Etanercept treatment for children and adolescents with plaque psoriasis

N Engl J Med. 2008 Jan 17;358(3):241-51. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa066886.


Background: Etanercept, a soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor, has been shown to lessen disease severity in adult patients with psoriasis. We assessed the efficacy and safety of etanercept in children and adolescents with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Methods: In this 48-week study, 211 patients with psoriasis (4 to 17 years of age) were initially randomly assigned to a double-blind trial of 12 once-weekly subcutaneous injections of placebo or 0.8 mg of etanercept per kilogram of body weight (to a maximum of 50 mg), followed by 24 weeks of once-weekly open-label etanercept. At week 36, 138 patients underwent a second randomization to placebo or etanercept to investigate the effects of withdrawal and retreatment. The primary end point was 75% or greater improvement from baseline in the psoriasis area-and-severity index (PASI 75) at week 12. Secondary end points included PASI 50, PASI 90, physician's global assessment of clear or almost clear of disease, and safety assessments.

Results: At week 12, 57% of patients receiving etanercept achieved PASI 75, as compared with 11% of those receiving placebo (P<0.001). A significantly higher proportion of patients in the etanercept group than in the placebo group had PASI 50 (75% vs. 23%), PASI 90 (27% vs. 7%), and a physician's global assessment of clear or almost clear (53% vs. 13%) at week 12 (P<0.001). At week 36, after 24 weeks of open-label etanercept, rates of PASI 75 were 68% and 65% for patients initially assigned to etanercept and placebo, respectively. During the withdrawal period from week 36 to week 48, response was lost by 29 of 69 patients (42%) assigned to placebo at the second randomization. Four serious adverse events (including three infections) occurred in three patients during treatment with open-label etanercept; all resolved without sequelae.

Conclusions: Etanercept significantly reduced disease severity in children and adolescents with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. ( number, NCT00078819 [].).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Etanercept

Associated data