Background: Peficitinib (ASP015K), a novel oral Janus kinase inhibitor, has demonstrated efficacy and safety for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in randomized, controlled trials of up to 52 weeks' duration. However, safety and effectiveness after long-term treatment have not been assessed. Methods: This was an interim analysis of an ongoing open-label, multicenter extension study in RA patients who completed phase 2b (RAJ1; 12 weeks) and phase 3 (RAJ3 and RAJ4; 52 weeks) peficitinib studies in Asia (mainly Japan). Eligible patients (n = 843) received oral peficitinib once daily (100 mg, or 50 mg for patients transferring from RAJ1). The peficitinib dose could be increased (up to 150 mg) or reduced (to 50 mg) at the discretion of the investigator. Efficacy variables assessed included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) response rates, ACR components, and disease activity score in 28 joints based on C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP). Results: Results up to May 2018 are summarized. Mean peficitinib duration of exposure was 22.7 months and the maximum dose was 100 mg in most (66.5%) patients. ACR responses were maintained during the extension study, with ACR20/50/70 response rates of 71.6%, 52.1%, and 34.7% at week 0 and 78.9%, 61.4%, and 42.7% at end of treatment, respectively. ACR components and DAS28-CRP showed improvements from baselines of the preceding studies and continued to show improvements during the extension study. Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were reported in 757/843 (89.8%) patients, the most common being nasopharyngitis (39.7%) and herpes zoster (11.7%). The majority of TEAEs were severity grade 1/2. Drug-related TEAEs leading to permanent study drug discontinuation occurred in 55/843 (6.5%) patients. Regarding AEs of special interest, the incidence per 100 patient-years of serious infections was 2.3 (95% CI 1.6 - 3.1), herpes zoster-related disease 6.8 (95% CI, 5.6 - 8.3), and malignancies 1.1 (95% CI, 0.7 - 1.8). One death from diffuse large B cell lymphoma during the study and one death from uterine sarcoma after the study were considered probably and possibly related to study drug, respectively. Conclusions: The effectiveness of peficitinib was maintained or improved during long-term administration and treatment up to 6 years was well tolerated in Asian patients with RA. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01638013, registered retrospectively 11 July 2012.
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