Efficacy and safety of tocilizumab in patients with refractory Takayasu arteritis: results from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial in Japan (the TAKT study)

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To investigate the efficacy and safety of the interleukin-6 receptor antibody tocilizumab in patients with Takayasu arteritis (TAK).


Patients with TAK who had relapsed within the previous 12 weeks were induced into remission with oral glucocorticoid therapy. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive weekly tocilizumab 162 mg or placebo subcutaneously, and oral glucocorticoids were tapered 10 %/week from week 4 to a minimum of 0.1 mg/kg/day until 19 patients relapsed. The primary endpoint was time to relapse of TAK, defined as ≥2 of the following: objective systemic symptoms, subjective systemic symptoms, elevated inflammation markers, vascular signs and symptoms or ischaemic symptoms.


The intent-to-treat and safety populations included 18 tocilizumab-treated and 18 placebo-treated patients. The per-protocol set (PPS) included 16 tocilizumab-treated and 17 placebo-treated patients. HRs for time to relapse of TAK were 0.41 (95.41% CI 0.15 to 1.10; p=0.0596) in the intent-to-treat population (primary endpoint) based on relapse in eight tocilizumab-treated and 11 placebo-treated patients and 0.34 (95.41% CI 0.11 to 1.00; p=0.0345) in the PPS. The secondary endpoints, time to relapse assessed by Kerr’s definition and clinical symptoms only, were consistent with the primary endpoint. Serious adverse events were reported in one tocilizumab-treated and two placebo-treated patients. There were no serious infections and no deaths.


Although the primary endpoint was not met, the results suggest favour for tocilizumab over placebo for time to relapse of TAK without new safety concerns. Further investigation is warranted to confirm the efficacy of tocilizumab in patients with refractory TAK.

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