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1.  Performance of the new 2011 ACR/EULAR remission criteria with tocilizumab using the phase IIIb study TAMARA as an example and their comparison with traditional remission criteria 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2011;70(11):1986-1990.
Remission is the established goal in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment. Although originally defined by a disease activity score in 28 joints (DAS28) <2.6, more stringent criteria may imply the absence of disease activity. The 2011 ACR/EULAR remission criteria provide the newest and most stringent definition of remission.
To evaluate post hoc the remission by ACR/EULAR criteria and compare the criteria with the conventional DAS28 in TAMARA, an open-label phase IIIb tocilizumab (TCZ) trial including patients with active RA receiving inadequate disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα) inhibitor treatment.
286 patients were enrolled, 99.7% of patients were receiving a conventional DMARD and 41.6% had TNFα inhibitor pretreatment. Baseline mean DAS28 of 6.0 ± 1.0 fell to 2.6 ± 1.5 at week 24. DAS28 <2.6 was achieved by 47.6% at week 24. Remission rates with the new ACR/EULAR Boolean-based criteria for clinical studies were 15.0% after 12 weeks and 20.3% after 24 weeks. Of note, 13.5% of patients with previous TNFα blocker inadequate response still achieved remission according to the new ACR/EULAR criteria after 24 weeks. Clinical Disease Activity Index and Simplified Disease Activity Index remission rates were 24.1% and 25.2%, respectively.
Under the definition of the new stringent 2011 ACR/EULAR remission criteria, patients with active RA despite DMARD treatment and even after inadequate response to TNFα inhibitors, receiving TCZ showed significant rates of remission. Similar remission rates were achieved, when clinical practice criteria, not inclusive of acute phase reactants, were used.
PMCID: PMC3184242  PMID: 21875873
2.  A randomised, double-blind, parallel-group study of the safety and efficacy of subcutaneous tocilizumab versus intravenous tocilizumab in combination with traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (SUMMACTA study) 
This study compared the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous (SC) versus intravenous (IV) formulations of tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD).
Patients (n=1262) were randomly assigned to receive tocilizumab-SC 162 mg weekly+placebo-IV every 4 weeks or tocilizumab-IV 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks+placebo-SC weekly in combination with traditional DMARD. The primary outcome was to demonstrate the non-inferiority of tocilizumab-SC to tocilizumab-IV with regard to the proportion of patients in each group achieving an American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response at week 24 using a 12% non-inferiority margin (NIM). Secondary outcomes were disease activity score using 28 joints (DAS28), ACR responses, health assessment questionnaire scores and safety assessments.
At week 24, 69.4% (95% CI 65.5 to 73.2) of tocilizumab-SC-treated patients versus 73.4% (95% CI 69.6 to 77.1) of tocilizumab-IV-treated patients achieved an ACR20 response (weighted difference between groups −4.0%, 95% CI −9.2 to 1.2); the 12% NIM was met. ACR50/70 responses, DAS28 and physical function improvements were comparable between the tocilizumab-SC and tocilizumab-IV groups. The safety profiles of tocilizumab-SC and tocilizumab-IV were similar, and the most common adverse event was infection. Injection-site reactions (ISR) occurred more frequently in the tocilizumab-SC group than in the tocilizumab-IV (placebo-SC) group. No anaphylaxis was reported over the 24 weeks.
Tocilizumab-SC 162 mg weekly demonstrated comparable efficacy to tocilizumab-IV 8 mg/kg. The safety profile of tocilizumab-SC is consistent with the known and well-established safety profile of tocilizumab-IV, with the exception of a higher incidence of ISR, which were more common with tocilizumab-SC administration.
PMCID: PMC3888614  PMID: 23904473
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (biologic); Disease Activity
3.  Tocilizumab in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and inadequate responses to DMARDs and/or TNF inhibitors: a large, open-label study close to clinical practice 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(12):1950-1954.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in clinical practice in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with inadequate responses (IR) to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or both DMARDs and tumour necrosis factor α inhibitors (TNFis).
Patients—categorised as TNFi-naive, TNFi-previous (washout) or TNFi-recent (no washout) —received open-label tocilizumab (8 mg/kg) every 4 weeks ± DMARDs for 24 weeks. Adverse events (AEs) and treatment discontinuations were monitored. Efficacy end points included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) responses, 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28) and European League Against Rheumatism responses.
Overall, 1681 (976 TNF-naive, 298 TNFi-previous and 407 TNFi-recent) patients were treated; 5.1% discontinued treatment because of AEs. The AE rate was numerically higher in TNFi-recent (652.6/100 patient-years (PY)) and TNFi-previous (653.6/100PY) than in TNFi-naive (551.1/100PY) patients. Serious AE rates were 18.0/100PY, 28.0/100PY and 18.6/100PY; serious infection rates were 6.0/100PY, 6.8/100PY and 4.2/100PY, respectively. At week 4, 36.5% of patients achieved ACR20 response and 14.9% DAS28 remission (<2.6); at week 24, 66.9%, 46.6%, 26.4% and 56.8% achieved ACR20/ACR50/ACR70 responses and DAS28 remission, respectively. Overall, 61.6% (TNFi-naive), 48.5% (TNFi-previous) and 50.4% (TNFi-recent) patients achieved DAS28 remission.
In patients with RA who were DMARD-IR/TNFi-IR, tocilizumab ± DMARDs provided rapid and sustained efficacy without unexpected safety concerns.
PMCID: PMC3595980  PMID: 22615456
4.  IL-6 receptor inhibition with tocilizumab improves treatment outcomes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis refractory to anti-tumour necrosis factor biologicals: results from a 24-week multicentre randomised placebo-controlled trial 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;67(11):1516-1523.
The phase III RADIATE study examined the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refractory to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist therapy.
