Currently Used Biologic Agents in the Management of Behcet's Syndrome

Saygin C., Uzunaslan D., Hatemi G.

CURRENT MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY, vol.22, no.16, pp.1976-1985, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 16
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.2174/0929867322666150209161448
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1976-1985


Behcet's s yndrome (BS) is a multisystem vasculitis with frequent mucocutaneous, joint, eye and visceral organ involvement. From early 2000s, biologic drugs have been increasingly used in the management of BS, enabling rapid and complete remission in most cases with critical organ involvement. Despite the current experience with steroids and traditional immunosuppressives, biologics are exceptionally promising for treatment of resistant cases. Among the biologics used in BS, TNF-alpha antagonists are the oldest and their efficacy has been proven in recalcitrant ocular, vascular, gastrointestinal and neurologic involvements. These drugs have significantly reduced morbidity and mortality in BS and they have an acceptable safety profile. Tocilizumab, an IL6 receptor antibody, has been shown to be effective in BS patients with neurologic involvement and amyloidosis, and IL1 beta antagonists such as anakinra, canakinumab, gevokizumab were effective in the management of ocular involvement. Studies investigating the efficacy of daclizumab, IL2 receptor antibody, and secukinumab, IL17 monoclonal antibody, in the management of BS with eye involvement failed to demonstrate significant clinical improvement and both studies were halted. A monoclonal vascular endothelial growth factor antagonist, bevacizumab, was shown to be effective in BS-related macular edema. Alemtuzumab and ustekinumab are among other biologics which were effective in controlling disease symptoms. In this review, we discuss the efficacy and safety of various recently developed biologic agents targeting different pathways involved in the pathogenesis of BS.