Randomized Trial of Ruxolitinib in Antiretroviral-Treated Adults With Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Jan 7;74(1):95-104. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab212.


Background: Inflammation is associated with end-organ disease and mortality for people with human immunodeficiency virus (PWH). Ruxolitinib, a Jak 1/2 inhibitor, reduces systemic inflammation for individuals without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and HIV reservoir markers ex vivo. The goal of this trial was to determine safety and efficacy of ruxolitinib for PWH on antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) A5336 was an open-label, multisite, randomized controlled trial (RCT). Participants were randomly assigned (2:1) using centralized software to ruxolitinib (10 mg twice daily) plus stable ART for 5 weeks vs ART alone, stratified by efavirenz use. Eligible participants were suppressed on ART for ≥2 years, without comorbidities, and had >350 CD4+ T cells/µL. Primary endpoints were premature discontinuation, safety events, and change in plasma interleukin 6 (IL-6). Secondary endpoints included other measures of inflammation/immune activation and HIV reservoir.

Results: Sixty participants were enrolled from 16 May 2016 to 10 January 2018. Primary safety events occurred in 2.5% (1 participant) for ruxolitinib and 0% for controls (P = .67). Three participants (7.5%) prematurely discontinued ruxolitinib. By week 5, differences in IL-6 (mean fold change [FC], 0.93 vs 1.10; P = .18) and soluble CD14 (mean FC, 0.96 vs 1.08; relative FC, 0.96 [90% confidence interval {CI}, .90-1.02]) levels for ruxolitinib vs controls was observed. Ruxolitinib reduced CD4+ T cells expressing HLA-DR/CD38 (mean difference, -0.34% [90% CI, -.66% to -.12%]) and Bcl-2 (mean difference, -3.30% [90% CI, -4.72% to -1.87%]).

Conclusions: In this RCT of healthy, virologically suppressed PWH on ART, ruxolitinib was well-tolerated. Baseline IL-6 levels were normal and showed no significant reduction. Ruxolitinib significantly decreased markers of immune activation and cell survival. Future studies of Jak inhibitors should target PWH with residual inflammation despite suppressive ART.

Clinical trials registration: NCT02475655.

Keywords: HIV; Jak inhibitors; immune activation; inflammation; reservoir.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections*
  • Humans
  • Nitriles / therapeutic use
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines* / therapeutic use


  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ruxolitinib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02475655