Epratuzumab, a humanized anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody, is under investigation as a therapeutic antibody in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but its mechanism of action on B-cells remains elusive. Treatment of SLE patients with epratuzumab leads to a reduction of circulating CD27negative B-cells, although epratuzumab is weakly cytotoxic to B-cells in vitro. Therefore, potential effects of epratuzumab on adhesion molecule expression and the migration of B-cells have been evaluated.
Epratuzumab binding specificity and the surface expression of adhesion molecules (CD62L, β7 integrin and β1 integrin) after culture with epratuzumab was studied on B-cell subsets of SLE patients by flow cytometry. In addition, in vitro transwell migration assays were performed to analyze the effects of epratuzumab on migration towards different chemokines such as CXCL12, CXCL13 or to CXCR3 ligands, and to assess the functional consequences of altered adhesion molecule expression.
Epratuzumab binding was considerably higher on B-cells relative to other cell types assessed. No binding of epratuzumab was observed on T-cells, while weak non-specific binding of epratuzumab on monocytes was noted. On B-cells, binding of epratuzumab was particularly enhanced on CD27negative B-cells compared to CD27positive B-cells, primarily related to a higher expression of CD22 on CD27negative B-cells. Moreover, epratuzumab binding led to a decrease in the cell surface expression of CD62L and β7 integrin, while the expression of β1 integrin was enhanced. The effects on the pattern of adhesion molecule expression observed with epratuzumab were principally confined to a fraction of the CD27negative B-cell subpopulation and were associated with enhanced spontaneous migration of B-cells. Furthermore, epratuzumab also enhanced the migration of CD27negative B-cells towards the chemokine CXCL12.
The current data suggest that epratuzumab has effects on the expression of the adhesion molecules CD62L, β7 integrin and β1 integrin as well as on migration towards CXCL12, primarily of CD27negative B-cells. Therefore, induced changes in migration appear to be part of the mechanism of action of epratuzumab and are consistent with the observation that CD27negative B-cells were found to be preferentially reduced in the peripheral blood under treatment.
To determine the construct and criterion validity of the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group 2004 (BILAG-2004) index for assessing disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Patients with SLE were recruited into a multicenter cross-sectional study. Data on SLE disease activity (scores on the BILAG-2004 index, Classic BILAG index, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index 2000 [SLEDAI-2K]), investigations, and therapy were collected. Overall BILAG-2004 and overall Classic BILAG scores were determined by the highest score achieved in any of the individual systems in the respective index. Erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESRs), C3 levels, C4 levels, anti–double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) levels, and SLEDAI-2K scores were used in the analysis of construct validity, and increase in therapy was used as the criterion for active disease in the analysis of criterion validity. Statistical analyses were performed using ordinal logistic regression for construct validity and logistic regression for criterion validity. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated.
Of the 369 patients with SLE, 92.7% were women, 59.9% were white, 18.4% were Afro-Caribbean and 18.4% were South Asian. Their mean ± SD age was 41.6 ± 13.2 years and mean disease duration was 8.8 ± 7.7 years. More than 1 assessment was obtained on 88.6% of the patients, and a total of 1,510 assessments were obtained. Increasing overall scores on the BILAG-2004 index were associated with increasing ESRs, decreasing C3 levels, decreasing C4 levels, elevated anti-dsDNA levels, and increasing SLEDAI-2K scores (all P < 0.01). Increase in therapy was observed more frequently in patients with overall BILAG-2004 scores reflecting higher disease activity. Scores indicating active disease (overall BILAG-2004 scores of A and B) were significantly associated with increase in therapy (odds ratio [OR] 19.3, P < 0.01). The BILAG-2004 and Classic BILAG indices had comparable sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV.
These findings show that the BILAG-2004 index has construct and criterion validity.
To determine the tolerability and serum concentration of epratuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting CD22, administered alone and in combination with reinduction chemotherapy in children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and to preliminarily assess tumor targeting and efficacy.
Patients and Methods
Therapy consisted of a single-agent phase (epratuzumab 360 mg/m2/dose intravenously twice weekly × four doses), followed by four weekly doses of epratuzumab in combination with standard reinduction chemotherapy. Morphologic and minimal residual disease (MRD) responses were determined at the end of this 6-week period. Serum concentrations of epratuzumab were determined before and 30 minutes after infusions, and CD22 targeting efficiency was determined by quantifying changes in CD22 expression after epratuzumab administration.
