Introduction: The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of tabalumab, a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes membrane-bound and soluble B-cell-activating factor, in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Methods: Patients with RA who completed one of two 24-week randomized controlled trials (RCTs) participated in this 52-week, flexible-dose, open-label extension study. Patients in RCT1 received intravenous placebo, 30-mg tabalumab or 80-mg tabalumab every 3 weeks, and patients in RCT2 received subcutaneous placebo or 1-, 3-, 10-, 30-, 60- or 120-mg tabalumab every 4 weeks (Q4W). Regardless of prior treatment, all patients in this study received subcutaneous 60-mg tabalumab Q4W for the first 3 months, then a one-time increase to 120-mg tabalumab Q4W (60-mg/120-mg group) and a one-time decrease to 60-mg tabalumab Q4W per patient was allowed (60-mg/120-mg/60-mg group).
Results: There were 182 patients enrolled: 60 mg (n = 60), 60/120 mg (n = 121) and 60/120/60 mg (n = 1). Pretabalumab baseline disease activity was generally higher in the 60-mg/120-mg group. There was a higher frequency of serious adverse events and treatment-emergent adverse events, as well as infections and injection-site reactions, in the 60-mg/120-mg group. One death unrelated to the study drug occurred (60-mg/120-mg group). In both groups, total B-cell counts decreased by approximately 40% from the baseline level in the RCT originating study. Both groups demonstrated efficacy through 52 weeks of treatment relative to baseline pretabalumab disease activity based on American College of Rheumatology criteria improvement ≥20%, ≥50% and ≥70%; European League against Rheumatism Responder Index in 28 joints; Disease Activity Score in 28 joints-C-reactive protein; and Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index.
Conclusions: With long-term, open-label tabalumab treatment, no unexpected safety signals were observed, and B-cell reductions were consistent with previous findings. Despite differences in RCT originating studies, both groups demonstrated an efficacy response through the 52-week extension.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00837811 (registered 3 February 2009).