New treatments for SLE: Cell-depleting and anti-cytokine therapies

Allergy, Immunology, Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
Bailli&egrave re s Best Practice and Research in Clinical Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 2.6). 11/2005; 19(5):859-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.berh.2005.05.006
Source: PubMed


Although systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is indeed a complex autoimmune disease, recent advances in our understanding of lupus pathogenesis have suggested new, targeted approaches to therapy. The purpose of this review is to discuss the underlying scientific rationale and results of first clinical studies of new treatment approaches to SLE, with a focus on cell-depleting therapies and cytokine blockade. It has become clear that the B lymphocyte plays a key role in disease pathogenesis by both autoantibody-dependent and autoantibody-independent mechanisms. Additionally, aberrant interactions between B and T cells are critical to disease emergence and progression. New agents that directly target immune cells abnormal in SLE include the B-cell depleting or modulating antibodies, rituximab (anti-CD20) and epratuzumab (anti-CD22) and the anti-dsDNA tolerogen LJP394. Another promising approach has been to block co-stimulatory interactions between T and B cells, for example by inhibiting the CD40-CD40 ligand pathway with anti-CD40 ligand monoclonal antibody or the B7 pathway with CTLA-4Ig. Immune cells can also be manipulated indirectly through cytokine effects. For B cells, anti-BAFF (B-cell activation factor of the tumor necrosis family) provides an example of this approach. Other, more pleiotropic cytokines can likewise be blocked in SLE. In addition to the blockade of interleukin-10 (IL-10), the first anti-cytokine approach examined, it is mainly anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy that has come into focus, holding promise for some patients with lupus nephritis. The majority of the available data on these new treatment approaches stems from open-label trials, but controlled trials are under way. Moreover, many additional cytokines, such as interleukin (IL)-6, IL-18, and the type I interferons, represent interesting future targets.

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Available from: Jennifer H Anolik, Jun 30, 2014
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    • "The inclusion of milder forms of SLE, the ethnic background of patients , the concomitant use of steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs, and the short followup (52 weeks) could explain in part why no benefit could be demonstrated for rituximab in these studies [14] [15] [42]. Despite the lack of evidence in randomized trials, rituximab has been used in refractory patients and improvement in up to 89% of the patients has been observed [43] [44] [45] [46] [47]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic inflammatory autoimmune disorder characterized by multisystem involvement and fluctuating disease activity. Symptoms range from rather mild manifestations such as rash or arthritis to life-threatening end-organ manifestations. Despite new and improved therapy having positively impacted the prognosis of SLE, a subgroup of patients do not respond to conventional therapy. Moreover, the risk of fatal outcomes and the damaging side effects of immunosuppressive therapies in SLE call for an improvement in the current therapeutic management. New therapeutic approaches are focused on B-cell targets, T-cell downregulation and costimulatory blockade, cytokine inhibition, and the modulation of complement. Several biological agents have been developed, but this encouraging news is associated with several disappointments in trials and provide a timely moment to reflect on biologic therapy in SLE.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · International Journal of Rheumatology
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    • "In fact, TNFα antagonists seem to be more effective in genetically low TNFα producer patients [30] or with the combined high IL-10/low TNFα genotype [31]. Several authors have also proposed the use of TNFα lowering agents in the treatment of lupus disease [20,32,33]. Supporting this, an open label study of infliximab in six patients with SLE indicated that TNFα blockage might have a therapeutically beneficial effect, although autoantibodies to double-strained DNA and cardiolipin were increased [34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antimalarial agents have been widely used as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other rheumatological diseases, although their mechanism of action has not yet been fully defined. It is known, however, that effective response to treatment is variable among patients. Thus, the identification of genetic predictors of treatment response would provide valuable information for therapeutic intervention. The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of antimalarial treatment on tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha serum levels and evaluate the possible influence of TNFalpha and IL-10 functional genetic polymorphisms on the response to antimalarial drugs. To this end, TNFalpha serum levels were quantified in 171 SLE patients and 215 healthy controls by ELISA techniques and polymorphisms at positions -1,082 and -308 of the IL-10 and TNFalpha gene promoters were determined by PCR amplification followed by hybridization with fluorescent-labeled allele-specific probes in 192 SLE patients and 343 matched controls. Data were related to clinical features and treatment at the time of sampling and during the course of the disease. Results showed a significantly higher amount of serum TNFalpha in the entire SLE population compared with controls. However, TNFalpha serum levels correlated negatively with the use of antimalarial treatment during at least three months before sampling. Patients under single or combined treatment with these drugs had TNFalpha serum levels similar to healthy controls, whereas untreated patients and those under corticosteroid or immunosuppressive therapies had increased amounts of this cytokine. This suggests, however, that antimalarial-mediated inhibition of TNFalpha was only significant in patients who were genetically high TNFalpha or low IL-10 producers. In addition, evaluation of SLE patients administered antimalarial drugs for three or more years who did not require any other specific SLE treatment indicates that patients with the combined genotype low IL-10/high TNFalpha are the best responders to antimalarial therapy, developing mild disease with a good course under this treatment. In conclusion, we proposed that an antimalarial-mediated downregulation of TNFalpha levels in SLE patients is influenced by polymorphisms at IL-10 and TNFalpha promoters. Our results may thus find important clinical application through the identification of patients who are the most likely to benefit from antimalarial therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Arthritis research & therapy
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