The biologic agent etanercept (Enbrel) reduced C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis following 12 weeks of treatment, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, TX.

Median reduction in CRP levels was 10 times greater in the Enbrel-treated group compared to the placebo-treated group.

The 501 patients in the Enbrel-psoriasis study had intermediate to high baseline CRP levels, a finding which reinforces that psoriasis is not only a skin disease, but in some patients may be a serious systemic inflammatory disease, says Bruce Strober, MD, PhD, study investigator and co-director of the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center of New York University Medical Center. 

“The results from this psoriasis treatment study are encouraging because they show that Enbrel not only improved the symptoms of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, but reduced their levels of CRP as well,” Dr. Strober says.  “However, further research is needed to better understand whether reducing CRP levels lowers the risk for developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease that may derive from increased systemic inflammation.”