Intravenous anti-IL-13 mAb QAX576 for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis

Marc E. Rothenberg*, Ting Wen, Allison Greenberg, Oral Alpan, Benjamin Enav, Ikuo Hirano, Kari Nadeau, Sergio Kaiser, Thomas Peters, Antonio Perez, Ieuan Jones, Jonathan P. Arm, Robert M. Strieter, Ronald Sabo, Kulasiri A. Gunawardena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


Background Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic allergic disease with limited treatment options. Objective We evaluated QAX576, an mAb against IL-13, in the treatment of patients with EoE. Methods Patients (18-50 years) with proton pump inhibitor-resistant esophageal eosinophilia received intravenous QAX576 (6 mg/kg) or placebo (2:1) at weeks 0, 4, and 8 and were followed for 6 months. The primary end point was the responder rate for a greater than 75% decrease in peak eosinophil counts at week 12. Efficacy was to be declared if the lower 90% confidence limit for the proportion of responders on QAX576 was 35% or greater. Secondary end points included changes in esophageal eosinophil counts, symptoms assessed by questionnaire scores, and quantification of a series of biomarkers. Results Twenty-three patients completed the study up to week 12, and 18 continued to the end of the study. For the proximal and distal esophageal biopsies combined, the responder rate was 12.5% (90% confidence limit, 1% to 43%) with placebo, compared to 40.0% (90% confidence limit, 22% to 61%) with QAX576. Although the primary end point was not met, the mean esophageal eosinophil count decreased by 60% with QAX576 versus an increase of 23% with placebo (P =.004), and the decrease was sustained up to 6 months. There was a trend for improved symptoms, particularly dysphagia. QAX576 improved expression of EoE-relevant esophageal transcripts, including eotaxin-3, periostin, and markers of mast cells and barrier function, for up to 6 months after treatment. QAX576 was well tolerated. Conclusions QAX576 significantly improved intraepithelial esophageal eosinophil counts and dysregulated esophageal disease-related transcripts in adults with EoE in a sustained manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-507
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • IL-13
  • QAX576
  • T2 cells
  • barrier function
  • cytokine
  • eosinophilic esophagitis
  • mAb
  • mast cell
  • randomized clinical trial
  • targeted therapy
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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