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Is there a role for TNF-alpha antagonists in the treatment of SSc? EUSTAR expert consensus development using the Delphi technique

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jaap Van Laar


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Objective: To obtain experiences and expert opinion on treatment of SSc patients with TNF-alpha antagonists. Methods: An investigation was carried out among the EUSTAR centres into their expertise on use of TNF-alpha antagonists. Assessment forms on the frequency of TNF-alpha inhibitor use were distributed to EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research Group (EUSTAR) centres. Afterwards, a three round Delphi exercise was performed to obtain expert consensus on the use of TNF-alpha inhibitors in SSc. Results: Seventy-nine centres returned information on use of TNF-alpha antagonists in SSc patients. A total of 65 patients were treated with TNF-alpha inhibitors in 14 different centres. Forty-eight of the 65 patients treated with TNF-alpha inhibitors improved. Improvement was mainly seen in patients with arthritis, whereas the effects on fibrosis varied. In the first round of the subsequent Delphi approach, 71 out of 79 experts stated that they would use TNF-alpha antagonists in SSc. Arthritis was suggested as an indication for TNF alpha antagonists by 75% of the experts. However; after the third stage of the Delphi exercise, the acceptance for the off-label use of TNF-alpha antagonists decreased and 59% recommended that TNF-alpha antagonists should not be used or only used in clinical trials in SSc patients, while 38% of the experts suggested the use of TNF-alpha antagonists for arthritis associated with SSc. Conclusions: Most of the experts do not recommend the routine use of TNF-alpha antagonists in systemic sclerosis. Arthritis might be a potential indication in SSc, although controlled clinical trials with TNF-alpha antagonists are needed before general recommendations can be given.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Distler JHW, Jordan S, Airo P, Alegre-Sancho JJ, Allanore Y, Gurman AB, Caporali R, Caramaschi P, Carreira PE, Chizzolini C, Cutolo M, Duruoz MT, Farge-Bancel D, Hesselstrand R, Iannone F, De Keyser F, Kucharz EJ, Launay D, Lefebvre PGD, Lukacova O, Marasini B, Martinovic D, Neto JFM, Radic M, Rednic S, Riemekasten G, Rovensky J, Seidel MF, Senel S, Smith V, Sunderkotter C, Ton E, van Laar JM, Matucci-Cerinic M, Muller-Ladner U, Distler O, EUSTAR Study Grp

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology

Year: 2011

Volume: 29

Issue: 2

Pages: S40-S45

Print publication date: 01/03/2011

ISSN (print): 0392-856X

ISSN (electronic): 1593-098X

Publisher: Pacini Editore SpA