Objective: The SELECT-EARLY trial was undertaken to study the effect of upadacitinib, an oral, reversible Janus kinase 1-selective inhibitor, as monotherapy in patients with predominantly early rheumatoid arthritis who were naive for or had limited exposure to methotrexate (MTX).
Methods: Patients (n = 947) were randomized 1:1:1 to receive once-daily doses of upadacitinib 15 mg or 30 mg or weekly MTX (7.5-20 mg/week) for 24 weeks. The primary end points were the proportion of patients who met the American College of Rheumatology 50% (ACR50) improvement criteria at week 12, and the proportion in whom a Disease Activity Score in 28 joints using the C-reactive protein level (DAS28-CRP) of <2.6 was achieved at week 24. Data are presented through week 24.
Results: At baseline, the median disease duration was 0.5 years (range 0-44 years). A total of 840 patients (89%) completed 24 weeks of treatment. The study met both primary end points for upadacitinib 15 mg and 30 mg versus MTX (ACR50 was achieved at week 12 in 52% and 56% of patients, respectively, versus 28% [P < 0.001], and DAS28-CRP <2.6 was achieved at week 24 in 48% and 50% of patients, respectively, versus 19% [P < 0.001]). Statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in multiple patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were recorded for both upadacitinib doses versus MTX. Overall, 88% of patients receiving upadacitinib 15 mg and 89% of patients receiving 30 mg, respectively, had no radiographic progression (modified total Sharp score ≤0) compared to 78% of those receiving MTX (P < 0.01). Through week 24, the frequency of treatment-emergent adverse events was similar between the MTX arm (65%) and upadacitinib 15 mg arm (64%), but was slightly higher in the upadacitinib 30 mg arm (71%). Six deaths were reported (2 in the upadacitinib 15 mg arm, 3 in the upadacitinib 30 mg arm, and 1 in the MTX arm).
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that patients receiving either dose of upadacitinib monotherapy experienced significant improvements in clinical, radiographic, and PROs compared to patients receiving MTX.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02706873.
© 2020 The Authors. Arthritis & Rheumatology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Rheumatology.