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Methotrexate Dose in Patients With Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Impacts Methotrexate Polyglutamate Pharmacokinetics, Adalimumab Pharmacokinetics, and Efficacy: Pharmacokinetic and Exposure-response Analysis of the CONCERTO Trial

      Abstract

      Purpose

      Methotrexate (MTX) and adalimumab are well-recognized treatments of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the efficacy of which may be driven by intracellular polyglutamates (PGs). The aim of this analysis was to characterize MTX PG concentrations and adalimumab pharmacokinetics in the CONCERTO trial. In addition, the relationships between MTX dose/pharmacokinetics, adalimumab pharmacokinetics, and efficacy were evaluated.

      Methods

      CONCERTO was a double-blind, parallel-arm study in patients with early RA randomized to adalimumab 40 mg SC every other week plus blinded MTX 2.5, 5, 10, or 20 mg PO once weekly, for 26 weeks. Blood samples were obtained through week 26 for the determination of concentrations of MTX PG, adalimumab, and anti-adalimumab antibody (AAA). Clinical outcomes were also assessed.

      Findings

      A total of 395 patients were included in the analysis (MTX, 329; adalimumab, 395). The mean time to steady-state MTX PG concentration was increased with MTX dose, from 8 to >26 weeks, depending on PG chain length. Dose proportionality changed with PG chain length. As MTX dose was increased, the percentage of short-chain PGs increased less than dose proportionally, while the percentage of long-chain PGs increased more than dose proportionally. For very-long-chain PGs, dose proportionality could not be assessed due to the nonmeasurable concentrations in the 2.5- and 5-mg MTX dose groups. As MTX dose increased, mean adalimumab concentrations also increased (P < 0.001). The percentage of patients with AAA decreased with increasing MTX dose, and at week 26, AAA+ status was significantly correlated with MTX dose level (P = 0.005). In general, rates of response, defined using the 28-joint count disease activity score based on C-reactive protein (DAS28[CRP]; response, <3.2), were greater in the subgroup without AAA. The likelihood of a patient achieving a DAS28(CRP) response was related to the baseline measurement (P < 0.001) and to the concentration of adalimumab (P = 0.001), but not to the MTX regimen (P = 0.689).

      Implications

      The dose–response characteristics of MTX PG pharmacokinetics and the resultant effects of MTX on adalimumab exposures should be considered when determining the benefit–risk profile of MTX and adalimumab combination therapy in patients with early RA. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01185301.

      Key words

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