Tumour necrosis factor alpha inhibitors in the treatment of childhood uveitis

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Aug;45(8):982-9. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kel030. Epub 2006 Feb 3.


Objective: To describe the efficacy of anti-TNF-alpha agents in the treatment of childhood uveitis.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all children with uveitis treated with TNF-alpha blockers at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

Results: Twenty-one children with uveitis were treated with the anti-TNF-alpha agents etanercept (11 patients) and infliximab (13 patients), resulting in 24 treatment courses. All patients had persistently active uveitis despite treatment with at least one standard immunosuppressive drug before the start of anti-TNF-alpha therapy. Six of 21 patients (29%) had idiopathic uveitis. In the other 15 patients, the underlying disease was juvenile idiopathic arthritis in 12 (57%), Behçet disease in two (9%) and sarcoidosis in one (5%). Response to etanercept treatment was good in 27%, moderate in 27% and poor in 45% of patients. Response to infliximab treatment was good in 38%, moderate in 54% and poor in 8% of patients. The difference in the percentage of patients with a moderate or good response was statistically significant (P = 0.0481). We also observed a lower rate of complications, such as new-onset or worsening glaucoma or cataract in the infliximab-treated group.

Conclusion: Anti-TNF-alpha treatment was beneficial in a high percentage of patients with childhood uveitis refractory to standard immunosuppressive treatment. Infliximab resulted in better clinical responses with less ocular complications than etanercept.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Infant
  • Infliximab
  • Male
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Uveitis / drug therapy*
  • Uveitis / etiology


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