Review of ustekinumab, an interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 inhibitor used for the treatment of plaque psoriasis
Nora Koutruba, Jason Emer, Mark Lebwohl
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA
Abstract: The pathogenesis of psoriasis is unknown, although it is generally accepted that this chronic inflammatory skin disorder is a complex autoimmune condition similar to other T-cell mediated disorders. Psoriasis imposes a heavy burden on the lifestyle of those affected due to the psychological, arthritic, and cutaneous morbidities; thus significant research has focused on the genetic and immunologic features of psoriasis in anticipation of more targeted, efficacious, and safe therapies. Recently, CD4+ T helper (Th) 17 cells and interleukins (IL)-12 and -23 have been important in the pathogenesis of T-cell mediated disorders such as psoriasis and has influenced the development of medications that specifically target these key immunological players. Ustekinumab is a monoclonal antibody belonging to a newly developed class of biological, anti-cytokine medications that notably targets the p40 subunit of both IL-12 and -23, both naturally occurring proteins that are important in regulating the immune system and are understood to play a role in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. Ustekinumab’s safety and efficacy has been evaluated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in 3 phase III clinical trials, 2 placebo-controlled (PHOENIX 1 and 2), and 1 comparator-controlled (ACCEPT) study which proved advantageous in patients who were treatment-naive, previously failed other immunosuppressive medications including cyclosporine or methotrexate, were unresponsive to phototherapy, or were unable to use or tolerate other therapies. Ustekinumab has also been investigated for other indications such as psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. We present a concise review evaluating the evidence that supports the use of ustekinumab in the treatment of plaque psoriasis and other conditions.
Keywords: ustekinumab, interleukin-12, interleukin-23, plaque psoriasis, biologics
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