TNF-{alpha} inhibitors used as steroid-sparing maintenance monotherapy in parenchymal CNS sarcoidosis

Objective

To assess the efficacy of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) inhibitors used as steroid-sparing monotherapy in central nervous system (CNS) parenchymal sarcoidosis.

Methods

The French Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroinflammation Centers retrospectively identified patients with definite or probable CNS sarcoidosis treated with TNF-α inhibitors as steroid-sparing monotherapy. Only patients with CNS parenchymal involvement demonstrated by MRI and imaging follow-up were included. The primary outcome was the minimum dose of steroids reached that was not associated with clinical or imaging worsening during a minimum of 3 months after dosing change.

Results

Of the identified 38 patients with CNS sarcoidosis treated with TNF-α inhibitors, 23 fulfilled all criteria (13 females). Treatments were infliximab (n=22) or adalimumab (n=1) for a median (IQR) of 24 (17–40) months. At treatment initiation, the mean (SD) age was 41.5 (10.5) years and median (IQR) disease duration 22 (14–49.5) months. Overall, 60% of patients received other immunosuppressive agents before a TNF-α inhibitor. The mean (SD) minimum dose of steroids was 31.5 (33) mg before TNF-α inhibitor initiation and 6.5 (5.5) mg after (p=0.001). In all, 65% of patients achieved steroids dosing <6 mg/day; 61% showed clinical improvement, 30% stability and 9% disease worsening. Imaging revealed improvement in 74% of patients and stability in 26%.

Conclusion

TNF-α inhibitors can greatly reduce steroids dosing in patients with CNS parenchymal sarcoidosis, even refractory.

Classification of evidence

This study provides Class IV evidence that TNF-α inhibitor used as steroid-sparing monotherapy is effective for patients with CNS parenchymal sarcoidosis.

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