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      Review of ustekinumab, an interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 inhibitor used for the treatment of plaque psoriasis

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          Abstract

          The pathogenesis of psoriasis is unknown, although it is generally accepted that this chronic inflammatory skin disorder is a complex autoimmune condition similar to other T-cell mediated disorders. Psoriasis imposes a heavy burden on the lifestyle of those affected due to the psychological, arthritic, and cutaneous morbidities; thus significant research has focused on the genetic and immunologic features of psoriasis in anticipation of more targeted, efficacious, and safe therapies. Recently, CD4 + T helper (Th) 17 cells and interleukins (IL)-12 and -23 have been important in the pathogenesis of T-cell mediated disorders such as psoriasis and has influenced the development of medications that specifically target these key immunological players. Ustekinumab is a monoclonal antibody belonging to a newly developed class of biological, anti-cytokine medications that notably targets the p40 subunit of both IL-12 and -23, both naturally occurring proteins that are important in regulating the immune system and are understood to play a role in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. Ustekinumab’s safety and efficacy has been evaluated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in 3 phase III clinical trials, 2 placebo-controlled (PHOENIX 1 and 2), and 1 comparator-controlled (ACCEPT) study which proved advantageous in patients who were treatment-naive, previously failed other immunosuppressive medications including cyclosporine or methotrexate, were unresponsive to phototherapy, or were unable to use or tolerate other therapies. Ustekinumab has also been investigated for other indications such as psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis. We present a concise review evaluating the evidence that supports the use of ustekinumab in the treatment of plaque psoriasis and other conditions.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Interleukin-23 rather than interleukin-12 is the critical cytokine for autoimmune inflammation of the brain.

          Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a heterodimeric molecule composed of p35 and p40 subunits. Analyses in vitro have defined IL-12 as an important factor for the differentiation of naive T cells into T-helper type 1 CD4+ lymphocytes secreting interferon-gamma (refs 1, 2). Similarly, numerous studies have concluded that IL-12 is essential for T-cell-dependent immune and inflammatory responses in vivo, primarily through the use of IL-12 p40 gene-targeted mice and neutralizing antibodies against p40. The cytokine IL-23, which comprises the p40 subunit of IL-12 but a different p19 subunit, is produced predominantly by macrophages and dendritic cells, and shows activity on memory T cells. Evidence from studies of IL-23 receptor expression and IL-23 overexpression in transgenic mice suggest, however, that IL-23 may also affect macrophage function directly. Here we show, by using gene-targeted mice lacking only IL-23 and cytokine replacement studies, that the perceived central role for IL-12 in autoimmune inflammation, specifically in the brain, has been misinterpreted and that IL-23, and not IL-12, is the critical factor in this response. In addition, we show that IL-23, unlike IL-12, acts more broadly as an end-stage effector cytokine through direct actions on macrophages.
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            Development, cytokine profile and function of human interleukin 17-producing helper T cells.

            T(H)-17 cells are a distinct lineage of proinflammatory T helper cells that are essential for autoimmune disease. In mice, commitment to the T(H)-17 lineage is dependent on transforming growth factor-beta and interleukin 6 (IL-6). Here we demonstrate that IL-23 and IL-1beta induced the development of human T(H)-17 cells expressing IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-22, IL-26, interferon-gamma, the chemokine CCL20 and transcription factor RORgammat. In situ, T(H)-17 cells were identified by expression of the IL-23 receptor and the memory T cell marker CD45RO. Psoriatic skin lesions contained IL-23-producing dendritic cells and were enriched in the cytokines produced by human T(H)-17 cells that promote the production of antimicrobial peptides in human keratinocytes. Our data collectively indicate that human and mouse T(H)-17 cells require distinct factors during differentiation and that human T(H)-17 cells may regulate innate immunity in epithelial cells.
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              Efficacy and safety of ustekinumab, a human interleukin-12/23 monoclonal antibody, in patients with psoriasis: 52-week results from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (PHOENIX 2).

              Ustekinumab, a human monoclonal antibody against interleukins 12 and 23, has shown therapeutic potential for psoriasis. This study assessed the efficacy and safety of ustekinumab in psoriasis patients and assessed dosing intensification in partial responders. In this multicentre, phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 1230 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis (defined by a psoriasis area and severity index [PASI] score > or =12, and at least 10% total body surface area involvement) were randomly assigned to receive ustekinumab 45 mg (n=409) or 90 mg (n=411) at weeks 0 and 4, then every 12 weeks, or placebo (n=410). Partial responders (ie, patients achieving > or =50% but <75% improvement from baseline in PASI) were re-randomised at week 28 to continue dosing every 12 weeks or escalate to dosing every 8 weeks. Both randomisations were done with a minimisation method via a centralised interactive voice response. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients achieving at least 75% improvement in PASI (PASI 75) at week 12. Analyses were by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00307437. All randomised patients were included in the efficacy analysis. 273 (66.7%) patients receiving ustekinumab 45 mg, 311 (75.7%) receiving ustekinumab 90 mg, and 15 (3.7%) receiving placebo achieved the primary endpoint (difference in response rate 63.1%, 95% CI 58.2-68.0, p<0.0001 for the 45 mg group vs placebo and 72.0%, 67.5-76.5, p<0.0001 for the 90 mg group vs placebo). More partial responders at week 28 who received ustekinumab 90 mg every 8 weeks achieved PASI 75 at week 52 than did those who continued to receive the same dose every 12 weeks (22 [68.8%] vs 11 [33.3%]; difference in response rate 35.4%, 95% CI 12.7-58.1, p=0.004). There was no such response to changes in dosing intensity in partial responders treated with ustekinumab 45 mg. During the placebo-controlled phase, 217 (53.1%) patients in the 45 mg group, 197 (47.9%) in the 90 mg group, and 204 (49.8%) in the placebo group experienced adverse events; serious adverse events were seen in eight (2.0%) patients in the 45 mg group, five (1.2%) in the 90 mg group, and eight (2.0%) in the placebo group. Although treatment with ustekinumab every 12 weeks is effective for most patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, intensification of dosing to once every 8 weeks with ustekinumab 90 mg might be necessary to elicit a full response in patients who only partially respond to the initial regimen.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2010
                2010
                15 April 2010
                : 6
                : 123-141
                Affiliations
                Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Mark Lebwohl, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Chairman, Department of Dermatology, 5 East 98th Street, 5th Floor, New York 10029, USA, Tel +1 212-241-3288; +1 212-876-8961, Email lebwohl@ 123456aol.com
                Article
                tcrm-6-123
                2857612
                20421912
                © 2010 Koutruba et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                interleukin-12, biologics, interleukin-23, plaque psoriasis, ustekinumab

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