Journal: N Engl J Med

Sorted by: date / impact
Abstract

Pathologic Antibodies to Platelet Factor 4 after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination.

Scully M, Singh D, Lown R, Poles A, ... Thomas W, Lester W
Background
The mainstay of control of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Within a year, several vaccines have been developed and millions of doses delivered. Reporting of adverse events is a critical postmarketing activity.
Methods
We report findings in 23 patients who presented with thrombosis and thrombocytopenia 6 to 24 days after receiving the first dose of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca). On the basis of their clinical and laboratory features, we identify a novel underlying mechanism and address the therapeutic implications.
Results
In the absence of previous prothrombotic medical conditions, 22 patients presented with acute thrombocytopenia and thrombosis, primarily cerebral venous thrombosis, and 1 patient presented with isolated thrombocytopenia and a hemorrhagic phenotype. All the patients had low or normal fibrinogen levels and elevated d-dimer levels at presentation. No evidence of thrombophilia or causative precipitants was identified. Testing for antibodies to platelet factor 4 (PF4) was positive in 21 patients, negative in 1 patient, and equivocal in 1 patient. On the basis of the pathophysiological features observed in these patients, we recommend that treatment with platelet transfusions be avoided because of the risk of progression in thrombotic symptoms and that the administration of a nonheparin anticoagulant agent and intravenous immune globulin be considered for the first occurrence of these symptoms.
Conclusions
Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 remains critical for control of the Covid-19 pandemic. A pathogenic PF4-dependent syndrome, unrelated to the use of heparin therapy, can occur after the administration of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. Rapid identification of this rare syndrome is important because of the therapeutic implications.

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 15 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print
Scully M, Singh D, Lown R, Poles A, ... Thomas W, Lester W
N Engl J Med: 15 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33861525
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Abstract

Dexmedetomidine or Propofol for Sedation in Mechanically Ventilated Adults with Sepsis.

Hughes CG, Mailloux PT, Devlin JW, Swan JT, ... Pandharipande PP, MENDS2 Study Investigators
Background
Guidelines currently recommend targeting light sedation with dexmedetomidine or propofol for adults receiving mechanical ventilation. Differences exist between these sedatives in arousability, immunity, and inflammation. Whether they affect outcomes differentially in mechanically ventilated adults with sepsis undergoing light sedation is unknown.
Methods
In a multicenter, double-blind trial, we randomly assigned mechanically ventilated adults with sepsis to receive dexmedetomidine (0.2 to 1.5 μg per kilogram of body weight per hour) or propofol (5 to 50 μg per kilogram per minute), with doses adjusted by bedside nurses to achieve target sedation goals set by clinicians according to the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS, on which scores range from -5 [unresponsive] to +4 [combative]). The primary end point was days alive without delirium or coma during the 14-day intervention period. Secondary end points were ventilator-free days at 28 days, death at 90 days, and age-adjusted total score on the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status questionnaire (TICS-T; scores range from 0 to 100, with a mean of 50±10 and lower scores indicating worse cognition) at 6 months.
Results
Of 432 patients who underwent randomization, 422 were assigned to receive a trial drug and were included in the analyses - 214 patients received dexmedetomidine at a median dose of 0.27 μg per kilogram per hour, and 208 received propofol at a median dose of 10.21 μg per kilogram per minute. The median duration of receipt of the trial drugs was 3.0 days (interquartile range, 2.0 to 6.0), and the median RASS score was -2.0 (interquartile range, -3.0 to -1.0). We found no difference between dexmedetomidine and propofol in the number of days alive without delirium or coma (adjusted median, 10.7 vs. 10.8 days; odds ratio, 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 1.26), ventilator-free days (adjusted median, 23.7 vs. 24.0 days; odds ratio, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.51), death at 90 days (38% vs. 39%; hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.52), or TICS-T score at 6 months (adjusted median score, 40.9 vs. 41.4; odds ratio, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.33). Safety end points were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions
Among mechanically ventilated adults with sepsis who were being treated with recommended light-sedation approaches, outcomes in patients who received dexmedetomidine did not differ from outcomes in those who received propofol. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01739933.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 14 Apr 2021; 384:1424-1436
Hughes CG, Mailloux PT, Devlin JW, Swan JT, ... Pandharipande PP, MENDS2 Study Investigators
N Engl J Med: 14 Apr 2021; 384:1424-1436 | PMID: 33528922
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Abstract

Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for Depression.

Carhart-Harris R, Giribaldi B, Watts R, Baker-Jones M, ... Erritzoe D, Nutt DJ
Background
Psilocybin may have antidepressant properties, but direct comparisons between psilocybin and established treatments for depression are lacking.
Methods
In a phase 2, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial involving patients with long-standing, moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder, we compared psilocybin with escitalopram, a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor, over a 6-week period. Patients were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive two separate doses of 25 mg of psilocybin 3 weeks apart plus 6 weeks of daily placebo (psilocybin group) or two separate doses of 1 mg of psilocybin 3 weeks apart plus 6 weeks of daily oral escitalopram (escitalopram group); all the patients received psychological support. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in the score on the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (QIDS-SR-16; scores range from 0 to 27, with higher scores indicating greater depression) at week 6. There were 16 secondary outcomes, including QIDS-SR-16 response (defined as a reduction in score of >50%) and QIDS-SR-16 remission (defined as a score of ≤5) at week 6.
Results
A total of 59 patients were enrolled; 30 were assigned to the psilocybin group and 29 to the escitalopram group. The mean scores on the QIDS-SR-16 at baseline were 14.5 in the psilocybin group and 16.4 in the escitalopram group. The mean (±SE) changes in the scores from baseline to week 6 were -8.0±1.0 points in the psilocybin group and -6.0±1.0 in the escitalopram group, for a between-group difference of 2.0 points (95% confidence interval [CI], -5.0 to 0.9) (P = 0.17). A QIDS-SR-16 response occurred in 70% of the patients in the psilocybin group and in 48% of those in the escitalopram group, for a between-group difference of 22 percentage points (95% CI, -3 to 48); QIDS-SR-16 remission occurred in 57% and 28%, respectively, for a between-group difference of 28 percentage points (95% CI, 2 to 54). Other secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses were not corrected for multiple comparisons. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the trial groups.
Conclusions
On the basis of the change in depression scores on the QIDS-SR-16 at week 6, this trial did not show a significant difference in antidepressant effects between psilocybin and escitalopram in a selected group of patients. Secondary outcomes generally favored psilocybin over escitalopram, but the analyses of these outcomes lacked correction for multiple comparisons. Larger and longer trials are required to compare psilocybin with established antidepressants. (Funded by the Alexander Mosley Charitable Trust and Imperial College London\'s Centre for Psychedelic Research; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03429075.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 14 Apr 2021; 384:1402-1411
Carhart-Harris R, Giribaldi B, Watts R, Baker-Jones M, ... Erritzoe D, Nutt DJ
N Engl J Med: 14 Apr 2021; 384:1402-1411 | PMID: 33852780
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Abstract

Oncolytic HSV-1 G207 Immunovirotherapy for Pediatric High-Grade Gliomas.

