Current and future treatments for Behçet's uveitis; road to remission

Marina Mesquida, Blanca Molins, Victor Llorenç, María Victoria Hernández, Gerard Espinosa, Andrew D Dick, Alfredo Adán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Behçet's disease (BD) is a multisystem inflammatory disorder of uncertain origin, although it remains defined within the spectrum of systemic immune-mediated vasculitic disorders and also represents a spectrum of putative autoimmune disease. Major symptoms include oral aphthous ulcers, genital ulcerations, skin lesions, and ocular lesions. Despite afflicting many systems, ocular complications of BD are some of the more devastating for the patient and their quality of life. Eye involvement, which affects 60-80 % of BD patients, is characterized in its more severe form by posterior or panuveitis including occlusive retinal vasculitis. While pathogenesis of BD remains complex, association with Class I MHC (HLA-B*51) predisposing to inflammation with engagement of the innate-immune system (neutrophils, NK cells), and perpetuated by the adaptive T cell responses against infectious- and/or auto-antigens. Despite the choice of conventional immunosuppressive therapies available, only recently with the advent of biologic therapy has visual prognosis and outcomes been substantially and favorably altered. For example, both interferon-α (IFN-α) and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α antagonists deliver promising results and for the first time improve prognosis. With IFN-α therapy, durable remissions of uveitis can be achieved and lead to drug-free remission. Similarly, anti-TNF therapy with infliximab is reported to be rapidly effective in inducing and maintaining remission. Most recently, rising evidence reports on the use of adalimumab, etanercept, and golimumab, while use of anti-interleukin (IL)-1 agents (anakinra, canakinumab, gevokizumab), IL-6 blockers (tocilizumab), and rituximab (depleting anti-CD20 antibody) is also increasing. The aim of this review is to provide evidence for the role of conventional therapies combined with evidence for advantages and disadvantages of biologic therapies in the treatment of ocular BD. Although randomized controlled trials remain sparse, evidence remains strong and enticing that biologic agents are invaluable for the treatment of sight-threatening Behçet's uveitis and makes it an exciting time for Behçet's specialists worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Ophthalmology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


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