The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer perspective on regulation of interleukin-6 signaling in COVID-19-related systemic inflammatory response

Fernanda I. Arnaldez, Steven J. O'Day, Charles G. Drake, Bernard A. Fox, Bingqing Fu, Walter J. Urba, Vincenzo Montesarchio, Jeffrey S. Weber, Haiming Wei, Jon M. Wigginton, Paolo Antonio Ascierto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has placed an unprecedented burden on healthcare systems around the world. In patients who experience severe disease, acute respiratory distress is often accompanied by a pathological immune reaction, sometimes referred to as 'cytokine storm'. One hallmark feature of the profound inflammatory state seen in patients with COVID-19 who succumb to pneumonia and hypoxia is marked elevation of serum cytokines, especially interferon gamma, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 17 (IL-17), interleukin 8 (IL-8) and interleukin 6 (IL-6). Initial experience from the outbreaks in Italy, China and the USA has anecdotally demonstrated improved outcomes for critically ill patients with COVID-19 with the administration of cytokine-modulatory therapies, especially anti-IL-6 agents. Although ongoing trials are investigating anti-IL-6 therapies, access to these therapies is a concern, especially as the numbers of cases worldwide continue to climb. An immunology-informed approach may help identify alternative agents to modulate the pathological inflammation seen in patients with COVID-19. Drawing on extensive experience administering these and other immune-modulating therapies, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer offers this perspective on potential alternatives to anti-IL-6 that may also warrant consideration for management of the systemic inflammatory response and pulmonary compromise that can be seen in patients with severe COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020

Keywords

  • immunomodulation
  • inflammation mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research

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