499 patients with inadequate response to one or more TNF antagonists were randomly assigned to receive 8 mg/kg or 4 mg/kg tocilizumab or placebo (control) intravenously every 4 weeks with stable methotrexate for 24 weeks. ACR20 responses, secondary efficacy and safety endpoints were assessed.
ACR20 was achieved at 24 weeks by 50.0%, 30.4% and 10.1% of patients in the 8 mg/kg, 4 mg/kg and control groups, respectively (less than p<0.001 both tocilizumab groups versus control). At week 4 more patients achieved ACR20 in 8 mg/kg tocilizumab versus controls (less than p = 0.001). Patients responded regardless of most recently failed anti-TNF or the number of failed treatments. DAS28 remission (DAS28 <2.6) rates at week 24 were clearly dose related, being achieved by 30.1%, 7.6% and 1.6% of 8 mg/kg, 4 mg/kg and control groups (less than p = 0.001 for 8 mg/kg and p = 0.053 for 4 mg/kg versus control). Most adverse events were mild or moderate with overall incidences of 84.0%, 87.1% and 80.6%, respectively. The most common adverse events with higher incidence in tocilizumab groups were infections, gastrointestinal symptoms, rash and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was higher in controls (11.3%) than in the 8 mg/kg (6.3%) and 4 mg/kg (7.4%) groups.
Tocilizumab plus methotrexate is effective in achieving rapid and sustained improvements in signs and symptoms of RA in patients with inadequate response to TNF antagonists and has a manageable safety profile.
Trial registration number:
PMCID: PMC3811149  PMID: 18625622
5.  Comparison of tocilizumab monotherapy versus methotrexate monotherapy in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis: the AMBITION study 
The anti-interleukin (IL) 6 receptor antibody tocilizumab inhibits signalling of IL6, a key cytokine in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis.
To evaluate through the AMBITION study the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab monotherapy versus methotrexate in patients with active RA for whom previous treatment with methotrexate/biological agents had not failed.
This 24-week, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study, randomised 673 patients to either tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks, or methotrexate, starting at 7.5 mg/week and titrated to 20 mg/week within 8 weeks, or placebo for 8 weeks followed by tocilizumab 8 mg/kg. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response at week 24.
The intention-to-treat analysis demonstrated that tocilizumab was better than methotrexate treatment with a higher ACR20 response (69.9 vs 52.5%; p<0.001), and 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28) <2.6 rate (33.6 vs 12.1%) at week 24. Mean high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was within the normal range from week 12 with tocilizumab, whereas levels remained elevated with methotrexate. The incidence of serious adverse events with tocilizumab was 3.8% versus 2.8% with methotrexate (p = 0.50), and of serious infections, 1.4% versus 0.7%, respectively. There was a higher incidence of reversible grade 3 neutropenia (3.1% vs 0.4%) and increased total cholesterol ⩾240 mg/dl (13.2% vs 0.4%), and a lower incidence of alanine aminotransferase elevations >3×–<5× upper limit of normal (1.0% vs 2.5%), respectively.
Tocilizumab monotherapy is better than methotrexate monotherapy, with rapid improvement in RA signs and symptoms, and a favourable benefit–risk, in patients for whom treatment with methotrexate or biological agents has not previously failed.
Trial registration number:
PMCID: PMC3747519  PMID: 19297346
6.  Systematic review and network meta-analysis of combination and monotherapy treatments in disease-modifying antirheumatic drug-experienced patients with rheumatoid arthritis: analysis of American College of Rheumatology criteria scores 20, 50, and 70 
Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) extend the treatment choices for rheumatoid arthritis patients with suboptimal response or intolerance to conventional DMARDs. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare the relative efficacy of EU-licensed bDMARD combination therapy or monotherapy for patients intolerant of or contraindicated to continued methotrexate.
Comprehensive, structured literature searches were conducted in Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library, as well as hand-searching of conference proceedings and reference lists. Phase II or III randomized controlled trials reporting American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria scores of 20, 50, and 70 between 12 and 30 weeks’ follow-up and enrolling adult patients meeting ACR classification criteria for rheumatoid arthritis previously treated with and with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs were eligible. To estimate the relative efficacy of treatments whilst preserving the randomized comparisons within each trial, a Bayesian network meta-analysis was conducted in WinBUGS using fixed and random-effects, logit-link models fitted to the binomial ACR 20/50/70 trial data.
The systematic review identified 10,625 citations, and after a review of 2450 full-text papers, there were 29 and 14 eligible studies for the combination and monotherapy meta-analyses, respectively. In the combination analysis, all licensed bDMARD combinations had significantly higher odds of ACR 20/50/70 compared to DMARDs alone, except for the rituximab comparison, which did not reach significance for the ACR 70 outcome (based on the 95% credible interval). The etanercept combination was significantly better than the tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors adalimumab and infliximab in improving ACR 20/50/70 outcomes, with no significant differences between the etanercept combination and certolizumab pegol or tocilizumab. Licensed-dose etanercept, adalimumab, and tocilizumab monotherapy were significantly better than placebo in improving ACR 20/50/70 outcomes. Sensitivity analysis indicated that including studies outside the target population could affect the results.
Licensed bDMARDs are efficacious in patients with an inadequate response to conventional therapy, but tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor combination therapies are not equally effective.
PMCID: PMC3529627  PMID: 23269860
bDMARD; rheumatoid arthritis; etanercept; systematic review; network metaanalysis; comparative effectiveness
7.  Study of active controlled tocilizumab monotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis patients with an inadequate response to methotrexate (SATORI): significant reduction in disease activity and serum vascular endothelial growth factor by IL-6 receptor inhibition therapy 
Modern Rheumatology  2008;19(1):12-19.
