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Br J Dermatol. 2011 Sep;165(3):640-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10396.x. Epub 2011 Jul 11.

Efficacy of psoralen plus ultraviolet A therapy vs. biologics in moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis: retrospective data analysis of a patient registry.

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Research Unit for Photodermatology, Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Auenbrugger Platz 8, A-8036 Graz, Austria.



Few studies have directly compared the clinical efficacy of psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) vs. biologics in the treatment of psoriasis.


To compare the clinical efficacy of PUVA and biologic therapies for psoriasis under daily life conditions.


Data from a psoriasis registry ( of 172 adult patients with moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis treated between 2003 and 2010 were analysed retrospectively. These patients had received oral PUVA [118 treatment courses including 5-methoxypsoralen (5-MOP; n = 32) and 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP; n = 86)] and/or biologic agents [130 treatment courses including adalimumab (n = 18), alefacept (n = 32), efalizumab (n = 17), etanercept (n = 38), infliximab (n = 7) and ustekinumab (n = 18)]. Treatment responses were analysed in terms of Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) improvement, including complete remission (CR) and reduction of PASI by at least 90% (PASI 90) or 75% (PASI 75), at treatment completion for PUVA (median time 10·3 and 9·2 weeks, for 8-MOP and 5-MOP, respectively) and at week 12 for biologics.


Intention-to-treat-as observed CR, PASI 90 and PASI 75 rate was 22%, 69% and 86% for PUVA compared with 6%, 22% and 56% for adalimumab (P = 0·0034 by adapted Wilcoxon test), 3%, 3% and 25% for alefacept (P = 0·000000002), 6%, 6% and 59% for efalizumab (P = 0·000053), 6%, 29% and 39% for etanercept (P = 0·0000086), 29%, 71% and 100% for infliximab (P = 0·36) and 6%, 39% and 67% for ustekinumab (P = 0·028). When applying a more conservative post-hoc modified worst-case scenario analysis, with CR of 15%, PASI 90 of 58% and PASI 75 of 69%, PUVA was superior only to alefacept (P = 0·000013), efalizumab (P = 0·015) and etanercept (P = 0·0037). There were no statistically significant differences in PASI reduction rates between PUVA and infliximab.


Retrospective analysis of registry data revealed that the primary efficacy of PUVA was superior to that of certain biologics. Prospective head-to-head studies of PUVA and biologics are warranted to confirm these observations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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