Filgotinib in combination with methotrexate or as monotherapy versus methotrexate monotherapy in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and limited or no prior exposure to methotrexate: the phase 3, randomised controlled FINCH 3 trial

Ann Rheum Dis. 2021 Jun;80(6):727-738. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-219213. Epub 2021 Jan 15.


Objectives: To investigate efficacy and safety of the Janus kinase-1 inhibitor filgotinib in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with limited or no prior methotrexate (MTX) exposure.

Methods: This 52-week, phase 3, multicentre, double-blind clinical trial (NCT02886728) evaluated once-daily oral filgotinib in 1252 patients with RA randomised 2:1:1:2 to filgotinib 200 mg with MTX (FIL200 +MTX), filgotinib 100 mg with MTX (FIL100 +MTX), filgotinib 200 mg monotherapy (FIL200), or MTX. The primary endpoint was proportion achieving 20% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criteria (ACR20) at week 24.

Results: The primary endpoint was achieved by 81% of patients receiving FIL200+ MTX versus 71% receiving MTX (p<0.001). A significantly greater proportion treated with FIL100+ MTX compared with MTX achieved an ACR20 response (80%, p=0.017) at week 24. Significant improvement in Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index was seen at week 24; least-squares mean change from baseline was -1.0 and -0.94 with FIL200+MTX and FIL100+MTX, respectively, versus -0.81 with MTX (p<0.001, p=0.008, respectively). Significantly higher proportions receiving FIL200+MTX (54%) and FIL100+MTX (43%) achieved DAS28(CRP) <2.6 versus MTX (29%) (p<0.001 for both) at week 24. Hierarchical testing stopped for comparison of ACR20 for FIL200 monotherapy (78%) versus MTX (71%) at week 24 (p=0.058). Adverse event rates through week 52 were comparable between all treatments.

Conclusions: FIL200+MTX and FIL100+MTX both significantly improved signs and symptoms and physical function in patients with active RA and limited or no prior MTX exposure; FIL200 monotherapy did not have a superior ACR20 response rate versus MTX. Filgotinib was well tolerated, with acceptable safety compared with MTX.

Keywords: antirheumatic agents; arthritis; rheumatoid; therapeutics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antirheumatic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / diagnosis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Finches*
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Pyridines
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • GLPG0634
  • Pyridines
  • Triazoles
  • Methotrexate

Associated data