December 2022 to March 2023

Authors: Serena Fasano and Jean-Guillaume Letarouilly

Bentley D et al (doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead092) explored the efficacy and safety of RO5459072, a Cathepsin S inhibitor, in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome. Patients were randomized to receive either RO5459072 or placebo for 12 weeks. There was no clinically relevant improvement in ESSDAI score (primary endpoint), and no apparent benefit in favour of RO5459072 in any of the secondary clinical endpoints. 

The global COVID-19 Vaccination in Autoimmune Diseases (COVAD) survey by Jagtap K et al (doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead144) investigated the incidence, predictors and patterns of flares following vaccination in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Flares occurred in nearly 1 in 10 individuals with autoimmune rheumatic diseases after COVID vaccination; arthritis (61.6%) and fatigue (58.8%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Patients with comorbidities, mental health disorders and those receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were particularly vulnerable. 

Kearsley-Fleet L et al (doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead127) aimed to compare the effectiveness of etanercept originator vs etanercept biosimilar amongst biologic-naïve RA patients treated in routine clinical practice in the UK. A total of 1806 biologic-naïve RA patients were enrolled: 1009 started etanercept originator, 797 biosimilar. Drug survival and disease activity after 6 and 12 months of therapy, was similar between cohorts (71% of originator and 76% of biosimilar patients remained on therapy at 1 year).

By a drug repositioning transcriptomic approach, Felten R (doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead096) aimed to identify new candidate drugs for primary Sjögren’s syndrome, analysing 1008 peripheral blood transcriptomes from five independent studies between patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome and controls. They identified 11 drugs which could represent potential candidate drugs, with histone deacetylases and PI3K inhibitors among the most significantly associated. 

Strahm N et al (doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kead014) investigated the effects of Faecal microbiota transplantation on duodenal biopsies collected from SSc patients by immunohistochemistry and transcriptome profiling. The number of podoplanin- and CD64-expressing cells in the mucosa were reduced at week 2 compared with baseline and patient-reported lower gastrointestinal symptoms improved. Whole biopsy transcriptome profiling from week 16 showed enrichment of pathways mandatory for binding activity of immunoglobulin receptors, T cell receptor complexes, and chemokine receptors, as well as response to zinc-ions. 

Webber D et al (doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kead016) aimed to identify genetic risk loci for osteonecrosis in children and adults with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Among 940 participants with SLE, they identified an intronic WIPF1 variant associated with a 3.2 times increased hazard for osteonecrosis during SLE follow-up, independent of corticosteroid exposure.

Serena Fasano

Serena is a consultant rheumatologist at Hospital San Giovanni Bosco in Naples, Italy. Her research interests include Connective tissue  diseases, especially Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Systemic Sclerosis. Serena is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.

Jean-Guillaume Letarouilly

Jean-Guillaume is a fellow in rheumatology at Lille University Hospital in Lille, France. His main research focus on spondyloarthritis and its crosstalk with inflammatory bowel diseases and psoriasis. Jean-Guillaume is a member of the Social Media Sub-Committee.

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