[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare the performance characteristics of cell-bound complement (C4d) activation products (CBCAPS) on erythrocyte (EC4d) and B cells (BC4d) with antibodies to double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) and complement C3 and C4 in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the efficacy/safety of belimumab plus standard therapy in patients (n = 449) with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) treated up to 7 years (n = 177 currently ongoing).
Patients (n = 345) who completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 52-week study of belimumab 1, 4, or 10 mg/kg and 24-week extension of belimumab (placebo switched to 10 mg/kg; belimumab same dose or switched to 10 mg/kg) could receive belimumab 10 mg/kg in an open-label continuation study (n = 296). Disease activity was analyzed in patients with active SLE at baseline of the initial study. Biomarker and SLE medication changes were evaluated, and adverse events (AE) were monitored throughout the study.
Total belimumab exposure over 7 years (double-blind and open-label periods): 1746 patient-years. SLE Responder Index (SRI) response rates at Week 52 in autoantibody-positive patients: placebo, 29%; belimumab, 46% (p < 0.05). In the continuation study, 57% of auto-antibody-positive patients had an SRI response by Year 2 and 65% by Year 7; severe flares occurred in 19% with placebo and 17% with belimumab during the first year, with the annual rate declining to 2%-9% during years 2-7. Anti-dsDNA autoantibodies in patients positive for them at baseline had a progressive decline of 40%-60% from baseline over 2-7 years with belimumab. Corticosteroid use decreased over time with ≥ 50-55% reduction in median dose during years 5-7. Serious and overall annual AE rates, including infections, were generally stable or decreased during 7-year treatment.
Disease control and safety profile were maintained in patients with active SLE taking belimumab plus standard therapy for up to 7 years. [ClinicalTrials.gov numbers: NCT00071487 and NCT00583362].
The Journal of Rheumatology 11/2013; · 3.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with known genetic, epigenetic, and environmental risk factors. To assess the role of DNA methylation in SLE, we collected CD4+ T-cells, CD19+ B-cells, and CD14+ monocytes from 49 SLE patients and 58 controls, and performed genome-wide DNA methylation analysis with Illumina Methylation450 microarrays. We identified 166 CpGs in B-cells, 97 CpGs in monocytes, and 1,033 CpGs in T-cells with highly significant changes in DNA methylation levels (p<1×10(-8)) among SLE patients. Common to all three cell-types were widespread and severe hypomethylation events near genes involved in interferon signaling (type I). These interferon-related changes were apparent in patients collected during active and quiescent stages of the disease, suggesting that epigenetically-mediated hypersensitivity to interferon persists beyond acute stages of the disease and is independent of circulating interferon levels. This interferon hypersensitivity was apparent in memory, naïve and regulatory T-cells, suggesting that this epigenetic state in lupus patients is established in progenitor cell populations. We also identified a widespread, but lower amplitude shift in methylation in CD4+ T-cells (>16,000 CpGs at FDR<1%) near genes involved in cell division and MAPK signaling. These cell type-specific effects are consistent with disease-specific changes in the composition of the CD4+ population and suggest that shifts in the proportion of CD4+ subtypes can be monitored at CpGs with subtype-specific DNA methylation patterns.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To reliably transport blood samples for cryoglobulin analysis, we have created a sample transport device containing a mixture of two waxes that solidifies at 38°C and maintains sample temperature at 38°C. Samples arriving at the laboratory at 37 to 38°C increased to 95% from 34% with the use of the device.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), evidence suggests that most vaccines (except live-virus vaccines) are safe, although antibody response may be reduced. This substudy from the phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled BLISS-76 trial evaluated the effects of belimumab on preexisting antibody levels against pneumococcal, tetanus, and influenza antigens in patients with SLE.
