Objectives To explore the effects of tofacitinib—an oral Janus kinase inhibitor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA)—with or without methotrexate (MTX), on MRI endpoints in MTX-naive adult patients with early active RA and synovitis in an index wrist or hand.
Methods In this exploratory, phase 2, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group study, patients received tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily + MTX, tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily + placebo (tofacitinib monotherapy), or MTX + placebo (MTX monotherapy), for 1 year. MRI endpoints (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials RA MRI score (RAMRIS), quantitative RAMRIS (RAMRIQ) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI) were assessed using a mixed-effect model for repeated measures. Treatment differences with p<0.05 (vs MTX monotherapy) were considered significant.
Results In total, 109 patients were randomised and treated. Treatment differences in RAMRIS bone marrow oedema (BME) at month 6 were −1.55 (90% CI −2.52 to −0.58) for tofacitinib + MTX and −1.74 (−2.72 to −0.76) for tofacitinib monotherapy (both p<0.01 vs MTX monotherapy). Numerical improvements in RAMRIS synovitis at month 3 were −0.63 (−1.58 to 0.31) for tofacitinib + MTX and −0.52 (−1.46 to 0.41) for tofacitinib monotherapy (both p>0.05 vs MTX monotherapy). Treatment differences in RAMRIQ synovitis were statistically significant at month 3, consistent with DCE MRI findings. Less deterioration of RAMRIS and RAMRIQ erosive damage was seen at months 6 and 12 in both tofacitinib groups versus MTX monotherapy.
Conclusions These results provide consistent evidence using three different MRI technologies that tofacitinib treatment leads to early reduction of inflammation and inhibits progression of structural damage.
Trial registration number NCT01164579.
- DMARDs (synthetic)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
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