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Best of 2019 - SEAM-PsA Study - Does Monotherapy MTX Win Despite Losing to Etanercept in Psoriatic Arthritis?

The SEAM-PsA study examined the efficacy of methotrexate (MTX) monotherapy, etanercept (ENT) monotherapy or the combination of MTX and ETN in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients and found that ETN monotherapy was equivalent to combination therapy - and that both were superior to MTX alone in clinical (ACR and MDA) and radiographic responses.

Mease and colleagues studied 851 PsA (MTX, ETN, and biologic naive) patients who were randomized to either: oral MTX (N=284), ETN (N=284), or ETN plus MTX (N=283). The primary and secondary outcomes were the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)20 response and Minimal Disease Activity (MDA) response at week 24 were the primary and key secondary endpoints, respectively.

The key results at week 24 were as follows:

ACR50 30.6% 44.4% 45.7% 0.006
ACR70 13.8% 29.2% 27.7%0.001 

* comparison of ETN and MTX monotherapy groups

The etanercept‐containing arms showed less radiographic progression compared with methotrexate monotherapy at week 48.

While there were no significant changes in skin involvement in those with ≥ 3% BSA at baseline, those with ≥ 10% BSA  were more likely to achieve clear or almost clear status by week 24 on ETN monotherapy or combination therapy (compared to MTX monotherapy). 

Historically, MTX has been forced as first-line therapy in PsA; a recommendation based more on economics than data.

Moreover there appears to be no benefit of adding MTX to ETN when ETN is used.

This study did not evaluate the most appropriate therapy for those PsA patients who fail to respond to methotrexate, but does suggest that a TNF inhibitor (etanercept) would be the next best option.

The author has received compensation as an advisor or consultant on this subject

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