Fifteen patients (12 fully assessable for toxicity) with first or later CD22-positive ALL marrow relapse enrolled on the feasibility portion of this study from December 2005 to June 2006. Two dose-limiting toxicities occurred: one grade 4 seizure of unclear etiology and one asymptomatic grade 3 ALT elevation. In all but one patient, surface CD22 was not detected by flow cytometry on peripheral blood leukemic blasts within 24 hours of drug administration, indicating effective targeting of leukemic cells by epratuzumab. Nine patients achieved a complete remission after chemoimmunotherapy, seven of whom were MRD negative.
Treatment with epratuzumab plus standard reinduction chemotherapy is feasible and acceptably tolerated in children with relapsed CD22-positive ALL. CD22 targeting was efficient, and the majority of patients achieved favorable early responses.
To describe the long‐term clinical outcome and safety profile of B cell depletion therapy (BCDT) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It was also determined whether baseline parameters can predict the likelihood of disease flare.
32 patients with refractory SLE were treated with BCDT using a combination protocol (rituximab and cyclo‐phosphamide). Patients were assessed with the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) activity index, and baseline serology was measured. Flare was defined as a new BILAG ‘A' or two new subsequent ‘B's in any organ system.
Of the 32 patients, 12 have remained well after one cycle of BCDT (median follow‐up 39 months). BCDT was followed by a decrease of median global BILAG scores from 13 to 5 at 6 months (p = 0.006). Baseline anti‐extractable nuclear antigen (ENA) was the only identified independent predictor of flare post‐BCDT (p = 0.034, odds ratio = 8, 95% CI 1.2 to 55) from multivariable analysis. Patients with low baseline serum C3 had a shorter time to flare post‐BCDT (p = 0.008). Four serious adverse events were observed.
Autoantibody profiling may help identify patients who will have a more sustained response. Although the long‐term safety profile of BCDT is favourable, ongoing vigilance is recommended.
To report the clinical outcome and safety profile of repeated B cell depletion in seven patients with refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Since June 2000, seven patients with refractory SLE had repeated cycles of B cell depletion (18 cycles in total, up to three cycles per patient) because of disease relapse. The clinical response (assessed by the British Isles Lupus Activity Guide (BILAG) activity index), duration of B cell depletion, and adverse events in these patients was reviewed.
Four patients (Nos 1, 2, 3, 6) had three cycles of treatment and three (Nos 4, 5, 7) had two cycles. Four of the seven patients (Nos 1, 3, 5, 6) improved. The mean global BILAG scores dropped from 15 to 6 at 5–7 months. The median duration of clinical response and B cell depletion was 13 months and 6 months, respectively. After the third cycle, 2/4 patients (Nos 1 and 2) improved. The median duration of clinical benefit was 12 months. Most patients tolerate re‐treatment very well.
Re‐treatment with B cell depletion of patients with severe SLE is safe and may be effective for 6–12 months on average.
systemic lupus erythematosus; rituximab; re‐treatment; B cell depletion
To evaluate the effects of belimumab versus placebo, plus standard systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) therapy, on organ domain-specific SLE disease activity.
Data obtained after 52 weeks of treatment from two phase III trials (BLISS-52 and BLISS-76) comparing belimumab 1 and 10 mg/kg versus placebo, plus standard therapy, in 1684 autoantibody-positive patients were analysed post hoc for changes in British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) and Safety of Estrogens in Lupus National Assessment–Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SELENA–SLEDAI) organ domain scores.
At baseline, the domains involved in the majority of patients were musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous by both BILAG and SELENA–SLEDAI, and immunological by SELENA–SLEDAI. At 52 weeks, significantly more patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had improvement in BILAG musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous domains (1 and 10 mg/kg), and in SELENA–SLEDAI mucocutaneous (10 mg/kg), musculoskeletal (1 mg/kg) and immunological (1 and 10 mg/kg) domains. Improvement was also observed in other organ systems with a low prevalence (≤16%) at baseline, including the SELENA–SLEDAI vasculitis and central nervous system domains. Significantly fewer patients treated with belimumab versus placebo had worsening in the BILAG haematological domain (1 mg/kg) and in the SELENA–SLEDAI immunological (10 mg/kg), haematological (10 mg/kg) and renal (1 mg/kg) domains.
