Effect of interleukin-6 receptor inhibitor, tocilizumab, in preventing joint destruction in patients with rheumatoid arthritis showing inadequate response to TNF inhibitors

Yoshiya Tanaka, Tsutomu Takeuchi, Koichi Amano, Kazuyoshi Saito, Kentaro Hanami, Masao Nawata, Shunsuke Fukuyo, Hideto Kameda, Yuko Kaneko, Takahiko Kurasawa, Hayato Nagasawa, Daisuke Hoshi, Eri Sato, Hisashi Yamanaka
Modern Rheumatology 2014, 24 (3): 399-404

OBJECTIVES: To examine the effectiveness of tocilizumab (TCZ) in preventing joint destruction in patients with inadequate response to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF-IR) by assessing X-rays.

METHODS: RA patients were extracted from the Retrospective actemra investigation for optimal needs of RA patients (REACTION) study. Parameters and components of disease activity were evaluated during anti-TNF treatment and during TCZ treatment. X-ray images of hands and feet at the beginning of this study during anti-TNF treatment (Pre), at the start point of TCZ treatment (Baseline) and after TCZ treatment (Post) were collected for assessing joint destruction.

RESULTS: Forty-five patients from the REACTION study fulfilled the criteria of clinical TNF-IR. During anti-TNF treatment, mean DAS28-ESR rose from 5.35 to 5.87 (mean observation duration, 16 months) but improved significantly to 2.94 (P < 0.0001) at 52 weeks after switching to TCZ. Mean change in van der Heijde-modified Sharp score (TSS) during anti-TNF treatment was 3.17 in this TNF-IR population. After switching to TCZ, mean change in TSS was 1.20 (P < 0.05). Rate of radiographic non-progression improved to 66.7% during TCZ treatment from 40.0% during anti-TNF treatment. The predictive factor for no radiographic progression after switching to TCZ was a HAQ disability index (HAQ-DI) score of ≤ 1.88 at switching to TCZ.

CONCLUSION: TCZ was a good treatment option for improving signs and symptoms and inhibiting progression of joint damage in patients with clinical and structural TNF-IR.

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