Erythropoietin improves long-term neurological outcome in acute ischemic stroke patients: a randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled clinical trial
Critical Care (London, England). 2015;19((1):):761.
INTRODUCTION Mortality and disability following ischemic stroke (IS) remains unacceptably high with respect to the conventional therapies. This study tested the effect of erythropoietin (EPO) on long-term neurological outcome in patients after acute IS. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of two consecutive doses of EPO (5,000 IU/dose, subcutaneously administered at 48 hours and 72 hours after acute IS) on improving the 90-day combined endpoint of recurrent stroke or death that has been previously reported. A secondary objective was to evaluate the long-term (that is, five years) outcome of patients who received EPO. METHODS This was a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that was conducted between October 2008 and March 2010 in a tertiary referral center. IS stroke patients who were eligible for EPO therapy were enrolled into the study. RESULTS The results showed that long-term recurrent stroke and mortality did not differ between group 1 (placebo-control; n=71) and group 2 (EPO-treated; n=71). Long-term Barthel index of <35 (defining a severe neurological deficit) was lower in group 2 than group 1 (P=0.007). Multiple-stepwise logistic-regression analysis showed that EPO therapy was significantly and independently predictive of freedom from a Barthel index of <35 (P=0.029). Long-term major adverse neurological event (MANE; defined as: death, recurrent stroke, or long-term Barthel index<35) was lower in group 2 than group 1 (P=0.04). Log-Rank test showed that MANE-free rate was higher in group 2 than group 1 (P=0.031). Multiple-stepwise Cox-regression analysis showed that EPO therapy and higher Barthel Index at day 90 were independently predictive of freedom from long-term MANE (all P <0.04). CONCLUSION EPO therapy significantly improved long-term neurological outcomes in patients after IS. TRIAL REGISTRATION ISRCTN71371114 . Registered 10 October 2008.
Colony stimulating factors (including erythropoietin, granulocyte colony stimulating factor and analogues) for stroke
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013;6:CD005207.
BACKGROUND Colony stimulating factors (CSFs), also called haematopoietic growth factors, regulate bone marrow production of circulating red and white cells, and platelets. Some CSFs also mobilise the release of bone marrow stem cells into the circulation. CSFs have been shown to be neuroprotective in experimental stroke. OBJECTIVES To assess (1) the safety and efficacy of CSFs in people with acute or subacute ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke, and (2) the effect of CSFs on circulating stem and blood cell counts. SEARCH METHODS We searched the Cochrane Stroke Group Trials Register (last searched September 2012), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 4), MEDLINE (1985 to September 2012), EMBASE (1985 to September 2012) and Science Citation Index (1985 to September 2012). In an attempt to identify further published, unpublished and ongoing trials we contacted manufacturers and principal investigators of trials (last contacted April 2012). We also searched reference lists of relevant articles and reviews. SELECTION CRITERIA We included randomised controlled trials recruiting people with acute or subacute ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke. CSFs included stem cell factor (SCF), erythropoietin (EPO), granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF, CSF-1), thrombopoietin (TPO), or analogues of these. The primary outcome was functional outcome at the end of the trial. Secondary outcomes included safety at the end of treatment, death at the end of follow-up, infarct volume and haematology measures. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Two review authors (TE and NS) independently extracted data and assessed trial quality. We contacted study authors for additional information. MAIN RESULTS We included a total of 11 studies involving 1275 participants. In three trials (n = 782), EPO therapy was associated with a significant increase in death by the end of the trial (odds ratio (OR) 1.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19 to 3.3, P = 0.009) and a non-significant increase in serious adverse events. EPO significantly increased the red cell count with no effect on platelet or white cell count, or infarct volume. Two small trials of carbamylated EPO have been completed but have yet to be reported. We included eight small trials (n = 548) of G-CSF. G-CSF was associated with a non-significant reduction in early impairment (mean difference (MD) -0.4, 95% CI -1.82 to 1.01, P = 0.58) but had no effect on functional outcome at the end of the trial. G-CSF significantly elevated the white cell count and the CD34+ cell count, but had no effect on infarct volume. Further trials of G-CSF are ongoing. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS There are significant safety concerns regarding EPO therapy for stroke. It is too early to know whether other CSFs improve functional outcome.
Neuroprotective effects of erythropoietin in acute ischemic stroke
International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013;4((Suppl 2):):S306-12.
