Does epoetin beta still have a place in peginterferon alpha-2a plus ribavirin treatment strategies for chronic hepatitis C?
Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research. 2016;36((3)):204-14.
To investigate the impact of epoetin beta (EPO) on sustained virological response (SVR) in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients treated with peginterferon-ribavirin (RBV). Controlled, randomized, pragmatic multicenter study to assess 2 strategies, ie, the use (EPO group) or nonuse (control group) of EPO in terms of achieving SVR in treatment-naive, genotype non-2/non-3 HCV-infected patients receiving a 48-week treatment regimen of pegylated interferon alpha-2a (peg-IFN) plus RBV (randomization 2:1). The single-nucleotide polymorphisms of interferon lambda 3 (IFNL3) (rs12979860 and rs8099917), interferon lambda 4 (IFNL4) (ss469415590), and inosine triphosphatase (ITPA) (rs1127354 and rs7270101) were determined retrospectively. Two hundred twenty-seven patients were included in the study. In the global population (n=227), the overall SVR rate was 52% (118/227). Nonresponse and relapse occurred in respectively 46/227 (20.3%) and 42/227 (18.5%) patients. In the intention-to-treat analysis, 55.5% of patients with anemia (n=164) had a SVR, specifically 57.4% in the EPO group versus 52.4% in the control group, but the difference was not statistically significant. In the anemic population, independent factors associated with SVR were IFNL3 and IFNL4 polymorphisms, pretreatment HCV RNA level, iron level, and aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) ratio. EPO has little impact on SVR in patients treated with peg-IFN+RBV and should be recommended only for patients with severe anemia.
Combination of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and erythropoietin improves outcomes of patients with decompensated cirrhosis
BACKGROUND & AIMS Patients with decompensated cirrhosis have significantly reduced survival without liver transplantation. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has been shown to increase survival in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure, and erythropoietin promoted hepatic regeneration in animal studies. We performed a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether co-administration of these growth factors improved outcomes for patients with advanced cirrhosis. METHODS In a prospective study, consecutive patients with decompensated cirrhosis seen at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi (from May 2011 through June 2012) were randomly assigned to groups given subcutaneous G-CSF (5 mug/kg/d) for 5 days and then every third day (12 total doses), along with subcutaneous darbopoietin alpha(40 mcg/wk) for 4 weeks (GDP group, n = 29), or only placebos (control group, n = 26). All patients also received standard medical therapy and were followed for 12 months. Histology was performed on liver biopsies. The primary end point was survival at 12 months. RESULTS Baseline characteristics of patients were comparable; alcohol intake was the most common etiology of cirrhosis. A higher proportion of patients in the GDP group than controls survived until 12 months (68.6% vs 26.9%; P = .003). At 12 months, Child-Turcotte Pugh scores were reduced by 48.6% in the GDP group and 39.1% in the control group, from baseline (P = .001); Model for End Stage Liver Disease scores were reduced by 40.4% and 33%, respectively (P = .03). The need for large-volume paracentesis was significantly reduced in GDP group, compared with controls (P < .05). A lower proportion of patients in the GDP group developed septic shock (6.9%) during follow-up compared with controls (38.5%; P = .005). No major adverse events were observed in either group. CONCLUSIONS In a single-center randomized trial, a significantly larger proportion of patients with decompensated cirrhosis given a combination of G-CSF and darbopoietin alpha survived for 12 months more than patients given only placebo. The combination therapy also reduced liver severity scores and sepsis to a greater extent than placebo. Clinicaltrials.gov ID: NCT01384565.Copyright © 2015 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Treatment of anaemia with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in patients with chronic kidney disease does not lower mortality and may increase cardiovascular risk: a meta-analysis
Background/Aims: Interpretation of the results of earlier meta-analyses in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on the impact of anaemia treatment with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) on clinical outcomes has been hampered by the inclusion of small trials and trials of short duration. We re-evaluated the benefits and harms of treating anaemia, including only relevant clinical trials. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials performed in adults with CKD which allocated patients to different doses of ESAs, and we compared the effect of these interventions on vascular access thrombosis, stroke, risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and all-cause mortality. Additional inclusion criteria were studies with a duration of at least 1 year and enrolling more than 500 participants. Results: Five trials (7,902 participants) met the inclusion criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The number of patients enrolled in each trial ranged from 596 to 4,038. The mean/median duration of follow-up ranged from 14 to 36 months. A higher haemoglobin target was associated with increased risk of vascular access thrombosis (RR 1.343; 95% CI 1.162-1.554; p = 0.0005) and stroke (RR 1.735; 95% CI 1.323-2.275; p = 0.0005), and no effect on risk of ESRD (RR 1.089; 95% CI 0.986-1.203; p = 0.094) or all-cause mortality (RR 1.148; 95% CI 0.977-1.350; p = 0.093). Conclusion: In CKD patients, treatment of anaemia with ESAs targeting a higher haemoglobin value does not lower mortality or reduce the risk of ESRD, and may increase cardiovascular risk. Copyright 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Erythropoietin increases platelet reactivity and platelet counts in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2004;20((4):):437-43.
