Anti-TNF therapy for polymyalgia rheumatica: report of 99 cases and review of the literature

Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Mar;31(3):575-9. doi: 10.1007/s10067-011-1914-z. Epub 2012 Jan 11.


The objective of this study was to analyze the clinical, laboratorial, and therapeutical response of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) to anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) treatment. We systematically searched English articles on the subjects of PMR who were treated with TNF blockers in Pubmed from 1994 to 2010. In addition, we reported on two patients with PMR who were treated by the Rheumatology Division of the Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade in São Paulo, Brazil. Ninety-nine cases of patients with PMR treated with anti-TNF were reviewed. The age of these patients ranged from 63 to 84 years, and 70.7% of them were female. Disease duration varied from 10.5 weeks to 95 months, and time of follow-up varied from 2 weeks to 21 months. Infliximab was the anti-TNF of choice in three studies, while etanercept was in five. Time to response varied from 2 to 8 weeks. After anti-TNF treatment, prednisone reduction was observed in all studies. Clinical improvement was found in 7/7 studies, and laboratory improvement of at least 50% of inflammatory markers was observed in 6/7 studies. This study demonstrated a good clinical and laboratory response to anti-TNF therapy in patients with PMR, with or without glucocorticoid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Infliximab
  • Male
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica / drug therapy*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


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