Objective: The primary objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the possibility of achieving partial remission (PR) in AS patients treated with anti-TNF-α antagonists, such as adalimumab (ADA), etanercept (ETA) and infliximab (INF), in a real clinical practice setting. Predictors of PR were also evaluated.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in patients with AS treated with ADA, ETA and INF from 2000 to 2012. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were plotted to determine the rates of PR during the treatment with anti-TNF-α drugs.
Results: A total of 283 patients with AS were treated with ADA (18.7%), ETA (26.8%) and INF (54.4%) as first anti-TNF-α drugs, with a PR rate of 57.6%. The probability of obtaining PR with ADA, ETA or INF was not significantly different among all anti-TNF-α patients. AS patients treated with a second anti-TNF-α drug had a PR rate of 40.5%, but after switching for lack of response, the probability of obtaining PR with a second anti-TNF-α drug was significantly lower from that of the first anti-TNF-α drug (P = 0.0039). The probability of obtaining PR in patients with enthesitis (P = 0.04) or psoriasis (P = 0.0016) or low levels of CRP (P = 0.0225) was significantly lower compared with that of patients without these manifestations at baseline.
Conclusion: Our real-life study on PR confirmed the effectiveness of ADA, ETA or INF as first or second anti-TNF-α drugs. The presence at baseline of enthesitis or psoriasis or low CRP values yielded a lower probability of obtaining PR.
Keywords: ankylosing spondylitis; anti-TNF-α drugs; remission.