Mepolizumab as a corticosteroid-sparing agent in lymphocytic variant hypereosinophilic syndrome

Florence Roufosse, Aurore de Lavareille, Liliane Schandené, Elie Cogan, Ann Georgelas, Lori Wagner, Liqiang Xi, Mark Raffeld, Michel Goldman, Gerald J Gleich, Amy Klion
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2010, 126 (4): 828-835.e3

BACKGROUND: Mepolizumab, a monoclonal anti-IL-5 antibody, is an effective corticosteroid-sparing agent for patients with Fip1-like 1/platelet-derived growth factor receptor α fusion (F/P)-negative hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES). Lymphocytic variant hypereosinophilic syndrome (L-HES) is characterized by marked overproduction of IL-5 by dysregulated T cells.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether patients with L-HES respond to mepolizumab in terms of corticosteroid tapering and eosinophil depletion to the same extent as corticosteroid-responsive F/P-negative patients with HES and a normal T-cell profile.

METHODS: Patients enrolled in the mepolizumab trial were evaluated for L-HES on the basis of T-cell phenotyping and T-cell receptor gene rearrangement patterns, and their serum thymus-and-activation-regulated chemokine (TARC) levels were measured. Response to treatment was compared in patient subgroups based on results of these analyses.

RESULTS: Lymphocytic variant HES was diagnosed in 13 of 63 patients with HES with complete T-cell assessments. The ability to taper corticosteroids on mepolizumab was similar in patients with L-HES and those with a normal T-cell profile, although a lower proportion of patients with L-HES maintained eosinophil levels below 600/μL. Increased serum TARC levels (>1000 pg/mL) had no significant impact on the ability to reduce corticosteroid doses, but a lower proportion of patients with elevated TARC achieved eosinophil control on mepolizumab.

CONCLUSION: Mepolizumab is an effective corticosteroid-sparing agent for patients with L-HES. In some cases however, eosinophil levels remain above 600/μL, suggesting incomplete neutralization of overproduced IL-5 or involvement of other eosinophilopoietic factors.

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