Conference Coverage

Certolizumab may reduce uveitis flares, axSpA disease activity



– Certolizumab pegol, a PEGylated, monoclonal, anti–tumor necrosis factor antibody, reduces recurrent acute anterior uveitis flares and improves disease activity in patients with axial spondyloarthritis, according to findings from the open-label, 96-week, phase 4 C-VIEW study.

Irene E. van der Horst-Bruinsma, MD, PhD, of Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands. Sharon Worcester/MDedge News

Dr. Irene van der Horst-Bruinsma

When given earlier in the course of disease, the treatment, which is the only Food and Drug Administration–approved tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNFi) for the treatment of nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA), also shortens symptom duration, a post hoc analysis of data from the multicenter, phase 3 C-axSpAnd study suggests. The findings from both studies were presented during a session at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.


In 85 patients with active axSpA who completed 48 weeks of certolizumab pegol therapy in the C-VIEW study, the acute anterior uveitis (AAU) flare incidence over 48 weeks was a mean of 0.2, compared with 1.5 flares per person in the 48 weeks prior to treatment initiation, reported Irene E. van der Horst-Bruinsma, MD, PhD, of Amsterdam University Medical Center. The comparison was adjusted for possible within-patient correlations, flare period (pre- and post baseline), and axSpA disease duration.

This finding, from a preplanned interim analysis, represented a flare incidence of 18.7 versus 146.6 per 100 patient-years, during treatment versus prior to treatment – an 87% reduction – and the difference was statistically significant (P less than .001), Dr. van der Horst-Bruinsma said.

The percentage of patients experiencing one flare was 12.4% during therapy, compared with 64% prior to therapy, and the percentage experiencing two or more flares was 2.2% versus 24.7%, respectively, she said, adding that, in the 13 patients who experienced flares both before and during treatment, the mean flare duration was reduced during treatment (58.4 vs. 97.4 days). A comparison of radiographic and nr-axSpA patients showed similar reductions in flares during versus prior to treatment, going from 144.5 to 19.0 flares per 100 patient-years with radiographic disease and from 158.9 to 17.2 flares per 100 patient-years in nr-axSpA.

Furthermore, after 48 weeks of treatment, disease activity had improved substantially, with mean Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) improving from 3.5 to 2.0 at week 48, 94.2% of patients reaching ASDAS clinical improvement at week 48, and mean Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) score decreasing significantly from 6.5 to 3.3 at week 48.

“ASDAS 20 was reached by 75% of the patients, the ASDAS 40 by 54%, and the ASDAS partial remission criteria were reached by 31% of the patients,” she said.

Study participants were adults with a mean age of 46.5 years and active disease according to Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS) criteria and a history of recurrent AAU flares (either two or more in total, or one or more in the year prior to study entry). They were HLA-B27 positive, eligible for anti-TNF therapy because they had an inadequate response (or contraindication) to at least two prior NSAIDs, were biologic naive, or had failed to respond to no more than one prior anti-TNF agent. Both radiographic and nr-axSpA patients were included, and of 115 who enrolled, 89 initiated treatment, including 76 with radiographic disease and 13 with nonradiographic disease; 85 completed week 48 of treatment.

Certolizumab pegol was given at a loading dose of 400 mg at weeks 0, 2, and 4, followed by 200 mg every 2 weeks through week 96, and was well tolerated. No new safety signals were identified, Dr. van der Horst-Bruinsma said.

“We know that acute anterior uveitis, an inflammation of ... the uveal tract, is the most common extra-articular manifestation in axial spondyloarthritis,” she said. “It is reported in up to 40% of patients and is associated with significant clinical burden.”

AAU is also strongly associated with the HLA-B27 antigen, therefore patients who do not have ankylosing spondylitis but who are HLA-B27 positive also are at risk, she said, noting that previous studies have shown that TNF inhibitors reduce the incidence of AAU flares in patients with radiographic axSpA (ankylosing spondylitis), but that data in nr-axSpA are scarce.

The aim of C-VIEW was to analyze the impact of certolizumab pegol treatment on AAU flares in patients with active radiographic or nr-axSpA and a recent history of AAU, she said.

“C-VIEW was the first study to examine the impact of certolizumab on the incidence of acute anterior uveitis flares in HLA-B27-positive patients with a recent history of acute anterior uveitis, including patients with nr-axSpA ... and in conclusion we can say that these results indicate that certolizumab is a suitable treatment option for patients with axSpA and a history of recurrent acute anterior uveitis,” she said.

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