In BLISS-76, patients with autoantibody-positive, active SLE were treated with placebo or belimumab 1 or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks for 28 days and every 28 days thereafter, plus standard SLE therapy, for 76 weeks. This analysis included a subset of patients who had received pneumococcal or tetanus vaccine within 5 years or influenza vaccine within 1 year of study participation. Antibodies to vaccine antigens were tested at baseline and Week 52, and percentage changes in antibody levels from baseline and proportions of patients maintaining levels at Week 52 were assessed. Antibody titers were also assessed in a small number of patients vaccinated during the study.
Consistent with preservation of the memory B cell compartment with belimumab treatment, the proportions of patients maintaining antibody responses to pneumococcal, tetanus, and influenza antigens were not reduced. In a small group receiving influenza vaccine on study, antibody responses were frequently lower with belimumab, although titer levels were > 1:10 in all patients treated with 10 mg/kg and in the majority treated with 1 mg/kg.
Treatment with belimumab did not affect the ability of patients with SLE to maintain antibody titers to previous pneumococcal, tetanus, and influenza immunizations. [ClinicalTrials.gov registration number NCT 00410384].
The Journal of Rheumatology 06/2012; 39(8):1632-40. · 3.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the effects of the B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS)-specific inhibitor belimumab on immunologic biomarkers, including B cell and T cell populations, and maintenance of antibody titers to prior vaccines in autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.
Pooled data from 2 phase III trials, the Study of Belimumab in Subjects with SLE 52-week (BLISS-52) and 76-week (BLISS-76) trials, comparing belimumab 1 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg versus placebo (plus standard SLE therapy for each group) were analyzed for changes in autoantibody, immunoglobulin, and complement levels. BLISS-76 patients were also analyzed for changes in B cell and T cell populations and effects on prior vaccine-induced antibody levels.
Belimumab-treated patients experienced significant sustained reductions in IgG and autoantibodies and improvement in C3/C4 levels, resulting in greater positive-to-negative conversion rates for IgG anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA), anti-Sm, anticardiolipin, and anti-ribosomal P autoantibodies and normalization of hypergammaglobulinemia and low C3/C4 levels. Belimumab-treated patients experienced significant decreases in the numbers of naive and activated B cells, as well as plasma cells, whereas memory B cells and T cell populations did not decrease. Belimumab did not substantially affect preexisting antipneumococcal or anti-tetanus toxoid antibody levels. Post hoc analysis showed greater reductions in SLE disease activity and the risk of severe flares in patients treated with belimumab 10 mg/kg (P≤0.01) who were anti-dsDNA positive and had low C3/C4 levels at baseline. Normalization of the C3 or anti-dsDNA level by 8 weeks, irrespective of therapy, was predictive of a reduced risk of severe flare over 52 weeks.
Belimumab appears to promote normalization of serologic activity and reduce BLyS-dependent B cell subsets in serologically and clinically active SLE. Greater serologic activity may predict a better treatment response to belimumab.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the efficacy/safety of the B lymphocyte stimulator inhibitor belimumab plus standard therapy compared with placebo plus standard therapy in active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
In a phase III, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 819 antinuclear antibody-positive or anti-double-stranded DNA-positive SLE patients with scores ≥6 on the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment (SELENA) version of the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive 1 mg/kg belimumab, 10 mg/kg belimumab, or placebo intravenously on days 0, 14, and 28 and then every 28 days for 72 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the SLE Responder Index (SRI) response rate at week 52 (an SRI response was defined as a ≥4-point reduction in SELENA-SLEDAI score, no new British Isles Lupus Assessment Group [BILAG] A organ domain score and no more than 1 new BILAG B score, and no worsening in physician's global assessment score versus baseline).
Belimumab at 10 mg/kg plus standard therapy met the primary efficacy end point, generating a significantly greater SRI response at week 52 compared with placebo (43.2% versus 33.5%; P = 0.017). The rate with 1 mg/kg belimumab was 40.6% (P = 0.089). Response rates at week 76 were 32.4%, 39.1%, and 38.5% with placebo, 1 mg/kg belimumab, and 10 mg/kg belimumab, respectively. In post hoc sensitivity analyses evaluating higher SELENA-SLEDAI score thresholds, 10 mg/kg belimumab achieved better discrimination at weeks 52 and 76. Risk of severe flares over 76 weeks (based on the modified SLE Flare Index) was reduced with 1 mg/kg belimumab (34%) (P = 0.023) and 10 mg/kg belimumab (23%) (P = 0.13). Serious and severe adverse events, including infections, laboratory abnormalities, malignancies, and deaths, were comparable across groups.
