Introduction: Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic rheumatic disease associated with spinal inflammation that subsequently leads to progression of structural damage and loss of function. The fully human anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) antibody adalimumab reduces the signs and symptoms and improves overall quality of life in patients with active AS; these benefits have been maintained through 2 years of treatment. Our objective was to compare the progression of structural damage in the spine in patients with AS treated with adalimumab for up to 2 years versus patients who had not received TNF antagonist therapy.
Methods: Radiographs from patients with AS who received adalimumab 40 mg every other week subcutaneously were pooled from the Adalimumab Trial Evaluating Long-Term Efficacy and Safety for Ankylosing Spondylitis (ATLAS) study and a Canadian AS study (M03-606). Radiographic progression from baseline to 2 years in the spine of adalimumab-treated patients from these two studies (adalimumab cohort, n = 307) was compared with an historic anti-TNF-naïve cohort (Outcome in AS International Study [OASIS], n = 169) using the modified Stoke AS Spine Score (mSASSS) method.
Results: mSASSS results were not significantly different between the adalimumab cohort and the OASIS cohort, based on baseline and 2-year radiographs. Mean changes in mSASSS from baseline to 2 years were 0.9 for the OASIS cohort and 0.8 for the adalimumab cohort (P = 0.771), indicating similar radiographic progression in both groups. When results for patients in the OASIS cohort who met the baseline disease activity criteria for the ATLAS and Canadian studies (OASIS-Eligible cohort) were analyzed, there was no significant difference in mean change in mSASSS from baseline to 2 years between OASIS-Eligible patients and adalimumab-treated patients; the mean changes in mSASSS were 0.9 for the OASIS-Eligible cohort and 0.8 for the adalimumab cohort (P = 0.744).
Conclusions: Two years of treatment with adalimumab did not slow radiographic progression in patients with AS, as assessed by the mSASSS scoring system, when compared with radiographic data from patients naïve to TNF antagonist therapy.