Belimumab treatment improved overall SLE disease activity in the most common musculoskeletal and mucocutaneous organ domains. Less worsening occurred in the haematological, immunological and renal domains.
OBJECTIVES--To assess the prevalence of antibodies to human fibronectin (anti-Fn) in sera of patients with certain connective tissue diseases and to determine their association with disease activity and the pattern of organ involvement in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS--A capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to quantify anti-Fn antibodies in serum samples from 65 patients with well characterised SLE, 50 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 15 with Behçet's disease (BD), 15 with systemic vasculitis and 36 healthy subjects. An anti-Fn antibody titre greater than mean + 3SD of the healthy control log values after back transformation to the normal scale was considered positive. Disease activity in SLE patients was scored using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Index. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), concentrations of anti-dsDNA antibody, soluble interleukin-2 receptors (sIL-2R), C3, C4, C3 degradation products (C3dg) and immunoglobulin, and antinuclear antibody (ANA) titres were measured in blood samples from SLE patients; neopterin concentration was measured in corresponding urine samples. RESULTS--Anti-Fn antibodies were found in 22 of 65 SLE patients (33.8%), seven of 50 with RA (14%), one of 15 with BD (6.6%) and none of the 15 subjects with vasculitis. Thirty SLE patients had active disease and 35 had inactive disease; their median anti-Fn concentrations were 117 u/ml (range 47-450) and 68 u/ml (range 17-334), respectively (p = 0.0001). The presence of anti-Fn did not correlate with immunoglobulin concentrations or ANA titres in these sera. No significant difference was found between SLE patients with disease activity in one major organ system compared with multiple organ involvement, as defined by BILAG (p = 0.19). However, patients with musculoskeletal manifestations had consistently greater anti-Fn concentrations compared with patients with other clinical manifestations. There were significant correlations between amounts of anti-Fn in SLE sera and ESR (rs = 0.25, p = 0.045), sIL-2R (rs = 0.28, p = 0.024) and urine neopterin (rs = 0.3, p = 0.016) but not with serum anti-dsDNA antibody titres, plasma C3, C3dg or C4. However multiple regression analysis showed a low significant correlation only with sIL-2R and BILAG score (p = 0.047 and 0.042, respectively). CONCLUSION--Anti-Fn antibodies were detected in 34% of SLE patients and in small proportions of RA and BD patients. An association between serum anti-Fn and disease activity in SLE has been identified and most SLE patients with musculoskeletal involvement had increased anti-Fn antibody concentrations.
Epratuzumab (anti-CD22) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes a pan-B-cell marker. It potentially downregulates B cell activity through negative signaling, as well as depleting B cells moderately. The uncontrolled series discussed by Dörner and colleagues in this issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that epratuzumab may be safe and efficacious for systemic lupus erythematosus. A randomized controlled trial is currently active to test this possibility.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by broad clinical manifestations including cardiovascular and renal complications with periodic disease flares and significant morbidity and mortality. One of the main contributing factors to the pathology of SLE is the accumulation and impaired clearance of immune complexes of which the principle components are host auto-antigens and antibodies. The contribution of host lipids to the formation of these autoimmune complexes remains poorly defined. The aim of the present study was to identify and analyze candidate lipid autoantigens and their corresponding anti–lipid antibody responses in a well-defined SLE patient cohort using a combination of immunological and biophysical techniques. Disease monitoring in the SLE cohort was undertaken with serial British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) scoring. Correlations between specific lipid/anti-lipid responses were investigated as disease activity developed from active flares to quiescent during a follow up period. We report a significant negative correlation between anti-lipid antibodies for 24S-hydroxycholesterol, cardiolipin and phosphatidylserine with SLE disease activity. Taken together, these data suggest that lipid autoantigens represent a new family of biomarkers that can be employed to monitor disease activity plus the efficacy of therapeutic intervention in SLE.
Objective: To investigate antibodies to complement 1q (anti-C1q) and investigate the correlation between anti-C1q titres and renal disease in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Methods: 151 SLE patients were studied. In patients with biopsy proven lupus nephritis (n = 77), activity of renal disease was categorised according to the BILAG renal score. Sera were tested for anti-C1q by enzyme immunoassay. Serum samples were randomly selected from 83 SLE patients who had no history of renal disease, and the positive and negative predictive value of the antibodies was studied.
