The effect of a monoclonal antibody to tumor necrosis factor on survival from childhood cerebral malaria.
van Hensbroek MB., Palmer A., Onyiorah E., Schneider G., Jaffar S., Dolan G., Memming H., Frenkel J., Enwere G., Bennett S., Kwiatkowski D., Greenwood B.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is thought to play a key role in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an anti-TNF monoclonal antibody (B-C7) comprised 610 Gambian children with cerebral malaria, with mortality and residual neurologic sequelae as primary study end points. Sixty (19.9%) of 302 children who received B-C7 died compared with 64 (20.8%) of 308 children who received placebo (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57-1.42). Residual neurologic sequelae were detected in 15 (6.8%) of 221 survivors from the B-C7 group and in 5 (2.2%) of 225 survivors of the placebo group (adjusted OR, 3.35; 95% CI, 1.08-10.4). The monoclonal antibody used in this study did not improve survival in cerebral malaria and was associated with a significant increase in neurologic sequelae. A possible explanation of the latter observation is that the antibody acts to retain TNF within the circulation and thereby prolongs its effects on vascular endothelium.