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Immunogenicity, adalimumab levels and clinical response in ankylosing spondylitis patients during 24 weeks of follow-up


Background Immunogenicity influences adalimumab levels and therefore clinical response in patients with rheumatic diseases.

Objectives To study the relationship between clinical response, adalimumab levels and antidrug antibodies (ADAb) in ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Methods Observational cohort study of 115 consecutive AS patients treated with adalimumab in the Netherlands (n=85) and Taiwan (n=30), monitored during 24 weeks. Adalimumab levels and ADAb titres were determined using an ELISA and an antigen binding test (ABT), respectively, designed by Sanquin Research, Amsterdam. Response to adalimumab treatment was defined as a Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) response, and disease activity was measured using the Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Score using C-reactive protein (CRP) (ASDAS).

Results At baseline, median BASDAI (IQR) was 6.4 (4.5–7.6) and mean ASDAS (SD) was 3.5 (1.0). After 24 weeks, 49 (42.6%) patients were BASDAI50 responders and mean ASDAS (SD) for responders was 1.5 (1.0) vs 2.6 (1.0) for non-responders (p<0.001). Thirty-one (27.0%) patients had detectable ADAb. After 24 weeks, adalimumab levels (mg/L) (IQR) were significantly higher in ADAb-negative patients than in ADAb-positive patients (12.7 (8.2–18.0) vs 1.2 (0.0–2.0), (p<0.001)). A significant association was demonstrated between adalimumab levels and ASDAS (p=0.02; RC −1.1; 95% CI −2.0 to −0.2). Eleven (9.6%) patients had no detectable adalimumab levels and high detectable ADAb titres (>100 AU/mL). In these patients, CRP and erythrocyte sedimentation rate remained elevated during treatment.

Conclusions Adalimumab levels are related to clinical response in AS patients measured with ASDAS and are influenced by ADAb detectable with an ABT.

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Anti-TNF
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • TNF-alpha
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