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Autoimmun Rev. 2012 Jul;11(9):678-84. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2011.11.025. Epub 2011 Dec 4.

Anti TNF-α in refractory Takayasu's arteritis: cases series and review of the literature.

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Department of Internal Medicine. French Reference Center for Rare Auto-immune diseases. Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, AP-HP, 47-83 bd de l'hôpital, 75013, Paris, France.


Takayasu arteritis (TA) is a rare large vessels vasculitis. Conventional therapy consists of glucocorticoids which may be associated with other immunosuppressive drugs. However, some patients fail to achieve remission with conventional treatment. The use of anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in patients with difficult to treat TA could be useful. We report here the main characteristics, treatment and outcome of 84 patients (5 personal cases and 79 patients from the literature) with refractory Takayasu arteritis treated with anti TNF-α. The mean age was 28.5years [median 26.0years, range 7-61years], with 74/83 (89%) of female. All patients, except one, were inadequately controlled with other immunosuppressive regimens before anti TNF-α therapy. First line of anti-TNF-α included infliximab (IFX) in 81% (68/84) and etanercept (ETA) in 19% (16/84). Most patients received IFX at 5mg/kg associated to methotrexate or azathioprine. Thirty one out of 84 (37%) patients achieved a complete remission, and 45 (53.5%) were partial responders. There were 8 (9.5%) non responders at all. Twenty seven out of 84 (32%) patients needed to increase the dose of anti TNF-α because of uncontrolled disease and 15 (18%) needed to change of anti TNF-α. Glucocorticoids have been tapered in 41/79 (52%) [from 20mg (13.1-60) to 2.5mg (0-10) daily, at baseline and after anti-TNF, respectively, p<0.0001] and discontinued in 31/77 (40%). After a median follow-up of 10months [range 3-82], 17 (20%) side effects were recorded leading to discontinuation of anti TNF-α in 8 cases. They included mainly infections, and hypersensitivity reactions. In conclusion, anti-TNF-α are an efficient therapy in refractory TA patients although side effects are observed in 20% of cases. Further studies are warranted to assess the long term efficacy and safety of anti-TNF in TA and to better define if they should be prescribed earlier in the course of TA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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