We investigated the clinical efficacy and safety of tocilizumab (a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody) monotherapy in active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with an inadequate response to low dose methotrexate (MTX). In a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, 125 patients were allocated to receive either tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks plus MTX placebo (tocilizumab group) or tocilizumab placebo plus MTX 8 mg/week (control group) for 24 weeks. The clinical responses were measured using the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria and the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints. Serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were also monitored. At week 24, 25.0% in the control group and 80.3% in the tocilizumab group achieved ACR20 response. The tocilizumab group showed superior ACR response criteria over control at all time points. Additionally, serum VEGF levels were significantly decreased by tocilizumab treatment. The overall incidences of adverse events (AEs) were 72 and 92% (serious AEs: 4.7 and 6.6%; serious infections: 1.6 and 3.3%) in the control and the tocilizumab groups, respectively. All serious adverse events improved by adequate treatment. Tocilizumab monotherapy was well tolerated and provided an excellent clinical benefit in active RA patients with an inadequate response to low dose MTX.
PMCID: PMC2638601  PMID: 18979150
Clinical trial; Interleukin-6; Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab; Vascular endothelial growth factor
8.  Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Biologic DMARDS (Rituximab and Etanercept) 
Medical Archives  2014;68(1):51-53.
To determine efficacy and safety of treatment with Rituximab and Etanercept plus Methotrexate in patients with active Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), who had an inadequate response to nonbiologic DMARDS therapies and to explore the pharmacogenetics and pharmacodynamics of Rituximab and Etanercept in our populations. Study was done at Rheumatology Clinic of University Clinical Centre in Prishtina during 2009-2011 years.
We evaluated primary efficacy and safety at 24 weeks in patients enrolled in the study of long term efficacy of Rituximab and Etanercept. Patients with active Rheumatoid Arthritis and an inadequate response to 1 or more non biologic DMARDS were randomized to receive intravenous Rituximab (1 course consisting of 2 infusions of 1.000 mg each –one group, and Etanercept 25 mg twice weekly –second group, but both groups with background MTX. The primary efficacy end point was a response on the ACR 20%, improvement criteria at 24 weeks, Secondary end points were responses on the ACR 50 and ACR 70, improvement criteria, the DAS 28, and EULAR response criteria at 24 weeks.
During our investigations we treated 20 patients, 15 females and 5 males, in the treated group with RTX and 13 patients 8 females and 5 males in the treated group with ETN. Patients of group 1 and group 2 were of ages 37-69 years old and 19-69 years old (average 47-44) Most of the patients belong in 2nd and 3 rd functional stage according to Steinbrocker. All ACR response parameters were significantly improved in RTX treated patients who also had clinically meaningful improvement in fatigue, disability and quality of life. Patients showed a trend less progression in radiographic end points. Most adverse events occurred with the first RTX infusion and were mild to moderate severity.
At 24 weeks, a single course of RTX and ETN provided significant and clinically meaningful improvements in disease activity in patients with active, longstanding RA who had an inadequate response to 1 or more nonbiologic DMARDS.
PMCID: PMC4272488  PMID: 24783914
Rheumatoid Arthritis; ACR; Rituximab; Etanercept
9.  Efficacy and tolerability of tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis patients seen in daily clinical practice in Japan: results from a retrospective study (REACTION study) 
Modern Rheumatology  2010;21(2):122-133.
Tocilizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody to the interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor, was approved for use as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapy in Japan in 2008, but its efficacy and tolerability in daily practice has not yet been reported. We report the results of a multicenter retrospective study on the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab involving all patients (n = 229) who were started on tocilizumab therapy at three rheumatology institutes in Japan from April 2008 through to March 2009. Tocilizumab was infused every 4 weeks at a dose of 8 mg/kg according to the drug labeling. Among the 229 patients, 55% concomitantly received methotrexate (MTX) and 63% had previously received anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy. Average disease activity score (DAS) 28 of all 229 patients significantly decreased from 5.70 to 3.25 after 24 weeks of therapy. A European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) good response and DAS28 remission was achieved in 57.4 and 40.7% of the patients, respectively, at 24 weeks. White blood cell counts significantly decreased and liver enzymes and total cholesterol slightly but significantly increased; however, liver enzyme levels did not increase in patients without MTX. Tocilizumab was discontinued in 47 cases (20.5%) due to lack of efficacy (5.2%), adverse events (11.4%), and other reasons (3.9%). The overall retention rate at 24 weeks was 79.5%. Based on these results, we conclude that tocilizumab therapy in daily rheumatology practice appears to be highly efficacious and well tolerated among active RA patients, including the anti-TNF therapy-refractory population. Tocilizumab infusion is therefore applicable not only as an alternative approach for anti-TNF therapy-resistant patients, but also as primary biologic therapy for active RA patients.
PMCID: PMC3071926  PMID: 20953815
Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab; IL-6; Remission; Retrospective study
10.  Adalimumab alone and in combination with disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in clinical practice: the Research in Active Rheumatoid Arthritis (ReAct) trial 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(6):732-739.
To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of adalimumab alone or in combination with standard disease‐modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Patients with active RA despite treatment with DMARDs or prior treatment with a tumour necrosis factor antagonist participated in a multicentre, open‐label clinical study of adalimumab 40 mg every other week for 12 weeks with an optional extension phase. Patients were allowed to continue with pre‐existing traditional DMARDs. Long‐term safety results are reported for all patients (4210 patient‐years (PYs) of adalimumab exposure). The observed effectiveness results at week 12 are reported using American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria.
