Rituximab is more effective than second anti-TNF therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients and previous TNFα blocker failure
Joern Kekow,1 Ulf Mueller-Ladner,2 Hendrik Schulze-Koops3
1Clinic of Rheumatology and Orthopedics, Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg, Vogelsang-Gommern; 2Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Kerckhoff Clinic, Bad Nauheim; 3Division of Rheumatology, University of Munich, Munich, Germany
Purpose: To assess the efficacy of one course of rituximab (two 1-g doses) compared to an alternative tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) blocker in rheumatoid arthritis patients who had experienced one previous TNFα blocker failure (eg, etanercept, adalimumab, or infliximab).
Patients and methods: The efficacy of both treatments was studied in this retrospective, multicenter, noninterventional cohort study with 196 patients. All patients had active rheumatoid arthritis defined by a Disease Activity Score-28 of ≥3.2 despite having TNFα blocker therapy, and were followed over 6.6 months on average after switching to rituximab versus a second TNFα blocker (ie, switching to etanercept, adalimumab, or infliximab) at baseline.
Results: At baseline, both cohorts showed similar demographic and disease-related characteristics (including Disease Activity Score-28). At the end of observation, mean Disease Activity Score-28 was significantly lower after treatment with rituximab than with a second TNFα blocker (-1.64 [95% confidence interval: -1.92; -1.36] versus -1.19 [95% confidence interval: -1.42; -0.96], P = 0.013). This difference between the two groups was even more pronounced when patients were seropositive for rheumatoid factor (-1.66 versus -1.17, P = 0.018) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (-1.75 versus -1.06, P = 0.002). More rituximab-treated patients achieved good European League Against Rheumatism response than TNFα blocker-treated patients (30% versus 15%), and less patients were nonresponders (22% versus 35%) according to European League Against Rheumatism criteria (P = 0.022, chi-squared test).
Conclusion: Treatment with rituximab was more effective than a second TNFα blocker therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients after failure of the first TNFα blocker. It was found that anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies may be a useful predictive biomarker for response to rituximab in patients with TNFα blocker treatment failure.
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, rituximab, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, rheumatoid factor
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.Download Article [PDF] View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]