IL-20, IL-21 and p40: Potential Biomarkers of Treatment Response for Ustekinumab
Anne Gedebjerg, Claus Johansen, Knud Kragballe, Lars Iversen
Although biological drugs in psoriasis treatment show clinical efficacy, there are still a proportion of patients in whom little treatment response is obtained. The aim of this study was to identify molecular biomarkers for treatment response and to investigate the molecular effects of ustekinumab treatment of psoriasis. The mRNA expression of various genes in skin biopsies was analysed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). At baseline, there was no significant clinical difference be-tween responders and non-responders. Ten patients were clinical responders, with a mean baseline Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score of 15.4 and a mean percentage improvement of 89.6%. No significant reduction in PASI during treatment was seen among the 5 non-responders. In the responder group, ustekinumab therapy reduced the mRNA expression of the majority of the studied genes in lesional psoriatic skin. IL-20, IL-21 and p40 mRNA expression in lesional psoriatic skin at baseline were significantly upregulated by factors of 2.7, 2.4 and 2.3, respectively, among non-responders compared with responders. The mRNA levels of p40, IL-20 and IL-21 at baseline may serve as potential predictors of treat-ment response to ustekinumab treatment.