Melinda Gooderham, MD, reported at the virtual annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The positive results of this 391-patient, international, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial mirror those previously reported in the identically designed JADE-MONO-1 pivotal phase 3 trial, noted, medical director of the SKiN Centre for Dermatology and a dermatologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Participants inwere randomized 2:2:1 to abrocitinib at 200 mg once daily, 100 mg once daily, or placebo for 12 weeks. The coprimary endpoint of skin clearance as reflected in an Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear) with an improvement of at least two grades at week 12 was achieved in 38.1% and 28.4% of patients on 200 and 100 mg of the JAK-1 inhibitor, respectively, compared with 9.1% of placebo-treated controls. The other coprimary endpoint – significant improvement in disease extent as defined by at least a 75% reduction from baseline in Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI-75 response) at 12 weeks – was reached in 61% of patients on abrocitinib at 200 mg/day, 44.5% on 100 mg/day, and 10.4% of controls.
A key secondary endpoint was improvement in itch based on at least a 4-point improvement at week 12 on the Peak Pruritus Numerical Rating Scale from a mean baseline score of 7. This outcome was reached by 55.3% of patients on abrocitinib at 200 mg, 45.2% on 100 mg, and 11.5% on placebo. Of note, the reduction in itch was impressively fast, with significant separation from placebo occurring within the first 24 hours of the study, after just a single dose of abrocitinib. By week 2, roughly one-third of patients on high-dose and one-quarter of those on low-dose abrocitinib had already reached the itch endpoint, the dermatologist continued.
The improvement in pruritus scores in abrocitinib-treated patients was accompanied by significantly greater gains on validated measures of quality of life, another secondary endpoint. The EASI-90 response rate, yet another key secondary outcome, was 37.7% with abrocitinib at 200 mg, 23.9% with 100 mg, and 3.9% with placebo.
The safety profile of abrocitinib was essentially the same as for placebo with the exception of a 3.2% incidence of thrombocytopenia in patients on abrocitinib at 200 mg/day; no cases occurred in controls or patients on abrocitinib at 100 mg/day. Although venous thromboembolism has arisen as a potential concern in clinical trials of oral JAK inhibitors for rheumatoid arthritis, there were no cases in JADE-MONO-2. A long-term safety extension study in JADE-MONO participants is underway.
In an interview, Dr. Gooderham said that, based on the phase 2 study data that’s available for upadacitinib, another JAK-1-selective oral agent, abrocitinib and upadacitinib appear to be in the same ballpark with respect to efficacy as defined by IGA response, EASI improvement, and itch relief.
“The JAK-1 selectivity does seem to offer some advantage in levels of response over more broad JAK inhibition, such as with baritinib,” she added.
Asked how she foresees abrocitinib fitting into clinical practice, should it win regulatory approval for treatment of atopic dermatitis, Dr. Gooderham said it might be considered on a par with the injectable interleukin-4 and -13 inhibitor dupilumab (Dupixent) as next-line therapy after failure on topical therapy or as an option in patients who haven’t responded to or could not tolerate dupilumab. Abrocitinib will be an attractive option for patients who prefer oral therapy and will be an especially appealing medication in patients with a strong itch component to their atopic dermatitis, she added.
The results of JADE COMPARE, a phase 3, head-to-head randomized comparison of abrocitinib and dupilumab, are expected to be presented later this year at the virtual annual congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Pfizer has announced the key results, reporting that the JAK inhibitor at 200 mg/day achieved significantly greater improvements than dupilumab in the coprimary IGA and EASI-75 endpoints at 12 weeks.
JADE-MONO-2 was sponsored by Pfizer. Dr. Gooderham reported receiving research grants from that company and close to two dozen others.
The JADE-MONO-2 results have been published online (JAMA Dermatol. 2020 Jun 3;e201406.).