Friedman GK, Johnston JM, Bag AK, Bernstock JD, ... Markert JM, Gillespie GY
Background
Outcomes in children and adolescents with recurrent or progressive high-grade glioma are poor, with a historical median overall survival of 5.6 months. Pediatric high-grade gliomas are largely immunologically silent or \"cold,\" with few tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Preclinically, pediatric brain tumors are highly sensitive to oncolytic virotherapy with genetically engineered herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) G207, which lacks genes essential for replication in normal brain tissue.
Methods
We conducted a phase 1 trial of G207, which used a 3+3 design with four dose cohorts of children and adolescents with biopsy-confirmed recurrent or progressive supratentorial brain tumors. Patients underwent stereotactic placement of up to four intratumoral catheters. The following day, they received G207 (107 or 108 plaque-forming units) by controlled-rate infusion over a period of 6 hours. Cohorts 3 and 4 received radiation (5 Gy) to the gross tumor volume within 24 hours after G207 administration. Viral shedding from saliva, conjunctiva, and blood was assessed by culture and polymerase-chain-reaction assay. Matched pre- and post-treatment tissue samples were examined for tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes by immunohistologic analysis.
Results
Twelve patients 7 to 18 years of age with high-grade glioma received G207. No dose-limiting toxic effects or serious adverse events were attributed to G207 by the investigators. Twenty grade 1 adverse events were possibly related to G207. No virus shedding was detected. Radiographic, neuropathological, or clinical responses were seen in 11 patients. The median overall survival was 12.2 months (95% confidence interval, 8.0 to 16.4); as of June 5, 2020, a total of 4 of 11 patients were still alive 18 months after G207 treatment. G207 markedly increased the number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.
Conclusions
Intratumoral G207 alone and with radiation had an acceptable adverse-event profile with evidence of responses in patients with recurrent or progressive pediatric high-grade glioma. G207 converted immunologically \"cold\" tumors to \"hot.\" (Supported by the Food and Drug Administration and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02457845.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 09 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print
Friedman GK, Johnston JM, Bag AK, Bernstock JD, ... Markert JM, Gillespie GY
N Engl J Med: 09 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33838625
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Abstract

Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 Vaccination.

Greinacher A, Thiele T, Warkentin TE, Weisser K, Kyrle PA, Eichinger S
Background
Several cases of unusual thrombotic events and thrombocytopenia have developed after vaccination with the recombinant adenoviral vector encoding the spike protein antigen of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (ChAdOx1 nCov-19, AstraZeneca). More data were needed on the pathogenesis of this unusual clotting disorder.
Methods
We assessed the clinical and laboratory features of 11 patients in Germany and Austria in whom thrombosis or thrombocytopenia had developed after vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCov-19. We used a standard enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to detect platelet factor 4 (PF4)-heparin antibodies and a modified (PF4-enhanced) platelet-activation test to detect platelet-activating antibodies under various reaction conditions. Included in this testing were samples from patients who had blood samples referred for investigation of vaccine-associated thrombotic events, with 28 testing positive on a screening PF4-heparin immunoassay.
Results
Of the 11 original patients, 9 were women, with a median age of 36 years (range, 22 to 49). Beginning 5 to 16 days after vaccination, the patients presented with one or more thrombotic events, with the exception of 1 patient, who presented with fatal intracranial hemorrhage. Of the patients with one or more thrombotic events, 9 had cerebral venous thrombosis, 3 had splanchnic-vein thrombosis, 3 had pulmonary embolism, and 4 had other thromboses; of these patients, 6 died. Five patients had disseminated intravascular coagulation. None of the patients had received heparin before symptom onset. All 28 patients who tested positive for antibodies against PF4-heparin tested positive on the platelet-activation assay in the presence of PF4 independent of heparin. Platelet activation was inhibited by high levels of heparin, Fc receptor-blocking monoclonal antibody, and immune globulin (10 mg per milliliter). Additional studies with PF4 or PF4-heparin affinity purified antibodies in 2 patients confirmed PF4-dependent platelet activation.
Conclusions
Vaccination with ChAdOx1 nCov-19 can result in the rare development of immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia mediated by platelet-activating antibodies against PF4, which clinically mimics autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. (Funded by the German Research Foundation.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 08 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print
Greinacher A, Thiele T, Warkentin TE, Weisser K, Kyrle PA, Eichinger S
N Engl J Med: 08 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33835769
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Abstract

Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccination.

Schultz NH, Sørvoll IH, Michelsen AE, Munthe LA, ... Tjønnfjord GE, Holme PA
We report findings in five patients who presented with venous thrombosis and thrombocytopenia 7 to 10 days after receiving the first dose of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 adenoviral vector vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The patients were health care workers who were 32 to 54 years of age. All the patients had high levels of antibodies to platelet factor 4-polyanion complexes; however, they had had no previous exposure to heparin. Because the five cases occurred in a population of more than 130,000 vaccinated persons, we propose that they represent a rare vaccine-related variant of spontaneous heparin-induced thrombocytopenia that we refer to as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 08 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print
Schultz NH, Sørvoll IH, Michelsen AE, Munthe LA, ... Tjønnfjord GE, Holme PA
N Engl J Med: 08 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33835768
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Abstract

A Microbiota-Directed Food Intervention for Undernourished Children.

Chen RY, Mostafa I, Hibberd MC, Das S, ... Ahmed T, Gordon JI
Background
More than 30 million children worldwide have moderate acute malnutrition. Current treatments have limited effectiveness, and much remains unknown about the pathogenesis of this condition. Children with moderate acute malnutrition have perturbed development of their gut microbiota.
Methods
In this study, we provided a microbiota-directed complementary food prototype (MDCF-2) or a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) to 123 slum-dwelling Bangladeshi children with moderate acute malnutrition between the ages of 12 months and 18 months. The supplementation was given twice daily for 3 months, followed by 1 month of monitoring. We obtained weight-for-length, weight-for-age, and length-for-age z scores and mid-upper-arm circumference values at baseline and every 2 weeks during the intervention period and at 4 months. We compared the rate of change of these related phenotypes between baseline and 3 months and between baseline and 4 months. We also measured levels of 4977 proteins in plasma and 209 bacterial taxa in fecal samples.
Results
A total of 118 children (59 in each study group) completed the intervention. The rates of change in the weight-for-length and weight-for-age z scores are consistent with a benefit of MDCF-2 on growth over the course of the study, including the 1-month follow-up. Receipt of MDCF-2 was linked to the magnitude of change in levels of 70 plasma proteins and of 21 associated bacterial taxa that were positively correlated with the weight-for-length z score (P<0.001 for comparisons of both protein and bacterial taxa). These proteins included mediators of bone growth and neurodevelopment.
Conclusions
These findings provide support for MDCF-2 as a dietary supplement for young children with moderate acute malnutrition and provide insight into mechanisms by which this targeted manipulation of microbiota components may be linked to growth. (Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04015999.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 06 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print
Chen RY, Mostafa I, Hibberd MC, Das S, ... Ahmed T, Gordon JI
N Engl J Med: 06 Apr 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33826814
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Abstract

Efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Covid-19 Vaccine against the B.1.351 Variant.

