Safety and efficacy of secukinumab in patients with giant cell arteritis (TitAIN): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial

Nils Venhoff, Wolfgang A. Schmidt, Raoul Bergner, Jürgen Rech, Leonore Unger, Hans Peter Tony, Stephanie Finzel, Ioana Andreica, David M. Kofler, Stefan M. Weiner, Peter Lamprecht, Hendrik Schulze-Koops, Christine App, Effie Pournara, Meryl H. Mendelson, Christian Sieder, Meron Maricos, Jens Thiel*

*Corresponding author for this work
5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The treatment of giant cell arteritis with glucocorticoid-sparing agents is an unmet medical need. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of secukinumab, an anti-interleukin-17A monoclonal antibody, in patients with giant cell arteritis. Methods: We conducted a Bayesian randomised, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre, phase 2 study at 11 clinics or hospitals in Germany. Patients aged 50 years or older with new-onset or relapsing giant cell arteritis who were naive to biological therapy and already receiving glucocorticoids with a prednisolone equivalent dose of 25–60 mg/day were eligible for inclusion. Participants were assigned (1:1) to receive 300 mg secukinumab or placebo subcutaneously once a week up to week 4 and every 4 weeks thereafter. In both treatment groups, prednisolone dose was tapered down to 0 mg over a 26-week period. Patients, investigator staff, and clinical trial team were masked to the treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was the median proportion (Bayesian analysis) of patients with sustained remission until week 28 in the full analysis set (ie, all patients who received at least one dose of assigned treatment, analysed according to treatment assigned at randomisation). Sustained remission rate of the placebo group from a previous trial of tocilizumab in patients with giant cell arteritis was used to derive the prior distribution of placebo sustained remission rate for the primary endpoint. The safety of secukinumab was assessed in the safety set (ie, all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment, analysed according to study treatment received). This trial is completed and is registered with, NCT03765788. Findings: Of the 65 patients who were assessed for eligibility, 52 patients (median age 75 years [IQR 69–79]; 35 [67%] female and 17 [33%] male, 52 [100%] White) were enrolled between Jan 30, 2019 and March 30, 2020 and were randomly assigned to receive secukinumab (n=27) or placebo (n=25). Four of 27 patients in the secukinumab group and eight of 25 patients in the placebo group discontinued treatment by week 28 of the study. On the basis of the Bayesian analysis, the median proportion of patients in sustained remission until week 28 was 70% (95% credibility interval 52–85) in the secukinumab group versus 20% (12–30) in the placebo group. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the secukinumab (27 [100%] of 27 patients had any adverse event) and placebo groups (24 [96%] of 25 patients had any adverse event); the most common adverse events were hypertension (six [22%] of 27 patients in the secukinumab group and eight [32%] of 25 patients in the placebo group) and nasopharyngitis (five [19%] of 27 patients in the secukinumab group and five [20%] of 25 patients in the placebo group). Two patients (one in each group) died during the study, neither of which was considered to be related to study treatment. Interpretation: Patients with active giant cell arteritis had a higher sustained remission rate in the secukinumab group than in the placebo group at week 28, in combination with glucocorticoid taper regimen. Secukinumab was tolerated well with no new safety concerns. This proof-of-concept phase 2 study further supports the development of secukinumab as a treatment option for people with giant cell arteritis. Funding: Novartis Pharma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Lancet Rheumatology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)e341-e350
Publication statusPublished - 06.2023

Research Areas and Centers

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

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-18 Rheumatology

Cite this