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Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):3850-5. doi: 10.1002/art.34680.

Comparison of long-term clinical outcome with etanercept treatment and adalimumab treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with respect to immunogenicity.

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Jan van Breemen Research Institute | Reade, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



To compare rates of sustained low and minimal disease activity and remission according to the American College of Rheumatology/European League Against Rheumatism (ACR/EULAR) criteria during 3-year followup in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with etanercept and adalimumab in routine care.


Four hundred seven RA patients previously unexposed to tumor necrosis factor antagonists were treated with etanercept (n = 203) or adalimumab (n = 204) and assessed at 3- and later 6-month intervals. Treatment allocation was at the discretion of the treating rheumatologist. Clinical parameters were measured at each time point, as were anti-adalimumab antibodies in adalimumab-treated patients. Achievement of clinical outcome was defined as the occurrence of sustained (at least 12 consecutive months) low disease activity (28-joint Disease Activity Score [DAS28] <3.2), minimal disease activity (DAS28 <2.6), or ACR/EULAR remission based on the Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI). Non-overlapping response rates were calculated.


Among the adalimumab group, 13% reached sustained low disease activity but not sustained minimal disease activity, 15% reached sustained minimal disease activity but not sustained remission according to the SDAI, and 16% reached sustained ACR/EULAR remission. In the etanercept group the corresponding rates were 16%, 11%, and 12%, respectively (P = 0.42, overall test for linear trend). Adalimumab-treated patients without anti-adalimumab antibodies (n = 150 [74%]) had the best outcomes, and adalimumab-treated patients with anti-adalimumab antibodies the worst, with outcomes in etanercept-treated patients in between (P < 0.0001). Differences were most apparent in the sustained SDAI remission and sustained minimal disease activity categories. For example, 40% of anti-adalimumab antibody-negative patients, 23% of etanercept-treated patients, and 4% of anti-adalimumab antibody-positive patients achieved at least sustained minimal disease activity.


Overall, etanercept and adalimumab treatment appear similar in inducing a good long-term clinical outcome. However, in the case of adalimumab this is strongly dependent on the presence or absence of anti-adalimumab antibodies.

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