Association of Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Treatment With Reduced Indices of Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Patients With Psoriatic Disease

Arthritis Rheumatol. 2018 Mar;70(3):408-416. doi: 10.1002/art.40366. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


Objective: To assess the effect of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi) on subclinical cardiovascular disease in patients with psoriatic disease.

Methods: We performed a 2-stage study. In stage 1, carotid total plaque area was assessed in patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) (n = 319) by ultrasound at baseline and after 2-3 years. The annual progression rate of atherosclerosis was the outcome of interest. In stage 2, PsA patients receiving TNFi (n = 21) and age- and sex-matched PsA patients not receiving any biologic agent (n = 13) underwent 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography at baseline and 1 year to assess vascular inflammation, measured as target-to-background ratio (TBR). In both stages, multivariable regression analyses adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and use of statins were performed.

Results: In stage 1, men had significantly higher atherosclerosis progression than women (P < 0.001). TNFi was associated with reduced atherosclerosis progression in men after controlling for cardiovascular risk and use of statins (adjusted β = -2.20 [95% confidence interval -3.41, -1.00], P < 0.001). There was no association between TNFi and atherosclerosis progression in women (P = 0.74). In stage 2, patients receiving TNFi had reduced TBR at 1 year (P = 0.03). Those not receiving TNFi had no significant change in TBR (P = 0.32). The improvement in aortic vascular inflammation in the TNFi group was independent of cardiovascular risk factors (adjusted β = -0.41 [95% confidence interval -0.74, -0.08], P = 0.02).

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that TNFi treatment is associated with reduced progression of carotid plaques in men and improvement in vascular inflammation in both men and women with psoriatic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology*
  • Canada
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / diagnostic imaging
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / drug therapy
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / etiology*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psoriasis / complications
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18