromised Hosts (ESGICH) Consensus Document on the safety of targeted and biological therapies.

Aims: To review, from an Infectious Diseases perspective, the safety profile of agents targeting interleukins, immunoglobulins and complement factors and to suggest preventive recommendations.

Sources: Computer-based MEDLINE searches with MeSH terms pertaining to each agent or therapeutic family.

Content: Patients receiving interleukin-1 (IL-1) -targeted (anakinra, canakinumab or rilonacept) or IL-5-targeted (mepolizumab) agents have a moderate risk of infection and no specific prevention strategies are recommended. The use of IL-6/IL-6 receptor-targeted agents (tocilizumab and siltuximab) is associated with a risk increase similar to that observed with anti-tumour necrosis factor-α agents. IL-12/23-targeted agents (ustekinumab) do not seem to pose a meaningful risk of infection, although screening for latent tuberculosis infection may be considered and antiviral prophylaxis should be given to hepatitis B surface antigen-positive patients. Therapy with IL-17-targeted agents (secukinumab, brodalumab and ixekizumab) may result in the development of mild-to-moderate mucocutaneous candidiasis. Pre-treatment screening for Strongyloides stercoralis and other geohelminths should be considered in patients who come from areas where these are endemic who are receiving IgE-targeted agents (omalizumab). C5-targeted agents (eculizumab) are associated with a markedly increased risk of infection due to encapsulated bacteria, particularly Neisseria spp. Meningococcal vaccination and chemoprophylaxis must be administered 2-4 weeks before initiating eculizumab. Patients with high-risk behaviours and their partners should also be screened for gonococcal infection.

Implications: Preventive strategies are particularly encouraged to minimize the occurrence of neisserial infection associated with eculizumab.

Keywords: Anakinra; Brodalumab; Canakinumab; Eculizumab; Infection; Ixekizumab; Prevention; Rilonacept; Secukinumab; Tocilizumab.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Biological Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / therapy*
  • Complement System Proteins / drug effects*
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Immunoglobulins / drug effects*
  • Interleukin-17 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Meningococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / adverse effects*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukins
  • Meningococcal Vaccines
  • canakinumab
  • brodalumab
  • Complement System Proteins
  • eculizumab
  • secukinumab
  • tocilizumab