Article Text

Extended report
Comparison of the efficacies of abatacept and tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis by propensity score matching
  1. Satoshi Kubo,
  2. Shingo Nakayamada,
  3. Kazuhisa Nakano,
  4. Shintaro Hirata,
  5. Shunsuke Fukuyo,
  6. Ippei Miyagawa,
  7. Kentaro Hanami,
  8. Kazuyoshi Saito,
  9. Yoshiya Tanaka
  1. The First Department of Internal Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Yoshiya Tanaka, The First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahata-nishi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 807-8555, Japan; tanaka{at}


Objective To compare the clinical outcomes at 1 year after the treatment with either abatacept or tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in routine clinical practice.

Methods To overcome potential bias in allocation to treatment with abatacept or tocilizumab, a propensity score based on multiple baseline characteristics variables was calculated and 102 of 194 patients treated with abatacept and 102 of 273 patients treated with tocilizumab were statistically extracted. Clinical outcomes were assessed.

Results The baseline characteristics were statistically comparable. At week 52, 72%/69% of patients (abatacept/tocilizumab) were still receiving treatment. The Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI) decreased from 28.7/27.7 at baseline to 14.0/12.5 at week 52 with abatacept/tocilizumab, respectively. At week 52, the remission rates for abatacept/tocilizumab were 18%/20%, respectively. No statistical difference in clinical efficacy between abatacept and tocilizumab was seen. Moreover, a subanalysis showed that abatacept and tocilizumab had similar effectiveness with or without methotrexate. However, prognostic factors at baseline contributing to the Clinical Disease Activity Index at week 52 were different between the two groups by multiple regression analysis. A higher rheumatoid factor (RF) titre and lower SDAI at baseline were associated with lower SDAI at week 52 in patients treated with abatacept, whereas patients receiving tocilizumab with a lower Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index and who were biologics-naïve at baseline had a lower SDAI at week 52.

Conclusions We compared patients treated with abatacept or tocilizumab after statistical adjustment by propensity score matching. Clinical efficacies, including SDAI, were comparable in both treatment groups. However, the predictive factors were different: abatacept appears to benefit patients with higher RF titres, and early induction of tocilizumab is an important factor for good clinical efficacy.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • DMARDs (biologic)
  • Outcomes research

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.