Among the 6610 treated patients, adalimumab was generally well tolerated. Serious infections occurred in 3.1% of patients (5.5/100 PYs, including active tuberculosis, 0.5/100 PYs). Demyelinating disease (0.06%) and systemic lupus erythematosus (0.03%) were rare serious adverse events. The standardised incidence ratio of malignancy was 0.71 (95% CI 0.49 to 1.01). The standardised mortality ratio was 1.07 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.49). At week 12, 69% of patients achieved an ACR20 response, 83% a moderate, and 33% a good EULAR response. Adalimumab was effective in combination with a variety of DMARDs. The addition of adalimumab to antimalarials was comparably effective to the combination of adalimumab and methotrexate.
Considering the limitations of an open‐label study, adalimumab alone or in combination with standard DMARDs appeared to be well tolerated and effective in 6610 difficult‐to‐treat patients with active RA treated in clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC1954645  PMID: 17329305
adalimumab; rheumatoid arthritis; tumour necrosis factor; monoclonal antibody; antirheumatic agents
11.  Phase III Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Subcutaneous Versus Intravenous Tocilizumab Monotherapy in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis Care & Research  2014;66(3):344-354.
To evaluate the efficacious noninferiority of subcutaneous tocilizumab injection (TCZ-SC) monotherapy to intravenous TCZ infusion (TCZ-IV) monotherapy in Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with an inadequate response to synthetic and/or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
This study had a double-blind, parallel-group, double-dummy, comparative phase III design. Patients were randomized to receive TCZ-SC 162 mg every 2 weeks or TCZ-IV 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks; no DMARDs were allowed during the study. The primary end point was to evaluate the noninferiority of TCZ-SC to TCZ-IV regarding the American College of Rheumatology criteria for 20% improvement in disease activity (ACR20) response rates at week 24 using an 18% noninferiority margin. Additional efficacy, safety, pharmacokinetic, and immunogenicity parameters were assessed.
At week 24, ACR20 response was achieved in 79.2% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 72.9, 85.5) of the TCZ-SC group and in 88.5% (95% CI 83.4, 93.5) of the TCZ-IV group; the weighted difference was −9.4% (95% CI −17.6, −1.2), confirming the noninferiority of TCZ-SC to TCZ-IV. Remission rates of the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and the Clinical Disease Activity Index at week 24 were 49.7% and 16.4% in the TCZ-SC group and 62.2% and 23.1% in the TCZ-IV group, respectively. Serum trough TCZ concentrations were similar between the groups over time. Incidences of all adverse events and serious adverse events were 89.0% and 7.5% in the TCZ-SC group and 90.8% and 5.8% in the TCZ-IV group, respectively. Anti-TCZ antibodies were detected in 3.5% of the TCZ-SC group; no serious hypersensitivity was reported in these patients.
TCZ-SC monotherapy demonstrated comparable efficacy and safety to TCZ-IV monotherapy. TCZ-SC could provide additional treatment options for patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC4225471  PMID: 23983039
12.  Mechanism-based approach using a biomarker response to evaluate tocilizumab subcutaneous injection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with an inadequate response to synthetic DMARDs (MATSURI study) 
Journal of Clinical Pharmacology  2013;54(1):109-119.
A multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation phase 1/2 study was undertaken to evaluate the optimal subcutaneous tocilizumab dose that would result in exposure comparable to the intravenous tocilizumab 8-mg/kg approved dose in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A pharmacokinetic and biomarker approach was used to estimate the clinical optimal dose regimen of subcutaneous tocilizumab. Safety and efficacy of subcutaneous tocilizumab were assessed as secondary end points. Patients received subcutaneous tocilizumab at 81 mg every 2 weeks (q2w) (n = 8), 162 mg q2w (n = 12), or 162 mg weekly (qw) (n = 12) for 24 weeks. 88% of 162-mg q2w patients and 100% of 162-mg qw patients maintained mean serum trough tocilizumab concentrations of ≥1 µg/mL, and had exposure comparable with the approved intravenous tocilizumab dose of 8 mg/kg; this resulted in normalized C-reactive protein levels and improvement in ACR20/50/70 responses. The most common adverse events were abnormal laboratory results, which were mild in severity. Anti-tocilizumab antibodies were detected in a few patients in the 81-mg q2w and 162-mg qw groups. In conclusion, coupled with efficacy and tolerability results, the appropriate dose of subcutaneous tocilizumab was determined to be 162 mg q2w for Japanese patients.
PMCID: PMC3908364  PMID: 24115082
tocilizumab; subcutaneous injection; pharmacokinetics; CRP; biomarker
13.  Laboratory and febrile features after joint surgery in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with tocilizumab 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;68(5):654-657.
To understand the acute phase responses to surgical intervention in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with the anti-interleukin (IL)6 receptor antibody, tocilizumab.
In a retrospective 1:1 pair-matched case-control study, 22 tocilizumab-treated RA cases and 22 cases treated with conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and matched for type of surgery, age and sex were evaluated for body temperature every day, and blood C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and white blood cell (WBC), neutrophil and lymphocyte counts on days −1, 1, 3 and weeks 1 and 2 after joint surgery. Safety issues were also monitored.
No complications of infection or delay of wound healing occurred in either patient group. Tocilizumab partially, but significantly, suppressed the increase in body temperature on postoperative days 1 and 2, compared with DMARDs (average (SD) maximum increase in temperature was 0.45 (0.1)°C in the tocilizumab group and 0.78 (0.1)°C in the DMARD group; p<0.01). Tocilizumab completely suppressed the increase in CRP after surgery, whereas all cases treated with DMARDs showed a significant increase of CRP at postoperative day 1 (5.5 (0.6) mg/dl; p<0.001). WBC, neutrophil and lymphocyte counts showed no remarkable change after surgery, and there was no significant difference in any cell counts between the patient groups.
Within this small number of cases, safe operations on patients were performed during tocilizumab treatment. Tocilizumab suppressed fever and increase of CRP after surgery, whereas there was no influence on the transition in number of leukocytes. This characteristic postoperative response should be considered during tocilizumab treatment.
