Effects of dose of erythropoiesis stimulating agents on cardiovascular outcomes, quality of life and costs of haemodialysis. The Clinical Evaluation of the DOSe of Erythropoietins (C.E. DOSE) trial Italian
Background: Anaemia is a risk factor for death, adverse cardiovascular outcomes and poor quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents (ESA) are the most used treatment option. In observational studies, higher haemoglobin (Hb) levels (around 11-13 g/dL) are associated with improved survival and quality of life compared to Hb levels around 9-10 g/dL. Randomized
studies found that targeting higher Hb levels with ESA causes an increased risk of death, mainly due to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. It is possible that this is mediated by ESA dose rather than haemoglobin concentration, although this hypothesis has never been formally tested. Methods: We present the protocol of the Clinical Evaluation of the Dose of Erythropoietins (C.E. DOSE) trial, which will assess the benefits and harms of a high versus a low ESA dose therapeutic strategy for the management of anaemia of end stage kidney disease (ESKD). This is a randomized, prospective open label blinded end-point (PROBE) design trial due to enroll 900 haemodialysis patients. Patients will be randomized 1:1 to 4000 UI/week i. v. versus 18000 UI/week i. v. of epoetin alfa, beta or any other epoetin in equivalent doses. The primary outcome of the trial is a composite of cardiovascular events. In addition, quality of life and costs of these two strategies will be assessed. The study has been approved and funded by the Italian Agency of Drugs (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA)) within the 2006 funding plan for independent research on drugs (registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00827021)).