An intensified dosing schedule of subcutaneous methotrexate in patients with moderate to severe plaque-type psoriasis (METOP): a 52 week, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial

Background

Methotrexate is one of the most commonly used systemic drugs for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis; however, high-quality evidence for its use is sparse and limited to use of oral dosing. We aimed to assess the effect of an intensified dosing schedule of subcutaneous methotrexate in patients with moderate to severe plaque-type psoriasis.

Methods

We did this prospective, multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (METOP) at 16 sites in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the UK. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, had a diagnosis of chronic plaque psoriasis for at least 6 months before baseline, had currently moderate to severe disease, and were methotrexate treatment-naive. Participants were randomly assigned (3:1), via a computer-generated random number sequence integrated into an electronic data capture system, to receive either methotrexate at a starting dose of 17·5 mg/week or placebo for the first 16 weeks, followed by methotrexate treatment of all patients up to 52 weeks (methotrexate–methotrexate vs placebo–methotrexate groups). Dose escalation to 22·5 mg/week was allowed after 8 weeks of methotrexate treatment if patients had not achieved at least a 50% reduction in baseline Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score (PASI), with corresponding volume increases in placebo injections. Treatment was combined with folic acid 5 mg/week. Group allocation was concealed from participants and investigators from the time of randomisation until an interim database lock at week 16, and was open label from week 16 onwards, with no masking of participants or investigators. The primary efficacy endpoint was a 75% reduction in PASI score (PASI 75) from baseline to week 16. We did analysis by modified intention to treat, with non-responder imputation. This study is registered with EudraCT, number 2012-002716-10.

Findings

Between Feb 22, 2013, and May 13, 2015, we randomly assigned 120 patients to receive methotrexate (n=91) or placebo (n=29). At week 16, a PASI 75 response was achieved in 37 (41%) patients in the methotrexate group compared with three (10%) patients in the placebo group (relative risk 3·93, 95% CI 1·31–11·81; p=0·0026). Subcutaneous methotrexate was generally well tolerated; no patients died or had serious infections, malignancies, or major adverse cardiovascular events. Serious adverse events were recorded in three (3%) patients who received methotrexate for the full 52 week treatment period.

Interpretation

Our findings show a favourable 52 week risk–benefit profile of subcutaneous methotrexate in patients with psoriasis. The route of administration and the intensified dosing schedule should be considered when methotrexate is used in this patient group.

Funding

Medac.

The Lancet, Volume 389, No. 10068, p528–537, 4 February 2017

Phase 3 Studies Comparing Brodalumab with Ustekinumab in Psoriasis

Background Early clinical studies suggested that the anti–interleukin-17 receptor A monoclonal antibody brodalumab has efficacy in the treatment of psoriasis.

Methods In two phase 3 studies (AMAGINE-2 and AMAGINE-3), patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis were randomly assigned to receive brodalumab (210 mg or 140 mg every 2 weeks), ustekinumab (45 mg for patients with a body weight ≤100 kg and 90 mg for patients >100 kg), or placebo. At week 12, patients receiving brodalumab were randomly assigned again to receive a brodalumab maintenance dose of 210 mg every 2 weeks or 140 mg every 2 weeks, every 4 weeks, or every 8 weeks; patients receiving ustekinumab continued to receive ustekinumab every 12 weeks, and patients receiving placebo received 210 mg of brodalumab every 2 weeks. The primary aims were to evaluate the superiority of brodalumab over placebo at week 12 with respect to at least a 75% reduction in the psoriasis area-and-severity index score (PASI 75) and a static physician’s global assessment (sPGA) score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear skin), as well as the superiority of brodalumab over ustekinumab at week 12 with respect to a 100% reduction in PASI score (PASI 100).

Results At week 12, the PASI 75 response rates were higher with brodalumab at the 210-mg and 140-mg doses than with placebo (86% and 67%, respectively, vs. 8% [AMAGINE-2] and 85% and 69%, respectively, vs. 6% [AMAGINE-3]; P<0.001); the rates of sPGA scores of 0 or 1 were also higher with brodalumab (P<0.001). The week 12 PASI 100 response rates were significantly higher with 210 mg of brodalumab than with ustekinumab (44% vs. 22% [AMAGINE-2] and 37% vs. 19% [AMAGINE-3], P<0.001). The PASI 100 response rates with 140 mg of brodalumab were 26% in AMAGINE-2 (P=0.08 for the comparison with ustekinumab) and 27% in AMAGINE-3 (P=0.007). Rates of neutropenia were higher with brodalumab and with ustekinumab than with placebo. Mild or moderate candida infections were more frequent with brodalumab than with ustekinumab or placebo. Through week 52, the rates of serious infectious episodes were 1.0 (AMAGINE-2) and 1.3 (AMAGINE-3) per 100 patient-years of exposure to brodalumab.

