This article is part of MPR’s coverage of the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2019 Meeting, taking place in San Francisco, CA. Our staff will report on medical research related to eye disorders, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAO 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO – Certain types of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors may affect the recurrence of uveitis in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), according to research presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2019 Annual Meeting, held October 12-15, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

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Study authors conducted a retrospective review of medical records from 2005-2018 which identified 175 patients with a history of noninfectious uveitis who were treated with TNF inhibitors (adalimumab [n=62], infliximab [n=49], etanercept [n=37], and golimumab [n=27]) to manage AS. Cox proportional-hazards regressions were used to calculate hazard ratios of the time to new onset and recurrence of uveitis controlling for age, sex, and other immunosuppressive agents used.  The cumulative occurrence rates of developing uveitis in the TNF blocking period were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier analysis, and a log-rank test was used to analyze differences between the survival curves.

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Findings from the study showed uveitis occurred in 27 patients during a mean follow-up of 46.7 months with an overall incidence and recurrence rate of 5% and 38.2%, respectively. Based on the type of anti-TNF agent used, the 3-year cumulative occurrence rates of uveitis were significantly different (P =.020), while the risk of new-onset uveitis were similar. Patients treated with infliximab demonstrated a 5.4 times higher risk of recurrence than those treated with adalimumab and golimumab groups (P =.022).

Study authors concluded, “Different types of anti-TNF drugs were not associated with the incidence risk of uveitis; however, chimeric mouse-human monoclonal antibody (infliximab) was found to increase the risk of recurrence of uveitis compared to humanized monoclonal antibody (adalimumab or golimumab).”


Choi E, Lee CS. Occurrence of Uveitis in Rheumatic Disease Patients on TNF Inhibitors. Presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2019 Annual Meeting; October 12-15, 2019; San Francisco, California. Poster number: PO537. 

This article originally appeared on MPR