Subcutaneous tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis: findings from the common-framework phase 4 study programme TOZURA conducted in 22 countries

Rheumatology (Oxford). 2018 Mar 1;57(3):499-507. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kex443.


Objectives: The aim of this pooled analysis of the TOZURA study programme was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ-SC) as monotherapy or in combination with conventional synthetic DMARDs (csDMARDs) in patients with moderate to severe RA who had an inadequate response to csDMARD or anti-TNF agent therapy or who were MTX naïve.

Methods: TOZURA is a multinational, open-label, single-arm, common-framework, phase 4 study programme (11 protocols, 22 countries). Patients received TCZ-SC 162 mg each week for ⩾24 weeks, administered at the investigator's discretion, as monotherapy or in combination with a csDMARD. Efficacy, safety and immunogenicity were evaluated; propensity score-based matching was used for between-group comparisons.

Results: Of 1804 patients, 353 (19.6%) received monotherapy and 1451 (80.4%) received combination therapy. The 28-joint DAS using ESR (DAS28-ESR) in both groups decreased significantly from baseline to week 24 (mean change: monotherapy -3.40, combination therapy -3.46), with no significant difference between groups (P = 0.46). The proportion of patients who achieved DAS28-ESR or Clinical Disease Activity Index remission or ACR 20/50/70/90 responses was similar between groups. Overall, 13.9% of patients withdrew-6.2% for safety reasons and 1.6% for insufficient therapeutic response; 5.8% of patients experienced one or more serious adverse events [14.6/100 patient-years (PY)]; six deaths occurred (0.64/100 PY).

Conclusion: In a common framework of 11 studies in 22 countries, this phase 4 study programme confirmed TCZ-SC's known efficacy and safety profile with comparable effects as monotherapy and in combination with csDMARDs.

Trial registration: ( NCT01941940, NCT01941095, NCT01951170, NCT01987479, NCT01988012, NCT01995201, NCT02001987, NCT02011334, NCT02031471, NCT02046603 and NCT02046616.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • International Cooperation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • tocilizumab

Associated data