Conclusions Brodalumab treatment resulted in significant clinical improvements in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

Phase 3 Studies Comparing Brodalumab with Ustekinumab in Psoriasis by Mark Lebwohl, et al. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1318-1328 October 1, 2015

Tofacitinib versus etanercept or placebo in moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis: a phase 3 randomised non-inferiority trial

Background New therapeutic options are needed for patients with psoriasis. Tofacitinib, an oral Janus kinase inhibitor, is being investigated as a treatment for moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis. In this study, we aimed to compare two tofacitinib doses with high-dose etanercept or placebo in this patient population.

Methods In this phase 3, randomised, multicentre, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, 12-week, non-inferiority trial, adult patients with chronic stable plaque psoriasis (for ≥12 months) who were candidates for systemic or phototherapy and had a Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score of 12 or higher and a Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) of moderate or severe, and had failed to respond to, had a contraindication to, or were intolerant to at least one conventional systemic therapy, were enrolled from 122 investigational dermatology centres worldwide. Eligible patients were randomly assigned in a 3:3:3:1 ratio to receive tofacitinib 5 mg or 10 mg twice daily at about 12 h intervals, etanercept 50 mg subcutaneously twice weekly at about 3–4 day intervals, or placebo. Randomisation was done by a computer-generated randomisation schedule, and all patients and study personnel were masked to treatment assignment. The co-primary endpoints were the proportion of patients at week 12 with at least a 75% reduction in the PASI score from baseline (PASI75 response) and the proportion of patients achieving a PGA score of “clear” or “almost clear” (PGA response), analysed in the full analysis set (all patients who were randomised and received at least one dose of study drug). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01241591.

Findings Between Nov 29, 2010, and Sept 13, 2012, we enrolled 1106 eligible adult patients with chronic plaque psoriasis and randomly assigned them to the four treatment groups (330 to tofacitinib 5 mg twice daily, 332 to tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily, 336 to etanercept 50 mg twice weekly, and 108 to placebo). Of these patients, 1101 actually received their assigned study medication (329 in the tofactinib 5 mg group, 330 in the tofacitinib 10 mg group, 335 in the etanercept group, and 107 in the placebo group). At week 12, PASI75 responses were recorded in 130 (39·5%) of 329 patients in the tofacitinib 5 mg group, 210 (63·6%) of 330 in the tofacitinib 10 mg group, 197 (58·8%) of 335 in the etanercept group, and six (5·6%) of 107 in the placebo group. A PGA response was achieved by 155 (47·1%) of 329 patients in the tofacitinib 5 mg group, 225 (68·2%) of 330 in the tofacitinib 10 mg group, 222 (66·3%) of 335 in the etanercept group, and 16 (15·0%) of 107 in the placebo group. The rate of adverse events was similar across the four groups, with serious adverse events occurring in seven (2%) of 329 patients in the tofacitinib 5 mg group, five (2%) of 330 in the tofacitinib 10 mg group, seven (2%) of 335 in the etanercept group, and two (2%) of 107 in the placebo group. Three (1%) of 329 patients in the tofacitinib 5 mg group, ten (3%) of 330 in the tofacitinib 10 mg group, 11 (3%) of 335 in the etanercept group, and four (4%) of 107 patients in the placebo group discontinued their assigned treatment because of adverse events.

Intepretation In patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, the 10 mg twice daily dose of tofacitinib was non-inferior to etanercept 50 mg twice weekly and was superior to placebo, but the 5 mg twice daily dose did not show non-inferiority to etanercept 50 mg twice weekly. The adverse event rates over 12 weeks were similar for tofacitinib and etanercept. This study indicates that in the future tofacitinib could provide a convenient and welltolerated therapeutic option for patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Tofacitinib versus etanercept or placebo in moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis: a phase 3 randomised non-inferiority trial by Hervé Bachelez, et al. The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9993, p552–561, 8 August 2015

Comparison of ixekizumab with etanercept or placebo in moderate-to-severe psoriasis (UNCOVER-2 and UNCOVER-3): results from two phase 3 randomised trials

