Tumour necrosis factor-alpha blockers in rheumatoid arthritis: review of the clinical experience

BioDrugs. 2001;15(4):251-9. doi: 10.2165/00063030-200115040-00005.


Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha has been found to play a central role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, leading to development of novel drug therapies that neutralise the deleterious effects of this cytokine. This new concept of immunobiological treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has yielded successful results. Although the 2 currently available TNFalpha blockers, infliximab and etanercept, differ in structure, mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics, they have provided similar benefits both in clinical improvement and in slowing and even arresting the progression of radiographic damage. This therapeutic response seems to be unequalled by "conventional" treatments in rheumatoid arthritis, and is incontestably a turning point in the therapeutic management of this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / economics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / economics
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Etanercept
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / economics
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Infliximab
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • CDP 571
  • Infliximab
  • Etanercept
  • Methotrexate