Psoriatic skin molecular and histopathologic profiles after treatment with risankizumab versus ustekinumab.
Background: IL-23 contributes to the activation, maintenance, and proliferation of TH17 cells and plays a major role in psoriasis pathophysiology. IL-23p19 inhibition with risankizumab resulted in superior clinical responses in patients with psoriasis compared with ustekinumab (dual IL-12/IL-23 inhibitor), but comparative molecular effects have not been established.
Objective: We investigated the similarities and differences in molecular and histopathologic profiles in skin lesions from patients with psoriasis receiving risankizumab versus ustekinumab at an early time point.
Methods: Lesional skin biopsy samples from 81 patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis participating in 2 different studies (a phase I risankizumab study and a phase II study of risankizumab vs ustekinumab) were analyzed by using histopathology, immunohistochemistry, and RNA sequencing.
Results: Risankizumab induced a rapid decrease in levels of proteins and transcriptomic biomarkers associated with the IL-23 pathway, which were maintained through 8 weeks. At week 4, risankizumab decreased histopathologic expression of biomarkers, including K16, Ki67, CD3, lipocalin-2, CD11c, dendritic cell lysosome-associated membrane glycoprotein, β-defensin 2, and S100A7; global histopathologic scoring revealed that 54% and 69% of patients treated with 90 or 180 mg of risankizumab, respectively, were graded as experiencing “excellent improvement” versus 29% of patients treated with ustekinumab. At week 4, there was a common decrease in expression of 2645 genes expressed in lesional skin between patients receiving risankizumab and ustekinumab and a significant decrease in 2682 genes unique to risankizumab treatment. Risankizumab more strongly downregulated expression of genes associated with keratinocytes, epidermal cells, and monocytes, versus ustekinumab.
Conclusion: Risankizumab demonstrated more pronounced changes in the molecular and histopathologic profile of psoriatic skin lesions compared with ustekinumab at week 4.