Objective: EMBODY 1 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01262365) and EMBODY 2 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01261793) investigated the efficacy and safety of epratuzumab, a CD22-targeted humanized monoclonal IgG antibody, in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The studies showed no significant difference from placebo in primary or secondary clinical outcome measures but did demonstrate B cell-specific immunologic activity. The aim of this post hoc analysis was to determine whether epratuzumab had a different clinical efficacy profile in SLE patients with versus those without an associated diagnosis of Sjögren's syndrome (SS).
Methods: The efficacy and safety of epratuzumab were compared between 2 patient subpopulations randomized in EMBODY 1 and 2: SLE patients with and those without a diagnosis of associated SS. British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) total score, BILAG-based Combined Lupus Assessment (BICLA) clinical response to treatment, biologic markers (including B cells, IgG, IgM, and IgA), and safety were assessed.
Results: A total of 1,584 patients were randomized in the EMBODY 1 and EMBODY 2 trials; 113 patients were anti-SSA positive and had a diagnosis of associated SS, and 1,375 patients (86.8%) had no diagnosis of associated SS (918 patients were randomized to receive epratuzumab and 457 to receive placebo). For patients with associated SS, but not those without associated SS, a higher proportion of patients receiving epratuzumab achieved a BICLA response and a reduction from baseline in BILAG total score. B cell reduction was faster in patients with associated SS. The sensitivity of B cells to epratuzumab as measured by the mean concentration producing 50% of the maximum B cell count depletion was lower for patients with associated SS (9.5 μg/ml) versus the total EMBODY population (87.1 μg/ml). No difference in the frequency of adverse events in those receiving placebo was reported.
Conclusion: Patients with SLE and associated SS treated with epratuzumab showed improvement in SLE disease activity, which was associated with bioactivity, such as decreases in B cell number and IgM level.
© 2018 The Authors. Arthritis & Rheumatology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American College of Rheumatology.