Rationale and Early Clinical Data on IL-17 Blockade in Psoriasis

Steven M Nwe; Amanda H Champlain; Kenneth B Gordon


Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2013;9(7):677-682. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Psoriasis vulgaris is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory disease that affects between 2 and 3% of the US population. Often severely physically and emotionally debilitating, psoriasis has driven investigators to strive to better characterize its complex immune pathogenesis. Some of the most promising and exciting advances have occurred in the last decade with recognition of the IL-23/Th17 pathway in disease initiation, progression and maintenance. Biologic therapies targeting various points in the pathway have met with success, prompting the study of the safety and efficacy of IL-17 blockade for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. This article will review the rationale and early clinical data on IL-17 blockade in psoriasis.


Psoriasis vulgaris is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory disease that, in its most common phenotypic presentation, manifests as erythematous, scaly plaques on the skin of affected individuals. Psoriatic lesions can be pruritic and oftentimes painful, causing significant decreases in patient quality of life scores while subsequently altering patient self-image and esteem.[1–5] With prevalence estimates ranging from 2 to 3% in the US, psoriasis continues to be one of the most common dermatologic diseases[6] with an estimated 1.5 million having moderate to severe disease.[7] Additionally, recent estimates suggest that up to 30% of the patients with psoriasis can also have psoriatic arthritis which, in its most severe form can lead to permanent joint damage and be severely debilitating.[8–10] Given the prevalence of psoriasis, as well as the morbidity associated with active disease, scientists and clinicians continue to study the pathogenesis of disease and concomitantly the development of novel targeted treatments. One of the most recent and perhaps most promising developments in psoriasis research is the role of the Th17 CD4+ T cell and one of its cytokines, IL-17, in disease pathophysiology, progression and maintenance.