By: 1 October 2008

Golimumab, a new anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) treatment, has shown that it is a promising treatment option for different patient groups with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including patients for whom anti-TNF therapies have previously failed.

New findings, presented at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress of Rheumatology in June, indicate that this second-generation, fully human monoclonal antibody is likely to become a key therapy in RA management. Golimumab is currently in the most comprehensive Phase III development programme to date for an anti-TNF alpha biologic therapy.

The GOlimumab After Former anti-TNF Therapy Evaluated in RA (GO-AFTER) study, involving 461 patients with active RA, was the first randomised, double-blind study in patients with active RA who had previously received another anti-TNF inhibitor.

Findings showed that 35 per cent and 38 per cent of patients receiving every four-week subcutaneous injections of golimumab 50 mg and 100 mg, respectively, achieved the primary endpoint of at least 20 per cent improvement in arthritis symptoms (American College of Rheumatology [ACR] 20) at week 14, compared with 18 per cent of patients receiving placebo. These results were maintained through six months.

Interestingly, 58 per cent of patients whose prior anti-TNF-alpha therapy had been discontinued due to lack of efficacy experienced a significant improvement with golimumab.

“Our findings show that golimumab holds great promise in various RA patient populations, including those patients who have previously discontinued other TNF inhibitors,” said Josef S. Smolen (left), MD, professor and Chairman, Department of Rheumatology, Medical University of Vienna and lead study investigator. “Golimumab may provide an appropriate treatment option to the many people facing the consequences of this debilitating disease.”

In combination with MTX

Two additional studies presented at EULAR demonstrate that golimumab significantly improves signs and symptoms of RA among methotrexate (MTX)-na