A Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of Secukinumab in Alleviating Symptoms of Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Massachusetts General Hospital
Updated on 17 September 2021
monoclonal antibody


Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic inflammatory skin condition and may lead to itch, skin pain, open sores, scarring, disfigurement and hair loss. Studies have shown that IL-17A may play a major role in inflammation and in the pathogenesis of discoid lupus. Treatment of discoid lupus sometimes is a challenge and unresponsive to current therapies. Secukinumab, an anti-IL-17A monoclonal antibody has been safe and effective in the treatment of psoriasis. The investigators propose to study the efficacy and safety of secukinumab in discoid lupus.


Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a cutaneous manifestation of lupus that can exist either as part of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or as a chronic cutaneous condition with no systemic involvement. While the skin-limited, chronic form, has no impact on mortality, it can have significant morbidity, as lesions are painful and scarring. While some patients respond well to use of steroids, whether topical or intralesional, antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine, or traditional immuno-suppressants there is a significant proportion of patients who remain non-responsive to these treatments, or require high dosages of these, oral steroids, or experimental therapies to suppress the condition. For this group of patients there is a high clinical need to find alternate therapies.

Although the pathways of inflammation are poorly understood, one cytokine of potential interest is IL-17A. Immunohistochemical analysis of skin samples from 89 subjects showed that expression of IL-17A was higher in DLE, SCLE and SLE patients than in negative control subjects (all p<0.05). Serum IL-17A concentrations were higher in DLE and SLE patients than in negative controls (p<0.05), a finding confirmed in studies of DLE in different populations.

Recently secukinumab (Cosentyx), an anti-IL-17A monoclonal antibody, has been approved for use in psoriasis after rapid and sustained results in clinical trials. It has also found promise in other inflammatory conditions where IL-17A signaling is believed to be important, such as uveitis.

Given its good safety profile, its impressive response in psoriasis and steroid-unresponsive inflammatory conditions, and the immunohistochemical evidence that IL-17A may be important in the inflammatory path of DLE, the investigators propose a pilot study of secukinumab in discoid lupus erythematosus.

Condition Discoid lupus erythematosus, Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus
Treatment Secukinumab
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03866317
SponsorMassachusetts General Hospital
Last Modified on17 September 2021

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