Tocilizumab-induced hypofibrinogenemia in patients with systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Sci Rep. 2023 Jun 3;13(1):9050. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-36246-6.


Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) is a chronic inflammatory disease of childhood with elevated serum IL-6 levels. As an inhibitor of IL-6R, tocilizumab (TCZ) has been approved to treat SJIA patients. TCZ-induced hypofibrinogenemia has been only reported in adult cases and limited small case series with rheumatoid arthritis or giant cell arteritis. Here, we describe the incidence of TCZ-induced hypofibrinogenemia in SJIA patients and its possible influence on bleeding risk. SJIA patients with TCZ treatment in Shenzhen Children's hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Only those with the data on serum fibrinogen levels were included. Data on clinical manifestations, laboratory parameters, management, and sJADAS10-ESR score were collected. Laboratory data were extracted following the start of TCZ therapy at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks thereafter. Seventeen SJIA patients with TCZ treatment were included. Thirteen (76.47%, 13/17) had hypofibrinogenemia. The lowest serum fibrinogen levels were even below 1.5 g/L in seven (41.17%, 7/17) patients. Among four patients without MTX treatment, two had obvious hypofibrinogenemia. Although five patients had already stopped steroid treatment 24 weeks after TCZ treatment, three of them still had hypofibrinogenemia. Only P14 had mild nasal mucosal bleeding occasionally. Coagulation tests were regularly performed in eight patients, of these, six had hypofibrinogenemia, which occurred following one to four doses of TCZ; continuation of TCZ treatment hadn't further aggravated hypofibrinogenemia. Serum fibrinogen levels were not decreased consistently with the improvement of sJADAS10-ESR score in more than half of these eight patients. Factor XIII was detected in six patients and none was identified with Factor XIII deficiency. TCZ alone may induce hypofibrinogenemia in SJIA patients. Continuation of TCZ treatment may be safe for most SJIA patients. But for SJIA patients with indications of surgery or complicated with MAS, the risk of hemorrhage should be regularly evaluated during TCZ treatment. The association between TCZ-induced hypofibrinogenemia and factor XIII deficiency remains uncertain.Trial registration: Not applicable; this was a retrospective study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afibrinogenemia* / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / complications
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation*
  • Factor XIII Deficiency*
  • Fibrinogen / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • tocilizumab
  • Fibrinogen