Association between tocilizumab, sarilumab and all-cause mortality at 28 days in hospitalized patients with COVID-19: A network meta-analysis

Peter J Godolphin, David J Fisher, Lindsay R Berry, Lennie PG Derde, Janet V Diaz, Anthony C Gordon, Elizabeth Lorenzi, John C Marshall, Srinivas Murthy, Manu Shankar-Hari, Jonathan AC Sterne, Jayne F Tierney, Claire L Vale

Research output: Working paperPreprint

Abstract / Description of output

Background: A recent prospective meta-analysis demonstrated that interleukin-6 antagonists are associated with lower all-cause mortality in hospitalised patients with COVID-19, compared with usual care or placebo. However, emerging evidence suggests that clinicians are favouring the use of tocilizumab over sarilumab. A new randomised comparison of these agents from the REMAP-CAP trial shows similar effects on in-hospital mortality. Therefore, we initiated a network meta-analysis, to estimate pairwise associations between tocilizumab, sarilumab and usual care or placebo with 28-day mortality, in COVID-19 patients receiving concomitant corticosteroids and ventilation, based on all available direct and indirect evidence.
Methods: Eligible trials randomised hospitalised patients with COVID-19 that compared tocilizumab or sarilumab with usual care or placebo in the prospective meta-analysis or that directly compared tocilizumab with sarilumab. Data were restricted to patients receiving corticosteroids and either non-invasive or invasive ventilation at randomisation.
Pairwise associations between tocilizumab, sarilumab and usual care or placebo for all-cause mortality 28 days after randomisation were estimated using a frequentist contrast-based network meta-analysis of odds ratios (ORs), implementing multivariate fixed-effects models that assume consistency between the direct and indirect evidence.
Findings: One trial (REMAP-CAP) was identified that directly compared tocilizumab with sarilumab and supplied results on all-cause mortality at 28-days. This network meta-analysis was based on 898 eligible patients (278 deaths) from REMAP-CAP and 3710 eligible patients from 18 trials (1278 deaths) from the prospective meta-analysis. Summary ORs were similar for tocilizumab [0·82 [0·71-0·95, p=0·008]] and sarilumab [0·80 [0·61-1·04, p=0·09]] compared with usual care or placebo. The summary OR for 28-day mortality comparing tocilizumab with sarilumab was 1·03 [95%CI 0·81-1·32, p=0·80]. The p-value for the global test of inconsistency was 0·28.
Conclusions: Administration of either tocilizumab or sarilumab was associated with lower 28-day all-cause mortality compared with usual care or placebo. The association is not dependent on the choice of interleukin-6 receptor antagonist.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2021

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