Crizanlizumab for the Prevention of Pain Crises in Sickle Cell Disease

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Abstract

Background

The up-regulation of P-selectin in endothelial cells and platelets contributes to the cell–cell interactions that are involved in the pathogenesis of vaso-occlusion and sickle cell–related pain crises. The safety and efficacy of crizanlizumab, an antibody against the adhesion molecule P-selectin, were evaluated in patients with sickle cell disease.

Methods

In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial, we assigned patients to receive low-dose crizanlizumab (2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight), high-dose crizanlizumab (5.0 mg per kilogram), or placebo, administered intravenously 14 times over a period of 52 weeks. Patients who were receiving concomitant hydroxyurea as well as those not receiving hydroxyurea were included in the study. The primary end point was the annual rate of sickle cell–related pain crises with high-dose crizanlizumab versus placebo. The annual rate of days hospitalized, the times to first and second crises, annual rates of uncomplicated crises (defined as crises other than the acute chest syndrome, hepatic sequestration, splenic sequestration, or priapism) and the acute chest syndrome, and patient-reported outcomes were also assessed.

Results

A total of 198 patients underwent randomization at 60 sites. The median rate of crises per year was 1.63 with high-dose crizanlizumab versus 2.98 with placebo (indicating a 45.3% lower rate with high-dose crizanlizumab, P=0.01). The median time to the first crisis was significantly longer with high-dose crizanlizumab than with placebo (4.07 vs. 1.38 months, P=0.001), as was the median time to the second crisis (10.32 vs. 5.09 months, P=0.02). The median rate of uncomplicated crises per year was 1.08 with high-dose crizanlizumab, as compared with 2.91 with placebo (indicating a 62.9% lower rate with high-dose crizanlizumab, P=0.02). Adverse events that occurred in 10% or more of the patients in either active-treatment group and at a frequency that was at least twice as high as that in the placebo group were arthralgia, diarrhea, pruritus, vomiting, and chest pain.

Conclusions

In patients with sickle cell disease, crizanlizumab therapy resulted in a significantly lower rate of sickle cell–related pain crises than placebo and was associated with a low incidence of adverse events. (Funded by Selexys Pharmaceuticals and others; SUSTAIN ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01895361.)

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