Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), an important inflammatory mediator in tuberculosis, has been implicated in causing accelerated HIV disease progression in HIV-associated tuberculosis. However, TNF blockade, particularly by monoclonal antibody, has been associated with the reactivation of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection by the impairment of mycobacterial immunity. This phase 1 study examined the safety, microbiology, immunology, and virology of TNF blockade using etanercept (soluble TNF receptor, Enbrel) during the initial treatment of HIV-associated tuberculosis.
A single-arm trial, with key endpoints compared with historical controls, conducted in Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda.
Sixteen HIV-1-infected patients and 42 CD4-frequency-matched controls with sputum smear-positive tuberculosis and CD4 cell counts > 200 cells/μl.
Etanercept 25 mg, eight doses administered subcutaneously twice weekly beginning on day 4 of tuberculosis therapy.
Serial examination, radiography, sputum culture, CD4 T-cell counts, plasma log10 HIV-RNA copy numbers.
Trends towards superior responses to tuberculosis treatment were evident in etanercept-treated subjects in body mass, performance score, number of involved lung zones, cavitary closure, and time to sputum culture conversion. Etanercept treatment resulted in a 25% increase in CD4 cells by week 4 (P = 0.1 compared with controls). The change in CD4 cell count was inversely related to the change in serum neopterin, a marker of macrophage activation. There was no effect on plasma HIV RNA.
Etanercept can be safely administered during the initial treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Further studies are warranted to examine the effects of etanercept on T-cell numbers, activation and apoptosis in AIDS and tuberculosis.
From the aDepartment of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA; bDepartment of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry – New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA; cDepartments of Medicine and Microbiology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda; dJoint Clinical Research Center, Kampala, Uganda; eDepartment of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Correspondence to Robert S. Wallis, Department of Medicine, UMDNJ-NJMS, 185 South Orange Avenue, MSB I-503, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.
Tel: +1 973 972 8778; fax: +1 973 972 8878; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: 6 February 2003; revised: 2 June 2003; accepted: 25 June 2003.