Gordon L. Sussman November 09, 2021
Nat Med. 2021 Nov 8.  Online ahead of print. [OPEN Access] Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) is crucial for FcεRI-mediated mast cell activation and essential for autoantibody production by B cells in chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU). Fenebrutinib, an orally administered, potent, highly selective, reversible BTK inhibitor, may be effective in CSU. This double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial (EudraCT ID 2016-004624-35 ) randomized 93 adults with antihistamine-refractory CSU to 50 mg daily, 150 mg daily and 200 mg twice daily of fenebrutinib or placebo for 8 weeks. The primary end point was change from baseline in urticaria activity score over 7 d (UAS7) at week 8. Secondary end points were the change from baseline in UAS7 at week 4 and the proportion of patients well-controlled (UAS7 ≤ 6) at week 8. Fenebrutinib efficacy in patients with type IIb autoimmunity and effects on IgG-anti-FcεRI were exploratory end points. Safety was also evaluated. The primary end point was met, with dose-dependent improvements in UAS7 at week 8 occurring at 200 mg twice daily and 150 mg daily, but not at 50 mg daily of fenebrutinib versus placebo. Asymptomatic, reversible grade 2 and 3 liver transaminase elevations occurred in the fenebrutinib 150 mg daily and 200 mg twice daily groups (2 patients each). Fenebrutinib diminished disease activity in patients with antihistamine-refractory CSU, including more patients with refractory type IIb autoimmunity. These results support the potential use of BTK inhibition in antihistamine-refractory CSU.  PMID:34750553 | DOI:10.1038/s41591-021-01537-w

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