Results: Patients with active lupus nephritis (BILAG A or B) had a higher prevalence of anti-C1q than those with no renal disease (74% v 32%; relative risk (RR) = 2.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 3.3)) (p<0.0001). There was no significant difference in anti-C1q prevalence between SLE without nephritis and SLE with non-active nephritis (BILAG C or D) (32% v 53%, p = 0.06) or between active and non-active nephritis (74% v 53%, p = 0.06). Patients with nephritis had higher anti-C1q levels than those without nephritis (36.0 U/ml (range 4.9 to 401.0) v 7.3 U/ml (4.9 to 401.0)) (p<0.001). Anti-C1q were found in 33 of 83 patients (39%) without history of renal disease. Nine of the 33 patients with anti-C1q developed lupus nephritis. The median renal disease-free interval was nine months. One patient with positive anti-C1q was diagnosed as having hypocomplementaemic urticarial vasculitis syndrome during follow up.
Conclusions: Anti-C1q in SLE are associated with renal involvement. Monitoring anti-C1q and their titres in SLE patients could be important for predicting renal flares.
This open-label, phase I/II study investigated the safety and efficacy of epratuzumab, a humanised anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody, in the treatment of patients with active primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS). Sixteen Caucasian patients (14 females/2 males, 33–72 years) were to receive 4 infusions of 360 mg/m2 epratuzumab once every 2 weeks, with 6 months of follow-up. A composite endpoint involving the Schirmer-I test, unstimulated whole salivary flow, fatigue, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and immunoglobulin G (IgG) was devised to provide a clinically meaningful assessment of response, defined as a ≥20% improvement in at least two of the aforementioned parameters, with ≥20% reduction in ESR and/or IgG considered as a single combined criterion. Fourteen patients received all infusions without significant reactions, 1 patient received 3, and another was discontinued due to a mild acute reaction after receiving a partial infusion. Three patients showed moderately elevated levels of Human anti-human (epratuzumab) antibody not associated with clinical manifestations. B-cell levels had mean reductions of 54% and 39% at 6 and 18 weeks, respectively, but T-cell levels, immunoglobulins, and routine safety laboratory tests did not change significantly. Fifty-three percent achieved a clinical response (at ≥20% improvement level) at 6 weeks, with 53%, 47%, and 67% responding at 10, 18, and 32 weeks, respectively. Approximately 40%–50% responded at the ≥30% level, while 10%–45% responded at the ≥50% level for 10–32 weeks. Additionally, statistically significant improvements were observed in fatigue, and patient and physician global assessments. Further, we determined that pSS patients have a CD22 over-expression in their peripheral B cells, which was downregulated by epratuzumab for at least 12 weeks after the therapy. Thus, epratuzumab appears to be a promising therapy in active pSS, suggesting that further studies be conducted.
Objectives: Raised levels of the cytokines interleukin (IL) 6 and IL10 have been reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Objective: To determine if levels of IL6 and IL10 correlate with organ/system-specific disease activity in SLE, using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) Disease Activity Index.
Methods: Levels of IL6 and IL10 in serum samples from 171 patients with SLE and 50 normal controls were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Levels of cytokines in individual patients with SLE were compared with the presence or absence of active disease in eight organ/systems using the BILAG index.
Results: Levels of IL6 were significantly higher (p = 0.005) in patients with active compared with inactive haematological disease, as scored by the BILAG index. Further analysis showed that this association was dependent on an inverse correlation (p = 0.002, r = –0.26) between IL6 levels and haemoglobin levels in patients with SLE. In contrast, IL10 levels did not correlate with individual organ/system disease activity.
Conclusions: Raised levels of IL6 in SLE may influence the development of anaemia in this disease. These findings are in agreement with an increasing number of studies, which support physiological links between IL6 and anaemia. Importantly, with the exception of the haematological system, our studies do not provide evidence of any individual organ/system which would respond to therapeutic manipulation of either IL6 or IL10 levels.
