Subcutaneous tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis: Findings from the common-framework phase 4 study programme TOZURA conducted in 22 countries

Ernest Choy, Roberto Caporali, Ricardo Xavier, Bruno Fautrel, Raimón Sanmarti, Min Bao, Corrado Bernasconi, Attila Pethö-Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. The aim of this pooled analysis of the TOZURA study programme was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous tocilizumab (TCZ-SC) as monotherapy or in combination with conventional synthetic DMARDs (csDMARDs) in patients with moderate to severe RA who had an inadequate response to csDMARD or anti-TNF agent therapy or who were MTX naïve. Methods. TOZURA is a multinational, open-label, single-arm, common-framework, phase 4 study programme (11 protocols, 22 countries). Patients received TCZ-SC 162mg each week for 524 weeks, administered at the investigator's discretion, as monotherapy or in combination with a csDMARD. Efficacy, safety and immunogenicity were evaluated; propensity score-based matching was used for between-group comparisons. Results. Of 1804 patients, 353 (19.6%) received monotherapy and 1451 (80.4%) received combination therapy. The 28-joint DAS using ESR (DAS28-ESR) in both groups decreased significantly from baseline to week 24 (mean change: monotherapy -3.40, combination therapy -3.46), with no significant difference between groups (P = 0.46). The proportion of patients who achieved DAS28-ESR or Clinical Disease Activity Index remission or ACR 20/50/70/90 responses was similar between groups. Overall, 13.9% of patients withdrew-6.2% for safety reasons and 1.6% for insufficient therapeutic response; 5.8% of patients experienced one or more serious adverse events [14.6/100 patient-years (PY)]; six deaths occurred (0.64/100 PY). Conclusion. In a common framework of 11 studies in 22 countries, this phase 4 study programme confirmed TCZ-SC's known efficacy and safety profile with comparable effects as monotherapy and in combination with csDMARDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalRheumatology (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Biologic therapies
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tocilizumab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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