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Ustekinumab better than etanercept in psoriasis trial Posted 05/02/2010

In a study by Christopher Griffiths et al. of the University of Manchester, UK, Johnson & Johnson (J&J)’s monoclonal antibody STELARA (ustekinumab, an interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 blocker) and Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept, an inhibitor of tumour necrosis factor: anti-TNF) have been compared for the treatment of psoriasis, as published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) of 14 January 2010. The Phase 3, Multicenter, Randomized Study Comparing CNTO 1275 and Etanercept for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis’ was sponsored by J&J’s Centocor.

The authors randomly assigned 903 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis to receive subcutaneous injections of either 45 or 90 mg of ustekinumab (at weeks 0 and 4) or high-dose etanercept (50 mg twice weekly for 12 weeks). The primary end point was the proportion of patients with at least 75% improvement in the psoriasis area-and-severity index (PASI) at week 12; a secondary end point was the proportion with cleared or minimal disease on the basis of the physician's global assessment. Assessors were unaware of the treatment assignments. The efficacy and safety of a crossover from etanercept to ustekinumab were evaluated after week 12.

They found that there was at least 75% improvement in the PASI at week 12 in 67.5% of patients who received 45 mg of ustekinumab and 73.8% of patients who received 90 mg, as compared with 56.8% of those who received etanercept (p =.01 and p < 0.001, respectively). Similarly, 65.1% of patients who received 45 mg of ustekinumab and 70.6% of patients who received 90 mg of ustekinumab had cleared or minimal disease according to the physician's global assessment, as compared with 49.0% of those who received etanercept (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). Among patients who did not have a response to etanercept, 48.9% had at least 75% improvement in the PASI within 12 weeks after crossover to ustekinumab. One or more adverse events occurred through week 12 in 66.0% of patients who received 45 mg of ustekinumab and 69.2% of patients who received 90 mg of ustekinumab and in 70.0% who received etanercept; 1.9%, 1.2%, and 1.2%, respectively, had serious adverse events. Safety patterns were similar before and after crossover from etanercept to ustekinumab.

The authors concluded that the efficacy of ustekinumab at a dose of 45 or 90 mg was superior to that of high-dose etanercept over a 12-week period in patients with psoriasis. If this also turns out to be true in other clinical trials, e.g. sponsored by Amgen, ustekinumab would be a better biosimilar target.

References:

Christopher E.M. Griffiths et al. Comparison of Ustekinumab and Etanercept for Moderate-to-Severe Psoriasis. NEJM 362:2;118-28. 2010 January 14.

A Study of the Safety and Effectiveness of CNTO 1275 Compared to Etanercept for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis

STELARA Shows Greater Efficacy than Etanercept for Treatment Of Moderate-To-Severe Plaque Psoriasis. PipelineReview 2010 January 14.

Source: NEJM; PipelineReview

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