The published antibodies (Abs) against CD22 on B cells including Epratuzumab could inhibit B cell activation mainly through binding to C2-set Ig domain of CD22, but they are rarely reported to modulate the pathogenic CD4+ T cell function in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Recently, it was proved that the extracellular amino-terminal V-set Ig domain of CD22 might mediate the interaction of B and T cells, but for now the exact effect of this domain on CD4+ T cell biology have not been identified. Thus, in this study, we screened out a peptide termed B2285 from this V-set Ig domain, developed the novel specific anti-B2285 Abs in rabbits, and investigated their effects in MRL/lpr mice with spontaneous SLE. The results showed that anti-B2285 Abs could ameliorate the disease severity obviously in spontaneous SLE mice with the decreased differentiations of Th1 and Th17 cells and no changes of Th2 and Treg cells. In co-cultured B cells and CD4+ T cells, this specific anti-CD22 Abs was observed to inhibit the anti-dsDNA Abs production, CD4+ T cells proliferation, the protein levels of T-bet and RORγt, and the mRNA levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6 and IL-17 in CD4+ T cells. Moreover, the expression of CD45RO on CD4+ T cells could be also apparently diminished by this novel Abs. The data suggested that anti-B2285 Abs could slow SLE progression significantly by regulating Th1 and Th17 cells function via B-T cell interaction and the cytokine network regulation. The treatment against V-set Ig domain of CD22 would be a valuable therapeutic method for SLE and other autoimmune diseases.
To describe a new systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) Responder Index (SRI) based on the belimumab phase II SLE trial and demonstrate its potential utility in SLE clinical trials.
Data from a 449-patient randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 3 doses of belimumab (1, 4, 10 mg/kg) or placebo plus standard of care therapy (SOC) over a 56-week period were analyzed. SELENA-SLEDAI and BILAG SLE disease activity instruments, SF-36 Health Survey, and biomarker analyses were used to create a novel SRI. Response to treatment in a subset of SLE patients (n=321) who were serologically active (ANA ≥1:80 and/or anti-dsDNA antibody ≥30 IU) at baseline was retrospectively evaluated using the SRI.
SRI response is defined as: 1) ≥4-point reduction in SELENA-SLEDAI score; 2) no new BILAG A or no more than 1 new BILAG B domain score; and 3) no deterioration from baseline in the Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) by ≥0.3 points. In serologically active patients, addition of belimumab to SOC resulted in a response in 46% of patients at week 52 compared with 29% for the placebo patients (P=0.006). SRI responses were independent of baseline autoantibody subtype.
Evidence-based evaluation of a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial in SLE resulted in the ability to define a robust responder index based on improvement in disease activity without worsening of the overall condition or the development of significant disease activity in new organ systems.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association among the BILAG disease activity index components and their relations with global assessments, health status, and laboratory tests with regard to the validity of the BILAG index. METHODS: A cross sectional study of consecutive patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) attending a specialist lupus outpatient clinic between July 1994 and February 1995. The internal consistency of the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) index-a disease activity assessment system for SLE patients, based on the principle of the physician's intention to treat-was examined using Cronbach's coefficient alpha. The association of the components of the BILAG index with health status as measured with the MOS Short Form 20 (SF-20), with patients' and doctors' global assessments of patient wellbeing and with laboratory tests was analysed with Spearman rank correlations. RESULTS: 133 female and eight male patients, age 20.1 to 88.7 years (mean 41.1, SD 12.5), were included. With few exceptions, the components of the BILAG index which reflect disease activity in different organ systems were not associated with each other. With the exception of the mucocutaneous component, we found a significant relation between all components of BILAG and global assessment of patient wellbeing, health status, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or serum C3 level. CONCLUSIONS: The study confirms the validity of all but the mucocutaneous component of the BILAG index. However, disease activity in different organ systems in SLE does not follow a common pattern. Thus the individual BILAG components should be used rather than the total BILAG score as a primary endpoint in clinical and epidemiological studies. To capture the total effect of SLE on an individual measures of disease activity, damage, and health status are all needed.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the role of serial measurement of urine neopterin concentration in monitoring the progression of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease activity scored using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) index. METHODS--We followed prospectively 68 unselected SLE patients for a total of 464 patient months during which 233 separate assessments were carried out. At each assessment, urine neopterin, determined by high performance liquid chromatography, together with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma C3, C4, and C3d were measured and the SLE disease activity scored by a single observer. Serial data sets were analysed using time series modelling techniques. RESULTS--Single time point analysis showed a significant increase in urine neopterin concentrations in 14 patients who suffered flares of their disease during the study period (p = 0.02). Thirty patients with active disease went into disease remission with significant decreases in their urine neopterin values (p = 0.02). In the time series analysis, a statistically significant association was found between serial concentrations of urine neopterin and BILAG score (r = 0.6, p < 0.05); no other study parameter (ESR and serum C3, C4, and C3d) mirrored SLE disease activity as effectively. CONCLUSIONS--This study provides initial evidence that changes in urine concentrations of neopterin are significantly correlated with fluctuations in disease activity over time, scored using the BILAG index, amongst individual patients with SLE. Consequently, serial urine neopterin measurements appear to be clinically useful for monitoring disease activity and may contribute substantially to therapeutic decision making in these patients.
