Phase 3, long-term, open-label extension period of safety and efficacy of belimumab in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus in China, for up to 6 years

RMD Open. 2022 Apr;8(1):e001669. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001669.


Objectives: To evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of belimumab in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in China.

Methods: In this phase 3, open-label extension period, eligible completers of study BEL113750 (NCT01345253) received intravenous belimumab 10 mg/kg monthly for ≤6 years. The primary endpoint was safety. Secondary endpoints included the SLE Responder Index (SRI)-4 response rate, severe SLE flares and changes in prednisone use. Analyses were based on observed data from the first dose of belimumab through to study end.

Results: Of the 424 patients who received belimumab, 215 (50.7%) completed the study, 208 (49.1%) withdrew and 1 patient died. Overall, 359/424 (84.7%) patients had adverse events (AEs), and 96/424 (22.6%) had serious AEs. 26/424 (6.1%) patients discontinued study treatment/withdrew from the study due to AEs. Postinfusion systemic reaction rate was 1.5 events/100 patient-years. Herpes zoster infection rate was 3.0 events/100 patient-years, of which 0.4 events/100 patient-years were serious events. One papillary thyroid cancer and one vaginal cancer were reported in year 0-1 and year 3-4, respectively. There were no completed suicides/suicide attempts and no reports of serious depression. The proportion of SRI-4 responders increased progressively (year 1, week 24: 190/346 (54.9%); year 5, week 48: 66/82 (80.5%)). Severe flares were experienced by 55/396 (13.9%) patients. For 335 patients with baseline prednisone-equivalent dose >7.5 mg/day, the number of patients with a dose reduction to ≤7.5 mg/day increased over time (year 1, week 24: 30/333 (9.0%); year 5, week 48: 36/67 (53.7%)).

Conclusions: Favourable safety profile and disease control appeared to be maintained in patients with SLE in China for ≤6 years, consistent with previous belimumab studies.

Keywords: B-lymphocytes; biological therapy; cytokines; lupus erythematosus; systemic.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents* / adverse effects
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic* / drug therapy
  • Prednisone / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • belimumab
  • Prednisone

Associated data