Systematic Literature Review and Meta-analysis of Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha Experienced Rheumatoid Arthritis

Clinical Therapeutics. Aug 2017;39(8):1680-1694 e1682


The goal of this study was to compile all available evidence regarding the efficacy of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF) inhibitors, non-TNF biologics, and tofacitinib for TNF-experienced patients who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).


A systematic literature review of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and rheumatology conference abstracts was performed to identify observational studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting American College of Rheumatology response rates (ACR 20/50/70) for adult patients with RA who switched from at least 1 TNF to another TNF or a non-TNF therapy. A direct random effects meta-analysis was performed to evaluate ACR 20/50/70 response rates for TNF and non-TNF therapies. Separate analyses were conducted among 3-, 6-, and 12-month observational studies and for 6-month RCTs.


A total of 18 observational studies and 6 RCTs were selected. Among 3-month observational studies, the percentages of ACR20/50/70 responders switching to another TNF were similar to those switching to a non-TNF biologic (ACR20, 54.5% vs 58.6%; ACR50, 33.3% vs 33.3%; and ACR70, 13.0% vs 14.6%, respectively). Among 6-month observational studies, the percentages of TNF ACR20/50/70 responders were higher than those of non-TNF responders (ACR20, 67.7% vs 50.4%; ACR50, 50.4% vs 26.6%; and ACR70, 24.9% vs 11.6%). Among 6-month RCTs, the percentages of non-TNF biologic ACR20/50/70 responders were similar to those in the 6-month non-TNF observational studies (ACR20, 50.7% vs 50.4%; ACR50, 27.5% vs 26.6%; and ACR70, 11.9% vs 11.6%). For 12-month observational studies, TNF biologic ACR20/50/70 percentages were higher than those of non-TNF therapies (ACR20, 72.2% vs 57.0%; ACR50, 42.1% vs 28.9%; and ACR70, 22.9% vs 10.0%).


For TNF-experienced patients with RA, subsequent TNF therapy and non-TNF biologic therapy have comparable efficacy.

View abstract


Wells AF, Curtis JR, Betts KA, Douglas K, Du EX, Ganguli A