BACKGROUND Ischemic brain strokes consisttwo-thirdsof strokesand their complications bear a lot of disability for patient and society. In this study, we seek for effect of Erythropoietin on ischemic brain stroke's outcomes according to National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) changes. METHODS This study is a RCT (randomized clinical trial). All patients with focal neurologic deficit with primary suspicion of brain stroke undergone neuroimaging evaluations. After confirmation of new ischemic brain stroke, the patients with inclusion criteria'srandomized into two groups of cases and controls. NIHSS was defined for each patient and all patients received a routine treatment protocol. Erythropoietin 16,000 IU as a bolus intravenous dose was given to case patients as soon as neuroimaging study confirmed new ischemic stroke and continued as 8000 IU each 12 h up to total dose of 56,000 IU during 3 days. Patients re-evaluated at days 14 and 28 and NIHSS was assessed by another neurologist blinded to patient's group. Finally, NIHSS changes of both groups compared with each other's. RESULTS Evaluations revealed that in days14 and 28 during follow-up, Erythropoietin was effective in NIHSS (P= 0.0001). This effect was of value in level of consciousness Commands (P= 0.024), facial palsy (P= 0.003), motor arm (P= 0.0001), motor leg (P= 0.0001), sensory (P= 0.009), and best language (P= 0.023). CONCLUSIONS Administration of high-dose erythropoietin in first 24 h can be effective on reduction of ischemic stroke complication. A larger scale clinical trial is warranted.
Effect of erythropoietin on level of circulating endothelial progenitor cells and outcome in patients after acute ischemic stroke
Critical Care (London, England). 2011;15((1):):R40.
INTRODUCTION Erythropoietin (EPO) enhances the circulating level of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which has been reported to be associated with prognostic outcome in ischemic stroke (IS) patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the time course of circulating EPC level and the impact of EPO therapy on EPC level and clinical outcome in patients after acute IS. METHODS In total, 167 patients were prospectively randomized to receive either EPO therapy (group 1) (5,000 IU each time, subcutaneously) at 48 h and 72 h after acute IS, or serve as placebo (group 2). The circulating level of EPCs (double-stained markers: CD31/CD34 (E1), CD62E/CD34 (E2) and KDR/CD34 (E3)) was determined using flow cytometry at 48 h and on days 7 and 21 after IS. EPC level was also evaluated once in 60 healthy volunteers. RESULTS Circulating EPC (E1 to E3) level at 48 h after IS was remarkably higher in patients than in control subjects (P < 0.02). At 48 h and on Day 7 after IS, EPC (E1 to E3) level did not differ between groups 1 and 2 (all P > 0.1). However, by Day 21, EPC (E1 to E3) level was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (all P < 0.03). Additionally, 90-day recurrent stroke rate was notably lower in group 1 compared with group 2 (P = 0.022). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that EPO therapy (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.153 to 0.730; P = 0.006) and EPC (E3) (95% CI, 0.341 to 0.997; P = 0.049) levels were significantly and independently predictive of a reduced 90-day major adverse neurological event (MANE) (defined as recurrent stroke, National Institutes of Health Stroke scale ‰¥8, or death). CONCLUSIONS EPO therapy significantly improved circulating EPC level and 90-day MANE. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER ISRCTN ISRCTN96340690.
Circulating damage marker profiles support a neuroprotective effect of erythropoietin in ischemic stroke patients
Molecular Medicine (Cambridge, Mass.). 2011;17((11-12):):1306-10.
The German Multicenter EPO Stroke Trial, which investigated safety and efficacy of erythropoietin (EPO) treatment in ischemic stroke, was formally declared a negative study. Exploratory subgroup analysis, however, revealed that patients not receiving thrombolysis most likely benefited from EPO during clinical recovery, a result demonstrated in the findings of the Göttingen EPO Stroke Study. The present work investigated whether the positive signal on clinical outcome in this patient subgroup was mirrored by respective poststroke biomarker profiles. All patients of the German Multicenter EPO Stroke Trial nonqualifying for thrombolysis were included if they (a) were treated per protocol and (b) had at least two of the five follow-up blood samples for circulating damage markers drawn (n = 163). The glial markers S100B and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) and the neuronal marker ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH-L1) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in serum on d 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 poststroke. All biomarkers increased poststroke. Overall, EPO-treated patients had significantly lower concentrations (area under the curve) over 7 d of observation, as reflected by the composite score of all three markers (Cronbach ? = 0.811) and by UCH-L1. S100B and GFAP showed a similar tendency. To conclude, serum biomarker profiles, as an outcome measure of brain damage, corroborate an advantageous effect of EPO in ischemic stroke. In particular, reduction in the neuronal damage marker UCH-L1 may reflect neuroprotection by EPO.
Stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and anemia treated with Darbepoetin Alfa: the trial to reduce cardiovascular events with Aranesp therapy (TREAT) experience
BACKGROUND More strokes were observed in the Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events With Aranesp Therapy (TREAT) among patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa. We sought to identify baseline characteristics and postrandomization factors that might explain this association. METHODS AND RESULTS A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify baseline predictors of stroke in 4038 patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and anemia randomized to receive darbepoetin alfa or placebo. To determine whether postrandomization blood pressure, hemoglobin level, platelet count, or treatment dose were responsible for the increased risk related to darbepoetin alfa, we performed a nested case-control analysis (1:10 matching) identifying nonstroke controls with propensity matching. The risk of stroke was doubled with darbepoetin alfa. Overall, 154 patients had a stroke, 101/2012 (5.0%) in the darbepoetin alfa arm and 53/2026 (2.6%) in the placebo arm (hazard ratio 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-2.7). Independent predictors of stroke included assignment to darbepoetin alfa (odds ratio 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-2.9), history of stroke (odds ratio 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-2.9), more proteinuria, and known cardiovascular disease. In patients assigned to darbepoetin alfa, postrandomization systolic and diastolic blood pressure, hemoglobin level, platelet count, and darbepoetin alfa dose did not differ between those with and without stroke. Additional sensitivity analyses using maximal values, latest values, or changes over varying periods of exposure yielded similar results. CONCLUSIONS The 2-fold increase in stroke with darbepoetin alfa in TREAT could not be attributed to any baseline characteristic or to postrandomization blood pressure, hemoglobin, platelet count, or dose of treatment. These readily identifiable factors could not be used to mitigate the risk of darbepoetin alfa-related stroke. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00093015.
Recombinant human erythropoietin in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation. 2009;40((12):):e647-56.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Numerous preclinical findings and a clinical pilot study suggest that recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) provides neuroprotection that may be beneficial for the treatment of patients with ischemic stroke. Although EPO has been considered to be a safe and well-tolerated drug over 2 decades, recent studies have identified increased thromboembolic complications and/or mortality risks on EPO administration to patients with cancer or chronic kidney disease. Accordingly, the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized German Multicenter EPO Stroke Trial (Phase II/III; ClinicalTrials. gov Identifier: NCT00604630) was designed to evaluate efficacy and safety of EPO in stroke. METHODS This clinical trial enrolled 522 patients with acute ischemic stroke in the middle cerebral artery territory (intent-to-treat population) with 460 patients treated as planned (per-protocol population). Within 6 hours of symptom onset, at 24 and 48 hours, EPO was infused intravenously (40,000 IU each). Systemic thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator was allowed and stratified for. RESULTS Unexpectedly, a very high number of patients received recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (63. 4%). On analysis of total intent-to-treat and per-protocol populations, neither primary outcome Barthel Index on Day 90 (P=0. 45) nor any of the other outcome parameters showed favorable effects of EPO. There was an overall death rate of 16. 4% (n=42 of 256) in the EPO and 9. 0% (n=24 of 266) in the placebo group (OR, 1. 98; 95% CI, 1. 16 to 3. 38; P=0. 01) without any particular mechanism of death unexpected after stroke. CONCLUSIONS Based on analysis of total intent-to-treat and per-protocol populations only, this is a negative trial that also raises safety concerns, particularly in patients receiving systemic thrombolysis.
Erythropoietin therapy for acute stroke is both safe and beneficial
Molecular Medicine. 2002;8((8):):495-505.
BACKGROUND Erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor play a major role in embryonic brain, are weakly expressed in normal postnatal/adult brain and up-regulated upon metabolic stress. EPO protects neurons from hypoxic/ ischemic injury. The objective of this trial is to study the safety and efficacy of recombinant human EPO (rhEPO) for treatment of ischemic stroke in man. MATERIALS AND METHODS The trial consisted of a safety part and an efficacy part. In the safety study, 13 patients received rhEPO intravenously (3.3 X 10(4) IU/50 ml/30 min) once daily for the first 3 days after stroke. In the double-blind randomized proof-of-concept trial, 40 patients received either rhEPO or saline. Inclusion criteria were age <80 years, ischemic stroke within the middle cerebral artery territory confirmed by diffusion-weighted MRI, symptom onset <8 hr before drug administration, and deficits on stroke scales. The study endpoints were functional outcome at day 30 (Barthel Index, modified Rankin scale), NIH and Scandinavian stroke scales, evolution of infarct size (sequential MRI evaluation using diffusion-weighted [DWI] and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequences [FLAIR]) and the damage marker S100ss. RESULTS No safety concerns were identified. Cerebrospinal fluid EPO increased to 60-100 times that of nontreated patients, proving that intravenously administered rhEPO reaches the brain. In the efficacy trial, patients received rhEPO within 5 hr of onset of symptoms (median, range 2:40-7:55). Admission neurologic scores and serum S100beta concentrations were strong predictors ofoutcome. Analysis of covariance controlled for these two variables indicated that rhEPO treatment was associated with an improvement in follow-up and outcome scales. A strong trend for reduction in infarct size in rhEPO patients as compared to controls was observed by MRI. CONCLUSION Intravenous high-dose rhEPO is well tolerated in acute ischemic stroke and associated with an improvement in clinical outcome at 1 month. A larger scale clinical trial is warranted.