IBD: More Patients on Vedolizumab vs Anti-TNFs at 2 Years

COPENHAGEN – Vedolizumab (ENTYVIO) a monoclonal antibody drug, shows a higher overall 1- and 2-year persistence of use – the overall time that a patient stays on a medication – compared with two anti–tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (anti-TNFi) in both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, according to the first meta-analysis of their real-world effectiveness.

The results mostly applied to bionaive subjects, and the benefit of vedolizumab over both TNFi’s – infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira), was more evident in ulcerative colitis, compared with Crohn’s disease, noted the researchers, led by Tsz Hong Yiu, MD, a clinician and researcher at the University of Sydney.

“It appears that patients are more likely to stay on vedolizumab than either infliximab or adalimumab, especially in bionaive patients, which could suggest either a better tolerance to the treatment or a better response,” Dr. Yiu said in an interview at the annual Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation.

The 2-year follow up data were particularly encouraging, noted Dr. Yiu, with more patients persisting on vedolizumab than both anti-TNF alpha drugs overall with respect to both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

In a head-to-head comparison, 15% more patients stayed on vedolizumab than anti-TNF alpha drugs overall, at 1-year follow-up for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (risk ratio, 1.15). At 2 years of follow-up, 12% more patients remained on vedolizumab in comparison with anti-TNF alpha drugs overall (RR, 1.12), again for both forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

“This may provide early evidence that supports vedolizumab as a first-line biologic agent for inpatients with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Dr. Yiu, noting that further research was required to validate the correlation of persistence with clinical effectiveness.

Adding comment on the motivation for the study, senior author Rupert Leong, MD, a gastroenterologist at Concord RepatriaKon General Hospital, Sydney, said, “We wanted to identify the drug with the highest effectiveness, which is the real-world benefit of the drug to patients, rather than efficacy, which refers to clinical trial data.”

“Importantly, clinical trial data are usually only 1 year, whereas persistence collects data often for several years. This is relevant in chronic diseases that can affect patients over several decades, because the true benefit of a drug cannot be implied from a short-term clinical trial,” he explained.

Persistence was chosen as the primary end-point because it is a measure that incorporates a drug’s efficacy and side-effect profile but also the patient’s perspective, added Dr. Yiu. “So, a patient may value mild side effects over treatment effectiveness and decide to cease treatment.”

A prior meta-analysis looking at loss of response found that 33% of people taking infliximab and 41% of people taking adalimumab became resistant to the biologics after a median follow up of 1 year. “The most common cause of loss of response to anti-TNF inhibitors is due to immunogenicity,” remarked Dr. Yiu. “These findings suggested that alternative biologics with high effectiveness should be considered.”

Data from the 2019 VARSITY study also informed the researchers’ decision to conduct a real-world study. VARSITY investigators found vedolizumab had increased efficacy over adalimumab in ulcerative colitis, however, data on the real-world effectiveness of vedolizumab, compared with adalimumab and infliximab, in both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease remained unknown.

Dr. Leong pointed out the difficulty in selecting the correct treatment given the increasing numbers of biological agents available. “The paucity of head-to-head studies meant use of cohort studies is considered both relevant and informative, not least because long-term follow-up data can reveal secondary loss of response of these monoclonal antibodies, while pooling data further increases the statistical power and determines consistency.”

As such, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of six observational studies evaluating persistence, as a surrogate marker for clinical response, of vedolizumab versus infliximab and adalimumab among participants aged over 18 years with a diagnosis of either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease from 2017 to July 2022.

Overall, the study found that 1-year persistence of vedolizumab was 71.2% in ulcerative colitis and 76% in Crohn’s disease, which was significantly higher than with infliximab (56.4% in ulcerative colitis, 53.7% in Crohn’s disease), and likewise with adalimumab (53.7% in ulcerative colitis, 55.6% in Crohn’s disease).

Results of 2-year persistence were pooled from four studies and found that vedolizumab had a 2-year persistence of 66% in ulcerative colitis and 61% in Crohn’s disease. By comparison, infliximab had a persistence of 49.7% for ulcerative colitis and 59.1% for Crohn’s disease, and adalimumab had a persistence of 31.4% for ulcerative colitis and 56% for Crohn’s disease).

In ulcerative colitis specifically, vedolizumab performed better than both adalimumab and infliximab with an RR of 1.41 (95% confidence interval, 1.14-1.74) and 1.15 (95% CI, 1.06-1.25) respectively, and an RR of 1.23 (95% CI, 1.14-1.33) was generated when adalimumab and infliximab results were combined after 1 year of follow-up.

In Crohn’s disease specifically, vedolizumab had a slightly higher 1-year persistence over anti-TNF inhibitors combined (RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.19), but there were insufficient data to support individual analysis.

In a subgroup of bionaive patients, vedolizumab had a higher 1-year persistence (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.07-1.22) but did not show a statistically significant advantage in bioexperienced patients (RR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.80-1.35), compared with anti-TNF inhibitors.

Dr. Yiu remarked that they were unable to identify any randomized controlled trials (RCTs) directly comparing infliximab versus vedolizumab in IBD at the time of their systematic review. However, he drew attention to a recent research article that compared the effectiveness, persistence, and side-effect profile of vedolizumab and infliximab in a small cohort of ulcerative colitis patients. ” In this study, vedolizumab showed overall superiority over infliximab, which is in keeping with our study’s findings.”

Commenting on the study, Viraj Kariyawasam, MD, gastroenterologist and head of IBD at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospital in Sydney, said the findings were “very important in defining the place of vedolizumab in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, and more so in Crohn’s disease.”

“Despite vedolizumab being considered a lower-efficacy drug, compared to infliximab, in Crohn’s disease by most practicing clinicians, and still favoring anti-TNF in the treatment of Crohn’s disease, the study highlights the superior persistence of vedolizumab,” he said in an interview.

“This is likely associated with efficacy over the two most used anti-TNF agents. With the knowledge we have about reduced efficacy of vedolizumab after the use of anti-TNF, or as a second- or third-line agent, and its superior persistence as a first-line biologic with already published safety data, vedolizumab should be considered and preferred as a first-line agent in the treatment of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”

Dr. Yiu has declared no conflicts of interest. Dr. Leong declares he is an advisory board member of AbbVie, Aspen, BMS, Celgene, Celltrion, Chiesi, Ferring, Glutagen, Hospira, Janssen, Lilly, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Prometheus Biosciences, Takeda; research grant recipient of Celltrion, Shire, Janssen, Takeda, Gastroenterological Society of Australia, NHMRC, Gutsy Group, Pfizer, Joanna Tiddy grant University of Sydney. One coauthor is an advisory board member of AbbVie and has received speaker fees from AbbVie and Takeda. Dr. Kariyawasam has educational grants and/or speaker fees from Janssen, AbbVie, and Takeda.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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