Madhi SA, Baillie V, Cutland CL, Voysey M, ... Izu A, NGS-SA Group Wits–VIDA COVID Group
Background
Assessment of the safety and efficacy of vaccines against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in different populations is essential, as is investigation of the efficacy of the vaccines against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the B.1.351 (501Y.V2) variant first identified in South Africa.
Methods
We conducted a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) in people not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in South Africa. Participants 18 to less than 65 years of age were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive two doses of vaccine containing 5×1010 viral particles or placebo (0.9% sodium chloride solution) 21 to 35 days apart. Serum samples obtained from 25 participants after the second dose were tested by pseudovirus and live-virus neutralization assays against the original D614G virus and the B.1.351 variant. The primary end points were safety and efficacy of the vaccine against laboratory-confirmed symptomatic coronavirus 2019 illness (Covid-19) more than 14 days after the second dose.
Results
Between June 24 and November 9, 2020, we enrolled 2026 HIV-negative adults (median age, 30 years); 1010 and 1011 participants received at least one dose of placebo or vaccine, respectively. Both the pseudovirus and the live-virus neutralization assays showed greater resistance to the B.1.351 variant in serum samples obtained from vaccine recipients than in samples from placebo recipients. In the primary end-point analysis, mild-to-moderate Covid-19 developed in 23 of 717 placebo recipients (3.2%) and in 19 of 750 vaccine recipients (2.5%), for an efficacy of 21.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], -49.9 to 59.8). Among the 42 participants with Covid-19, 39 cases (92.9%) were caused by the B.1.351 variant; vaccine efficacy against this variant, analyzed as a secondary end point, was 10.4% (95% CI, -76.8 to 54.8). The incidence of serious adverse events was balanced between the vaccine and placebo groups.
Conclusions
A two-dose regimen of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine did not show protection against mild-to-moderate Covid-19 due to the B.1.351 variant. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04444674; Pan African Clinical Trials Registry number, PACTR202006922165132).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 15 Mar 2021; epub ahead of print
Madhi SA, Baillie V, Cutland CL, Voysey M, ... Izu A, NGS-SA Group Wits–VIDA COVID Group
N Engl J Med: 15 Mar 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33725432
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Abstract

Donanemab in Early Alzheimer\'s Disease.

Mintun MA, Lo AC, Duggan Evans C, Wessels AM, ... Salloway SP, Skovronsky DM
Background
A hallmark of Alzheimer\'s disease is the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Donanemab, an antibody that targets a modified form of deposited Aβ, is being investigated for the treatment of early Alzheimer\'s disease.
Methods
We conducted a phase 2 trial of donanemab in patients with early symptomatic Alzheimer\'s disease who had tau and amyloid deposition on positron-emission tomography (PET). Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive donanemab (700 mg for the first three doses and 1400 mg thereafter) or placebo intravenously every 4 weeks for up to 72 weeks. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in the score on the Integrated Alzheimer\'s Disease Rating Scale (iADRS; range, 0 to 144, with lower scores indicating greater cognitive and functional impairment) at 76 weeks. Secondary outcomes included the change in scores on the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB), the 13-item cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer\'s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog13), the Alzheimer\'s Disease Cooperative Study-Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Inventory (ADCS-iADL), and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), as well as the change in the amyloid and tau burden on PET.
Results
A total of 257 patients were enrolled; 131 were assigned to receive donanemab and 126 to receive placebo. The baseline iADRS score was 106 in both groups. The change from baseline in the iADRS score at 76 weeks was -6.86 with donanemab and -10.06 with placebo (difference, 3.20; 95% confidence interval, 0.12 to 6.27; P = 0.04). The results for most secondary outcomes showed no substantial difference. At 76 weeks, the reductions in the amyloid plaque level and the global tau load were 85.06 centiloids and 0.01 greater, respectively, with donanemab than with placebo. Amyloid-related cerebral edema or effusions (mostly asymptomatic) occurred with donanemab.
Conclusions
In patients with early Alzheimer\'s disease, donanemab resulted in a better composite score for cognition and for the ability to perform activities of daily living than placebo at 76 weeks, although results for secondary outcomes were mixed. Longer and larger trials are necessary to study the efficacy and safety of donanemab in Alzheimer\'s disease. (Funded by Eli Lilly; TRAILBLAZER-ALZ ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03367403.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 12 Mar 2021; epub ahead of print
Mintun MA, Lo AC, Duggan Evans C, Wessels AM, ... Salloway SP, Skovronsky DM
N Engl J Med: 12 Mar 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33720637
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Abstract

Tocilizumab in Hospitalized Patients with Severe Covid-19 Pneumonia.

Rosas IO, Bräu N, Waters M, Go RC, ... Tsai L, Malhotra A
Background
Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is associated with immune dysregulation and hyperinflammation, including elevated interleukin-6 levels. The use of tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor, has resulted in better outcomes in patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia in case reports and retrospective observational cohort studies. Data are needed from randomized, placebo-controlled trials.
Methods
In this phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned patients who were hospitalized with severe Covid-19 pneumonia in a 2:1 ratio receive a single intravenous infusion of tocilizumab (at a dose of 8 mg per kilogram of body weight) or placebo. Approximately one quarter of the participants received a second dose of tocilizumab or placebo 8 to 24 hours after the first dose. The primary outcome was clinical status at day 28 on an ordinal scale ranging from 1 (discharged or ready for discharge) to 7 (death) in the modified intention-to-treat population, which included all the patients who had received at least one dose of tocilizumab or placebo.
Results
Of the 452 patients who underwent randomization, 438 (294 in the tocilizumab group and 144 in the placebo group) were included in the primary and secondary analyses. The median value for clinical status on the ordinal scale at day 28 was 1.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 1.0) in the tocilizumab group and 2.0 (non-ICU hospitalization without supplemental oxygen) (95% CI, 1.0 to 4.0) in the placebo group (between-group difference, -1.0; 95% CI, -2.5 to 0; P = 0.31 by the van Elteren test). In the safety population, serious adverse events occurred in 103 of 295 patients (34.9%) in the tocilizumab group and in 55 of 143 patients (38.5%) in the placebo group. Mortality at day 28 was 19.7% in the tocilizumab group and 19.4% in the placebo group (weighted difference, 0.3 percentage points (95% CI, -7.6 to 8.2; nominal P = 0.94).
Conclusions
In this randomized trial involving hospitalized patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia, the use of tocilizumab did not result in significantly better clinical status or lower mortality than placebo at 28 days. (Funded by F. Hoffmann-La Roche and the Department of Health and Human Services; COVACTA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04320615.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print
Rosas IO, Bräu N, Waters M, Go RC, ... Tsai L, Malhotra A
N Engl J Med: 24 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33631066
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Abstract

Interleukin-6 Receptor Antagonists in Critically Ill Patients with Covid-19.

REMAP-CAP Investigators, Gordon AC, Mouncey PR, Al-Beidh F, ... Webb SA, Derde LPG
Background
The efficacy of interleukin-6 receptor antagonists in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is unclear.
Methods
We evaluated tocilizumab and sarilumab in an ongoing international, multifactorial, adaptive platform trial. Adult patients with Covid-19, within 24 hours after starting organ support in the intensive care unit (ICU), were randomly assigned to receive tocilizumab (8 mg per kilogram of body weight), sarilumab (400 mg), or standard care (control). The primary outcome was respiratory and cardiovascular organ support-free days, on an ordinal scale combining in-hospital death (assigned a value of -1) and days free of organ support to day 21. The trial uses a Bayesian statistical model with predefined criteria for superiority, efficacy, equivalence, or futility. An odds ratio greater than 1 represented improved survival, more organ support-free days, or both.
Results
Both tocilizumab and sarilumab met the predefined criteria for efficacy. At that time, 353 patients had been assigned to tocilizumab, 48 to sarilumab, and 402 to control. The median number of organ support-free days was 10 (interquartile range, -1 to 16) in the tocilizumab group, 11 (interquartile range, 0 to 16) in the sarilumab group, and 0 (interquartile range, -1 to 15) in the control group. The median adjusted cumulative odds ratios were 1.64 (95% credible interval, 1.25 to 2.14) for tocilizumab and 1.76 (95% credible interval, 1.17 to 2.91) for sarilumab as compared with control, yielding posterior probabilities of superiority to control of more than 99.9% and of 99.5%, respectively. An analysis of 90-day survival showed improved survival in the pooled interleukin-6 receptor antagonist groups, yielding a hazard ratio for the comparison with the control group of 1.61 (95% credible interval, 1.25 to 2.08) and a posterior probability of superiority of more than 99.9%. All secondary analyses supported efficacy of these interleukin-6 receptor antagonists.
Conclusions
In critically ill patients with Covid-19 receiving organ support in ICUs, treatment with the interleukin-6 receptor antagonists tocilizumab and sarilumab improved outcomes, including survival. (REMAP-CAP ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02735707.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print
REMAP-CAP Investigators, Gordon AC, Mouncey PR, Al-Beidh F, ... Webb SA, Derde LPG
N Engl J Med: 24 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33631065
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Abstract

BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine in a Nationwide Mass Vaccination Setting.