BACKGROUND Patients with liver cirrhosis have a complex haemostasis disturbance including thrombocytopenia and abnormal bleeding time. Erythropoietin is the primary stimulator for erythrocyte production and also induces megakaryocyte formation. In healthy men erythropoietin increased platelet count and platelet reactivity. AIM: As patients with liver cirrhosis often undergo invasive procedures, we were interested to study whether erythropoietin could improve platelet function in addition to thrombocytopenia. METHODS In total, 22 thrombocytopenic (platelet counts < 120 g/L) patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis received either 100 IE/kg erythropoietin or placebo on days 1, 3 and 5 in a 2:1 randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind fashion. Platelet counts and platelet reactivity (activator-stimulated expression of P-selectin on platelets measured by flow cytometry) were determined on study days 1, 3, 5 and 9. RESULTS Median platelet count was 80 g/L which is borderline for major elective surgical interventions. Baseline values were not different between groups (P > 0. 05). Treatment with erythropoietin increased platelet count by 25% (P = 0. 01) and platelet reactivity twofold (P < 0. 01) vs. baseline. The increase in platelet count vs. baseline was more pronounced in patients with platelet counts <80 g/L. No significant effect was observed in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS Treatment with erythropoietin significantly increased platelet counts and platelet reactivity in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis. Preoperative treatment with erythropoietin is therefore expected to yield higher platelet levels and better platelet function.
Once-weekly epoetin alfa improves anemia and facilitates maintenance of ribavirin dosing in hepatitis C virus-infected patients receiving ribavirin plus interferon alfa
The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2003;98((11):):2491-9.
OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of epoetin alfa in alleviating anemia and minimizing ribavirin (RBV) dose reductions in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection receiving combination RBV/interferon alfa (IFN) therapy. METHODS HCV-infected patients who had Hb levels of 12 g/dl or less during the first 24 wk of combination RBV/IFN therapy (n=64) were randomized to treatment with epoetin alfa (40,000 units) s. c. q. w. or to standard of care (SOC) for anemia management (RBV dose reduction or discontinuation, transfusions). Primary and secondary efficacy endpoints were changes in Hb level and RBV dosage, respectively, from baseline to week 16 of epoetin alfa therapy. Based on intent-to-treat analysis, the mean changes from baseline Hb levels at week 16 were +2. 8 g/dl for epoetin alfa versus +0. 4 g/dl for SOC (p<0. 0001), and the mean changes in RBV dosage were -34 mg/day for epoetin alfa versus -146 mg/day (p=0. 060) for SOC. The mean Hb level at week 16 in the epoetin alfa group (13. 8 g/dl) was significantly (p<0. 0001) higher than that of the SOC group (11. 4 g/dl). At week 4 and subsequently, significantly more patients in the epoetin alfa group did not have RBV dosage reductions (p<0. 011). At study end, 83% of epoetin alfa-treated patients maintained RBV dosages of at least 800 mg/day, compared with 54% of patients receiving SOC (p=0. 022). Epoetin alfa was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS In anemic HCV-infected patients treated with RBV/IFN, epoetin alfa increases Hb levels and maintains RBV dosing. Based on these results, epoetin alfa seems to be promising in the treatment of HCV treatment-related anemia. Further research is warranted to determine the potential impact on outcomes, including quality of life and sustained viral response rate.