Efficacy and safety of secukinumab in patients with giant cell arteritis: study protocol for a randomized, parallel group, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II trial

Nils Venhoff, Wolfgang A. Schmidt, Peter Lamprecht, Hans Peter Tony, Christine App, Christian Sieder, Carolin Legeler*, Claudia Jentzsch, Jens Thiel

*Corresponding author for this work
22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: One key pathological finding in giant cell arteritis (GCA) is the presence of interferon-gamma and interleukin (IL)-17 producing T helper (Th) 1 and Th17 cells in affected arteries. There is anecdotal evidence of successful induction and maintenance of remission with the monoclonal anti-IL-17A antibody secukinumab. Inhibition of IL-17A could therefore represent a potential new therapeutic option for the treatment of GCA. Methods: This is a randomized, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center, phase II study in which patients, treating physicians, and the associated clinical staff as well as the sponsor clinical team are blinded. It is designed to evaluate efficacy and safety of secukinumab compared to placebo in combination with an open-label prednisolone taper regimen. Patients included are naïve to biological therapy and have newly diagnosed or relapsing GCA. Fifty patients are randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either 300 mg secukinumab or placebo subcutaneously at baseline, weeks 1, 2 and 3, and every 4 weeks from week 4. Patients in both treatment arms receive a 26-week prednisolone taper regimen. The study consists of a maximum 6-week screening period, a 52-week treatment period (including the 26-week tapering), and an 8-week safety follow-up, with primary and secondary endpoint assessments at week 28. Patients who do not achieve remission by week 12 experience a flare after remission or cannot adhere to the prednisolone tapering will enter the escape arm and receive prednisolone at a dose determined by the investigator’s clinical judgment. The blinded treatment is continued. Two optional imaging sub-studies are included (ultrasound and contrast-media enhanced magnetic resonance angiography [MRA]) to assess vessel wall inflammation and occlusion before and after treatment. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients in sustained remission until week 28 in the secukinumab group compared to the proportion of patients in the placebo group. A Bayesian approach is applied. Discussion: The trial design allows the first placebo-controlled data collection on the efficacy and safety of secukinumab in patients with GCA. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03765788. Registration on 5 December 2018, prospective registration, EudraCT number 2018-002610-12; clinical trial protocol number CAIN457ADE11C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number543
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-18 Rheumatology

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