PMCID: PMC2663710  PMID: 18519424
14.  Is IL-6 an appropriate target to treat spondyloarthritis patients refractory to anti-TNF therapy? a multicentre retrospective observational study 
The aim of this study was to evaluate, under real-life conditions, the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in patients having failed anti-TNFα therapy for spondyloarthritis.
French rheumatologists and internal-medicine practitioners registered on the Club Rhumatismes et Inflammations website were asked to report on patients given tocilizumab (4 or 8 mg/kg) to treat active disease meeting Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society (ASAS) criteria for axial or peripheral spondyloarthritis, after anti-TNFα treatment failure. Safety and efficacy after 3 and 6 months were assessed retrospectively using standardised questionnaires.
Data were obtained for 21 patients, 13 with axial spondyloarthritis (46% men; median age, 42 years; disease duration, 11 years; HLA-B27-positive, 92.3%) and eight with peripheral spondyloarthritis (25% men; median age, 40 years; disease duration, 10 years; HLA-B27-positive, 62.5%). No patients with axial disease had at least a 20 mm decrease in the BASDAI, nor a BASDAI50 response or major ASAS-endorsed disease activity score improvements after 3 or 6 months; an ASAS-endorsed disease activity score clinically important improvement was noted at month 3 in five of 13 patients and at month 6 in one of four patients. A good DAS28 response was achieved in four patients with peripheral disease, including one in EULAR remission at month 3. Four patients were still taking tocilizumab at month 6, including one in EULAR remission and one with a good DAS28 response. Tocilizumab was well tolerated, with no serious adverse events. Initially elevated acute-phase reactants declined during tocilizumab therapy.
In patients having failed anti-TNFα therapy, tocilizumab decreased acute-phase reactants but failed to substantially improve axial spondyloarthritis and was inconsistently effective in peripheral spondyloarthritis.
PMCID: PMC3446419  PMID: 22404969
15.  Monoclonal antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis: comparative effectiveness of tocilizumab with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by persistent joint inflammation, systemic inflammation, and immunological abnormalities. Because cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6 play a major role in the development of RA, their targeting could constitute a reasonable novel therapeutic strategy for treating RA. Indeed, worldwide clinical trials of TNF inhibiting biologic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) including infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab, certolizumab pegol, and etanercept as well as the humanized anti-human IL-6 receptor antibody, tocilizumab, have demonstrated outstanding clinical efficacy and tolerable safety profiles, resulting in worldwide approval for using these bDMARDs to treat moderate to severe active RA in patients with an inadequate response to synthetic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (sDMARDs). Although bDMARDs have elicited to a paradigm shift in the treatment of RA due to the prominent efficacy that had not been previously achieved by sDMARDs, a substantial percentage of patients failed primary or secondary responses to bDMARD therapy. Because RA is a heterogeneous disease in which TNF-α and IL-6 play overlapping but distinct pathological roles, further studies are required to determine the best use of TNF inhibitors and tocilizumab in individual RA patients.
PMCID: PMC3984066  PMID: 24741293
interleukin-6; rheumatoid arthritis; adalimumab; biologic
16.  Tocilizumab: A Novel Humanized Anti-Interleukin 6 Receptor Antibody for the Treatment of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Tocilizumab (TCZ; RoActemra® or Actemra®) is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody that acts as an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist. For rheumatoid arthritis (RA), intravenous (IV) TCZ 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks has been approved since 2008 in Japan (where it is also approved for polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Castleman's disease), and since 2009 in Europe in combination with methotrexate (MTX) for the treatment of moderate to severe active RA in adult patients with inadequate response to, or intolerance of, disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist therapy. It may also be administered as monotherapy in the same dose regimen in patients with methotrexate intolerance or with inadequate response to MTX. Since January 2011 in the United States, the indication for treatment with TCZ for RA patients with an inadequate response to one or more TNF antagonists was extended to patients with moderately to severely active RA, and the recommended starting dose is 4 mg/kg every 4 weeks, with an increase to 8 mg/kg based on clinical response. All of these approvals are based on the effectiveness and safety of the 8 mg/kg dose regimen when administered either as monotherapy or in combination with conventional DMARDs in well-designed clinical studies in adult patients with moderate to severe RA. TCZ at this dose is more effective than placebo, MTX or other DMARDs in reducing disease activity and improving health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). Although there were fewer responses with the 4 mg/kg dose, this dose every 4 weeks was not statistically different to 8 mg/kg when administered in combination with MTX, and this dose is the recommended starting dose in the US. Both doses have also been shown to inhibit structural joint damage in patients with an inadequate response to MTX. Thus, TCZ is an important new treatment option in patients with moderate to severe RA.
PMCID: PMC3389389  PMID: 22870473
interleukin 6; monoclonal antibody; rheumatoid arthritis; tocilizumab
17.  Rituximab for Refractory Rheumatoid Arthritis: A 24-Week Open-Label Prospective Study 
To study the efficacy of rituximab in active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients refractory to disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists.
Adult patients with active RA despite adequate therapies with conventional DMARDs or anti-TNFα agents for at least 3 months were recruited. Inclusion criteria were: (1) Positive RF / anti-CCP; (2) ≥ 6 swollen joints and ≥ 8 tender joints; (3) ESR ≥ 28 mm/hr or CRP ≥ 10 mg/L. Eligible patients were given intravenous rituximab infusions at a dose of 1000 mg on days 1 and 15. Assessment was performed 4-weekly thereafter and included tender joint counts (TJC), swollen joint counts (SJC), physician’s and patient’s global assessment, patient’s pain assessment (VAS 0-100 mm), disability index (HAQ-DI), quality of life (SF36), fatigue score (FACIT-F), ESR and CRP. The DAS28, EULAR and ACR responses at week 24 were evaluated.
