Clinical Review

New Systemic Therapies for Psoriasis

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In the FIXTURE study, incidences of adverse events (AEs) were similar in the secukinumab and etanercept groups during both the induction period and the entire treatment period.13 The most common AEs in the secukinumab groups were nasopharyngitis, headache, and diarrhea. The rates of infections or infestations during the induction period were 26.7% with secukinumab 300 mg, 30.9% with secukinumab 150 mg, 24.5% with etanercept, and 19.3% with placebo. Candidal infections were more common with secukinumab than with etanercept during the entire treatment period (4.7% and 2.3% of participants in the secukinumab 300 mg and 150 mg groups, respectively, reported mild or moderate candidal infections). None of these infections resulted in chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis or discontinuation of the study drug and all resolved on their own or with standard therapy. Candidal infection was reported in 1.2% of participants in the etanercept group. Responses at week 12 were sustained in the majority of participants through week 52 with continued secukinumab therapy every 4 weeks. Grade 3 neutropenia occurred in 1.0% of secukinumab-treated participants and in none of the participants in the etanercept group. There were no apparent dose-related differences between the secukinumab groups with respect to AEs, with the exception of mild and moderate candidal infections.13

These efficacy data are impressive and no specific serious safety concerns have been identified to date. However, IL-17A plays a key role in host defense, particularly in mucocutaneous immunity against Candida albicans,14 as well as in hematopoiesis through stimulation of granulopoiesis and neutrophil trafficking,15 and thus we need to remain watchful with regards to Candida albicans infections and neutropenia.


Ixekizumab is a humanized IgG4 anti–IL-17A monoclonal antibody. In a phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 142 participants with chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis were randomly assigned to receive 150-mg (n=28), 75-mg (n=29), 25-mg (n=30), or 10-mg (n=28) subcutaneous injections of ixekizumab or placebo (n=27) at weeks 0, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16.16 At 12 weeks, the percentage of participants who achieved a 75% reduction in PASI score from baseline was significantly greater with ixekizumab (82.1% with 150-mg dose, 82.8% with 75-mg dose, 76.7% with 25-mg dose) than with placebo (7.7%)(P<.001 for each comparison), except with the 10-mg dose. Similarly, a greater percentage of participants in the same ixekizumab groups achieved a 90% reduction (71.4% with 150-mg dose, 58.6% with 75-mg dose, 50.0% with 25-mg dose) and a 100% reduction (39.3% with 150-mg dose, 37.9% with 75-mg dose) in PASI score compared to placebo (0%)(P<.001 for each comparison). Significant reductions in PASI scores were evident as early as week 1 in the 150-mg and 75-mg groups, and these reductions were sustained for 20 weeks (P<.05).16 Phase 3 studies of ixekizumab currently are underway.


The third IL-17 blocker in the pipeline is brodalumab, a human monoclonal antibody against IL-17RA, which blocks signaling of IL-17A and IL-17F as well as the IL-17A/F heterodimer, all of which are involved in the inflammatory process of psoriasis. Brodalumab was evaluated in a phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging study of 198 participants who were randomized to receive 70 mg (n=39), 140 mg (n=39), 210 mg (n=40), or 280 mg (n=42) of brodalumab or placebo (n=38).17 At week 12, improvements of at least 75% and at least 90% in PASI score were achieved by 77% and 72%, respectively, in the 140-mg group, and 82% and 75%, respectively, in the 210-mg group compared to 0% of the placebo group (P<.001 for all comparisons). One hundred percent improvement in PASI was achieved by 38% of participants in the 140-mg group and 62% in the 210-mg group. No participants in the placebo group demonstrated improvement of 75% or higher. The most common AEs were nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infection, arthralgia, and injection-site erythema. Serious AEs reported during the study included renal colic (1 participant), ec-topic pregnancy (1 participant), and grade 3 asymptomatic neutropenia (2 participants). Both cases of neutropenia were noted at the first assessment after brodalumab initiation (week 2) and resolved when the study drug was withheld.17

Results for this new IL-17 blocker are encouraging, but phase 3 data of brodalumab will need to be awaited.


Tildrakizumab is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that blocks the p19 subunit of IL-23. In a randomized, double-blind, phase 2b trial, 355 adults with moderate to severe psoriasis were randomized to receive subcutaneous injections of tildrakizumab (5 mg, 25 mg, 100 mg, or 200 mg) or placebo.18 In part 1 of the study, injections were administered at weeks 0 and 4. Part 2 of the study started at week 16. In part 2, responders with a 75% improvement in PASI score in the 5- and 25-mg groups continued their dose, while responders in the 100- or 200-mg groups were randomized again to continue the same dose or a reduced dose (100 mg to 25 mg; 200 mg to 100 mg) every 12 weeks from weeks 16 to 52. Those in the placebo group received tildrakizumab 25 mg every 12 weeks in part 2. The primary end point was the mean change in PASI score from baseline to week 16, which was significantly greater in all tildrakizumab groups than in the placebo group (P<.001 for all comparisons). Improvements of 75% in PASI score were achieved by 74% in the 200-mg group, 66% in the 100-mg group, 64% in the 25-mg group, and 33% in the 5-mg group. In contrast, 4.9% in the placebo group achieved an improvement of 75%. At week 52, no loss of efficacy was seen in those participants who had achieved 75% improvement in PASI score at week 16 and had continued their prior doses. The rates of AEs seen in the tildrakizumab groups were 60% to 71% compared to 69% in the placebo group. The most common AE was nasopharyngitis, occurring in 12% to 20% of participants in each group. Serious AEs were uncommon.18 Phase 3 studies are currently underway.19


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