OBJECTIVES--To investigate urine neopterin as a parameter of disease activity in an unselected group of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to study the relation between urine neopterin and certain patterns of organ disease and differing drug regimens in the treatment of SLE. METHODS--Neopterin was determined by high performance liquid chromatography in 115 early morning urine samples from 68 patients with SLE. Serum soluble interleukin 2 receptor (sIL-2R) and antibodies to double stranded DNA (dsDNA) were determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), plasma C3, C4, and C3 degradation products (C3dg) were measured in corresponding blood samples. Disease activity was scored using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) index. RESULTS--Urine neopterin was significantly increased in patients with active and inactive SLE compared with the control group and was significantly higher in patients with active than in those with inactive SLE. Urine neopterin did not distinguish between subsets of patients with SLE with particular patterns of organ disease, as defined by the BILAG index, nor was its level primarily influenced by differing drug regimens. Levels of serum sIL-2R, antibodies to dsDNA, the ESR, and plasma C3, C4, and C3dg were also significantly different between the patients with active and inactive SLE. Unlike urine neopterin there was considerable overlap in the values of these parameters between the two activity groups. Highly significant correlations found between urine neopterin and serum sIL-2R, ESR, and plasma C3, C4, and C3dg suggest the close association of neopterin with clinical activity in SLE. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that urine neopterin > 300 mumol/mol creatinine was a highly significant predictor of disease activity with an odds ratio of 3.51. CONCLUSIONS--Determination of urine neopterin, a non-invasive, relatively simple and inexpensive measurement, appears to be the best parameter for assessing and monitoring disease activity and treatment in patients with SLE.
Objective: To review the efficacy and safety of rituximab therapy for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Methods: We searched for randomized controlled trails and observational studies that evaluated the effect of rituximab based on the systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI), British Isles lupus assessment group index (BILAG), urine protein levels, and the prednisolone dose, and had adequate data to calculate the mean, standard deviation (SD), and 95% confidence intervals, and to systematically review and meta-analyze observational studies with fixed effects model or random effects model. Results: We included 2 randomized controlled studies and 19 observational clinical studies. We summarized the data from the 19 observational studies, analyzed the heterogeneity of the literature, and then used fixed effect model or random effect model for statistical analysis. The SLEDAI, BILAG, and urine protein levels and the prednisolone dosage were decreased after rituximab treatment, and the decreases in the BILAG, urine protein levels, and the prednisolone dose were found to be significant (P<0.05), when compared with baseline level. Rituximab’s adverse effects generally could be controlled with an effective dosing regimen. Conclusions: Although there are still controversies about rituximab’s treatment on SLE, but our study had showed that rituximab had favorable effects on refractory lupus. The long-term efficacy and safety of rituximab require further study.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Rituximab; Meta-analysis
OBJECTIVE—To compare the levels of the 9G4 idiotope (9G4 Id) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients with a detailed disease activity index, the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) index, and serological parameters of disease activity by ds DNA antibody levels and serum C3 concentrations.
METHODS—In a cross sectional analysis serum samples from 190 patients with SLE were studied and a further 55 serial bleeds from 14 patients. An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure the 9G4 Id, and anti dsDNA and anti-myeloperoxidase (MPO) antibodies. The C3 levels were measured by laser nephelometer.
