Aim: The aim of our study was to identify pharmacodynamic biomarkers and assess differential effects of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- and non-TNF-targeting agents on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with an inadequate response to anti-TNF agents (anti-TNF-IR) in comparison with biologic-naïve patients.
Methods: EARTH EXPLORER 2, a phase IIb trial, evaluated golimumab, an anti-TNF antibody, and mavrilimumab, an granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) receptor antibody, in disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD)-IR and anti-TNF-IR patients. Our current study assessed peripheral protein markers and gene expression levels in association with clinical response post-treatment in two disease strata.
Results: Serum proteomics results indicated the existence of specific pharmacodynamic markers for golimumab and mavrilimumab, regardless of prior anti-TNF treatment. In contrast, both antibodies induced early and sustained suppression of RA disease markers, including interleukin (IL)-6, C-reactive protein, IL2RA, and matrix metalloproteinase 1, in DMARD-IR patients. Golimumab-induced early changes rapidly returned toward baseline concentrations in anti-TNF-IR patients, whereas mavrilimumab-induced changes were maintained through to day 169. RNA sequencing demonstrated gene expression changes at day 169 after administration of mavrilimumab but not golimumab in anti-TNF-IR patients. Additionally, receiver operating characteristic curve and regression analysis showed the association of early IL-6 change and subsequent clinical responses to golimumab in anti-TNF-IR patients.
Conclusion: Our results revealed golimumab- and mavrilimumab-specific pharmacodynamic biomarkers, and demonstrated differential biomarker-treatment relationships in anti-TNF-IR and DMARD-IR patients, respectively. Early IL-6 change after anti-TNF antibody treatment may be a potential predictive biomarker for selection of different treatment regimens in anti-TNF-IR patients.
Keywords: GM-CSF; TNF; biological therapies; biomarkers; rheumatoid arthritis.
© 2018 The Authors. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases published by Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.