Cytokine Signalling Forum


December 19

Highlights of 2019

McInnes I.
Please click the links below to go to the CSF review of each paper

2019 was another remarkable year in cytokine signalling. We can be optimistic that clinical practice for inflammatory arthritis will continue to improve, with promising long-term safety data supporting the use of established JAK inhibitors; tofacitinib and baricitinib, in addition to exciting phase III clinical data for filgotinib and newly approved upadacitinib. You can find the most notable papers, as selected by CSF Steering Committee Chair Professor Iain McInnes, with links to their respec...

December 18

Professor Iain McInnes Reviews the Most Notable Papers from 2018

McInnes I.
Please click the links below to go to the CSF review of each paper

2018 brought a wealth of new data in cytokine signalling and IL-6 that helps inform current clinical practice and brings the promise of new options in the future. There was good data on the use of sub cutaneous tocilizumab as well as strategies in early RA and for methotrexate tapering. For the currently marketed JAK inhibitors, tofacitinib and baricitinib, continuous long-term efficacy and safety data further support its current use and applications. On the development side, the outcomes of the...

February 18

Professor Iain McInnes Reviews the Most Important Papers from 2017

McInnes I.
Please click the links below to go to the CSF review of each paper.

2017 was a successful year for rheumatoid arthritis research, with some key advances in JAK inhibitors and IL-6 inhibitors, as outlined below. - Tofacitinib was suggested as a potential treatment for psoriatic arthritis, and NICE recommended tofacitinib as a treatment for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis - Baricitinib studies supported the potential use of baricitinib as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis - Filgotinib Phase 2 studies suggested that filgotinib could be effect...

December 16

Biologic or Tofacitinib Monotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis in People with Traditional Disease-modifying Anti-rheumatic Drug (DMARD) Failure: a Cochrane Systematic Review and Network meta-analysis (NMA)

Singh JA, Hossain A, Tanjong Ghogomu E, Mudano AS, Tugwell P, Wells GA.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016;11:CD012437.

Treatment options for RA patients who are MTX/DMARD incomplete responders (IR) include other DMARDs, biologics or tofacitinib (TOF). However, there is a lack of direct head-to-head comparator trials of biologics in people with RA. This review provides an update of the 2009 Cochrane overview, ‘Biologics for rheumatoid arthritis’,1 and provides comparisons and estimates for biologic or TOF monotherapy in MTX/DMARD-IR people with RA. The benefits and harms of biologic monotherapy (TNFi...

July 16

Pregnancy Outcomes in the Tofacitinib Safety Databases for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriasis

Clowse, et al.
Drug Saf. 2016 June 9; 39:755–762; DOI 10.1007/s40264-016-0431-z [Epub ahead of print]

RA and psoriasis may present in women of child-bearing potential, however there are currently no adequate or well-controlled studies of tofacitinib (TOF) or any DMARD in pregnant women. Pregnancy was an exclusion criterion of TOF randomized clinical trials because of the unknown effects of TOF on mother and child; TOF is a small molecule with the potential to cross the placenta. The current analysis looked at reported pregnancies and their outcomes from TOF RA and psoriasis clinical safety dat...

Biologics or Tofacitinib for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Incomplete Responders to Methotrexate or Other Traditional Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

Singh et al.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016 Issue 5. Art. No.: CD012183 [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012183].

Treatment options for RA patients who are MTX/DMARD incomplete responders (IR) include other DMARDs, biologics or tofacitinib (TOF). However, there is a lack of head-to-head studies to show any important differences between these options in terms of benefits and harms. This review provides an update of the 2009 Cochrane overview and network meta-analysis (NMA) of biologics for RA.1 Nine biologics (abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, rituximab,...

Risk for Gastrointestinal Perforation Among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Receiving Tofacitinib, Tocilizumab, or Other Biologics

Xie et al.
Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016 May 17. DOI 10.1002/art.39761 [Epub ahead of print]

Historically, patients with RA have suffered with upper tract gastrointestinal perforation (GIPs), associated with NSAID use. More recently, the IL-6 receptor antagonist tocilizumab (TCZ) has been associated with lower tract GIPs. Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, including tofacitinib (TOF), with some downstream effects on IL-6 signalling, also have potential for an increased risk of GIPs. There is limited real-world evidence and almost no comparative evidence on the risk for GIP associated with ...

