Background: Greater understanding of the roles of tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-1β, IL-10, and the IL-23/T-helper (Th) 17 and IL-12/Th1 pathways in immune dysregulation in moderate/severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) has helped in developing new regimens. We aim to review the use of different immunomodulatory therapies used to manage HS. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted on the PubMed and Clinicaltrials.gov databases from 1 January 1947 to 31 December 2018. Only clinical trials, case reports, case series and retrospective analyses published in the English language were included. Results: Our search yielded 107 articles and 35 clinical trials, of which 15 are still ongoing. The tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors adalimumab and infliximab were the most comprehensively studied agents. Published data from clinical trials support the efficacy of adalimumab, infliximab, anakinra, ustekinumab, bermekimab and apremilast but not etanercept and MEDI8968. Clinical trials for CJM112 have been completed, with results awaiting publication. Trials are underway for secukinumab, IFX-1, INCB054707 and bimekizumab. Biologics used in smaller cohorts include canakinumab, golimumab and rituximab. Most agents are well tolerated and demonstrate a good safety profile, with the most commonly reported adverse event being infections. Discussion and conclusions: To date, adalimumab is the only biologic which has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for HS. However, other agents also show promise, with further trials underway to evaluate their efficacy, tolerability and safety profiles. Different clinical measurement scores and endpoints used to make direct comparison difficult. Longitudinal surveillance and pooled registry data are paramount to evaluate the long-term safety profile and efficacy of therapy.
Keywords: Hidradenitis suppurativa; adalimumab; biologics; infliximab; secukinumab; tumor necrosis factor.