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VIDEO: Dual studies seek answers in isolated skin vasculitis



– Patients with isolated skin vasculitis have always faced a frustrating clinical problem with no clear solution.

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ARAMIS (A Randomized Multicenter Study for Isolated Skin Vasculitis) and its linked genetic investigation, CUTIS (Clinical Transcriptomics in Systemic Vasculitis), may finally identify not only optimal treatments but also insight into the root causes and predictors of treatment response, Christian Pagnoux, MD, said at the annual Congress of Clinical Rheumatology.

“Isolated skin vasculitis is a much-understudied disease, with only one clinical trial to guide our treatment,” said Dr. Pagnoux of the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. In 1995, a 3-month trial randomized 41 patients to skin emollients or to colchicine 0.5 mg/day. Colchicine wasn’t significantly better, but some who had attained remission on it relapsed after discontinuing the drug, which suggested there might be some benefit (Arch Dermatol. 1995;131[12]:1399-1402).

That hint of efficacy in just three patients 23 years ago forms the sole basis of the typical treatment for this disorder: colchicine, Dr. Pagnoux said. “We know that it doesn’t work, yet we continue to prescribe it. Patients deserve better.”

ARAMIS and CUTIS are the first attempts since then at solving this puzzle. ARAMIS is now recruiting about 90 patients in 10 North American medical centers. The three-armed crossover trial will randomize patients to colchicine 0.6 mg twice a day, dapsone 150 mg/day, or azathioprine 2 mg/kg per day for 6 months. Nonresponders can then be rerandomized to one of the other two study drugs for another 6 months. The primary endpoint is clinical response. Secondary endpoints include changes in physician and patient global assessment of response, Skindex29 score, health-related quality of life, and the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

ARAMIS patients may also participate in CUTIS, the linked histopathologic and genetic investigation. More broad-ranging than ARAMIS, CUTIS is seeking 50 patients with several forms of idiopathic vasculitis, including cryoglobulinemic vasculitis, drug-induced vasculitis, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, IgA vasculitis, isolated cutaneous vasculitis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, microscopic polyangiitis, polyarteritis nodosa, and urticarial vasculitis.

The study will examine histopathologic and transcriptomic characteristics in punch biopsies of the lesions. “We very much hope that gene expression profiling on these lesions will help define novel pathways and help us to classify and target therapies,” Dr. Pagnoux said.


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