Recruitment Status
Estimated Enrollment
Same as current


Psoriatic Arthritis
Not Applicable
Allocation: RandomizedIntervention Model: Parallel AssignmentIntervention Model Description: Randomization 1:1:1Masking: None (Open Label)Primary Purpose: Basic Science

Participation Requirements

Between 18 years and 125 years
Both males and females


STUDY SYNOPSIS 1.1 Rationale Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease, leading to impaired function, reduced quality of life, comorbidities and increased mortality. Fortunately, improved knowledge about disease mechanisms catalyzed rapid development of effective targeted therapies...

STUDY SYNOPSIS 1.1 Rationale Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a chronic inflammatory disease, leading to impaired function, reduced quality of life, comorbidities and increased mortality. Fortunately, improved knowledge about disease mechanisms catalyzed rapid development of effective targeted therapies for this disease. PsA is a clinically heterogenous disease. Connections between clinical manifestations, disease activity, disease severity and entheseal/synovial molecular patterns are still not understood. In addition, although many treatments targeting different molecules or cytokines are now available, clinicians are still facing difficulties in the treatment choice, owing to the lack of reliable markers improving patients stratification. In the present project, we want to take advantage of our expertise in the field to compare global molecular profiles up- or down-regulated in synovitis of patients with PsA resistant to conventional synthetic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (csDMARDs), before and after administration of targeted therapies, in order to identify molecular markers associated with response to therapy. This may allow us to move further towards precision medicine. 1.2 Aim of the study We intend to evaluate global transcriptomic effects of ustekinumab (IL-12/IL-23/p40 blocker) and guselkumab (IL-23/p19 blocker) in synovial biopsies from csDMARD-resistant, biologic-naive patients with PsA, obtained prior to and 24 weeks after initiation of therapy. In parallel, synovial biopsies will be obtained before and after initiation of adalimumab (a widely used TNF? blocker) to evaluate the different molecular pathways affected by the different drugs. In order to deliver, this project will be based on the use of an Affymetrix platform (GeneChip HGU133 Plus2.0 chips). We and others amply demonstrated the power of this analytical approach in identifying synovial pathways associated with disease activity and response to therapy in the past (resulting in the development of a diagnostic and theranostic commercial kit). However, the material collected throughout the study will be a unique opportunity to carry out a more exploratory single cell RNASeq procedure on our samples, thereby potentially unravelling molecular effects of therapies in specific cell populations. Identification of the synovial effects of those treatments in psoriatic arthritis will be a step forward in understanding not only the mode of action of the drug at the site of inflammation, but also in the identification of molecular patterns associated with good response to therapy. The main advantage of our approach compared to other biomarker studies, is that we use synovial material as such, and not peripheral blood, which is a more remote location in terms of cellular targets of the drug. This project takes advantage of our strong experience in the field of molecular profiling of synovial biopsies, and evaluation of responses to biological agents. Key to the success of our translational approach is the association of reliable molecular techniques with a well-validated clinical evaluation of disease activity and response to therapy, using a panel of clinical, biological and imaging techniques. 1.3 Study design Dual centre, 24-week open-label randomised study in subjects with clinically active peripheral PsA receiving treatment with the relevant drugs. Synovial biopsies will be obtained from patients before and after 24 weeks of treatment with the different drugs. 1.4 Study population DMARD-resistant, biological naive patients with a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis according to the CASPAR criteria with at least one swollen joint (either small or big joint) who are planning to receive treatment with one of the targeted drugs. In total, 36 patients will be included. Patients will be randomized 1:1:1 between: Group 1 (n=12): ustekinumab 45 mg (or 90 mg for patients > 100 kg) subcutaneously at baseline (W0), 4 weeks later (W4), and every 12 weeks until week 24 (i.e. W0, W4, and W16). Group 2 (n=12): guselkumab 100 mg subcutaneously (regardless of the weight of the patient) at weeks 0 and 4, followed by a maintenance dose every 8 weeks through week 24 (i.e. W0, W4, W12 and W20). Group 3 (n=12): adalimumab 40 mg (regardless of the weight of the patient), subcutaneously every other week, starting from the baseline until week 24 (i.e.W0, W2, W4, W6, W8, W10, W12, W14, W16, W18, W20 and W22). 1.5 Synovial biopsy procedure Synovial biopsies will be harvested either by ultrasound guided biopsy (USGB) for small joints (wrist, MCP, PIP), or large joints (elbow, knee, ankle) or by needle-arthroscopy procedure (NAP) for large joints such as the knee. In the case of large joint involvement, the same joint will be biopsied at W0 and W24. Based on our experience, repeating the procedure in a large joint, even if it is not swollen, is readily achieved by NAP. In the case of small joint involvement, the choice of the joint to biopsy will be based on ultrasound (US) examination. An US assessment with a score of more than 2 on Grey Scale/Power Doppler (see data on US scoring below in appendices) increases the amount of gradable synovial tissue after the procedure, and the quality of the RNA extracted from the synovial tissue. If the small joint biopsied at W0 is not clinically affected and/or has low US Grey Scale/Power Doppler scores lower by W24, another small joint will be considered for the biopsy if clinically affected. However, At W24 the procedure will be done preferably in the same joint, in order to avoid bias or too much heterogeneity in the analyses of the data. A window of no more than 15 days is allowed around the baseline (W0) and W24 visit. 