Cardiovascular safety, cancer and Jak-inhibitors: Differences to be highlighted

Pharmacol Res. 2022 Sep;183:106359. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2022.106359. Epub 2022 Jul 27.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease whose natural history leads to articular and extra-articular damage. Both cardiovascular risk and malignancy risk results higher in RA patients, compared to general population. Janus kinase inhibitors (JAKis) are oral targeted synthetic disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (tsDMARDs) that disrupt cytokine cascade and exert anti-inflammatory effects by interfering with signaling through the JAK-STAT intracellular pathways. A recent RCT comparing tofacitinib 5 mg twice daily, tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily and anti-TNF in rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated an increased risk of MACE HR 1.33 and cancer HR 1.49 at a follow-up of 4 years. This has led the FDA to class warnings for tofacitinib, baricitinib and upadacitinib. Cumulative RCT data, RCT extension data demonstrated a safety profile for Jak inhibitors. Conflicting data results from real life registries; the different selectivity for JAKs (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3 and Tyk2) probably determines differences in efficacy and safety profiles among the members of this group which should actually be evaluated. In order to better understand the cardiovascular and neoplastic risk linked to these class of drugs, we aim to provide a literature review on existing evidence of the safety of Jak-Inhibitors in rheumatoid arthritis.

Keywords: Baricitinib; Cancer; Cardiovascular events; Filgotinib; Tofacitinib; Upadacitinib.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors* / adverse effects
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitors