Teprotumumab for patients with active thyroid eye disease

Teprotumumab for patients with active thyroid eye disease: a pooled data analysis, subgroup analyses, and off-treatment follow-up results from two randomised, double-masked, placebo-controlled, multicentre trials

Published:April 15, 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(21)00056-5




Thyroid eye disease manifests inflammation and treatment-resistant proptosis and diplopia. Teprotumumab, an insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor inhibiting monoclonal antibody, was approved in the USA on Jan 21, 2020, on the basis of two randomised trials. In this analysis we evaluated the short-term and long-term aggregate response to teprotumumab from the two trials, focusing on proptosis and diplopia.


We analysed integrated outcomes and follow-up data from two randomised, double-masked, placebo-controlled, multicentre, trials done at a total of 28 academic referral tertiary specialised centres offering joint thyroid eye clinics, or orbital clinics or practices, or both, in Europe and the USA. Participants were adult patients with a diagnosis of Graves' disease and active moderate-to-severe thyroid eye disease (clinical activity score [CAS] ≥4). Patients received eight intravenous infusions of either teprotumumab (10 mg/kg body weight for the first infusion, 20 mg/kg for subsequent infusions) or placebo every 3 weeks. The final study visit was at week 24, 3 weeks after the final infusion. In our analysis, the prespecified primary outcome was the between-group difference from baseline to week 24 in the proportion of patients with a proptosis response (≥2 mm reduction in the study eye without similar deterioration in the fellow eye at week 24) stratified by tobacco non-use and current use. Secondary endpoints at week 24 were the proportion of patients with improved diplopia (≥1 Bahn–Gorman grade), an overall response (reduction of ≥2 mm in proptosis and reduction of ≥2 points in CAS), mean change from baseline in proptosis measurement in the study eye, mean change from baseline in Graves' ophthalmopathy quality of life (GO-QOL) questionnaire scores (overall, visual functioning, and appearance), and the proportion of patients with disease inactivation (ie, a CAS score of 0 or 1). We also assessed data for the primary and secondary outcomes by patient subgroups (tobacco use; age <65 years or older; sex; time to diagnosis; CAS score 4 or 5, or 6 or 7; and thyrotropin binding inhibiting immunoglobulin [TBII] concentration <10 IU/L or ≥10 IU/L) versus placebo. Additional outcomes included short-term and long-term responses at 7 weeks and 51 weeks after the final dose, and post-hoc assessments of disease severity (more severe baseline disease defined as proptosis ≥3 mm or constant or inconstant diplopia, or both, as compared with all others), and an ophthalmic composite outcome (improvement in ≥1 eye from baseline without deterioration in either eye in ≥2 of the following: absence of eyelid swelling; CAS ≥2; proptosis ≥2 mm; lid aperture ≥2 mm; diplopia disappearance or grade change; or improvement of 8 degrees of globe motility). All outcome endpoint analyses were done by intention-to-treat (ITT) except where noted.


The pooled ITT population consisted of 84 patients assigned teprotumumab and 87 assigned placebo. More patients receiving teprotumumab achieved a reduction of at least 2 mm in proptosis at week 24 versus placebo (65 [77%] of 84 patients assigned teprotumumab vs 13 [15%] assigned placebo; stratified treatment difference 63%, 95% CI 51–75; p<0·0001). Numbers-needed-to-treat (NNT) were 1·6 for proptosis response, 2·5 for diplopia response (treatment difference 39%, 95% CI 23–55), 1·7 for overall response (treatment difference 60%, 48–72), and 2·5 for disease inactivation (treatment difference 40%, 27–53); all p <0·0001. The post-hoc assessment of the composite outcome showed that it was reached by 68 (81%) patients in the teprotumumab group and 38 (44%) in the placebo group (NNT 2·5, treatment difference 40%, 95% CI 26–53; p<0·0001). There were significantly more proptosis responders with teprotumumab in all subgroups at week 24; the number of diplopia responders was also significantly higher with teprotumumab for all subgroups except tobacco users and patients with TBII less than 10 IU/L at baseline. Integrated treatment differences for proptosis ranged from 47% in tobacco users (95% CI 21–73, p=0·0015; NNT=2·1) to 83% in patients aged 65 years and older (60–100, p<0·0001; NNT=1·2), and for diplopia ranged from 29% in tobacco users (95% CI −3 to 62, p=0·086; NNT=3·4) to 47% in those with baseline CAS of 6 or 7 (95% CI 23–71, p=0·0002; NNT=2·1). All other integrated subgroup results were p≤0·033. Integrated responses were observed at 7 weeks and 51 weeks after final dose for proptosis in 62 (87%) of 71 patients and 38 (67%) of 57 patients respectively; for diplopia in 38 (66%) of 58 and 33 (69%) of 48 respectively; and for the composite outcome in 66 (92%) of 72 and 48 (83%) of 58, respectively. During the 24-week study, compared with placebo, there were moderate-to-large improvements with teprotumumab for GO-QOL total scores (19 vs 6, p<0·0001), visual scores (20 vs 7, p=0·0003), and appearance scores (18 vs 6, p=0·0003), respectively, which were maintained during follow-up. Of all adverse events during the treatment period, 63 (94%) of 67 patients with teprotumumab and 59 (98%) of 60 patients with placebo were mild to moderate (grade 1 or 2), with three (4%) serious adverse events related or possibly related to teprotumumab of diarrhoea, infusion reaction, and Hashimoto's encephalopathy (co-incident with confusion) leading to study discontinuation. Of the most commonly reported adverse events with teprotumumab, muscle spasm (18%, 95% CI 7·3–28·7), hearing loss (10%), and hyperglycaemia (8%, 1·7–15·0) had the greatest risk difference from placebo.


Teprotumumab markedly improved the clinical course of thyroid eye disease in all patient subgroups examined from the two trials, with most patients maintaining responses in the long-term. Analyses of the effect of teprotumumab retreatment on non-responders and those who flare after response, as well as further studies in a broader population of thyroid eye disease are ongoing.