Ruxolitinib Found to Benefit Subset of Adolescents With Vitiligo Up to 1 Year

Doug Brunk

July 08, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS – Adolescents with nonsegmental vitiligo achieved substantial repigmentation with ruxolitinib cream, compared with those in a vehicle group at week 24, and a higher proportion responded at week 52, results from a pooled analysis of phase 3 data showed.

Dr David Rosmarin

Currently, there is no treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration to repigment patients with vitiligo, but the cream formulation of the Janus kinase inhibitor ruxolitinib was shown to be effective and have a favorable safety profile in patients aged 12 years and up in the phase 3 clinical trials, TRuE-V1 and TruE-V2. "We know that about half of patients will develop vitiligo by the age of 20, so there is a significant need to have treatments available for the pediatric population," lead study author David Rosmarin, MD, told this news organization in advance of the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

In September 2021, topical ruxolitinib (Opzelura) was approved by the FDA for treating atopic dermatitis in nonimmunocompromised patients aged 12 years and older. The manufacturer, Incyte, has submitted an application for approval to the agency for treating vitiligo in patients ages 12 years and older based on 24-week results; the FDA is expected to make a decision by July 18.

For the current study, presented during a poster session at the meeting, Rosmarin, of the department of dermatology at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, and colleagues pooled efficacy and safety data for adolescent patients aged 12-17 years from the TRuE-V studies, which enrolled patients 12 years of age and older diagnosed with nonsegmental vitiligo with depigmentation covering up to 10% of total body surface area (BSA), including facial and total Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (F-VASI/T-VASI) scores of ≥ 0.5/≥ 3. Investigators randomized patients 2:1 to twice-daily 1.5% ruxolitinib cream or vehicle for 24 weeks, after which all patients could apply 1.5% ruxolitinib cream through week 52. Efficacy endpoints included the proportions of patients who achieved at least 75%, 50%, and 90% improvement from baseline in F-VASI scores (F-VASI75, F-VASI50, F-VASI90); the proportion of patients who achieved at least a 50% improvement from baseline in T-VASI (T-VASI50); the proportion of patients who achieved a Vitiligo Noticeability Scale (VNS) rating of 4 or 5; and percentage change from baseline in facial BSA (F-BSA). Safety and tolerability were also assessed.

For the pooled analysis, Rosmarin and colleagues reported results on 72 adolescents: 55 who received ruxolitinib cream and 17 who received vehicle. At week 24, 32.1% of adolescents treated with ruxolitinib cream achieved F-VASI75, compared with none of those in the vehicle group. Further, response rates at week 52 for patients who applied ruxolitinib cream from day 1 were as follows: F-VASI75, 48.0%; F-VASI50, 70.0%; F-VASI90, 24.0%; T-VASI50, 60.0%; VNS score of 4/5, 56.0%; and F-BSA mean percentage change from baseline, –41.9%.

Efficacy at week 52 among crossover patients (after 28 weeks of ruxolitinib cream) was consistent with week 24 data in patients who applied ruxolitinib cream from day 1.

"As we know that repigmentation takes time, about half of the patients achieved the F-VASI75 at the 52-week endpoint," said Rosmarin, who is also vice-chair for research and education at Tufts Medical Center, Boston. "Particularly remarkable is that 60% of adolescents achieved a T-VASI50 [50% or more repigmentation of the whole body at the year mark] and over half the patients described their vitiligo as a lot less noticeable or no longer noticeable at the year mark."

In terms of safety, treatment-related adverse events occurred in 12.9% of patients treated with ruxolitinib (no information was available on the specific events). Serious adverse events occurred in 1.4% of patients; none were considered related to treatment.

"Overall, these results are quite impressive," Rosmarin said. "While it can be very challenging to repigment patients with vitiligo, ruxolitinib cream provides an effective option which can help many of my patients." He acknowledged certain limitations of the analysis, including the fact that the TRuE-V studies were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, "which may have contributed to patients being lost to follow-up. Also, the majority of the patients had skin phototypes 1-3."

Dr Carrie Coughlin

Carrie C. Coughlin, MD, who was asked to comment on the study, said that patients with vitiligo need treatment options that are well-studied and covered by insurance. "This study is a great step forward in developing medications for this underserved patient population," said Coughlin, who directs the section of pediatric dermatology at Washington University/St. Louis Children's Hospital.

However, she continued, "the authors mention approximately 13% of patients had a treatment-related adverse reaction, but the abstract does not delineate these reactions." In addition, the study was limited to children who had less than or equal to 10% body surface area involvement of vitiligo, she noted, adding that "more work is needed to learn about safety of application to larger surface areas."

Going forward, "it will be important to learn the durability of response," said Coughlin, who is also assistant professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis. "Does the vitiligo return if patients stop applying the ruxolitinib cream?"

Rosmarin disclosed that he has received honoraria as a consultant for Incyte, AbbVie, Abcuro, AltruBio, Arena, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Celgene, Concert, CSL Behring, Dermavant, Dermira, Janssen, Kyowa Kirin, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Revolo Biotherapeutics, Sanofi, Sun Pharmaceuticals, UCB, and VielaBio. He has also received research support from Incyte, AbbVie, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Dermira, Galderma, Janssen, Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Regeneron; and has served as a paid speaker for Incyte, AbbVie, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Incyte, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, and Sanofi. Coughlin is on the board of the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance and the International immunosuppression and Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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