10 patients (8 women and 2 men) were studied (mean age: 49 years; mean RA duration 7.4 years). Baseline TJC and SJC were 25.1 ± 13.2 and 12.8 ± 5.4 respectively. The mean DAS28 score was 7.1 ± 0.7, and the mean CRP and ESR levels were 52.3 ± 60 mg/L and 95.8 ± 32 mm/hr, respectively. The median number of failed DMARDs was 4 and two patients had failed anti-TNFα treatment. At week 24, there was a significant drop in TJC, SJC, ESR and CRP. The HAQ-DI score also decreased from 2.1 to 1.7 (p=0.04) while the total SF-36 score improved from 24.8 to 38.3 (p=0.008). Sixty percent of patients achieved EULAR moderate-to-good response. Half of the patients achieved ACR20 and two achieved ACR50 / 70 response. Only one patient experienced a minor infusion reaction.
Rituximab is effective and well tolerated in patients with refractory RA.
PMCID: PMC2581826  PMID: 19088893
Biologics; rituximab; anti-TNFα; refractory; treatment.
18.  Efficacy and safety of adalimumab as monotherapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis for whom previous disease modifying antirheumatic drug treatment has failed 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(5):508-516.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of monotherapy with adalimumab in patients with RA for whom previous DMARD treatment has failed.
Methods: In a 26 week, double blind, placebo controlled, phase III trial, 544 patients with RA were randomised to monotherapy with adalimumab 20 mg every other week, 20 mg weekly, 40 mg every other week, 40 mg weekly, or placebo. The primary efficacy end point was ≥20% improvement in the ACR core criteria (ACR20 response). Secondary efficacy end points included ACR50, ACR70, EULAR responses, and the Disability Index of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ DI).
Results: After 26 weeks, patients treated with adalimumab 20 mg every other week, 20 mg weekly, 40 mg every other week, and 40 mg weekly had significantly better response rates than those treated with placebo: ACR20 (35.8%, 39.3%, 46.0%, 53.4%, respectively v 19.1%; p⩽0.01); ACR50 (18.9%, 20.5%, 22.1%, 35.0% v 8.2%; p⩽0.05); ACR70 (8.5%, 9.8%, 12.4%, 18.4% v 1.8%; p⩽0.05). Moderate EULAR response rates were significantly greater with adalimumab than with placebo (41.5%, 48.2%, 55.8%, 63.1% v 26.4%; p⩽0.05). Patients treated with adalimumab achieved better improvements in mean HAQ DI than those receiving placebo (–0.29, –0.39, –0.38, –0.49 v –0.07; p⩽0.01). No significant differences were found between adalimumab and placebo treated patients for serious adverse events, serious infections, or malignancies. Injection site reaction occurred in 10.6% and 0.9% of adalimumab and placebo treated patients, respectively (p⩽0.05).
Conclusion: Among patients with RA for whom previous DMARD treatment had failed, adalimumab monotherapy achieved significant, rapid, and sustained improvements in disease activity and improved physical function and was safe and well tolerated.
PMCID: PMC1755008  PMID: 15082480
19.  Abatacept with methotrexate versus other biologic agents in treatment of patients with active rheumatoid arthritis despite methotrexate: a network meta-analysis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2011;13(6):R204.
The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy in terms of Health Assessment Questionnaire change from baseline (HAQ CFB), 50% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criterion (ACR-50) and Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) defined remission (< 2.6) between abatacept and other biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX-IR).
A systematic literature review identified controlled trials investigating the efficacy of abatacept (three studies), etanercept (two studies), infliximab (two), adalimumab (two), certolizumab pegol (two) ritixumab (three), and tocilizumab (two) in MTX-IR patients with RA. The clinical trials included in this analysis were similar with respect to trial design, baseline patient characteristics and background therapy (MTX). The key clinical endpoints of interest were HAQ CFB, ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 measured at 24 and 52 weeks. The results were analysed using network meta-analysis methods that enabled calculation of an estimate for expected relative effect of comparative treatments. Analysis results were expressed as the difference in HAQ CFB score and odds ratio (OR) of achieving an ACR-50 and DAS28 response and associated 95% credible intervals (CrI).
The analysis of HAQ CFB at 24 weeks and 52 weeks showed that abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to be more efficacious than MTX monotherapy and is expected to show a comparable efficacy relative to other biologic DMARDs in combination with MTX. Further, abatacept showed comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates with other biologic DMARDs at 24 and 52 weeks, except for ACR-50 compared to certolizumab pegol at 52 weeks and for DAS28 < 2.6 compared to tocilizumab at 24 weeks. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the findings.
Abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to result in a comparable change from baseline in HAQ score and comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates in MTX-IR patients compared to other approved biologic agents.
PMCID: PMC3334657  PMID: 22151924
abatacept; rheumatoid arthritis; biologic DMARDs; network meta-analysis; health assessment questionnaire
20.  Impact of adalimumab on work participation in rheumatoid arthritis: comparison of an open-label extension study and a registry-based control group 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;68(6):930-937.
Background and objectives:
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes considerable disability and often results in loss of work capacity and productivity. This study evaluated the impact of adalimumab, a tumour necrosis factor antagonist with demonstrated efficacy in RA, on long-term employment.
Data from an open-label extension study (DE033) of 486 RA patients receiving adalimumab monotherapy who previously did not respond to at least one disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) and had baseline work status information were compared with data from 747 RA patients receiving DMARD treatment in a Norway-based longitudinal registry. Primary outcomes included the time patients continued working at least part time and the likelihood of stopping work. Secondary outcomes included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) responses and disease remission. Outcomes were compared 6, 12 and 24 months after enrolment.
