News in brief: PBS listing recommendation for psoriasis biologic; Eczema remains common in adults; First treatment to improve OS in metastatic uveal melanoma


4 May 2021

PBS listing recommendation for psoriasis drug

Ustekinumab (Stelara) has received a positive recommendation for PBS listing for the treatment of paediatric patients with severe chronic plaque psoriasis. At its March 2021 meeting the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee said it was satisfied that ustekinumab provided a significant improvement in efficacy over etanercept. A PBS listing was also recommended for upadacitinib (Rinvoq) in severa psoriatic arthritis. However the was an impasse between the committee and Janssen over the acceptable price to enable a PBS listing of a guselkumab 100 mg pre-filled pen (Tremfya) that would replace the currently listed pre-filled syringe.

Eczema common – and different – in adults

Atopic dermatitis is common among middle aged Australians, affecting 1 in 11 adults, and the disease has a different phenotype when it starts after adolescence, a new study shows. Analysis of data collected from 3609 people in their 50s participating in the Tasmania Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS) found that the prevalence of AD was 8.8%. More than half the people with AD (61%) had adult onset while 39% had childhood persistent disease. In those with childhood persistent AD, the most commonly affected regions were elbow creases (50%) and behind the knees (55%), whereas for adults it was around the neck, eyes and ears (45%), followed by elbow creases (30%) and behind the knees (28%).

The findings were presented at the Australasian College of Dermatology annual meeting.

First treatment to improve OS in metastatic uveal melanoma

A novel therapy, tebentafusp, is the first to shown improvements in overall survival (OS) for people with metastatic uveal melanoma, according to investigators presenting results at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021.

Tebentafusp is a bispecific consisting of an affinity-enhanced T cell receptor (TCR) fused to an anti-CD3 effector that can redirect T cells to target gp100+ cells.

In a phase 3 trial involving 378 patients, those who were randomised to tebentafusp had significantly prolonged OS (HR 0.51) at 14 months compared to investigators’ usual choice of care that included pembrolizumab, ipilimumab or dacarbazine.  Patients treated with tebentafusp had an estimated 1-yr OS rate of 73.2% compared to 57.5% with investigators’ choice of care.

The findings were promising given that no systemic treatment has proven an OS benefit in randomised trials, according to the researchers who included Dr Anthony Joshua of the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney.

Adverse events were generally manageable and the rate of treatment discontinuation due to adverse events was low (<4%).

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