Combo Biologic Therapy Makes Good in SLE
Physician’s Weekly reports on new study results from the BEAT-LUPUS trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finding belimumab after rituximab signiﬁcantly reduced serum IgG anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) antibody levels and reduced risk for severe ﬂare in patients with treatment-refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
HSS rheumatologist Medha Barbhaiya, MD, MPH, who was not involved in the study, co-authored an accompanying editorial on the findings that noted, “The anti-dsDNA biomarker is clinically used to assess SLE disease activity, however, it is not used in isolation; levels are informative only in the context of other clinical signs and symptoms. The lower anti-dsDNA levels among subjects randomized to [belimumab] are difficult to interpret—there are no clinically defined anti-dsDNA levels to determine SLE disease activity.”
Dr. Barbhaiya and her co-author acknowledged that the study “sheds light on the potential synergy between [ritxumab] and [belimumab] in this population of SLE patients… the combination… may be highly effective with a reasonable safety profile,” and future research, such as the BLISS-BELIEVE study will offer more clarification.