1.6 Main study parameters/endpoints Primary endpoints: identification of molecular pathways targeted by ustekinumab, guselkumab versus TNF-blockade in synovial biopsies (total and single cells) from PsA patients with active disease despite a csDMARDs, obtained prior to and 24 weeks after initiation of therapy. Secondary endpoints: - clinical response at W24, by using DAS-44 or ACR20/50/70 response criteria. - identification of candidate synovial markers/pathways associated with response to ustekinumab, guselkumab, and anti-TNFalpha therapy in PsA by correlating molecular signals at baseline with the clinical response observed at week 24. - composite analyses of the association between molecular changes induced by anti-IL23, anti-IL23/12 and anti-TNF in the synovium, and core or non-core (clinical, biological, imaging) variables informative about response to therapy. 1.7 Clinical Assessment of disease activity Disease activity will be evaluated at screening, baseline (week 0), week 6, week 12, week 18, and week 24. Response to therapy will be evaluated at the same time using validated clinical measures of joint, enthesis and skin disease activity and global health assessment questionnaires. 1.8 Laboratory Analyses Biochemical analysis will be performed at each visit (W0, W6, W12, W18, W24). This include C-reactive protein, liver enzymes (GOT, GPT, GGT, Alk. Phosphatase), renal function (urea, creatinin, glomerular filtration), hemogram, glycemia, lipid's profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerids). HLA-B27 and viral infection (hepatitis B and C, HIV) status will be checked at the screening or baseline, as well as skin PPD test or blood quantiferon-TB GOLD test. Blood samples (Serum, plasma, EDTA, PaxGene tubes Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) analysis) will also be taken and or stored for further analysis 1.9 Synovial tissue analyses Affymetrix Platform (will be performed by UCL_SSS/IREC/RUMA and CUSL Site team for both sites) (at least 4 biopsy fragments/individual) RNA will be extracted from the material (at least 4 pieces) and used for hybridization of high-density oligonucleotide-spotted microarrays (Genechip U133 Plus 2.0 slides). Clustering and statistical analyses will be performed using Genespring® software in order to identify transcripts regulated by the administration of ustekinumab, guselkumab and TNF-blockade, and to identify transcripts associated with response to either of these drugs. Web-based GO and KEGG pathways mining tools will be used in order to identify potential groups of genes belonging to the same family. Single-cell RNA sequencing (will be performed by UZGhent Site team for both sites) (2 to 4 biopsies) If there are enough biopsies obtained, single cell analyses will be performed by UZG team. Single-cell RNA sequencing has emerged as an indispensable tool to dissect the cellular heterogeneity and decompose tissues into cell types and/or cell states, which offers enormous potential for de novo discovery. Single-cell transcriptomic atlases provide unprecedented resolution to reveal complex cellular events and deepen our understanding of biological systems. Histology / Immunohistochemistry (2 to 4 biopsies will be performed by CUSL Site) If there is enough tissue, part of the samples (2 biopsies) will be used for pathological examinations and standard immunohistochemistry (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD15, CD20, CD68 and CD138 immunostainings). Additional stains will be performed in order to confirm the transcriptomic results, or based on pre-established questions (Th1, Th17-specific markers). 1.10 Imaging Chest x-ray A posterior-anterior view chest x-ray will be obtained locally at screening, unless results from a chest x-ray obtained no more than 3 months prior to the screening (or baseline) according to the general recommendations related to the use of biologics. The chest x-ray will be reviewed by the investigator or designee to exclude patients with active TB infection. Investigators should follow local guidelines for monitoring patients for TB if a patient is at high risk for acquiring TB or reactivation of latent TB • Ultrasound: In parallel to clinical assessment, musculoskeletal ultrasound (US) will be performed at baseline (W0), W6, W12, and W24 to evaluate disease activity, with a specific focus on joints and enthesis. • Magnetic resonance imaging: Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WBMRI) evaluation will be performed at two time points, prior to initiation of therapy and 24 weeks after treatment onset, as an additional assessment tool of disease activity. Patients with any contraindications to MRI (e.g. pacemakers, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, ear implants, metal fragments, foreign objects in the eyes, skin or body or severe claustrophobia) will not performed this procedure MRI scans will be acquired using routine scanning techniques appropriate for measurement of inflammation, bone marrow edema and erosion. The images will be analyzed locally. The readings of the scan will be performed locally. 1.11 Study duration Study duration: 2 to 3 years • Screening period will start: december 2019 • Estimated first patient inclusion (FPI): january 2020 • Estimated last patient inclusion (LPI): june 2022 • Estimated last patient last visit (LPLV): december 2022 • End of Study : march 2023 Publication summary: July 2023 Final report: sept 2023

Tracking Information

  • Janssen-Cilag International NV
  • University Hospital, Ghent
Principal Investigator: Adrien NZEUSSEU TOUKAP, MD Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc- Université Catholique de Louvain Principal Investigator: Dirk ELEWAUT, MD, PhD University Hospital, Ghent