RESULTS—Seventy six of 190 (40%) of the patients tested had raised 9G4 Id levels. In the cross sectional study 9G4 Id levels were found to correlate with disease activity in the BILAG cardiovascular/respiratory renal, and haematological systems and with global BILAG score (p<0.01). In the serial bleeds 9G4 Id levels correlated with anti-dsDNA antibody and C3 levels, but not with anti-MPO antibodies. No correlations were found with treatment. In six cases the 9G4 Id levels correlated well with global BILAG scores and dsDNA antibody levels. In four cases the BILAG global and 9G4 Id levels alone correlated well.
CONCLUSIONS—Raised levels of the 9G4 Id are present in a substantial proportion of serum samples from patients with lupus, correlate with various aspects of disease activity in SLE. The Id is detectable on anti-dsDNA antibodies, though it must also be present on other immunoglobulins whose specificities remain unknown.
Keywords: systemic lupus erythematosus; 9G4 idiotope
Methods: Serum samples from 48 patients with SLE, 41 normal healthy subjects, and 21 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were assayed for APRIL by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Medical charts were retrospectively reviewed for autoantibody titres and immunoglobulin levels. Disease activity was assessed using the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) index.
Results: The APRIL levels in the serum samples from patients with SLE were significantly higher than in those from healthy controls and those from patients with RA. Serum APRIL levels did not correlate with serum IgG and IgM levels, but had a tendency to correlate with anti-double stranded DNA antibody titres. Moreover, serum APRIL levels correlated significantly with musculoskeletal manifestations among patients with SLE when assessed by the BILAG index.
Conclusion: APRIL may be an important factor in raised autoantibody titres and musculoskeletal disease in patients with SLE. Patients with raised serum APRIL levels may be ideal candidates for therapeutic targeting of APRIL.
B-cells play an important role in the diagnosis and to some extent the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Specific B-cell directed antibodies are now gaining an increasing role in the management of these diseases. The first antibody target in this regard was CD20, with the development and introduction of rituximab in the management of B-cell malignancies as well as rheumatoid arthritis. A second candidate target is CD22, and the first antagonistic antibody to this B-cell marker is epratuzumab, which appears to function, in contrast to CD20 antibodies, more by modulation of B-cells than by their depletion capacity. Originally developed for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, epratuzumab has now been reported to be effective, with a very good safety profile, in two prototype autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus and primary Sjögren’s syndrome. As such, this new investigational antibody may provide distinct therapeutic effects and may be complementary to the known effects and role of CD20 antibodies.
autoimmune diseases; CD22; B-cells; epratuzumab
The safety and pharmacokinetics assessment of antibodies targeting CD22 (e.g., epratuzumab) have been established in western Caucasian populations, but there are no reports of the effects in Chinese populations. This dose-escalation study examines the safety, pharmacokinetics and biologic effects of multiple doses of anti-CD22 human-murine chimeric monoclonal antibody SM03 in 21 Chinese patients with CD22-positive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Most of drug-related adverse events (AEs) were mild and reversible. Two patients experienced serious AEs (hemorrhage); one patient had grade 4 neutropenia; one patient had asymptomatic grade III prolongation of activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT). Major AEs included fever (71%), prolongation of APTT (42.8%), leukocytopenia (44.4%), alanine transaminase elevation (28.6%), elevated serum creatinine (23.8%) and injection site skin redness (14.3%). Circulating B cells transiently decreased without significant effects on T cells or immunoglobulin levels. Pharmacokinetic data revealed that mean maximum observed SM03 concentration and mean AUC from time zero to infinity increased in a dose-dependent manner up to 360 mg/m2 SM03. Mean clearance was similar at doses ≤360 mg/m2 and decreased significantly at dose 480 mg/m2, supporting saturation of B-cell binding at 360 mg/m2. Across all dose levels and histologies, one patient achieved partial response at 480 mg/m2 dose; 14 patients had stable disease as best response and four patients progressed. Overall, SM03 was tolerated at doses ranging from 60–480 mg/m2 and had potential efficacy in Chinese patients with follicular lymphoma.
anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody; tolerance; pharmacokinetics
Mycophenolic acid (MPA) is the active form of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) which is currently used off-label as immunosuppressive therapy in childhood-onset SLE (cSLE). The objectives of this study were to (1) characterize the pharmacokinetics (MPA-PK) and pharmacodynamics (MPA-PD) of MPA and (2) explore the relationship between MPA-PK and cSLE disease activity.