During a 24-month period, the 158 patients who received adalimumab and were working at baseline worked 7.32 months longer (95% CI 4.8 to 9.1) than did the 180 patients treated with DMARDs, controlling for differences in baseline characteristics. Regardless of baseline work status, patients receiving adalimumab worked 2.0 months longer (95% CI 1.3 to 2.6) and were significantly less likely to stop working than those receiving DMARDs (HR 0.36 (95% CI −0.30 to 0.42) for all patients and 0.36 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.85) for patients working at baseline, respectively). The patients who received adalimumab were also considerably more likely to achieve ACR responses and disease remission than DMARD-treated patients. Patients who achieved EULAR good response and remission were less likely to stop working, but this relationship was only seen in patients receiving DMARDs.
Patients with RA who received adalimumab experienced considerably longer periods of work and continuous employment, and greater rates of clinical responses, than patients receiving DMARDs. The mechanism by which adalimumab decreases likelihood of stopping work seems to be different from that of DMARD treatment and independent of clinical responses.
PMCID: PMC2674552  PMID: 18829616
21.  A randomised, double-blind, parallel-group study to demonstrate equivalence in efficacy and safety of CT-P13 compared with innovator infliximab when coadministered with methotrexate in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: the PLANETRA study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2013;72(10):1613-1620.
To compare the efficacy and safety of innovator infliximab (INX) and CT-P13, an INX biosimilar, in active rheumatoid arthritis patients with inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX) treatment.
Phase III randomised, double-blind, multicentre, multinational, parallel-group study. Patients with active disease despite MTX (12.5–25 mg/week) were randomised to receive 3 mg/kg of CT-P13 (n=302) or INX (n=304) with MTX and folic acid. The primary endpoint was the American College of Rheumatology 20% (ACR20) response at week 30. Therapeutic equivalence of clinical response according to ACR20 criteria was concluded if the 95% CI for the treatment difference was within ±15%. Secondary endpoints included ACR response criteria, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria, change in Disease Activity Score 28 (DAS28), Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), Simplified Disease Activity Index, Clinical Disease Activity Index, as well as pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) parameters, safety and immunogenicity.
At week 30, ACR20 responses were 60.9% for CT-P13 and 58.6% for INX (95% CI −6% to 10%) in the intention-to-treat population. The proportions in CT-P13 and INX groups achieving good or moderate EULAR responses (C reactive protein (CRP)) at week 30 were 85.8% and 87.1%, respectively. Low disease activity or remission according to DAS28–CRP, ACR–EULAR remission rates, ACR50/ACR70 responses and all other PK and PD endpoints were highly similar at week 30. Incidence of drug-related adverse events (35.2% vs 35.9%) and detection of antidrug antibodies (48.4% vs 48.2%) were highly similar for CT-P13 and INX, respectively.
CT-P13 demonstrated equivalent efficacy to INX at week 30, with a comparable PK profile and immunogenicity. CT-P13 was well tolerated, with a safety profile comparable with that of INX. Identifier
PMCID: PMC3786641  PMID: 23687260
22.  Comparative efficacy of biologics as monotherapy and in combination with methotrexate on patient reported outcomes (PROs) in rheumatoid arthritis patients with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs – a systematic review and network meta-analysis 
To compare biologics as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate (MTX) in terms of patient reported outcomes (PROs) in RA patients with an inadequate response to conventional DMARDs (DMARD-IR).
With a systematic literature review 17 RCTs were identified that evaluated adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, abatacept, anakinra or tocilizumab. Treatment effects in terms of pain (0-100 mm), patient’s global assessment of disease activity (PGA; 0-100 mm), Health Assessment-Questionnaire (HAQ) disability index (DI; 0–3), and the physical component summary (PCS) of the SF36 Health Survey (0–100) at 24 weeks were combined by means of Bayesian network meta-analyses.
With tocilizumab monotherapy, greater improvements in pain (difference = -11.1; (95% Credible Interval -21.3, -0.1)) and PGA (-10.3 (-20.4, 0.8)) were observed than with aTNF monotherapy. Tocilizumab was at least as efficacious as aTNF in HAQ-DI improvements (-0.16; (-0.37, 0.05)). aTNF + MTX (-17.9 (-23.1, -13.0) & -19.1 (-24.2, -14.4)), abatacept + MTX (-23.0 (-47.3, 1. 5) & -13.6 (-28.4, 2.0)) and tocilizumab + MTX (-16.0 (-26.3, -6.3) & -15.1 (-25.1, -5.7)) showed comparable reductions in pain and PGA relative to MTX. Efficacy of anakinra + MTX was much smaller as compared to other biologics. The greatest improvements in HAQ-DI relative to MTX were observed with aTNF + MTX (-0.30 (-0.37, -0.22)) and tocilizumab + MTX (-0.27 (-0.42, -0.12)), followed by abatacept + MTX (-0.21 (-0.37, -0.05)) and anakinra + MTX (-0.11 (-0.26, 0.05)). The improvements in SF36-PCS with abatacept + MTX, aTNF + MTX and tocilizumab + MTX were comparable. There is a >90% probability that aTNF + MTX results in a greater improvement in pain (-12.4), PGA (-16.1) and HAQ-DI (-0.21) than aTNF as monotherapy. Efficacy of tocilizumab + MTX showed comparable improvements in PROs as tocilizumab monotherapy.
Based on a network meta-analysis involving indirect comparison of trial findings, the following observations were made for DMARD-IR patients. In monotherapy, tocilizumab was associated with a greater improvement in pain and self-reported disease activity than aTNF, and was at least as efficacious regarding functional ability. The improvements in PROs with aTNF, abatacept and tocilizumab in combination with MTX were comparable. Improvements in PROs with tocilizumab as monotherapy were similar to that of tocilizumab + MTX, whereas aTNF as monotherapy was likely to be less efficacious than aTNF + MTX.
