Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another one bites the dust: TREAT is negative

Darbepoeitin meets a similar fate as epoetin alpha in CKD patients. Here is the press release from the trial onset, a more opportunistic time:
Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq:AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, today announced that the company has initiated a landmark trial to evaluate the impact of treating anemia on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and type 2 diabetes. TREAT (Trial to Reduce cardiovascular Events with Aranesp(R) (darbepoetin alfa) Therapy) is one of the largest clinical trials in the company's 25-year history. The TREAT study design as well as additional Sensipar(R) data was presented at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) annual meeting in St. Louis.

"Current research suggests that anemia is an augmenter of cardiovascular risk in individuals with CKD and type 2 diabetes," said TREAT lead investigator Marc Pfeffer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School. "TREAT will be the definitive study to determine if treating anemia with Aranesp does, in fact, lower the risk of death and non-fatal cardiovascular events in individuals with CKD and type 2 diabetes."

TREAT is an international 4,000 patient, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The primary endpoint of TREAT is a composite index of time to mortality or non-fatal cardiovascular event, including myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, stroke and heart failure.

The rational for TREAT was published in the American Heart Journal. From the abstract:
BACKGROUND: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have a high burden of mortality and cardiovascular morbidity. Additional strategies to modulate cardiovascular risk in this population are needed. Data suggest that anemia is a potent and potentially modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease in patients with CKD, but these data remain unsubstantiated by any randomized controlled trial (RCT). Furthermore, the clinical practice guidelines for anemia management in patients with CKD are based on limited data. The need for new RCTs to address critical knowledge deficits, particularly with regard to the impact of anemia therapy on cardiovascular disease and survival, is recognized within the guidelines and independent comprehensive reviews of the existing published trial data.
STUDY DESIGN: The Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) Therapy (TREAT) is a 4000-patient, multicenter, double-blind RCT, designed to determine the impact of anemia therapy with darbepoetin alfa on mortality and nonfatal cardiovascular events in patients with CKD and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Subjects will be randomized in a 1:1 manner to either darbepoetin alfa therapy to a target hemoglobin (Hb) of 13 g/dL or control, consisting of placebo for Hb > or =9 g/dL or darbepoetin alfa for Hb <9> or =9 g/dL. TREAT is event-driven and has a composite primary end point comprising time to mortality and nonfatal cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, stroke, and heart failure. TREAT will provide data that are critical to evolution of the management of cardiovascular risk in this high-risk population.
This was the last nail in the coffin for use of ESAs to normalize hemoglobin in pre-dialysis CKD. In the years since CHOIR and CREATE one of my partners kept holding out hope for TREAT. He mentioned that TREAT made it through its interim safety monitoring without being stopped so it was unlikely to show the same detrimental findings found in CHOIR.

This data is just preliminary as it was published to satisfy financial requirements. The official results will likely be presented at Renal Week.
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