May 16

Effects of Tofacitinib and other DMARDs on Lipid Profiles in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Implications for the Rheumatologist

Charles-Schoeman et al.
Semin Arthritis Rheum 2016;46:71–80

Increased inflammation and CV disease have been associated with lower total cholesterol (TC) and low density lipoprotein (LDL-C) levels in RA patients – an apparent paradox to what is observed in the general population. Previously, reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) levels have been associated with increased risk of CV, and an inverse relationship observed with levels of HDL-C level and C-reactive protein (CRP). This analysis of the literature with regard to studies using DMARDs in ...

A Retrospective Cohort Study Comparing Utilization and Costs of Biologic Therapies and JAK Inhibitor Therapy Across Four Common Inflammatory Indications in Adult US Managed Care Patients

Chastek et al.
Adv Ther. 2016 Mar 12. DOI 10.1007/s12325-016-0312-y

Biologics are used to treat several inflammatory diseases, including RA, PsO, PsA, and AS; however, the cost of biologic therapies is high compared to non-biologic DMARDs. By using evidence-based assessment of comparative costs between biologics, healthcare resources can be properly allocated. This study used medical and pharmacy claims data to assess the utilitisation and cost of biologic treatment for RA, PsO, PsA, and AS. ETN (45%), ADA (32%), and INF (9%) were the most common medications a...

March 16

Impact of obesity on the clinical outcome of rheumatologic patients in biotherapy

Iannone et al.
Autoimmunity Reviews Doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2016.01.010

Obesity is increasingly becoming a public health concern as its prevalence continues to grow in the United States and Western nations. Obesity has been shown to be an inflammatory condition that impacts multiple tissues and systems, including the immune system possibly linking to rheumatic diseases. In this review, Iannone et al overview the epidemiology and clinical outcomes of PsA and/or RA patients with comorbid obesity. Large cohort and prospective studies in Italy, the US, and the UK have...

April 14

What is the future of targeted therapy in rheumatology: biologics or small molecules?

Moscai A, Kovace L and Gergely P.
BMC Medicine 2014, 12:43

Our understanding of inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis has significantly increased over the last 20 years. With this greater understanding we have seen a significant improvement in the therapy of RA and other inflammatory rheumatic diseases. In this review, Moscai et al. discuss the improvements in therapies for the treatment of these diseases from the introduction of methotrexate as a frontline therapy through to the current era and approval of the first small molecul...

February 14

Safety of synthetic and biological DMARDs: a systematic literature review informing the 2013 update of the EULAR recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis

Ramiro S, Gaujoux-Viala C, Nam JL et al.
Ann Rheum Dis doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204575

Two systematic literature reviews were undertaken to update the safety findings on synthetic and biological DMARDs in order to inform the updates to the EULAR recommendations to the treatment of RA. Of 10,559 articles screened, 49 were included for review covering a diverse range of outcomes. In the main these showed the patients on bDMARDs had a significantly greater risk of serious infections and tuberculosis compared with csDMARDs, while differences in data between studies mean a slight incr...

January 14

Genome-wide association studies to advance our understanding of critical cell types and pathways in rheumatoid arthritis: recent findings and challenges

Diogo D, Okada Y, Plenge RM.
Curr. Opin. Rheumatol. 2014; 26:85–92. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000012

A large number of loci implicated in disease susceptibility have been identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In this review article, Diogo et al. discuss recent advances in GWAS in the context of rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis and clinical applications. Relevant cells types and pathways in RA highlighted by GWAS to date include regulatory T-cells and CD4+ memory T cells as well as the JAK/STAT and NF-kB signalling pathways. The development of drugs targeting these pathways...

Emerging cell and cytokine targets in rheumatoid arthritis

Burmester GR, Feist E, Dörner T.
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013. doi:10.1038/nrrheum.2013.168

Despite major progress in the treatment of RA over the past decade, sustained clinical remission remains elusive. The identification of new treatment targets is therefore necessary, with much research currently being undertaken in this area. Novel therapeutic approaches currently being investigated include T cell-directed therapies targeting both T cell activation and regulation; and the targeting of pathogenic B cell functions, including the use of depleting and non-depleting B cell-directed an...

October 13

Involvement of JAK/STAT signalling in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease

Coskun M, Salem M, Pedersen J, Nielsen OF.
Pharmacological Research 2013; 76:1–8

The JAK/STAT signalling pathway has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this review, Coskun et al. provide an excellent background overview of the JAK/STAT cascade. They also highlight recent study findings investigating the mechanisms of the JAK/STAT pathway and the anti-inflammatory effects of novel JAK inhibitors in development and in clinical trials, particularly in IBD. In one study...

