Objective: To assess the efficacy of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy to induce remission in patients with Takayasu arteritis (TAK) refractory to other immunosuppressive therapies.
Methods: Retrospective single-centre study of 25 patients with refractory TAK.
Results: Patients were treated with infliximab (IFX) or etanercept (ETA) for up to 7 years; 21 with IFX (median 28 months (range 2–84)) and 9 with ETA (median 28 months (range 4–82)); 5 patients initially treated with ETA subsequently switched to IFX. Following anti-TNF therapy, remission was achieved and prednisone was discontinued in 15 patients (60%) and successfully tapered below 10 mg/day in an additional 7 patients (28%). Of 18 patients treated with other immunosuppressive agents concurrent with anti-TNF therapy, 9 (50%) could taper or discontinue the additional agent. Major relapses occurred in four patients that initially achieved stable remission. Four patients suffered adverse events, including one with opportunistic infections and one with breast cancer.
Conclusions: In this group of patients with refractory TAK, anti-TNF therapy was associated with remission in a majority of patients, facilitating dose reduction or discontinuation of prednisone and other immunosuppressive therapy. These findings strengthen the rationale for the conducting of a randomised controlled trial of anti-TNF therapy in TAK.
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Funding: ESM is funded by the Vasculitis Foundation, RJ Fasenmeyer Center for Clinical Immunology and the Cleveland Clinic Center for Vasculitis Care and Research.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the Cleveland Clinic Institutional Review Board.