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Two-year clinical and radiographic results with combination etanercept-methotrexate therapy versus monotherapy in early rheumatoid arthritis: a two-year, double-blind, randomized study.

Author(s): Emery P, Breedveld F, van der Heijde D, Ferraccioli G, Dougados M, Robertson D, Pedersen R, Koenig AS, Freundlich B, Combination of Methotrexate and Etanercept in Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Trial Group

Affiliation(s): University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. p.emery@leeds.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 2010-03, Arthritis Rheum., 62(3):674-82.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate how continuation of and alterations to initial year 1 combination etanercept-methotrexate (MTX) therapy and MTX monotherapy regimens affect long-term remission and radiographic progression in early, active rheumatoid arthritis. METHODS: Subjects were randomized at baseline for the entire 2-year period; those who completed 1 year of treatment with combination or MTX monotherapy entered year 2. The original combination group either continued combination therapy (the EM/EM group; n = 111) or received etanercept monotherapy (the EM/E group; n = 111) in year 2; the original MTX monotherapy group either received combination therapy (the M/EM group; n = 90) or continued monotherapy (the M/M group; n = 99) in year 2. Efficacy end points included remission (a Disease Activity Score in 28 joints [DAS28] <2.6) and radiographic nonprogression (change in the modified Sharp/van der Heijde score < or = 0.5) at year 2. A last observation carried forward analysis from the modified intention-to-treat population (n = 398) and a post hoc nonresponder imputation (NRI) analysis (n = 528) were performed for remission. RESULTS: At year 2, DAS28 remission was achieved by 62/108, 54/108, 51/88, and 33/94 subjects in the EM/EM, EM/E, M/EM, and M/M groups, respectively (P < 0.01 for the EM/EM and M/EM groups versus the M/M group). This effect was corroborated by a more conservative post hoc 2-year NRI analysis, with remission observed in 59/131, 50/134, 48/133, and 29/130 of the same respective groups (P < 0.05 for each of the EM/EM, EM/E, and M/EM groups versus the M/M group). The proportions of subjects achieving radiographic nonprogression (n = 360) were 89/99, 74/99, 59/79, and 56/83 in the EM/EM (P < 0.01 versus each of the other groups), EM/E, M/EM, and M/M groups, respectively. No new safety signals or between-group differences in serious adverse events were seen. CONCLUSION: Early sustained combination etanercept-MTX therapy was consistently superior to MTX monotherapy. Combination therapy resulted in important clinical and radiographic benefits over 2 study years, without significant additional safety risk.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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