Implications of Serene Studies

In a previous post, this blog highlighted SERENE-CD which showed that higher induction doses of adalimumab did not improve outcomes compared to standard dosing (SERENE Study: Does a Higher Induction Dose of Adalimumab Help for Crohn’s Disease?)

However, there was a 2nd SERENE study: SERENE-UC: J Panes et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 162: 1891-1910. Open Access: Higher vs Standard Adalimumab Induction and Maintenance Dosing Regimens for Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis: SERENE UC Trial Results The online version includes supplementary material (link: supplement) which is needed to understand the response rate more fully.

The main component of this double-blind, randomized (no placebo) study allocated 512 patients with ulcerative colitis to a higher induction regimen (HIR) of adalimumab and 340 patients to a standard induction regimen (SIR). A maintenance phase continued with 374 main patients who were clinical responders at week 8 (n=757 who completed induction). The study results are presented in a confusing manner, in part because of a subgroup from Japan as well as a great deal of data from both the induction phase and the maintenance phase.

Key findings:

  • In the main study, 13.3% vs 10.9% of patients receiving the higher induction regimen (HIR) vs standard induction regimen (SIR) achieved clinical remission (full Mayo score ≤2 with no subscore >1) at week 8 (induction primary end point; P = .265)
  • Among week-8 responders, 39.5% vs 29.0% receiving 40 mg ew vs 40 mg eow achieved clinical remission at week 52 (maintenance primary end point; P = .069).
  • Figure S2 below shows that approximately 50% of patients treated with adalimumab had a clinical response at week 8

My takes on this study:

  1. Fairly low response to adalimumab: the clinical remission rate for adalimumab is low at week 8 (10-13%) and the 8-week response rate is less than 50%
  2. Higher doses during induction were not helpful & did not result in significantly better responses at week 8
  3. Therapeutic drug monitoring was not beneficial in this study
  4. Higher doses during maintenance were associated with improved responses: patients receiving weekly adalimumab during maintenance treatment had improved week 52 remission. The editorial (pages 1831-1832) note that this effect was demonstrated in those with “elevated C-reactive protein, low albumin, extensive UC or long disease burden”
Figure S2: Clinical response was defined as Partial Mayo Score decrease from baseline ≥ 2 and ≥ 30% plus ≥ 1-point
decrease from baseline in rectal bleeding subscore or absolute rectal bleeding subscore of 0 or 1.
Clinical remission was defined as Partial Mayo Score ≤ 2 with no subscore > 1.
ADA, adalimumab; HIR, higher induction regimen; SD, standard deviation; SIR, standard induction regimen

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