Purpose of review
Cachexia is defined as ongoing loss of skeletal muscle mass, with or without depletion of adipose tissue and is a common syndrome in cancer patients, affecting 50% of those diagnosed. Cachexia, which cannot be fully reversed and causes significant functional impairment is caused by various mechanisms such as an altered energy balance and disruption of homeostatic control by the central nervous system. This central nervous system deregulation involves hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis stimulation, which can be triggered by IL-1R1 engagement on neuronal processes and endothelium in the microvasculature of the hypothalamus. This review will explore current evidence regarding both the importance of IL-1α in the various components of cancer cachexia and its potential as a therapeutic target.
IL-1α, which signals through IL-1R1, has been identified as a key agonist in the IL-1 pathway. As such, IL-1α has been explored as a therapeutic target in cancer cachexia, leading to the development of bermekimab, a mAb which neutralizes IL-1α. With a limited array of medication currently available to treat cancer cachexia, bermekimab represents a possible therapy.
IL-1α is a key mediator in cachexia development and targeting this may be a viable therapeutic target.