Dagan N, Barda N, Kepten E, Miron O, ... Reis B, Balicer RD
Background
As mass vaccination campaigns against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) commence worldwide, vaccine effectiveness needs to be assessed for a range of outcomes across diverse populations in a noncontrolled setting. In this study, data from Israel\'s largest health care organization were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine.
Methods
All persons who were newly vaccinated during the period from December 20, 2020, to February 1, 2021, were matched to unvaccinated controls in a 1:1 ratio according to demographic and clinical characteristics. Study outcomes included documented infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), symptomatic Covid-19, Covid-19-related hospitalization, severe illness, and death. We estimated vaccine effectiveness for each outcome as one minus the risk ratio, using the Kaplan-Meier estimator.
Results
Each study group included 596,618 persons. Estimated vaccine effectiveness for the study outcomes at days 14 through 20 after the first dose and at 7 or more days after the second dose was as follows: for documented infection, 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 40 to 51) and 92% (95% CI, 88 to 95); for symptomatic Covid-19, 57% (95% CI, 50 to 63) and 94% (95% CI, 87 to 98); for hospitalization, 74% (95% CI, 56 to 86) and 87% (95% CI, 55 to 100); and for severe disease, 62% (95% CI, 39 to 80) and 92% (95% CI, 75 to 100), respectively. Estimated effectiveness in preventing death from Covid-19 was 72% (95% CI, 19 to 100) for days 14 through 20 after the first dose. Estimated effectiveness in specific subpopulations assessed for documented infection and symptomatic Covid-19 was consistent across age groups, with potentially slightly lower effectiveness in persons with multiple coexisting conditions.
Conclusions
This study in a nationwide mass vaccination setting suggests that the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is effective for a wide range of Covid-19-related outcomes, a finding consistent with that of the randomized trial.

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 23 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print
Dagan N, Barda N, Kepten E, Miron O, ... Reis B, Balicer RD
N Engl J Med: 23 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33626250
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Abstract

Hypothermic Machine Perfusion in Liver Transplantation - A Randomized Trial.

van Rijn R, Schurink IJ, de Vries Y, van den Berg AP, ... Porte RJ, DHOPE-DCD Trial Investigators
Background
Transplantation of livers obtained from donors after circulatory death is associated with an increased risk of nonanastomotic biliary strictures. Hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion of livers may reduce the incidence of biliary complications, but data from prospective, controlled studies are limited.
Methods
In this multicenter, controlled trial, we randomly assigned patients who were undergoing transplantation of a liver obtained from a donor after circulatory death to receive that liver either after hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion (machine-perfusion group) or after conventional static cold storage alone (control group). The primary end point was the incidence of nonanastomotic biliary strictures within 6 months after transplantation. Secondary end points included other graft-related and general complications.
Results
A total of 160 patients were enrolled, of whom 78 received a machine-perfused liver and 78 received a liver after static cold storage only (4 patients did not receive a liver in this trial). Nonanastomotic biliary strictures occurred in 6% of the patients in the machine-perfusion group and in 18% of those in the control group (risk ratio, 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14 to 0.94; P = 0.03). Postreperfusion syndrome occurred in 12% of the recipients of a machine-perfused liver and in 27% of those in the control group (risk ratio, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.91). Early allograft dysfunction occurred in 26% of the machine-perfused livers, as compared with 40% of control livers (risk ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.96). The cumulative number of treatments for nonanastomotic biliary strictures was lower by a factor of almost 4 after machine perfusion, as compared with control. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups.
Conclusions
Hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion led to a lower risk of nonanastomotic biliary strictures following the transplantation of livers obtained from donors after circulatory death than conventional static cold storage. (Funded by Fonds NutsOhra; DHOPE-DCD ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02584283.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 23 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print
van Rijn R, Schurink IJ, de Vries Y, van den Berg AP, ... Porte RJ, DHOPE-DCD Trial Investigators
N Engl J Med: 23 Feb 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 33626248
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Abstract

Cryoablation or Drug Therapy for Initial Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation.

Andrade JG, Wells GA, Deyell MW, Bennett M, ... Verma A, EARLY-AF Investigators
Background
Guidelines recommend a trial of one or more antiarrhythmic drugs before catheter ablation is considered in patients with atrial fibrillation. However, first-line ablation may be more effective in maintaining sinus rhythm.
Methods
We randomly assigned 303 patients with symptomatic, paroxysmal, untreated atrial fibrillation to undergo catheter ablation with a cryothermy balloon or to receive antiarrhythmic drug therapy for initial rhythm control. All the patients received an implantable cardiac monitoring device to detect atrial tachyarrhythmia. The follow-up period was 12 months. The primary end point was the first documented recurrence of any atrial tachyarrhythmia (atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, or atrial tachycardia) between 91 and 365 days after catheter ablation or the initiation of an antiarrhythmic drug. The secondary end points included freedom from symptomatic arrhythmia, the atrial fibrillation burden, and quality of life.
Results
At 1 year, a recurrence of atrial tachyarrhythmia had occurred in 66 of 154 patients (42.9%) assigned to undergo ablation and in 101 of 149 patients (67.8%) assigned to receive antiarrhythmic drugs (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.66; P<0.001). Symptomatic atrial tachyarrhythmia had recurred in 11.0% of the patients who underwent ablation and in 26.2% of those who received antiarrhythmic drugs (hazard ratio, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.68). The median percentage of time in atrial fibrillation was 0% (interquartile range, 0 to 0.08) with ablation and 0.13% (interquartile range, 0 to 1.60) with antiarrhythmic drugs. Serious adverse events occurred in 5 patients (3.2%) who underwent ablation and in 6 patients (4.0%) who received antiarrhythmic drugs.
Conclusions
Among patients receiving initial treatment for symptomatic, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, there was a significantly lower rate of atrial fibrillation recurrence with catheter cryoballoon ablation than with antiarrhythmic drug therapy, as assessed by continuous cardiac rhythm monitoring. (Funded by the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network of Canada and others; EARLY-AF ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02825979.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:305-315
Andrade JG, Wells GA, Deyell MW, Bennett M, ... Verma A, EARLY-AF Investigators
N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:305-315 | PMID: 33197159
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Impact:
Abstract

Cryoballoon Ablation as Initial Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation.

Wazni OM, Dandamudi G, Sood N, Hoyt R, ... Nissen SE, STOP AF First Trial Investigators
Background
In patients with symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation that has not responded to medication, catheter ablation is more effective than antiarrhythmic drug therapy for maintaining sinus rhythm. However, the safety and efficacy of cryoballoon ablation as initial first-line therapy have not been established.
Methods
We performed a multicenter trial in which patients 18 to 80 years of age who had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation for which they had not previously received rhythm-control therapy were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs (class I or III agents) or pulmonary vein isolation with a cryoballoon. Arrhythmia monitoring included 12-lead electrocardiography conducted at baseline and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months; patient-activated telephone monitoring conducted weekly and when symptoms were present during months 3 through 12; and 24-hour ambulatory monitoring conducted at 6 and 12 months. The primary efficacy end point was treatment success (defined as freedom from initial failure of the procedure or atrial arrhythmia recurrence after a 90-day blanking period to allow recovery from the procedure or drug dose adjustment, evaluated in a Kaplan-Meier analysis). The primary safety end point was assessed in the ablation group only and was a composite of several procedure-related and cryoballoon system-related serious adverse events.
Results
Of the 203 participants who underwent randomization and received treatment, 104 underwent ablation, and 99 initially received drug therapy. In the ablation group, initial success of the procedure was achieved in 97% of patients. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of the percentage of patients with treatment success at 12 months was 74.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 65.0 to 82.0) in the ablation group and 45.0% (95% CI, 34.6 to 54.7) in the drug-therapy group (P<0.001 by log-rank test). Two primary safety end-point events occurred in the ablation group (Kaplan-Meier estimate of the percentage of patients with an event within 12 months, 1.9%; 95% CI, 0.5 to 7.5).
Conclusions
Cryoballoon ablation as initial therapy was superior to drug therapy for the prevention of atrial arrhythmia recurrence in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Serious procedure-related adverse events were uncommon. (Supported by Medtronic; STOP AF First ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03118518.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:316-324
Wazni OM, Dandamudi G, Sood N, Hoyt R, ... Nissen SE, STOP AF First Trial Investigators
N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:316-324 | PMID: 33197158
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Abstract

Inhaled Treprostinil in Pulmonary Hypertension Due to Interstitial Lung Disease.

Waxman A, Restrepo-Jaramillo R, Thenappan T, Ravichandran A, ... Tapson V, Nathan SD
Background
No therapies are currently approved for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension in patients with interstitial lung disease. The safety and efficacy of inhaled treprostinil for patients with this condition are unclear.
Methods
We enrolled patients with interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension (documented by right heart catheterization) in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 16-week trial. Patients were assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive inhaled treprostinil, administered by means of an ultrasonic, pulsed-delivery nebulizer in up to 12 breaths (total, 72 μg) four times daily, or placebo. The primary efficacy end point was the difference between the two groups in the change in peak 6-minute walk distance from baseline to week 16. Secondary end points included the change in N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) level at week 16 and the time to clinical worsening.
Results
A total of 326 patients underwent randomization, with 163 assigned to inhaled treprostinil and 163 to placebo. Baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. At week 16, the least-squares mean difference between the treprostinil group and the placebo group in the change from baseline in the 6-minute walk distance was 31.12 m (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.85 to 45.39; P<0.001). There was a reduction of 15% in NT-proBNP levels from baseline with inhaled treprostinil as compared with an increase of 46% with placebo (treatment ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.72; P<0.001). Clinical worsening occurred in 37 patients (22.7%) in the treprostinil group as compared with 54 patients (33.1%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.92; P = 0.04 by the log-rank test). The most frequently reported adverse events were cough, headache, dyspnea, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea.
Conclusions
In patients with pulmonary hypertension due to interstitial lung disease, inhaled treprostinil improved exercise capacity from baseline, assessed with the use of a 6-minute walk test, as compared with placebo. (Funded by United Therapeutics; INCREASE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02630316.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:325-334
Waxman A, Restrepo-Jaramillo R, Thenappan T, Ravichandran A, ... Tapson V, Nathan SD
N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:325-334 | PMID: 33440084
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Abstract

Resumption of Cardiac Activity after Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Measures.

Dhanani S, Hornby L, van Beinum A, Scales NB, ... Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program
Background
The minimum duration of pulselessness required before organ donation after circulatory determination of death has not been well studied.
Methods
We conducted a prospective observational study of the incidence and timing of resumption of cardiac electrical and pulsatile activity in adults who died after planned withdrawal of life-sustaining measures in 20 intensive care units in three countries. Patients were intended to be monitored for 30 minutes after determination of death. Clinicians at the bedside reported resumption of cardiac activity prospectively. Continuous blood-pressure and electrocardiographic (ECG) waveforms were recorded and reviewed retrospectively to confirm bedside observations and to determine whether there were additional instances of resumption of cardiac activity.
Results
A total of 1999 patients were screened, and 631 were included in the study. Clinically reported resumption of cardiac activity, respiratory movement, or both that was confirmed by waveform analysis occurred in 5 patients (1%). Retrospective analysis of ECG and blood-pressure waveforms from 480 patients identified 67 instances (14%) with resumption of cardiac activity after a period of pulselessness, including the 5 reported by bedside clinicians. The longest duration after pulselessness before resumption of cardiac activity was 4 minutes 20 seconds. The last QRS complex coincided with the last arterial pulse in 19% of the patients.
Conclusions
After withdrawal of life-sustaining measures, transient resumption of at least one cycle of cardiac activity after pulselessness occurred in 14% of patients according to retrospective analysis of waveforms; only 1% of such resumptions were identified at the bedside. These events occurred within 4 minutes 20 seconds after a period of pulselessness. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and others.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:345-352
Dhanani S, Hornby L, van Beinum A, Scales NB, ... Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program
N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:345-352 | PMID: 33503343
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Abstract

Levonorgestrel vs. Copper Intrauterine Devices for Emergency Contraception.

Turok DK, Gero A, Simmons RG, Kaiser JE, ... Gawron LM, Sanders JN
Background
In the United States, more intrauterine device (IUD) users select levonorgestrel IUDs than copper IUDs for long-term contraception. Currently, clinicians offer only copper IUDs for emergency contraception because data are lacking on the efficacy of the levonorgestrel IUD for this purpose.
Methods
This randomized noninferiority trial, in which participants were unaware of the group assignments, was conducted at six clinics in Utah and included women who sought emergency contraception after at least one episode of unprotected intercourse within 5 days before presentation and agreed to placement of an IUD. We randomly assigned participants in a 1:1 ratio to receive a levonorgestrel 52-mg IUD or a copper T380A IUD. The primary outcome was a positive urine pregnancy test 1 month after IUD insertion. When a 1-month urine pregnancy test was unavailable, we used survey and health record data to determine pregnancy status. The prespecified noninferiority margin was 2.5 percentage points.
Results
Among the 355 participants randomly assigned to receive levonorgestrel IUDs and 356 assigned to receive copper IUDs, 317 and 321, respectively, received the interventions and provided 1-month outcome data. Of these, 290 in the levonorgestrel group and 300 in the copper IUD group had a 1-month urine pregnancy test. In the modified intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses, pregnancy rates were 1 in 317 (0.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01 to 1.7) in the levonorgestrel group and 0 in 321 (0%; 95% CI, 0 to 1.1) in the copper IUD group; the between-group absolute difference in both analyses was 0.3 percentage points (95% CI, -0.9 to 1.8), consistent with the noninferiority of the levonorgestrel IUD to the copper IUD. Adverse events resulting in participants seeking medical care in the first month after IUD placement occurred in 5.2% of participants in the levonorgestrel IUD group and 4.9% of those in the copper IUD group.
Conclusions
The levonorgestrel IUD was noninferior to the copper IUD for emergency contraception. (Supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02175030.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:335-344
Turok DK, Gero A, Simmons RG, Kaiser JE, ... Gawron LM, Sanders JN
N Engl J Med: 27 Jan 2021; 384:335-344 | PMID: 33503342
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Abstract

Enfortumab Vedotin in Previously Treated Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma.

Powles T, Rosenberg JE, Sonpavde GP, Loriot Y, ... Matsangou M, Petrylak DP
Background
Patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma have poor overall survival after platinum-containing chemotherapy and programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) or programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor treatment.
Methods
We conducted a global, open-label, phase 3 trial of enfortumab vedotin for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who had previously received platinum-containing chemotherapy and had had disease progression during or after treatment with a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive enfortumab vedotin (at a dose of 1.25 mg per kilogram of body weight on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle) or investigator-chosen chemotherapy (standard docetaxel, paclitaxel, or vinflunine), administered on day 1 of a 21-day cycle. The primary end point was overall survival.
Results
A total of 608 patients underwent randomization; 301 were assigned to receive enfortumab vedotin and 307 to receive chemotherapy. As of July 15, 2020, a total of 301 deaths had occurred (134 in the enfortumab vedotin group and 167 in the chemotherapy group). At the prespecified interim analysis, the median follow-up was 11.1 months. Overall survival was longer in the enfortumab vedotin group than in the chemotherapy group (median overall survival, 12.88 vs. 8.97 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56 to 0.89; P = 0.001). Progression-free survival was also longer in the enfortumab vedotin group than in the chemotherapy group (median progression-free survival, 5.55 vs. 3.71 months; hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.75; P<0.001). The incidence of treatment-related adverse events was similar in the two groups (93.9% in the enfortumab vedotin group and 91.8% in the chemotherapy group); the incidence of events of grade 3 or higher was also similar in the two groups (51.4% and 49.8%, respectively).
Conclusions
Enfortumab vedotin significantly prolonged survival as compared with standard chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who had previously received platinum-based treatment and a PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor. (Funded by Astellas Pharma US and Seagen; EV-301 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03474107.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1125-1135
Powles T, Rosenberg JE, Sonpavde GP, Loriot Y, ... Matsangou M, Petrylak DP
N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1125-1135 | PMID: 33577729
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Abstract

Muscarinic Cholinergic Receptor Agonist and Peripheral Antagonist for Schizophrenia.

Brannan SK, Sawchak S, Miller AC, Lieberman JA, Paul SM, Breier A
Background
The muscarinic receptor agonist xanomeline has antipsychotic properties and is devoid of dopamine receptor-blocking activity but causes cholinergic adverse events. Trospium is a peripherally restricted muscarinic receptor antagonist that reduces peripheral cholinergic effects of xanomeline. The efficacy and safety of combined xanomeline and trospium in patients with schizophrenia are unknown.
Methods
In this double-blind, phase 2 trial, we randomly assigned patients with schizophrenia in a 1:1 ratio to receive twice-daily xanomeline-trospium (increased to a maximum of 125 mg of xanomeline and 30 mg of trospium per dose) or placebo for 5 weeks. The primary end point was the change from baseline to week 5 in the total score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS; range, 30 to 210, with higher scores indicating more severe symptoms of schizophrenia). Secondary end points were the change in the PANSS positive symptom subscore, the score on the Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S) scale (range, 1 to 7, with higher scores indicating greater severity of illness), the change in the PANSS negative symptom subscore, the change in the PANSS Marder negative symptom subscore, and the percentage of patients with a response according to a CGI-S score of 1 or 2.
Results
A total of 182 patients were enrolled, with 90 assigned to receive xanomeline-trospium and 92 to receive placebo. The PANSS total score at baseline was 97.7 in the xanomeline-trospium group and 96.6 in the placebo group. The change from baseline to week 5 was -17.4 points with xanomeline-trospium and -5.9 points with placebo (least-squares mean difference, -11.6 points; 95% confidence interval, -16.1 to -7.1; P<0.001). The results for the secondary end points were significantly better in the xanomeline-trospium group than in the placebo group, with the exception of the percentage of patients with a CGI-S response. The most common adverse events in the xanomeline-trospium group were constipation, nausea, dry mouth, dyspepsia, and vomiting. The incidences of somnolence, weight gain, restlessness, and extrapyramidal symptoms were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions
In a 5-week trial, xanomeline-trospium resulted in a greater decrease in the PANSS total score than placebo but was associated with cholinergic and anticholinergic adverse events. Larger and longer trials are required to determine the efficacy and safety of xanomeline-trospium in patients with schizophrenia. (Funded by Karuna Therapeutics and the Wellcome Trust; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03697252.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:717-726
Brannan SK, Sawchak S, Miller AC, Lieberman JA, Paul SM, Breier A
N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:717-726 | PMID: 33626254
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Impact:
Abstract

Idecabtagene Vicleucel in Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma.

Munshi NC, Anderson LD, Shah N, Madduri D, ... Hege K, San-Miguel J
Background
Idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel, also called bb2121), a B-cell maturation antigen-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, has shown clinical activity with expected CAR T-cell toxic effects in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.
Methods
In this phase 2 study, we sought to confirm the efficacy and safety of ide-cel in patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. Patients with disease after at least three previous regimens including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 antibody were enrolled. Patients received ide-cel target doses of 150 × 106 to 450 × 106 CAR-positive (CAR+) T cells. The primary end point was an overall response (partial response or better); a key secondary end point was a complete response or better (comprising complete and stringent complete responses).
Results
Of 140 patients enrolled, 128 received ide-cel. At a median follow-up of 13.3 months, 94 of 128 patients (73%) had a response, and 42 of 128 (33%) had a complete response or better. Minimal residual disease (MRD)-negative status (<10-5 nucleated cells) was confirmed in 33 patients, representing 26% of all 128 patients who were treated and 79% of the 42 patients who had a complete response or better. The median progression-free survival was 8.8 months (95% confidence interval, 5.6 to 11.6). Common toxic effects among the 128 treated patients included neutropenia in 117 patients (91%), anemia in 89 (70%), and thrombocytopenia in 81 (63%). Cytokine release syndrome was reported in 107 patients (84%), including 7 (5%) who had events of grade 3 or higher. Neurotoxic effects developed in 23 patients (18%) and were of grade 3 in 4 patients (3%); no neurotoxic effects higher than grade 3 occurred. Cellular kinetic analysis confirmed CAR+ T cells in 29 of 49 patients (59%) at 6 months and 4 of 11 patients (36%) at 12 months after infusion.
Conclusions
Ide-cel induced responses in a majority of heavily pretreated patients with refractory and relapsed myeloma; MRD-negative status was achieved in 26% of treated patients. Almost all patients had grade 3 or 4 toxic effects, most commonly hematologic toxic effects and cytokine release syndrome. (Funded by bluebird bio and Celgene, a Bristol-Myers Squibb company; KarMMa ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03361748.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:705-716
Munshi NC, Anderson LD, Shah N, Madduri D, ... Hege K, San-Miguel J
N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:705-716 | PMID: 33626253
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Impact:
Abstract

Abrocitinib versus Placebo or Dupilumab for Atopic Dermatitis.