MPA-PK [area under the curve from 0 to 12 hours (AUC0-12)] and MPA-PD [inosine-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) activity] were evaluated in cSLE patients on stable MMF dosing. Change in SLE disease activity while on MMF therapy was measured using the British Isles Lupus Activity Group (BILAG) index.
A total of 19 AUC0-12 and 10 IMPDH activity profiles were included in the analysis. Large inter-patient variability in MPA exposure (AUC0-12) was observed (mean ± SE: 32 ± 4.2 mg*h/L; coefficient of variation: 57%). Maximum MPA serum concentrations coincided with maximum IMPDH inhibition. AUC0-12 and weight-adjusted MMF dosing were only moderately correlated (r= 0.56, p=0.01). An AUC0-12 of ≥ 30 mg*h/L was associated with decreased BILAG scores while on MMF therapy (p= 0.002).
Weight-adjusted MMF dosing alone does not reliably allow for the prediction of exposure to biologically active MPA in cSLE. Individualized dosing considering MPA-PK appears warranted as this allows for better estimation of immunological suppression (IMPDH activity). Additional controlled studies are necessary to confirm that an MPA AUC0-12 of at least 30 mg*h/L is required for cSLE improvement.
systemic lupus erythematosus; mycophenolic acid; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; inosine 5’-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH)
Spontaneous cytotoxicity mediated by natural killer (NK) cells is impaired in several human diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The precise mechanism(s) by which NK activity is suppressed in patients with SLE is generally unknown. The present study was designed to focus on cellular defects per se in NK cells from patients with SLE. It was observed that the usual enhancing effect of interferon (IF) and IF inducers was markedly impaired in SLE patients. Of 24 SLE patients studied, 17 had significantly decreased NK activity relative to controls. NK activity had a significant negative correlation with clinical activity score (r = -0.56, P less than 0.005) but was not correlated with corticosteroid dose, antinuclear antibody titers, total hemolytic complement (CH50), or sedimentation rate. Furthermore, significant depressions in NK activity correlated with variations in disease activity in six patients followed serially. Depressed NK function could not be reversed by prolonged in vitro incubation at 37 degrees C or with protease treatment. Furthermore, depressed NK activity was not altered by removal of glass adherent cells nor was a suppression of NK activity in normal controls seen by the addition of SLE peripheral mononuclear cells. No reversal of depressed activity to normal levels was seen by the addition of indomethacin nor did the supernatants from SLE cell cultures cause a suppression of normal NK function. NK activity in SLE patients did not respond normally to IF inducers (poly-I:C and concanavalin A) even if the SLE patients had normal NK function. The response of SLE cells to exogenous IF was also impaired. The number of effector-target conjugates was quantitated with several target cells (K562, Yac-1, Fravel) in SLE patients and controls. A significant correlation between the proportion of glass nonadherent mononuclear cells that formed effector-target conjugates with these various targets and the magnitude of NK lysis was observed. However, SLE and normal subjects had equal numbers of effector-target conjugates independent of NK function. Release of a soluble cytotoxic factor was induced with concanavalin A, and was markedly impaired in SLE patients relative to normal controls. Thus, impaired NK cell function in SLE does not appear to be related to cell-mediated suppressive mechanisms or to the deletion of effector cells; rather, the decreased NK activity may be related to an impaired release of a soluble cytotoxic factor.
Belimumab is a human genome derived monoclonal antibody with specificity for BLyS (B lymphocyte stimulator, or B-cell activating factor [BAFF]), a cytokine that promotes the survival and maturation of B cells into antibody-secreting plasmablasts. Recent phase III clinical trials with belimumab in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have been completed and achieved primary efficacy endpoints employing validated disease activity measures (SLEDAI and BILAG) as well as additional secondary endpoints related to disease flares and sparing of corticosteroid use. Significant decreases in numbers of activated B cells as well as levels of autoantibodies are observed during treatment with belimumab. The majority of observed clinical improvements are observed in musculoskeletal, mucocutaneous, and serologic domains of disease activity; the potential effects on more severe neurologic or renal domains of disease are not known. Treatment with belimumab is well tolerated and has not been associated with significant toxicity.
lupus; BLyS; BAFF; belimumab; autoantibodies; B-lymphocytes