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This study sought to determine whether treatment-related changes in natriuretic peptides (NPs) predict longer-term therapeutic effects in clinical trials of heart failure (HF).
The lack of reliable predictors of efficacy of drugs and devices in HF has presented a major hurdle to the development and evaluation of novel therapies.
The study conducted a trial-level analysis of 16 phase III chronic HF trials completed between 1987 and 2013 studying 18 therapeutic comparisons in 48,844 patients. Weighted Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated between average control- or placebo-corrected changes in NPs and longer-term treatment effects on clinical endpoints (expressed as log-transformed hazard ratios).
Median follow-up for clinical endpoints was 28 (25th to 75th percentile range: 18 to 36) months. NPs were available in a median of 748 (25th to 75th percentile range: 270 to 1,868) patients and measured at a median of 4 (25th to 75th percentile range: 3 to 6) months after randomization. Treatment-related changes in NPs were not correlated with longer-term treatment effects on all-cause mortality (r = 0.12; p = 0.63), but were correlated with HF hospitalization (r = 0.63; p = 0.008). Correlation with HF hospitalization improved when analyses were restricted to trials completed in the last decade (>2010; r = 0.92; p = 0.0095), using N-terminal pro–B-type NP assays (r = 0.65; p = 0.06), and evaluating inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (r = 0.97; p = 0.0002).
When examining a broad range of interventions, therapy-related changes in NPs appeared modestly correlated with longer-term therapeutic effects on hospitalization for HF, but not with effects on all-cause mortality. These observations raise important caveats regarding the use of NPs in phase II trials for decision making regarding phase III trials.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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