Belimumab plus standard therapy significantly improved SRI response rate, reduced SLE disease activity and severe flares, and was generally well tolerated in SLE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Death Receptor 5 (DR5) induces apoptosis in various types of cells and is a potential therapeutic target. We have investigated whether targeting DR5 could be used to eliminate pathogenic B lymphocytes from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. We examined DR5 expression and function on B lymphocytes from healthy controls subjects, SLE patients, and human tonsil. DR5 was expressed similarly on all B cell subpopulations, including resting and activated B cells. Expression of DR5 was equivalent on B cells from SLE patients and healthy subjects. Additionally, DR5 expression was unchanged after B lymphocyte stimulation. However, B cells were resistant to DR5-induced apoptosis, including after in vitro activation. No changes in subsets of B cells were observed in subjects of a trial of CS-1008, an agonist anti-DR5. While DR5 shows promise as a way to selectively eliminate tumor cells and activated synoviocytes, these data suggest DR5 alone cannot be used as a target to remove pathogenic SLE B cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sarcoidosis commonly involves the lungs but also not uncommonly presents as uveitis, arthritis, myositis or neurologic disease. Recognition of the presenting features, organ complications, and immunopathogenesis is important for timely diagnosis and appropriate management.
Current studies support the disorder developing as a consequence of a CD4+ T-cell-mediated response to variable environmental or microbial triggers in the context of one or more determined susceptibility genes including BTNL2, with other genes such as CARD15/NOD2, governing disease severity. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful in defining the presence and extent of central nervous system (CNS), osseous, and both skeletal and cardiac muscle disease. Corticosteroids remain the mainstay of therapy; patients with refractory disease may respond to other immunomodulating drugs, including anti-TNF-alpha antibodies but the optimal roles of traditional immunomodulating as well as newer biologic therapies in management are continuing to be defined.
Insights into triggering immune events and susceptibility genes should provide potential new strategies and targets for therapy. The judicious use of MRI in suspected cases can enhance earlier recognition of disease in the CNS, bone, and both skeletal and cardiac muscle to guide diagnostic procedures as well as appropriate treatment.
Current opinion in rheumatology 10/2009; 22(1):85-90. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the safety, tolerability, biologic activity, and efficacy of belimumab in combination with standard of care therapy (SOC) in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Patients with a Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus: National Assessment (SELENA) version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score >/=4 (n = 449) were randomly assigned to belimumab (1, 4, or 10 mg/kg) or placebo in a 52-week study. Coprimary end points were the percent change in the SELENA-SLEDAI score at week 24 and the time to first SLE flare.
Significant differences between the treatment and placebo groups were not attained for either primary end point, and no dose response was observed. Reductions in SELENA-SLEDAI scores from baseline were 19.5% in the combined belimumab group versus 17.2% in the placebo group. The median time to first SLE flare was 67 days in the combined belimumab group versus 83 days in the placebo group. However, the median time to first SLE flare during weeks 24-52 was significantly longer with belimumab treatment (154 versus 108 days; P = 0.0361). In the subgroup (71.5%) of serologically active patients (antinuclear antibody titer >/=1:80 and/or anti-double-stranded DNA [anti-dsDNA] >/=30 IU/ml), belimumab treatment resulted in significantly better responses at week 52 than placebo for SELENA-SLEDAI score (-28.8% versus -14.2%; P = 0.0435), physician's global assessment (-32.7% versus -10.7%; P = 0.0011), and Short Form 36 physical component score (+3.0 versus +1.2 points; P = 0.0410). Treatment with belimumab resulted in a 63-71% reduction of naive, activated, and plasmacytoid CD20+ B cells, and a 29.4% reduction in anti-dsDNA titers (P = 0.0017) by week 52. The rates of adverse events and serious adverse events were similar in the belimumab and placebo groups.
