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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018 Aug;70(8):1256-1264. doi: 10.1002/art.40511. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Efficacy and Safety of Subcutaneous Belimumab in Anti-Double-Stranded DNA-Positive, Hypocomplementemic Patients With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

Author information

1
University of Padua, Padua, Italy.
2
University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
3
University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.
4
St. Luke's International University, Tokyo, Japan.
5
Rheumatology Hospital Abreu Sodre, São Paulo, Brazil.
6
Amsterdam Rheumatology and Immunology Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
7
GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
8
GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
9
GlaxoSmithKline, Rockville, Maryland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the efficacy and safety of belimumab, a human immunoglobulin monoclonal antibody against B lymphocyte stimulator, in a subset of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who were hypocomplementemic (C3 <90 mg/dl and/or C4 <10 mg/dl) and anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) positive (≥30 IU/ml) at baseline.

METHODS:

In this phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (BEL112341; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01484496), patients with moderate to severe SLE (Safety of Estrogens in Lupus Erythematosus National Assessment version of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index [SELENA-SLEDAI] score ≥8) were randomized (2:1) to receive weekly subcutaneous (SC) belimumab 200 mg or placebo, plus standard SLE therapy, for 52 weeks. The primary end point was SLE Responder Index 4 (SRI-4) response rate at week 52. Secondary end points were time to severe flare and reduction in corticosteroid dose (weeks 40-52). Safety was assessed throughout.

RESULTS:

Of the 836 patients in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population, 356 were hypocomplementemic and anti-dsDNA positive at baseline (108 in the placebo group and 248 in the SC belimumab 200 mg group). Compared with placebo, the belimumab group contained more SRI-4 responders (47.2% versus 64.6%; P = 0.0014), had a lower incidence of severe flare according to the SELENA-SLEDAI flare index (31.5% versus 14.1%), and had a greater percentage of patients who reduced corticosteroid dosage by ≥25% to ≤7.5 mg/day during weeks 40-52 (11.4% versus 20.7%; P = 0.0844). Adverse events (AEs) were similar between treatment groups.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings indicate that in hypocomplementemic, anti-dsDNA-positive SLE patients, weekly SC belimumab 200 mg significantly improves SRI-4 response, decreases severe flare incidence, and reduces corticosteroid use versus placebo; a trend toward greater benefit compared with the overall ITT population was observed. AEs were consistent with the known safety profile of belimumab.

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