Background: An increasing number of patients with severe psoriasis are failing to respond to antitumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha therapy (etanercept, infliximab and adalimumab).
Objectives: We observed that many of these patients developed antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and antidouble-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibodies while on treatment prompting us to investigate whether their development is associated with anti-TNF treatment failure.
Methods: All patients with psoriasis who had received anti-TNF therapies were identified and their blood results and treatment histories were obtained from electronic patient records and case notes.
Results: A total of 97 patients had been treated with anti-TNF agents (60 were on their first agent, 22 had been on and stopped one agent, nine had been on and stopped two agents and six had been on and stopped all three agents). ANA developed in 17% of patients on their first treatment, 54% of patients who had failed one treatment, 78% of patients who had failed two treatments and 83% of patients who had failed all three treatments. Anti-dsDNA antibodies developed in 2%, 27%, 33% and 83% of patients from the same respective groups. Significantly, the antibodies developed before treatment had failed with all three agents and their development was not related to the total time that patients had been on anti-TNF therapy.
Conclusions: This study suggests that the development of ANA and anti-dsDNA antibodies on anti-TNF treatment may act as a marker of forthcoming treatment failure. Large-scale prospective studies are required to assess the importance of this observation.