Targeting cytokines and immune checkpoints in atherosclerosis with monoclonal antibodies

Esther Lutgens, Jeremie Joffre, Bram van Os, Hafid Ait-Oufella

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over the past fifteen years, treatments using monoclonal antibodies specifically targeting cytokines have been developed to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis, both associated with increased cardiovascular risk. The cardiovascular impact of these therapies allows us to validate the clinical relevance of the knowledge acquired from experimental studies about the role of cytokines in atherosclerosis. Several clinical studies have confirmed the protective effects of anti-TNFα and anti-IL-6R monoclonal antibodies against athero-thrombotic cardiovascular risk in patients with chronic inflammatory diseases. Yet, caution is needed since anti-TNFα treatment can aggravate chronic heart failure. More recently, the CANTOS study showed for the first time that an anti-inflammatory treatment using anti-IL-1β monoclonal antibody in coronary artery disease patients significantly reduced cardiovascular events. The effects of IL-23/IL-17 axis blockade on cardiovascular risk in patients with psoriasis or arthritis remain controversial. Several monoclonal antibodies targeting costimulatory molecules have also been developed, a direct way to confirm their involvement in atherothrombotic cardiovascular diseases. Blocking the CD28CD80/86 axis with Abatacept has been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk. In contrast, the treatment of cancer patients with antibodies blocking immune checkpoint inhibitory receptors, such as CTLA-4, PD1, or PDL1, could worsen the risk of atherothrombotic events. In the future, cardiologists will be increasingly solicited to assess the cardiovascular risk of patients suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases or cancer and participate in choosing the most appropriate treatment. At the same time, immunomodulatory approaches directly targeting cardiovascular diseases will be developed as a complement to the usual treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-109
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Antibody
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Checkpoint
  • Cytokine
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting cytokines and immune checkpoints in atherosclerosis with monoclonal antibodies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this