Monitoring disease progression with plasma creatinine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis clinical trials

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ObjectivesPlasma creatinine is a predictor of survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It remains, however, to be established whether it can monitor disease progression and serve as surrogate endpoint in clinical trials.MethodsWe used clinical trial data from three cohorts of clinical trial participants in the LITRA, EMPOWER and PROACT studies. Longitudinal associations between functional decline, muscle strength and survival with plasma creatinine were assessed. Results were translated to trial design in terms of sample size and power.ResultsA total of 13 564 measurements were obtained for 1241 patients. The variability between patients in rate of decline was lower in plasma creatinine than in ALS functional rating scale–Revised (ALSFRS-R; p<0.001). The average rate of decline was faster in the ALSFRS-R, with less between-patient variability at baseline (p<0.001). Plasma creatinine had strong longitudinal correlations with the ALSFRS-R (0.43 (0.39–0.46), p<0.001), muscle strength (0.55 (0.51–0.58), p<0.001) and overall mortality (HR 0.88 (0.86–0.91, p<0.001)). Using plasma creatinine as outcome could reduce the sample size in trials by 21.5% at 18 months. For trials up to 10 months, the ALSFRS-R required a lower sample size.ConclusionsPlasma creatinine is an inexpensive and easily accessible biomarker that exhibits less variability between patients with ALS over time and is predictive for the patient’s functional status, muscle strength and mortality risk. Plasma creatinine may, therefore, increase the power to detect treatment effects and could be incorporated in future ALS clinical trials as potential surrogate outcome.

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