Outcomes and biomarker analyses among patients with COVID-19 treated with interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist sarilumab at a single institution in Italy

Vincenzo Montesarchio, Roberto Parrela, Chiara Iommelli, Antonella Bianco, Elio Manzillo, Fiorentino Fraganza, Cristiana Palumbo, Gaetano Rea, Patrizia Murino, Rosanna De Rosa, Luigi Atripaldi, Maurizio D'Abbraccio, Marcello Curvietto, Domenico Mallardo, Egidio Celentano, Antonio Maria Grimaldi, Marco Palla, Claudia Trojaniello, Maria Grazia Vitale, Samuel Lewis Million-WeaverPaolo Antonio Ascierto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The inflammatory pathology observed in severe COVID-19 disease caused by the 2019 novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is characterized by elevated serum levels of C reactive protein (CRP) and cytokines, including interferon gamma, interleukin 8 (IL-8), and interleukin 6 (IL-6). Initial reports from the outbreak in Italy, China and the USA have provided anecdotal evidence of improved outcomes with the administration of anti-IL-6 agents, and large-scale trials evaluating these therapies are ongoing.

STUDY DESCRIPTION: In this retrospective case series, clinical outcomes and correlates of response to treatment with the IL-6 receptor antagonist sarilumab are described for 15 patients with COVID-19 from a single institution in Southern Italy. Among 10 patients whose symptoms improved after sarilumab treatment, rapid decreases in CRP levels corresponded with clinical improvement. Lower levels of IL-6 at baseline as well as lower neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio as compared with patients whose COVID-19 did not improve with treatment were associated with sarilumab-responsive disease.

CONCLUSIONS: This observation may reflect a possible clinical benefit regarding early intervention with IL-6-modulatory therapies for COVID-19 and that CRP could be a potential biomarker of response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers, Pharmacological/blood
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections/complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6/blood
  • Italy
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral/complications
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


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