Open Access Research article

Antibodies toward infliximab are associated with low infliximab concentration at treatment initiation and poor infliximab maintenance in rheumatic diseases

Emilie Ducourau12, Denis Mulleman12*, Gilles Paintaud13, Delphine Chu Miow Lin12, Francine Lauféron12, David Ternant13, Hervé Watier14 and Philippe Goupille12

Author Affiliations

1 Université François Rabelais de Tours, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique UMR 6239 GICC (Génétique Immunothérapie Chimie et Cancer), 3 rue des Tanneurs, F-37041 Tours Cedex 1, France

2 Service de Rhumatologie, Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire de Tours, avenue de la République, F-37044 Tours Cedex 9, France

3 Laboratoire de Pharmacologie-Toxicologie, Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire de Tours, 2 boulevard Tonnellé, F-37044 Tours Cedex 9, France

4 Laboratoire d'Immunologie, Centre Hospitalier Régional et Universitaire de Tours, 2 boulevard Tonnellé, F-37044 Tours Cedex 9, France

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:R105  doi:10.1186/ar3386

Published: 27 June 2011

Abstract

Introduction

A proportion of patients receiving infliximab have antibodies toward infliximab (ATI), which are associated with increased risk of infusion reaction and reduced response to treatment. We studied the association of infliximab concentration at treatment initiation and development of ATI as well as the association of the presence of ATI and maintenance of infliximab.

Methods

All patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or spondyloarthritis (SpA) receiving infliximab beginning in December 2005 were retrospectively followed until January 2009 or until infliximab discontinuation. Trough serum infliximab and ATI concentrations were measured at each visit. The patients were separated into two groups: ATIpos if ATI were detected at least once during the follow-up period and ATIneg otherwise. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to study the association of infliximab concentration at treatment initiation and the development of ATI. Maintenance of infliximab in the two groups was studied by using Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results

We included 108 patients: 17 with RA and 91 with SpA. ATI were detected in 21 patients (19%). The median time to ATI detection after initiation of infliximab was 3.7 months (1.7 to 26.0 months). For both RA and SpA patients, trough infliximab concentration during the initiation period was significantly lower for ATIpos than ATIneg patients. RA patients showed maintenance of infliximab at a median of 19.5 months (5.0 to 31.0 months) and 12.0 months (2.0 to 24.0 months) for ATIneg and ATIpos groups, respectively (P = 0.08). SpA patients showed infliximab maintenance at a median of 16.0 months (3.0 to 34.0 months) and 9.5 months (3.0 to 39.0 months) for ATIneg and ATIpos groups, respectively (P = 0.20). Among SpA patients, those who were being treated concomitantly with methotrexate had a lower risk of developing ATI than patients not taking methotrexate (0 of 14 patients (0%) vs. 25 of 77 patients (32%); P = 0.03).

Conclusions

High concentrations of infliximab during treatment initiation reduce the development of ATI, and the absence of ATI may be associated with prolonged maintenance of infliximab. Thus, trough serum infliximab concentration should be monitored early in patients with rheumatic diseases.