Randomized Trial of Interleukin-6 Receptor Inhibition in Patients With Acute ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Apr 20;77(15):1845-1855. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.02.049.


Background: Prompt myocardial revascularization with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) reduces infarct size and improves outcomes in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). However, as much as 50% of the loss of viable myocardium may be attributed to the reperfusion injury and the associated inflammatory response.

Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the effect of the interleukin-6 receptor inhibitor tocilizumab on myocardial salvage in acute STEMI.

Methods: The ASSAIL-MI trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 3 high-volume PCI centers in Norway. Patients admitted with STEMI within 6 h of symptom onset were eligible. Consenting patients were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to promptly receive a single infusion of 280 mg tocilizumab or placebo. The primary endpoint was the myocardial salvage index as measured by magnetic resonance imaging after 3 to 7 days.

Results: We randomized 101 patients to tocilizumab and 98 patients to placebo. The myocardial salvage index was larger in the tocilizumab group than in the placebo group (adjusted between-group difference 5.6 [95% confidence interval: 0.2 to 11.3] percentage points, p = 0.04). Microvascular obstruction was less extensive in the tocilizumab arm, but there was no significant difference in the final infarct size between the tocilizumab arm and the placebo arm (7.2% vs. 9.1% of myocardial volume, p = 0.08). Adverse events were evenly distributed across the treatment groups.

Conclusions: Tocilizumab increased myocardial salvage in patients with acute STEMI. (ASSessing the effect of Anti-IL-6 treatment in Myocardial Infarction [ASSAIL-MI]; NCT03004703).

Keywords: ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; infarct size; inflammation; myocardial salvage; randomized controlled trial; reperfusion injury.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03004703