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      Spotlight on anifrolumab and its potential for the treatment of moderate-to-severe systemic lupus erythematosus: evidence to date

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          Abstract

          Previous reports have described the appearance of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) cases following interferon-α (IFN-α) therapy, IFN-regulated gene expression is significantly increased in SLE, and an association between SLE and gene variants belonging to IFN downstream pathways has been shown. Based on this, targeting of IFN and of their signaling pathways has appeared to be interesting developments within the field of SLE therapy. Different specific type I IFN antagonists have been studied in clinical trials and some of those have already reached Phase III. A potential approach would be to target IFN receptors rather than IFN themselves. Anifrolumab (previously MEDI-546) is a fully human monoclonal antibody (Ab) that binds to subunit 1 of the type I IFN receptor (IFNAR1), blocking the action of different type I IFNs (IFN-α, IFN-β and IFN-ω). This drug has been assessed in 11 clinical studies: 9 in SLE, 1 in systemic sclerosis and 1 in rheumatoid arthritis. In SLE, clinical development reached Phase I for 1 study and Phases II and III for 5 and 3 trials, respectively. The Phase IIb, randomized control trial (RCT), double-blind, placebo-controlled study of adults with moderate-to-severe SLE (MUSE trial) showed positive results on the composite primary endpoint SRI-4. Greater efficacy was seen in patients with high baseline IFN gene signature compared with those with low baseline IFN gene signature. Anifrolumab also demonstrated promising results on cutaneous and arthritic manifestations, especially among patients with a high IFN gene signature. The pivotal Treatment of Uncontrolled Lupus via the Interferon IFN Pathway (TULIP 1 and 2 studies are now completed. In August 2018, the promoter announced that the TULIP 1 Phase III trial did not reach its primary endpoint. The release of the completed but not yet published Phase II studies and of the TULIP pivotal trials results will further inform us on the actual therapeutic potential of anifrolumab.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Interferon-inducible gene expression signature in peripheral blood cells of patients with severe lupus.

          Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex, inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects multiple organ systems. We used global gene expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to identify distinct patterns of gene expression that distinguish most SLE patients from healthy controls. Strikingly, about half of the patients studied showed dysregulated expression of genes in the IFN pathway. Furthermore, this IFN gene expression "signature" served as a marker for more severe disease involving the kidneys, hematopoetic cells, and/or the central nervous system. These results provide insights into the genetic pathways underlying SLE, and identify a subgroup of patients who may benefit from therapies targeting the IFN pathway.
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            Virus interference. I. The interferon.

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              Anifrolumab, an Anti–Interferon‐α Receptor Monoclonal Antibody, in Moderate‐to‐Severe Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

              Objective To assess the efficacy and safety of anifrolumab, a type I interferon (IFN) receptor antagonist, in a phase IIb, randomized, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled study of adults with moderate‐to‐severe systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods Patients (n = 305) were randomized to receive intravenous anifrolumab (300 mg or 1,000 mg) or placebo, in addition to standard therapy, every 4 weeks for 48 weeks. Randomization was stratified by SLE Disease Activity Index 2000 score (<10 or ≥10), oral corticosteroid dosage (<10 or ≥10 mg/day), and type I IFN gene signature test status (high or low) based on a 4‐gene expression assay. The primary end point was the percentage of patients achieving an SLE Responder Index (SRI[4]) response at week 24 with sustained reduction of oral corticosteroids (<10 mg/day and less than or equal to the dose at week 1 from week 12 through 24). Other end points (including SRI[4], British Isles Lupus Assessment Group [BILAG]–based Composite Lupus Assessment [BICLA], modified SRI[6], and major clinical response) were assessed at week 52. The primary end point was analyzed in the modified intent‐to‐treat (ITT) population and type I IFN–high subpopulation. The study result was considered positive if the primary end point was met in either of the 2 study populations. The Type I error rate was controlled at 0.10 (2‐sided), within each of the 2 study populations for the primary end point analysis. Results The primary end point was met by more patients treated with anifrolumab (34.3% of 99 for 300 mg and 28.8% of 104 for 1,000 mg) than placebo (17.6% of 102) (P = 0.014 for 300 mg and P = 0.063 for 1,000 mg, versus placebo), with greater effect size in patients with a high IFN signature at baseline (13.2% in placebo‐treated patients versus 36.0% [P = 0.004] and 28.2% [P = 0.029]) in patients treated with anifrolumab 300 mg and 1,000 mg, respectively. At week 52, patients treated with anifrolumab achieved greater responses in SRI(4) (40.2% versus 62.6% [P < 0.001] and 53.8% [P = 0.043] with placebo, anifrolumab 300 mg, and anifrolumab 1,000 mg, respectively), BICLA (25.7% versus 53.5% [P < 0.001] and 41.2% [P = 0.018], respectively), modified SRI(6) (28.4% versus 49.5% [P = 0.002] and 44.7% [P = 0.015], respectively), major clinical response (BILAG 2004 C or better in all organ domains from week 24 through week 52) (6.9% versus 19.2% [P = 0.012] and 17.3% [P = 0.025], respectively), and several other global and organ‐specific end points. Herpes zoster was more frequent in the anifrolumab‐treated patients (2.0% with placebo treatment versus 5.1% and 9.5% with anifrolumab 300 mg and 1,000 mg, respectively), as were cases reported as influenza (2.0% versus 6.1% and 7.6%, respectively), in the anifrolumab treatment groups. Incidence of serious adverse events was similar between groups (18.8% versus 16.2% and 17.1%, respectively). Conclusion Anifrolumab substantially reduced disease activity compared with placebo across multiple clinical end points in the patients with moderate‐to‐severe SLE.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                DDDT
                dddt
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove
                1177-8881
                08 May 2019
                2019
                : 13
                : 1535-1543
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Rheumatology Department, University Hospital of Strasbourg, Université de Strasbourg , Strasbourg, F-67000, France
                [2 ]National Reference Centre for Rare Systemic and Autoimmune Diseases East South-West (RESO) , Strasbourg, France
                [3 ]Immunology Laboratory, “Immunopathologie et Chimie Thérapeutique”, Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IBMC), CNRS UPR3572 , Strasbourg, F-67000, France
                [4 ]Pharmacy-Sterilisation Department, University Hospital of Strasbourg, University of Strasbourg , Strasbourg, France
                [5 ]Faculty of Medicine at Sorbonne University, AP-HP, Dermatology and Allergology Department, Tenon Hospital, Sorbonne University , Paris, F-75020, France
                [6 ]Immuno-Rheumatology Laboratory, “Laboratoire d‘ImmunoRhumatologie Moléculaire”, INSERM UMR_S1109 , Strasbourg, F-67000, France
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Laurent ArnaudService de Rhumatologie, Centre National de Référence des Maladies Autoimmunes et Systémiques Rares, Hôpital de Hautepierre , 1 Avenue Molière BP 83049, StrasbourgCedex67098, FranceTel +3 338 812 8474Fax +3 338 812 8290Email laurent.arnaud@ 123456chru-strasbourg.fr
                Article
                170969
                10.2147/DDDT.S170969
                6514126
                31190735
                © 2019 Felten et al.

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, References: 47, Pages: 9
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