B.E. Sands, W.J. Sandborn, R. Panaccione, C.D. O’Brien, H. Zhang, J. Johanns, O.J. Adedokun, K. Li, L. Peyrin‑Biroulet, G. Van Assche, S. Danese, S. Targan, M.T. Abreu, T. Hisamatsu, P. Szapary, and C. Marano, for the UNIFI Study Group
n engl j med 2019 381;13
The efficacy of ustekinumab, an antagonist of the p40 subunit of interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, as induction and maintenance therapy in patients with ulcerative colitis is unknown.
We evaluated ustekinumab as 8-week induction therapy and 44-week maintenance therapy in patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. A total of 961 patients were randomly assigned to receive an intravenous induction dose of ustekinumab (either 130 mg [320 patients] or a weight-range–based dose that approximated 6 mg per kilogram of body weight ) or placebo (319).
Patients who had a response to induction therapy 8 weeks after administration of intravenous ustekinumab were randomly assigned again to receive subcutaneous maintenance injections of 90 mg of ustekinumab (either every 12 weeks [172 patients] or every 8 weeks ) or placebo (175). The primary end point in the induction trial (week 8) and the maintenance trial (week 44) was clinical remission (defined as a total score of ≤2 on the Mayo scale [range, 0 to 12, with higher scores indicating more severe disease] and no subscore >1 [range, 0 to 3] on any of the four Mayo scale components).
The percentage of patients who had clinical remission at week 8 among patients who received intravenous ustekinumab at a dose of 130 mg (15.6%) or 6 mg per kilogram (15.5%)was significantly higher than that among patients who received placebo (5.3%) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Among patients who had a response to induction therapy with ustekinumab and underwent a second randomization, the percentage of patients who had clinical remission at week 44 was significantly higher among patients assigned to 90 mg of subcutaneous ustekinumab every 12 weeks (38.4%) or every 8 weeks (43.8%) than among those assigned to placebo (24.0%) (P = 0.002 and P<0.001, respectively). The incidence of serious adverse events with ustekinumab was similar to that with placebo. Through 52 weeks of exposure, there were two deaths (one each from acute respiratory distress syndrome and hemorrhage from esophageal varices) and seven cases of cancer (one each of prostate, colon, renal papillary, and rectal cancer and three nonmelanoma skin cancers) among 825 patients who received ustekinumab and no deaths and one case of cancer (testicular cancer) among 319 patients who received placebo.
Ustekinumab was more effective than placebo for inducing and maintaining remission in patients with moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis. (Funded by Janssen Research and Development; UNIFI ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02407236.)
Remo Panaccione | Silvio Danese | William J. Sandborn | Christopher D. O'Brien | Yiying Zhou | Hongyan Zhang | Omoniyi J. Adedokun | Ilia Tikhonov | Stephan Targan | Maria T. Abreu | Tadakazu Hisamatsu | Ellen J. Scherl | Rupert W. Leong | David S. Rowbotham | Ramesh P. Arasaradnam | Bruce E. Sands | Colleen Marano
ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02407236
The ongoing UNIFI long-term extension evaluates subcutaneous ustekinumab for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis (UC) from weeks 44 through 220.
To assess efficacy (through week 92) and safety (through week 96) during the long-term extension
Overall, 399 responders to intravenous ustekinumab induction and who were randomised to maintenance therapy were treated in the long-term extension (115 received subcutaneous placebo, 141 received ustekinumab 90 mg every 12 weeks [q12w], and 143 received ustekinumab 90 mg q8w).
Placebo treatment was discontinued at unblinding after week 44. Partial Mayo scores were collected every 12 weeks and at each dosing visit after unblinding. Safety was evaluated throughout.
Among all patients randomised in maintenance, symptomatic remission rates (stool frequency = 0/1; rectal bleeding = 0) at week 92 were, 64.5% and 67.6% in the ustekinumab q12w and q8w groups, respectively. Among randomised patients treated in the long-term extension, 78.7% and 83.2% of patients receiving q12w and q8w, respectively, attained symptomatic remission at week 92; >95% of patients in symptomatic remission at week 92 were corticosteroid-free. Both Ustekinumab groups maintained efficacy through week 92. From weeks 44 to 96, adverse events (AEs) per hundred patient-years (PY) of follow-up for combined ustekinumab vs placebo were: 255.68 vs 267.93; serious AEs, 9.34 vs 12.69; malignancies (including non-melanoma skin cancers), 0.93 vs 1.49; and serious infections, 2.33 vs 2.99. One patient with multiple comorbidities who received one ustekinumab dose after dose adjusting from placebo experienced a fatal cardiac arrest.
The efficacy of ustekinumab in patients with UC was sustained through 92 weeks. No new safety signals were observed
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