Background Ixekizumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody against the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 17A. We report two studies of ixekizumab compared with placebo or etanercept to assess the safety and efficacy of specifically targeting interleukin 17A in patients with widespread moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

Methods In two prospective, double-blind, multicentre, phase 3 studies (UNCOVER-2 and UNCOVER-3), eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, had a confirmed diagnosis of chronic plaque psoriasis at least 6 months before baseline (randomisation), 10% or greater body-surface area involvement at both screening and baseline visits, at least a moderate clinical severity as measured by a static physician global assessment (sPGA) score of 3 or more, and a psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) score of 12. Participants were randomly assigned (1:2:2:2) by computer-generated random sequence with an interactive voice response system to receive subcutaneous placebo, etanercept (50 mg twice weekly), or one injection of 80 mg ixekizumab every 2 weeks, or every 4 weeks after a 160 mg starting dose. Blinding was maintained with a double-dummy design. Coprimary efficacy endpoints were proportions of patients achieving sPGA score 0 or 1 and 75% or greater improvement in PASI at week 12. Analysis was by intention to treat. These trials are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT01597245 and NCT01646177.

Findings Between May 30, 2012, and Dec 30, 2013, 1224 patients in UNCOVER-2 were randomly assigned to receive subcutaneous placebo (n=168), etanercept (n=358), or ixekizumab every 2 weeks (n=351) or every 4 weeks (n=347); between Aug 11, 2012, and Feb 27, 2014, 1346 patients in UNCOVER-3 were randomly assigned to receive placebo (n=193), etanercept (n=382), ixekizumab every 2 weeks (n=385), or ixekizumab every 4 weeks (n=386). At week 12, both primary endpoints were met in both studies. For UNCOVER-2 and UNCOVER-3 respectively, in the ixekizumab every 2 weeks group, PASI 75 was achieved by 315 (response rate 89·7%; [effect size 87·4% (97·5% CI 82·9–91·8) vs placebo; 48·1% (41·2–55·0) vs etanercept]) and 336 (87·3%; [80·0% (74·4–85·7) vs placebo; 33·9% (27·0–40·7) vs etanercept]) patients; in the ixekizumab every 4 weeks group, by 269 (77·5%; [75·1% (69·5–80·8) vs placebo; 35·9% (28·2–43·6) vs etanercept]) and 325 (84·2%; [76·9% (71·0–82·8) vs placebo; 30·8% (23·7–37·9) vs etanercept]) patients; in the placebo group, by four (2·4%) and 14 (7·3%) patients; and in the etanercept group by 149 (41·6%) and 204 (53·4%) patients (all p<0·0001 vs placebo or etanercept). In the ixekizumab every 2 weeks group, sPGA 0/1 was achieved by 292 (response rate 83·2%; [effect size 80·8% (97·5% CI 75·6–86·0) vs placebo; 47·2% (39·9–54·4) vs etanercept]) and 310 (80·5%; [73·8% (67·7–79·9) vs placebo; 38·9% (31·7–46·1) vs etanercept]) patients; in the ixekizumab every 4 weeks group by 253 (72·9%; [70·5% (64·6–76·5) vs placebo; 36·9% (29·1–44·7) vs etanercept]) and 291 (75·4%; [68·7% (62·3–75·0) vs placebo; 33·8% (26·3–41·3) vs etanercept]) patients; in the placebo group by four (2·4%) and 13 (6·7%) patients; and in the etanercept group by 129 (36·0%) and 159 (41·6%) patients (all p<0·0001 vs placebo or etanercept). In combined studies, serious adverse events were reported in 14 (1·9%) of 734 patients given ixekizumab every 2 weeks, 14 (1·9%) of 729 given ixekizumab every 4 weeks, seven (1·9%) of 360 given placebo, and 14 (1·9%) of 739 given etanercept; no deaths were noted.

Interpretation Both ixekizumab dose regimens had greater efficacy than placebo and etanercept over 12 weeks in two independent studies. These studies show that selectively neutralising interleukin 17A with a high affinity antibody potentially gives patients with psoriasis a new and effective biological therapy option.

Comparison of ixekizumab with etanercept or placebo in moderate-to-severe psoriasis (UNCOVER-2 and UNCOVER-3): results from two phase 3 randomised trials by Christopher E M Griffiths, et al., UNCOVER-2, UNCOVER-3 investigators The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9993, p541–551, 8 August 2015