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Longitudinal versus cross-sectional IL-6 measurements in tocilizumab-treated GCA response to: ‘Analysis of IL-6 measurement in GCA patients treated with tocilizumab should consider concomitant treatment with prednisone’ by Samson et al
  1. Christoph T Berger1,2,
  2. Thomas Daikeler3
  1. 1Translational Immunology, Department of Biomedicine, University Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  2. 2Clinical Immunology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  3. 3Clinic for Rheumatology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christoph T Berger, Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel 4031, Switzerland; Christoph.Berger{at}

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We thank Samson and Bonnotte1 for their interest in our study on longitudinal interleukin 6 (IL-6) measurements in tocilizumab (TCZ)-treated giant cell arteritis (GCA) patients. The authors’ measured IL-6 blood levels in GCA before and after a treatment with glucocorticoids and a 3-month course of TCZ. They confirm the suppression of acute phase proteins (c-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and fibrinogen) and the increase in serum IL-6.2 3 The patients with higher IL-6 levels at 12 weeks were not more likely to relapse after TCZ stop than those with lower levels. This is in line with our data (as well as Gloor et al2), as absolute levels were also not associated with relapse outcome in our study (median 38.3 vs 36.1 vs 39.8 pg/mL for ‘no’, ‘early’ and ‘late relapse’).3 Instead, we found that a longitudinal …

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