Bieber T, Simpson EL, Silverberg JI, Thaçi D, ... Valdez H, JADE COMPARE Investigators
Background
The oral Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) inhibitor abrocitinib, which reduces interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signaling, is being investigated for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Data from trials comparing JAK1 inhibitors with monoclonal antibodies, such as dupilumab, that block interleukin-4 receptors are limited.
Methods
In a phase 3, double-blind trial, we randomly assigned patients with atopic dermatitis that was unresponsive to topical agents or that warranted systemic therapy (in a 2:2:2:1 ratio) to receive 200 mg or 100 mg of abrocitinib orally once daily, 300 mg of dupilumab subcutaneously every other week (after a loading dose of 600 mg), or placebo; all the patients received topical therapy. The primary end points were an Investigator\'s Global Assessment (IGA) response (defined as a score of 0 [clear] or 1 [almost clear] on the IGA [scores range from 0 to 4], with an improvement of ≥2 points from baseline) and an Eczema Area and Severity Index-75 (EASI-75) response (defined as ≥75% improvement from baseline in the score on the EASI [scores range from 0 to 72]) at week 12. The key secondary end points were itch response (defined as an improvement of ≥4 points in the score on the Peak Pruritus Numerical Rating Scale [scores range from 0 to 10]) at week 2 and IGA and EASI-75 responses at week 16.
Results
A total of 838 patients underwent randomization; 226 patients were assigned to the 200-mg abrocitinib group, 238 to the 100-mg abrocitinib group, 243 to the dupilumab group, and 131 to the placebo group. An IGA response at week 12 was observed in 48.4% of patients in the 200-mg abrocitinib group, 36.6% in the 100-mg abrocitinib group, 36.5% in the dupilumab group, and 14.0% in the placebo group (P<0.001 for both abrocitinib doses vs. placebo); an EASI-75 response at week 12 was observed in 70.3%, 58.7%, 58.1%, and 27.1%, respectively (P<0.001 for both abrocitinib doses vs. placebo). The 200-mg dose, but not the 100-mg dose, of abrocitinib was superior to dupilumab with respect to itch response at week 2. Neither abrocitinib dose differed significantly from dupilumab with respect to most other key secondary end-point comparisons at week 16. Nausea occurred in 11.1% of the patients in the 200-mg abrocitinib group and 4.2% of those in the 100-mg abrocitinib group, and acne occurred in 6.6% and 2.9%, respectively.
Conclusions
In this trial, abrocitinib at a dose of either 200 mg or 100 mg once daily resulted in significantly greater reductions in signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis than placebo at weeks 12 and 16. The 200-mg dose, but not the 100-mg dose, of abrocitinib was superior to dupilumab with respect to itch response at week 2. Neither abrocitinib dose differed significantly from dupilumab with respect to most other key secondary end-point comparisons at week 16. (Funded by Pfizer; JADE COMPARE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03720470.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1101-1112
Bieber T, Simpson EL, Silverberg JI, Thaçi D, ... Valdez H, JADE COMPARE Investigators
N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1101-1112 | PMID: 33761207
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Impact:
Abstract

Vaccine Efficacy of ALVAC-HIV and Bivalent Subtype C gp120-MF59 in Adults.

Gray GE, Bekker LG, Laher F, Malahleha M, ... Corey L, HVTN 702 Study Team
Background
A safe, effective vaccine is essential to eradicating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. A canarypox-protein HIV vaccine regimen (ALVAC-HIV plus AIDSVAX B/E) showed modest efficacy in reducing infection in Thailand. An analogous regimen using HIV-1 subtype C virus showed potent humoral and cellular responses in a phase 1-2a trial in South Africa. Efficacy data and additional safety data were needed for this regimen in a larger population in South Africa.
Methods
In this phase 2b-3 trial, we randomly assigned 5404 adults without HIV-1 infection to receive the vaccine (2704 participants) or placebo (2700 participants). The vaccine regimen consisted of injections of ALVAC-HIV at months 0 and 1, followed by four booster injections of ALVAC-HIV plus bivalent subtype C gp120-MF59 adjuvant at months 3, 6, 12, and 18. The primary efficacy outcome was the occurrence of HIV-1 infection from randomization to 24 months.
Results
In January 2020, prespecified criteria for nonefficacy were met at an interim analysis; further vaccinations were subsequently halted. The median age of the trial participants was 24 years; 70% of the participants were women. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups. During the 24-month follow-up, HIV-1 infection was diagnosed in 138 participants in the vaccine group and in 133 in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.30; P = 0.84).
Conclusions
The ALVAC-gp120 regimen did not prevent HIV-1 infection among participants in South Africa despite previous evidence of immunogenicity. (HVTN 702 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02968849.).

Copyright © 2021 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1089-1100
Gray GE, Bekker LG, Laher F, Malahleha M, ... Corey L, HVTN 702 Study Team
N Engl J Med: 24 Jan 2021; 384:1089-1100 | PMID: 33761206
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Impact:
Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody LY-CoV555 in Outpatients with Covid-19.

Chen P, Nirula A, Heller B, Gottlieb RL, ... Skovronsky DM, BLAZE-1 Investigators
Background
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which is most frequently mild yet can be severe and life-threatening. Virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies are predicted to reduce viral load, ameliorate symptoms, and prevent hospitalization.
Methods
In this ongoing phase 2 trial involving outpatients with recently diagnosed mild or moderate Covid-19, we randomly assigned 452 patients to receive a single intravenous infusion of neutralizing antibody LY-CoV555 in one of three doses (700 mg, 2800 mg, or 7000 mg) or placebo and evaluated the quantitative virologic end points and clinical outcomes. The primary outcome was the change from baseline in the viral load at day 11. The results of a preplanned interim analysis as of September 5, 2020, are reported here.
Results
At the time of the interim analysis, the observed mean decrease from baseline in the log viral load for the entire population was -3.81, for an elimination of more than 99.97% of viral RNA. For patients who received the 2800-mg dose of LY-CoV555, the difference from placebo in the decrease from baseline was -0.53 (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.98 to -0.08; P = 0.02), for a viral load that was lower by a factor of 3.4. Smaller differences from placebo in the change from baseline were observed among the patients who received the 700-mg dose (-0.20; 95% CI, -0.66 to 0.25; P = 0.38) or the 7000-mg dose (0.09; 95% CI, -0.37 to 0.55; P = 0.70). On days 2 to 6, the patients who received LY-CoV555 had a slightly lower severity of symptoms than those who received placebo. The percentage of patients who had a Covid-19-related hospitalization or visit to an emergency department was 1.6% in the LY-CoV555 group and 6.3% in the placebo group.
Conclusions
In this interim analysis of a phase 2 trial, one of three doses of neutralizing antibody LY-CoV555 appeared to accelerate the natural decline in viral load over time, whereas the other doses had not by day 11. (Funded by Eli Lilly; BLAZE-1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04427501.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:229-237
Chen P, Nirula A, Heller B, Gottlieb RL, ... Skovronsky DM, BLAZE-1 Investigators
N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:229-237 | PMID: 33113295
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Impact:
Abstract

Polypill with or without Aspirin in Persons without Cardiovascular Disease.

Yusuf S, Joseph P, Dans A, Gao P, ... Pais P, International Polycap Study 3 Investigators
Background
A polypill comprising statins, multiple blood-pressure-lowering drugs, and aspirin has been proposed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Using a 2-by-2-by-2 factorial design, we randomly assigned participants without cardiovascular disease who had an elevated INTERHEART Risk Score to receive a polypill (containing 40 mg of simvastatin, 100 mg of atenolol, 25 mg of hydrochlorothiazide, and 10 mg of ramipril) or placebo daily, aspirin (75 mg) or placebo daily, and vitamin D or placebo monthly. We report here the outcomes for the polypill alone as compared with matching placebo, for aspirin alone as compared with matching placebo, and for the polypill plus aspirin as compared with double placebo. For the polypill-alone and polypill-plus-aspirin comparisons, the primary outcome was death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, resuscitated cardiac arrest, heart failure, or revascularization. For the aspirin comparison, the primary outcome was death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Safety was also assessed.
Results
A total of 5713 participants underwent randomization, and the mean follow-up was 4.6 years. The low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was lower by approximately 19 mg per deciliter and systolic blood pressure was lower by approximately 5.8 mm Hg with the polypill and with combination therapy than with placebo. The primary outcome for the polypill comparison occurred in 126 participants (4.4%) in the polypill group and in 157 (5.5%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63 to 1.00). The primary outcome for the aspirin comparison occurred in 116 participants (4.1%) in the aspirin group and in 134 (4.7%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.67 to 1.10). The primary outcome for the polypill-plus-aspirin comparison occurred in 59 participants (4.1%) in the combined-treatment group and in 83 (5.8%) in the double-placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.97). The incidence of hypotension or dizziness was higher in groups that received the polypill than in their respective placebo groups.
Conclusions
Combined treatment with a polypill plus aspirin led to a lower incidence of cardiovascular events than did placebo among participants without cardiovascular disease who were at intermediate cardiovascular risk. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others; TIPS-3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01646437.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:216-228
Yusuf S, Joseph P, Dans A, Gao P, ... Pais P, International Polycap Study 3 Investigators
N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:216-228 | PMID: 33186492
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Abstract

Post-Transcriptional Genetic Silencing of to Treat Sickle Cell Disease.

Esrick EB, Lehmann LE, Biffi A, Achebe M, ... Manis JP, Williams DA
Background
Sickle cell disease is characterized by hemolytic anemia, pain, and progressive organ damage. A high level of erythrocyte fetal hemoglobin (HbF) comprising α- and γ-globins may ameliorate these manifestations by mitigating sickle hemoglobin polymerization and erythrocyte sickling. BCL11A is a repressor of γ-globin expression and HbF production in adult erythrocytes. Its down-regulation is a promising therapeutic strategy for induction of HbF.
Methods
We enrolled patients with sickle cell disease in a single-center, open-label pilot study. The investigational therapy involved infusion of autologous CD34+ cells transduced with the BCH-BB694 lentiviral vector, which encodes a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting BCL11A mRNA embedded in a microRNA (shmiR), allowing erythroid lineage-specific knockdown. Patients were assessed for primary end points of engraftment and safety and for hematologic and clinical responses to treatment.
Results
As of October 2020, six patients had been followed for at least 6 months after receiving BCH-BB694 gene therapy; median follow-up was 18 months (range, 7 to 29). All patients had engraftment, and adverse events were consistent with effects of the preparative chemotherapy. All the patients who could be fully evaluated achieved robust and stable HbF induction (percentage HbF/(F+S) at most recent follow-up, 20.4 to 41.3%), with HbF broadly distributed in red cells (F-cells 58.9 to 93.6% of untransfused red cells) and HbF per F-cell of 9.0 to 18.6 pg per cell. Clinical manifestations of sickle cell disease were reduced or absent during the follow-up period.
Conclusions
This study validates BCL11A inhibition as an effective target for HbF induction and provides preliminary evidence that shmiR-based gene knockdown offers a favorable risk-benefit profile in sickle cell disease. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03282656).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:205-215
Esrick EB, Lehmann LE, Biffi A, Achebe M, ... Manis JP, Williams DA
N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:205-215 | PMID: 33283990
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Abstract

CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing for Sickle Cell Disease and β-Thalassemia.

Frangoul H, Altshuler D, Cappellini MD, Chen YS, ... Yen A, Corbacioglu S
Transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia (TDT) and sickle cell disease (SCD) are severe monogenic diseases with severe and potentially life-threatening manifestations. BCL11A is a transcription factor that represses γ-globin expression and fetal hemoglobin in erythroid cells. We performed electroporation of CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells obtained from healthy donors, with CRISPR-Cas9 targeting the BCL11A erythroid-specific enhancer. Approximately 80% of the alleles at this locus were modified, with no evidence of off-target editing. After undergoing myeloablation, two patients - one with TDT and the other with SCD - received autologous CD34+ cells edited with CRISPR-Cas9 targeting the same BCL11A enhancer. More than a year later, both patients had high levels of allelic editing in bone marrow and blood, increases in fetal hemoglobin that were distributed pancellularly, transfusion independence, and (in the patient with SCD) elimination of vaso-occlusive episodes. (Funded by CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT03655678 for CLIMB THAL-111 and NCT03745287 for CLIMB SCD-121.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:252-260
Frangoul H, Altshuler D, Cappellini MD, Chen YS, ... Yen A, Corbacioglu S
N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:252-260 | PMID: 33283989
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Abstract

REGN-COV2, a Neutralizing Antibody Cocktail, in Outpatients with Covid-19.

Weinreich DM, Sivapalasingam S, Norton T, Ali S, ... Yancopoulos GD, Trial Investigators
Background
Recent data suggest that complications and death from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may be related to high viral loads.
Methods
In this ongoing, double-blind, phase 1-3 trial involving nonhospitalized patients with Covid-19, we investigated two fully human, neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein, used in a combined cocktail (REGN-COV2) to reduce the risk of the emergence of treatment-resistant mutant virus. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to receive placebo, 2.4 g of REGN-COV2, or 8.0 g of REGN-COV2 and were prospectively characterized at baseline for endogenous immune response against SARS-CoV-2 (serum antibody-positive or serum antibody-negative). Key end points included the time-weighted average change in viral load from baseline (day 1) through day 7 and the percentage of patients with at least one Covid-19-related medically attended visit through day 29. Safety was assessed in all patients.
Results
Data from 275 patients are reported. The least-squares mean difference (combined REGN-COV2 dose groups vs. placebo group) in the time-weighted average change in viral load from day 1 through day 7 was -0.56 log10 copies per milliliter (95% confidence interval [CI], -1.02 to -0.11) among patients who were serum antibody-negative at baseline and -0.41 log10 copies per milliliter (95% CI, -0.71 to -0.10) in the overall trial population. In the overall trial population, 6% of the patients in the placebo group and 3% of the patients in the combined REGN-COV2 dose groups reported at least one medically attended visit; among patients who were serum antibody-negative at baseline, the corresponding percentages were 15% and 6% (difference, -9 percentage points; 95% CI, -29 to 11). The percentages of patients with hypersensitivity reactions, infusion-related reactions, and other adverse events were similar in the combined REGN-COV2 dose groups and the placebo group.
Conclusions
In this interim analysis, the REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail reduced viral load, with a greater effect in patients whose immune response had not yet been initiated or who had a high viral load at baseline. Safety outcomes were similar in the combined REGN-COV2 dose groups and the placebo group. (Funded by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and the Biomedical and Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04425629.).

Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Medical Society.

N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:238-251
Weinreich DM, Sivapalasingam S, Norton T, Ali S, ... Yancopoulos GD, Trial Investigators
N Engl J Med: 20 Jan 2021; 384:238-251 | PMID: 33332778
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This program is still in alpha version.