PMCID: PMC4101713  PMID: 24988902
Rheumatoid arthritis; Biologics; Patient reported outcomes; Network meta-analysis; Indirect comparison
23.  Subcutaneous Tocilizumab Versus Placebo in Combination With Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Arthritis Care & Research  2014;66(11):1653-1661.
The efficacy and safety of subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ-SC) versus subcutaneous placebo (PBO-SC) was evaluated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who had an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in the BREVACTA study.
Patients (n = 656) were randomized 2:1 to receive TCZ-SC 162 mg every other week or PBO-SC every other week for 24 weeks; 20% previously received anti–tumor necrosis factor treatment. Escape therapy with TCZ-SC 162 mg weekly was offered from week 12 for inadequate response. The primary end point was the American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement (ACR20) response at week 24. The key secondary outcomes were radiographic progression and safety.
TCZ-SC was superior to PBO-SC for ACR20 response at week 24 (60.9% versus 31.5%; P < 0.0001). All secondary end points showed TCZ-SC to be superior to PBO-SC, including ACR50 and ACR70 response (40% and 20% for TCZ-SC, respectively, and 12% and 5% for PBO-SC, respectively; P < 0.0001 for both) and Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) remission (DAS28 <2.6; 32% versus 4% [P < 0.0001]). The mean change in modified Sharp/van der Heijde score was significantly lower in the TCZ-SC group than the PBO-SC group (0.62 versus 1.23; P = 0.0149). Adverse events (AEs) and serious AEs (SAEs) were comparable between the TCZ-SC and PBO-SC groups; 4.6% and 3.7% of patients had at least 1 SAE, respectively, and infection was the most common SAE in 2.1% and 1.8% of patients, respectively. More injection site reactions occurred with TCZ-SC than PBO-SC (7.1% versus 4.1%). No anaphylaxis or serious hypersensitivity reactions occurred. There were 3 deaths in the TCZ-SC group and 0 in the PBO-SC group.
TCZ-SC every other week had significantly greater efficacy, including ACR end points and inhibition of joint damage, compared with PBO-SC. TCZ-SC was well tolerated and its safety profile was comparable with that of previous intravenous TCZ studies.
PMCID: PMC4276289  PMID: 24942540
24.  Evaluation of composite measures of treatment response without acute-phase reactants in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2009;48(6):686-690.
Objectives. To evaluate composite measures of response without acute-phase reactants in RA patients. Specifically, Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI)-derived response criteria were compared with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria, and the modified ACR (mACR) response criteria were compared to the ACR response criteria.
Methods. Data from 10 108 RA patients enrolled in the Consortium of Rheumatology Researchers of North America registry were examined, including 649 patients initiating DMARD therapy. CDAI cut-off points for disease activity levels and responses were derived using receiver operating characteristic curves with the DAS28 and EULAR response criteria as gold standards. The κ-statistics were applied to assess agreement between CDAI-derived and EULAR-defined responses, as well as ACR20 and ACR50 with mACR20- and mACR50-defined responses, respectively.
Results. For the components of the EULAR response, the derived CDAI cut-off points for DAS28 levels of 3.2 and 5.1 were 7.6 and 19.6, respectively. The derived CDAI cut-off points were 4.3 and 10.0 for DAS28 changes of 0.6 and 1.2, respectively. There were moderate to substantial agreements between CDAI-derived and EULAR responses (κ = 0.57–0.71). Agreement of ACR20 and ACR50 with mACR20 and mACR50 responses, respectively, was excellent (κ = 0.88–0.95).
Conclusions. Agreement between composite measures of response without acute-phase reactants and standard measures ranged from moderate to excellent. The mACR20 and mACR50 criteria as well as CDAI-derived response criteria, can serve as composite measures of response in clinical practice and research settings without access to acute-phase reactants.
PMCID: PMC2722796  PMID: 19395544
Rheumatoid arthritis; Acute-phase reactants; Response criteria
25.  Long-term safety and efficacy of tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody, in monotherapy, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (the STREAM study): evidence of safety and efficacy in a 5-year extension study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;68(10):1580-1584.
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of 5-year, long-term tocilizumab monotherapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
In an open-label, long-term extension trial following an initial 3-month randomised phase II trial, 143 of the 163 patients who participated in the initial blinded study received tocilizumab monotherapy (8 mg/kg) every 4 weeks. Concomitant therapy with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or oral prednisolone (10 mg daily maximum) was permitted. All patients were evaluated with American College of Rheumatology (ACR) improvement criteria, disease activity score (DAS) in 28 joints, and the European League Against Rheumatism response, as well as for safety issues.
143 patients were enrolled in the open-label, long-term extension trial and 94 (66%) patients had completed 5 years as of March 2007. 32 patients (22%) withdrew from the study due to adverse events and one patient (0.7%) due to unsatisfactory response. 14 patients withdrew because of the patient’s request or other reasons. The serious adverse event rate was 27.5 events per 100 patient-years, with 5.7 serious infections per 100 patient-years, based on a total tocilizumab exposure of 612 patient-years. Of the 88 patients receiving corticosteroids at baseline, 78 (88.6%) were able to decrease their corticosteroid dose and 28 (31.8%) discontinued corticosteroids. At 5 years, 79/94 (84.0%), 65/94 (69.1%) and 41/94 (43.6%) of the patients achieved ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70 improvement criteria, respectively. Remission defined as DAS28 less than 2.6 was achieved in 52/94 (55.3%) of the patients.
In this 5-year extension study, tocilizumab demonstrated sustained long-term efficacy and a generally good safety profile.
PMCID: PMC2732899  PMID: 19019888

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