Tailored first-line biologic therapy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis

Fabrizio Cantini, Laura Niccoli, Carlotta Nannini, Emanuele Cassarà, Olga Kaloudi, Ennio Giulio Favalli, Andrea Becciolini, Martina Biggioggero, Maurizio Benucci, Francesca Li Gobbi, Valentina Grossi, Maria Infantino, Francesca Meacci, Mariangela Manfredi, Serena Guiducci, Silvia Bellando-Randone, Marco Matucci-Cerinic, Rosario Foti, Marcella Di Gangi, Marta MoscaChiara Tani, Fabrizio Palmieri, Delia Goletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: A multidisciplinary expert panel, the Italian board for the TAilored BIOlogic therapy (ITABIO), was constituted to formulate evidence-based decisional statements for the first-line tailored biologic therapy in patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis (SpA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Methods: Systematic review of the literature to identify English-language articles on the variables influencing the first-line biologic choice, including the efficacy and safety of the drug, the route of administration, the availability of response predictor biomarkers, the need of monotherapy, the patient socio-economic status, lifestyle, cultural level, personality, fertility and childbearing potential in women, the presence of comorbidities, the host-related risk factors for infection and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) reactivation, the cardiovascular (CV) risk, and costs. Results: Some variables, including the patients' preference, the indication for anti-TNF monotherapy in potential childbearing women, and the intravenous route with dose titration in obese subjects resulted valid for all the three rheumatic conditions. Further, evidence of a better cost-effectiveness profile for etanercept (ETN) and biosimilar infliximab (IFX) in RA was found. Any biologic may be employed in absence of choice driving factors in RA. Otherwise, a high infection risk or LTBI positivity drive the choice toward abatacept (ABA), tocilizumab (TCZ), or ETN. TCZ should be the first choice if monotherapy is required. High rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) titers should drive the choice toward TCZ or ABA, while in patients at high CVD risk anti-TNF choice, with preference for ETN, seems appropriate. Presence of anterior uveitis or inflammatory bowel disease drives the choice to monoclonal antibody anti-TNFs (MoAb anti-TNFs). In PsA, ustekinumab (UTK), and to a lesser extent ETN, represents the first choice in patients at high infection and TB risk. Anti-TNFs or UTK choice is guided by skin or articular disease severity, enthesitis, and dactylitis, whereas ETN should be preferred if metabolic syndrome or high CV risk complicate PsA. Conclusion: Taking in account of multiple choice driving variables, first-line biologic therapy may be optimized in patients with RA, SpA, and PsA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-532
Number of pages14
JournalSeminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Anti-TNF
  • Biologics
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Tailored therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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