A meta-analysis of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis

Li L, Li G, Yu C, Li Y.
Clinical Rheumatology 2013 doi 10.1007/s10067-013-2340-1

The role of p38-MAPK inhibitors in treating RA is the subject of some debate. Li et al. therefore performed the first meta-analysis of the current data to evaluate the efficacy and safety of these compounds. The authors identified 3 papers, covering 4 RCTs, for analysis and the results showed that p38-MAPK inhibition achieves a better level of ACR20 improvement vs. placebo, but showed no meaningful difference in ACR50, DAS28 or CRP levels past week 12. Due to the inadequate number and quality of...

Ibrutinib and novel BTK inhibitors in clinical development

Akinleye A, Chan Y, Mukhi N et al.
Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2013;6:59

Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a part of the cytokine signalling pathways involved in malignancies and autoimmune disorders.. Akinleye et al. provide a review of all the current BTK inhibitors in preclinical and clinical trials for B-cell malignancies and autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Particular focus is placed on ibrutinib, a novel human BTK-inhibitor, currently in phase III clinical trials. The authors also discuss four new compounds with potential indications...

September 13

Inhibitors of switch kinase ‘spleen tyrosine kinase’ in inflammation and immune-mediated disorders: A review

Kaur M, Singh M, Silakari O.
European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 2013 67:434–446

SYK plays a significant role in the immune cell signalling of B cells, mast cells, macrophages and neutrophils. Kaur et al. provide a comprehensive review of the molecule, its role in autoimmune disease and clinical data on its inhibition. The paper covers the basic chemistry of SYK including structure, mechanism of action, synthetic derivatives and function, and the relevance of SYK as a therapeutic target for many autoimmune diseases is discussed. The SYK inhibitors currently in clinical trial...

Kinase Inhibitors: A new tool for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Chakravarty SD, Poulikakos PI, Ivashkiv LB et al.
Clinical Immunology 2013;148:66–78

Chakravaty et al. provide a comprehensive review of the scientific basis for kinase inhibitor use, and summarise experience from clinical trials in tofacitinib and fostamatinib, plus promising clinical data for p38-MAPK inhibitors and P13K? and P13Kd. The authors highlight potential future directions and challenges in kinase inhibitor research, including the emergence of kinases upstream of p38, such as MKK-3 and MKK-6, and the potential of BTK inhibition. One of the challenges of kinase inhibit...

August 13

Safety profile of protein kinase inhibitors in rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Salgado E, Maneiro J, Carmona L, et al.
Ann Rheum Dis April 2013; doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-203116

Salgado and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review of the safety profiles of protein kinase inhibitors (PKis) used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additionally, the study aims included identification of any class and molecule-related target and off-target adverse events. Data from 11,858 patients across 41 publications (phase 2 and 3 studies and two pooled analyses) were analysed. As well as published trials of PKi in RA, studies on healthy individuals and patients w...

Targeting the SYK-BTK axis for the treatment of immunological and hematological disorders: recent progress and therapeutic perspectives

Tan SL, Liao C, Lucas MC, et al.
Pharmacol Ther. 2013 May; 138(2):294–309

This review focuses on targeting spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) and Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors as potential immunomodulatory agents for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders with SYK inhibition showing encouraging efficacy in patients with RA. The paper describes the role of SYK and BTK in several therapy areas including autoimmune diseases, allergic inflammatory disorders and haematological cancers as well as their role in innate immunity and regulators of ad...

June 13

Cytokine receptor signaling through the Jak–Stat–Socs pathway in disease

O'Sullivan LA, Liongue C, Lewis RS, et al.
Molecular Immunology 2007; 44:2497-506

This review from 2007 provides an overview of the largest cytokine receptor family, the haematopoietin receptors, as well as other key components involved in one of the major cytokine signalling pathways implicated in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This includes the Janus kinases (Jaks), signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stats) and suppressors of cytokine signalling genes (Socs). Essentially, when a cytokine binds to a receptor from this group a functional cytokine recep...

Janus kinases inhibitors in autoimmune diseases

O'Shea JJ, Kontzias A, Yamaoka K, et al.
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2013; 72:ii111-ii115

This review describes the role of various cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and related diseases. This includes an overview of the different types of cytokine receptors including type I, which bind some of the interleukins (ILs), colony stimulating factors (CSFs) and hormones such as erythropoietin, prolactin and growth hormone (GH); and type II, which bind to interferons and IL-10-related proteins. In addition, the cytoplasmic domain of type I and II cytokine receptors bind to members of a...