Interleukin-6 (IL6) plays a major role in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma. In patients with monoclonal gammopathy serum levels of sIL6R have been found to be increased. The role of IL6 in the regulation of soluble receptors is still unclear. In a phase I/II study we treated 12 myeloma patients with high-affinity chimeric anti-IL6 monoclonal antibodies. This treatment resulted in a total in vivo blockage of IL6 activity and as a result we had an unique opportunity to gain insight into the possible regulation effects of IL6 on these soluble IL6 receptors. Pre-treatment sIL6R levels were elevated in 9 of the 12 patients; pre-treatment sgp130 levels were significantly increased in all patients. Total blockage of IL6 activity by the high-affinity cMab did not influence sIL6R in 10 of these 12 patients and sgp130 levels remained stable in all patients. Of the 2 patients whose sIL6R levels increased during therapy, one had progressive disease and the other developed an acute infection. We conclude that in most end-stage myeloma patients sIL6R and sgp130 serum levels are elevated, but that there is no relation between IL6 activity and sIL6R or sgp130 level
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