Belimumab was biologically active and well tolerated. The effect of belimumab on the reduction of SLE disease activity or flares was not significant. However, serologically active SLE patients responded significantly better to belimumab therapy plus SOC than to SOC alone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe a new systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) responder index (SRI) based on a belimumab phase II SLE trial and demonstrate its potential utility in SLE clinical trials.
Data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 449 patients of 3 doses of belimumab (1, 4, 10 mg/kg) or placebo plus standard of care therapy (SOC) over a 56-week period were analyzed. The Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus: National Assessment (SELENA) version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) SLE disease activity instruments, the Short Form 36 health survey, and biomarker analyses were used to create a novel SRI. Response to treatment in a subset of 321 serologically active SLE patients (antinuclear antibodies >/=1:80 and/or anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies >/=30 IU/ml) at baseline was retrospectively evaluated using the SRI.
SRI response is defined as 1) a >/=4-point reduction in SELENA-SLEDAI score, 2) no new BILAG A or no more than 1 new BILAG B domain score, and 3) no deterioration from baseline in the physician's global assessment by >/=0.3 points. In serologically active patients, the addition of belimumab to SOC resulted in a response in 46% of patients at week 52 compared with 29% of the placebo patients (P = 0.006). SRI responses were independent of baseline autoantibody subtype.
This evidence-based evaluation of a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial in SLE resulted in the ability to define a robust responder index based on improvement in disease activity without worsening the overall condition or the development of significant disease activity in new organ systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IgA nephropathy (IgAN) is characterized by circulating immune complexes composed of galactose-deficient IgA1 and a glycan-specific IgG antibody. These immune complexes deposit in the glomerular mesangium and induce the mesangioproliferative glomerulonephritis characteristic of IgAN. To define the precise specificities and molecular properties of the IgG antibodies, we generated EBV-immortalized IgG-secreting lymphocytes from patients with IgAN and found that the secreted IgG formed complexes with galactose-deficient IgA1 in a glycan-dependent manner. We cloned and sequenced the heavy- and light-chain antigen-binding domains of IgG specific for galactose-deficient IgA1 and identified an A to S substitution in the complementarity-determining region 3 of the variable region of the gene encoding the IgG heavy chain in IgAN patients. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis that reverted the residue to alanine reduced the binding of recombinant IgG to galactose-deficient IgA1. Finally, we developed a dot-blot assay for the glycan-specific IgG antibody that differentiated patients with IgAN from healthy and disease controls with 88% specificity and 95% sensitivity and found that elevated levels of this antibody in the sera of patients with IgAN correlated with proteinuria. Collectively, these findings indicate that glycan-specific antibodies are associated with the development of IgAN and may represent a disease-specific marker and potential therapeutic target.
The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2009; 119(6):1668-77. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This trial evaluated the safety, biologic activity, and pharmacokinetics of belimumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the biologic activity of the soluble form of the essential B-cell survival factor B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Seventy patients with mild-to-moderate SLE were enrolled in a phase I, double-blind, randomized study and treated with placebo (n = 13) or belimumab (n = 57) at four different doses (1.0, 4.0, 10, and 20 mg/kg) as a single infusion or two infusions 21 days apart. Patients were followed for 84 to 105 days to assess adverse events, pharmacokinetics, peripheral blood B-cell counts, serology, and SLE disease activity. Data from the study were summarized using descriptive statistics. chi2 type tests were used to analyze discrete variables. The Kruskal-Wallis test, the Wilcoxon test, and the analysis of covariance were used to analyze the continuous variables, as appropriate. The analysis was performed on all randomized patients who received study agent.
