Kinase inhibitors: a new class of antirheumatic drugs
Vasileios C Kyttaris
Division of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Abstract: The outlook for patients with rheumatoid arthritis has improved significantly over the last three decades with the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. However, despite the use of methotrexate, cytokine inhibitors, and molecules targeting T and B cells, a percentage of patients do not respond or lose their response over time. The autoimmune process in rheumatoid arthritis depends on activation of immune cells, which utilize intracellular kinases to respond to external stimuli such as cytokines, immune complexes, and antigens. In the past decade, small molecules targeting several kinases, such as p38 MAPK, Syk, and JAK have been developed. Several p38 MAPK inhibitors proved ineffective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The Syk inhibitor, fostamatinib, proved superior to placebo in Phase II trials and is currently under Phase III investigation. Tofacitinib, a JAK1/3 inhibitor, was shown to be efficacious in two Phase III trials, while VX-509, a JAK3 inhibitor, showed promising results in a Phase II trial. Fostamatinib and tofacitinib were associated with increased rates of infection, elevation of liver enzymes, and neutropenia. Moreover, fostamatinib caused elevations of blood pressure and diarrhea, while tofacitinib was associated with an increase in creatinine and elevation of lipid levels.
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, kinase inhibitors, mitogen-activated phosphokinase p38, spleen tyrosine kinase, Janus kinases
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