A Phase IV, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study of the Effects of Ustekinumab on Vascular Inflammation in Psoriasis (the VIP-U Trial).


Department of Dermatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Psoriasis is a T helper type 17 autoimmune disease associated with an increased risk cardiovascular events and mortality. Ustekinumab, an antibody to p40, blocks cytokines IL-12 and IL-23, and is a highly effective and safe treatment for psoriasis. We conducted a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial to determine the effect of ustekinumab on aortic vascular inflammation (AVI) measured by imaging, and key biomarkers of inflammation, lipid, and glucose metabolism in the blood of patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. A total of 43 patients were randomized, and at week 12, ustekinumab-treated patients had a -18.65% (95% confidence interval = -29.45% to -7.85%) reduction in AVI, a reduction in inflammatory biomarkers, and an increase in apolipoprotein B lipoproteins compared with placebo. At week 12, placebo patients were crossed over such that all patients received ustekinumab for 52 weeks. At the end of 52 weeks of ustekinumab treatment, there was no change in AVI compared with baseline, inflammatory markers were reduced, and there were increases in selected measures of lipids and leptin. These results show that blockade of IL-12 and/or IL-23 may transiently reduce AVI, with more durable reduction in inflammatory cytokines associated with cardiovascular disease.