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This article is the author’s final published version in Neurology: Neuroimmunology and NeuroInflammation, Volume 6, Issue 4, July 2019, Article number e581.

The published version is available at Copyright © Kosmidis et al.


Objective: To assess whether canakinumab, a monoclonal antibody against IL-1β approved for autoinflammatory diseases, is effective as target-specific therapy in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM).

Methods: Because in sIBM IL-1β colocalizes with amyloid precursor protein and upregulates amyloid aggregates enhancing degeneration, targeting IL-1β with canakinumab may arrest disease progression. On this basis, 5 ambulatory patients with sIBM participated in an institutional review board--approved open-labeled study with 150 mg canakinumab [4 bimonthly, then monthly subcutaneous injections] for a mean period of 15.8 months. Patients were assessed bimonthly with a manual dynamometer in 12 proximal and distal muscles and with grip force (GF) in both hands. Total muscle strength (TMS) was expressed in kilograms. Efficacy was defined as >15% increased strength after 12 months.

Results: Patient 1 stopped at month 5 because of 23% loss in TMS and 32.35% in GF; patient 2 showed 37.1% increase in TMS and 13% in GF by month 9; patient 3 exhibited 26.7% reduction in TMS and 10% in GF at month 33; patient 4 showed 6.5% reduction in TMS and 1.6% in GF after 15 months, denoting relative stability; and patient 5 showed 30.4% loss in TMS and 20.8% in GF after 18 months. In patients 2 and 4, in whom 3-year longitudinal data were available, no effect on disease progression was noted.

Conclusions: In this long-term, open-label study, canakinumab showed small, but not clinically appreciable, stabilizing benefits in 2 of 5 patients with sIBM over 1 year, was ineffective in 2 others, and might have worsened one. No patient improved.

Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that canakinumab was ineffective for patients with sIBM.

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