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Usefulness of Belimumab in Adult Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Evaluated Using Single Indexes: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

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Belimumab is the first antibody drug approved for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and is a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits soluble B lymphocyte stimulator protein. In clinical trials, a composite index was used to assess efficacy of belimumab. However, clinical guidelines on SLE treatment currently use single efficacy indexes.


The main objective of this study was to perform a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of belimumab utilizing single indexes used in routine clinical practice, rather than the composite efficacy index used in clinical trials during the development phase. As a secondary endpoint, safety was also evaluated.


Several databases were searched to identify reports published up to December 1, 2021 on randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of belimumab in adult patients with SLE. From the clinical trial data, efficacy was evaluated using single indexes including the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), British Isles Lupus Assessment Group Index, and Physician Global Assessment. Safety was also assessed. Data were synthesized and analyzed using Review Manager 5.4. This study protocol was registered in the UMIN Clinical Trials Registry (Registration number: UMIN000052846).


The search identified 12 reports that met the inclusion criteria. Five reports were included in efficacy evaluation and nine in safety evaluation. The primary endpoint was SLEDAI. Significantly more belimumab-treated patients achieved a ≥4-point reduction in SLEDAI (relative risk 1.28; 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.40; p < 0.00001) compared with placebo. Other efficacy endpoints were also improved significantly in the belimumab group. No difference in safety was found between belimumab and placebo.


The present meta-analysis evaluating clinical trial data using various single indexes recommended by clinical guidelines for SLE verifies that addition of belimumab to standard of care is efficacious for moderate-to-severe SLE.

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Schedule29 May 2024