The incidences of adverse events and laboratory abnormalities were similar among the belimumab and placebo groups. Belimumab pharmacokinetics were linear across the 1.0 to 20 mg/kg dose range. Long terminal elimination half-life (8.5 to 14.1 days), slow clearance (7 ml/day per kg), and small volume of distribution (69 to 112 ml/kg) were consistent with a fully human antibody. Significant reductions in median percentages of CD20+ B cells were observed in patients treated with a single dose of belimumab versus placebo (day 42: P = 0.0042; and day 84: P = 0.0036) and in patients treated with two doses of belimumab versus placebo (day 105: P = 0.0305). SLE disease activity did not change after one or two doses of belimumab.
Belimumab was well tolerated and reduced peripheral B-cell levels in SLE patients. These data support further studies of belimumab in autoimmune disorders.
Arthritis research & therapy 10/2008; 10(5):R109. · 4.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the association of plasma B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) levels, immunosuppressive therapy, and other clinical parameters with disease activity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Two hundred forty-five SLE patients were evaluated prospectively over a 2-year period at 4 centers. Assessments were performed every 3-6 months. Univariate analysis was used to determine the association among the Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus: National Assessment (SELENA) version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score, serum anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA), and plasma BLyS levels. A multivariate repeated-measures model incorporating immunosuppressive therapy was utilized.
Ninety-two percent of the patients were female. Sixty-seven percent were white, 31% African American, and 2% Asian (all of these groups may include Hispanic). Mean values at baseline were as follows: age 41.5 years, disease duration 8.1 years, SELENA-SLEDAI 3.3 (median 2, range 0-18), BLyS 5.57 ng/ml, IgG 1,439 mg/dl, C3 104.4 mg/dl, and C4 21.3 mg/dl; among those positive for anti-dsDNA, the median titer was 1:40 (range 1:10-1:1,280). Univariate analysis showed that plasma BLyS levels were associated with anti-dsDNA titers (P = 0.0465) and SELENA-SLEDAI scores (P = 0.0002). In multivariate analyses, a greater increase in the SELENA-SLEDAI score from the previous visit was associated with higher BLyS levels at the previous visit (P = 0.0042) and with a greater increase in the BLyS level from the previous visit (P = 0.0007).
The findings of association between a greater increase in the BLyS level from the previous visit and a greater increase in the SELENA-SLEDAI score at the subsequent visit, and between an elevated BLyS level at the previous visit and a greater SELENA-SLEDAI score at the subsequent visit, demonstrate a relationship between circulating BLyS levels and SLE disease activity. These results lend support to the notion that BLyS is a candidate for therapeutic targeting in SLE.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Guidelines and recommendations developed and/or endorsed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) are intended to provide guidance for particular patterns of practice and not to dictate the care of a particular patient. The ACR considers adherence to these guidelines and recommendations to be voluntary, with the ultimate determination regarding their application to be made by the physician in light of each patient's individual circumstances. Guidelines and recommendations are intended to promote beneficial or desirable outcomes but cannot guarantee any specific outcome. Guidelines and recommendations developed or endorsed by the ACR are subject to periodic revision as warranted by the evolution of medical knowledge, technology, and practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the ultrasound appearance of knuckle pads.
Retrospective analysis of imaging in a series of five patients initially referred for evaluation of periarticular soft-tissue swelling of the hands involving the dorsum of the PIP and MP joints. Two patients had associated Dupuytren's contractures. Ultrasound and radiographs of the hands in all patients were reviewed and correlated with clinical history and physical exams.
Radiographs in four patients demonstrated dorsal soft-tissue thickening. Ultrasound exams showed increased dorsal subcutaneous thickening, with either diffuse or focal hypoechoic areas corresponding to the areas of soft-tissue fullness identified on physical exam. No erosions or synovial proliferation were identified either by radiographs or ultrasound of the underlying joints.
Knuckle pads can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from synovitis on physical examination. Musculoskeletal ultrasound can quickly identify these superficial lesions and exclude underlying synovial proliferation.