Tocilizumab combination therapy or monotherapy or methotrexate monotherapy in methotrexate-naive patients with early rheumatoid arthritis: 2-year clinical and radiographic results from the randomised, placebo-controlled FUNCTION trial

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Abstract

Objective

Investigate whether the efficacy and safety of intravenous tocilizumab (TCZ) demonstrated at week 52 in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are maintained to week 104.

Methods

Methotrexate (MTX)-naive patients with early progressive RA were randomly assigned to double-blind 4 mg/kg TCZ+MTX, 8 mg/kg TCZ+MTX, 8 mg/kg TCZ+placebo or placebo+MTX for 104 weeks. Patients not receiving 8 mg/kg TCZ and not achieving Disease Activity Score-28 joints (DAS28-erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)) ≤3.2 at week 52 switched to escape therapy (8 mg/kg TCZ+MTX). Analyses were exploratory.

Results

Intent-to-treat and safety populations included 1157 and 1153 patients, respectively. DAS28-ESR remission (<2.6) rates were maintained from weeks 52 to 104 (eg, 8 mg/kg TCZ+MTX, 49.3% to 47.6%). Placebo+MTX and 4 mg/kg TCZ+MTX escape patients' week 104 response rates were 51.4% and 30.5%, respectively. Inhibition of radiographic progression was maintained with 8 mg/kg TCZ (eg, 8 mg/kg TCZ+MTX mean (SD) change from baseline in modified total Sharp score: 0.13 (1.28), week 52; 0.19 (2.08), week 104). The safety profile of TCZ was consistent with that of previous reports.

Conclusions

Patients with early RA treated with TCZ monotherapy or TCZ+MTX maintained clinical benefits during their second year of treatment with no new safety signals.

Trial registration number:

NCT01007435; Results.

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