News in brief: JAK inhibitors effective in alopecia; AAD meeting this weekend; 10 skin side effects of checkpoint inhibitors


21 Apr 2021

JAK inhibitors effective in alopecia

The oral JAK inhibitors ritlecitinib and brepocitinib may reverse hair loss in patients with alopecia areata, a study suggests.

In a phase 2 a randomised controlled trial involving 142 patients with  more than 50% scalp hair loss, those treated with the JAK inhibitors for 24 weeks showed significant hair regrowth compared to a placebo group. The proportion of patients achieving 30% improvement in

Severity of Alopecia Tool  (SALT) score was 50% for ritlecitinib, 64% for brepocitinib and 2% for placebo. The treatment was also generally well tolerated, according to results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

AAD meeting this weekend

The American Academy of Dermatology’s annual conference will be a virtual meeting taking place this weekend from 23-25 April (Saturday-Monday Australian time).

The meeting will feature presentations, interactive sessions and cover hot topics such as ‘JAK Inhibitors: The Next Frontier in Dermatology’ and controversies in melanoma diagnosis. Plenary speakers in include Dr John E. Harris of UMass Medical School, talking about the potential for biologics to treat vitiligo, and Professor Suzanne L. Topalian, director of the melanoma program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at John Hopkins, speaking on the subject of how immune checkpoint blockade is changing the outlook for patients with melanoma and other skin cancers.

10 skin side effects of checkpoint inhibitors

A clearer picture of the frequency and range of cutaneous immune related adverse events (irAEs) associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors has been provided by a US study.

Analysis of data from 8,637 cancer patients checkpoint inhibitors showed that the overall incidence of skin-related side effects was 25.1%, with a median time of onset of 113 days.

The most frequent cutanaeous adverse events included pruritus, mucositis, erythroderma, maculopapular eruption, vitiligo, lichen planus, bullous pemphigoid, Grover’s disease, rash and other non-specific eruption.

The risk of cutaneous irAEs was highest in patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, and those receiving combination therapy.

The study investigators said that only 10 of more than 40 skin conditions previously linked to immune checkpoint inhibitors were actually seen at a high incidence among cancer patients taking the medications.

They also found that 5% of patients were prescribed systemic corticosteroids to treat cutaneous irAEs, despite concerns that they may blunt the anti-tumour effects of immunotherapy.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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