To report the 24-month efficacy and safety of the interleukin-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab (TCZ) for refractory uveitis-related macular edema (ME).
Data were obtained by standardized chart review. Patients with quiescent uveitis seen at a single tertiary referral center, for whom ME was the principal cause of reduced visual acuity.
Central foveal thickness measured by optical coherence tomography; degree of anterior and posterior chamber; inflammation (Standardization of Uveitis Nomenclature Working Group criteria); and visual acuity (Snellen and logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution) were recorded in all patients during TCZ therapy at months 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24.
Sixteen eyes from 12 patients (10 women) were included. Mean age was 34.6 years. Mean duration of ME was 13.2 years. All patients achieved 24 months of follow-up and that is the census date for data collection. Before TCZ was commenced, ME was present, and all patients had been previously treated with immunosuppressive therapy and biologic agents. Uveitis diagnoses were juvenile idiopathic arthritis associated, uveitis (n = 6), birdshot chorioretinopathy (n = 2), idiopathic panuveitis (n = 2), sympathetic ophthalmia (n = 1), and ankylosing spondylitis (n = 1). Mean central foveal thickness (95%; confidence interval) was 516 ± 55 μm at baseline, improving to 274 ± 13 at Month 12 (P = 0.0004), and sustained at 274 ± 14 at Month 24 of follow-up (P = 0.00039). Mean logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution best-corrected visual acuity improved from 0.78 ± 0.18 (Snellen 20/120 ± 20/30) at baseline to 0.42 ± 0.17 (20/52 ± 20/30) at Month 12 (P = 0.0001) and 0.40 ± 0.17 (20/50 ± 20/30) at Month 24 of follow-up (P = 0.0002). Tocilizumab therapy was withdrawn in 5 patients with sustained remission at Month 12 but in all, ME relapsed between 1 and 3 months after TCZ discontinuation. Rechallenge of TCZ infusions led to recovery of uveitis control and ME resolution. Two adverse events were reported during two 4-month follow-ups: one Grade 1 neutropenia and one community-acquired pneumonia.
In this long-term study, TCZ was effective and had a comparable safety profile to published data for TCZ use in other indications, when used for the treatment of refractory uveitis-related ME.
We believe that this manuscript is of particular interest as it investigates the long-term effect of the IL-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab on refractory uveitis-related macular edema.
*Institut Clínic d'Oftalmologia, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;
†Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;
‡Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, IDIBAPS, Barcelona, Spain;
§Rheumatology Department, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; and
¶Autoimmune Diseases Department, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Reprint requests: Marina Mesquida, MD, PhD, Uveitis Unit, Ophthalmology Department, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Ophthalmology Clinical Research Unit, Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica, Sabino de Arana, 1, PC 08028, Barcelona, Spain; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
None of the authors has any financial/conflicting interests to disclose.