Improvements in health-related quality of life with belimumab, a B-lymphocyte stimulator-specific inhibitor, in patients with autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus from the randomised controlled BLISS trials

Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 May;73(5):838-44. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202865. Epub 2013 Mar 22.


Objective: Assess the effects of belimumab treatment plus standard systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) therapy on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients with active, autoantibody-positive SLE.

Methods: Patients received standard therapy plus placebo or belimumab 1 or 10 mg/kg in two multicentre, randomised controlled trials of 52 (BLISS-52; N=865) and 76 (BLISS-76; N=819) weeks' duration. Responders were evaluated by SLE Responder Index at week 52. Patient-reported outcome assessments included SF-36, Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue, and EQ-5D.

Results: Mean SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores at week 24 was a major secondary endpoint. Baseline SF-36 scores were 1.5 SDs below age-/sex-matched US norms with similar improvement at week 24 across treatment groups. Mean changes from baseline in PCS scores were significantly (p<0.05) greater with belimumab 1 mg/kg (4.20) and 10 mg/kg (4.18) versus placebo (2.96) in BLISS-52, week 52. In BLISS-76, significantly (p<0.05) greater improvements were seen with belimumab 1 mg/kg in PCS (belimumab 1 mg/kg=4.37, 10 mg/kg=3.41 vs placebo=2.85) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores (belimumab 1 mg/kg=3.14, 10 mg/kg=2.70 vs placebo=1.40) at week 52, and in MCS score at week 76 (belimumab 1 mg/kg=3.05, 10 mg/kg=2.28 vs placebo=1.36). In pooled analysis, significantly greater improvements in PCS, SF-36 vitality domain, and FACIT-Fatigue scores at week 52 were evident with both belimumab doses.

Conclusions: The clinically meaningful improvements in HRQOL in autoantibody-positive patients with active SLE treated with belimumab and standard therapy are consistent with the reductions in disease activity observed in these trials.

Clinicaltrialsgov number: NCT00424476, NCT00410384.

Keywords: Autoimmune Diseases; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / blood
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • belimumab

Associated data