Clinical trials in sickle cell disease (SCD) continue to have challenges achieving clinical endpoints. Most SCD clinical trials have focused on painful vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) episodes because they are prevalent, debilitating and often lead to medical contact. However with VOC as a clinical endpoint: there are no objective, quantifiable biomarkers of pain; pain may not be specific to VOC; the threshold for medical contact varies between patients; VOCs occurring at home without medical contact are not captured; other components of VOC (e.g., fatigue, functioning) are poorly assessed. We therefore undertook the present non-interventional, longitudinal study to test novel tools for the identification of VOCs occurring in SCD patients with varying degrees of medical contact.
During 6 months of evaluation, longitudinal measures of pain, fatigue, function, activity (by actigraphy), clinical laboratory and biomarker samples from SCD patients (+/- hydroxyurea therapy) in steady state to VOC were studied. A novel electronic patient-reported outcome tool (ePRO) enabled patients to self-report daily pain, fatigue, function, and medication use. It was also used to report VOC in real time, triggering an alert to a mobile phlebotomy team. Blood collections were taken within 24 and 48 hours of self-reported VOC onset (either at home, emergency department [ED], or hospital). Follow-up blood samples were collected 2 days after resolution of the VOC. Baseline blood samples were drawn at home every 3 weeks during stable, non-VOC periods. Biomarker assays included leukocyte-platelet aggregates and circulating microparticles measured by flow cytometry, cell adhesion in microfluidic flow-based assays to immobilized vascular cell adhesion molecule or P-selectin, and a panel of soluble adhesion molecules, cytokines, inflammatory mediators and coagulation factors. Patients wore a Phillips Actiwatch Spectrum™ actigraphy device to track sleep and activity. Patient-reported outcomes, activity, and biomarkers on non-VOC days were compared to those on VOC days using a mixed model approach and results are reported as means with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
In this study 27 of 35 patients experienced a total of 286 days with VOC >4 hr (VOC days), of which only 58 days (20%) resulted in healthcare utilization such as contacting provider, visiting ED and/or hospitalization. VOC days had significantly higher pain scores (scale: 0-10) with worst pain score increased by 4.5 (95% CI 4.3-4.7) compared to non-VOC days. VOCs requiring medical contact had significantly higher worst pain scores compared to at-home VOCs. Similar changes observed with reported least, average and pain right now. VOC days had significantly higher fatigue scores by 2.3 (95% CI 2.1-2.5) points (scale: 0-10). However, fatigue scores during at-home VOCs were not different from VOCs requiring medical contact.
VOC days were associated with significantly decreased functional scores (physical, social, self-care and role activity), with significantly greater decreases during VOCs requiring medical contact compared to at-home VOCs. Different activity profiles were identified for non-VOC, at-home VOC and medical contact VOC days by actigraphy monitoring. At-home VOC days exhibited increased (34%, 95% CI 9%-64%) daytime resting compared to non-VOC days.
Medical contact VOCs had decreased average and peak activity, and increased daytime resting compared to non-VOC days. A sleep fragmentation index trended up for both at-home (16%) and medical contact VOC days (18%). Significant changes during VOC days were observed in a subset of clinical laboratory and biomarker measures. Examples include: C-reactive protein (54% increase) and nucleated RBC (34% increase) in the clinical laboratory panel; monocyte-platelet aggregates (25% increase) and neutrophil-platelet aggregates (35% increase) in the biomarker panel.
This innovative at-home study design demonstrates the feasibility of monitoring out of hospital pain and use of patient-reported VOC day as a potential endpoint for clinical trials. Electronic patient-reported outcomes, actigraphy and clinical laboratory and biomarkers may enable improved identification and assessment of at-home VOCs for further clinical studies.
Callaghan: CSL Behring: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Grifols: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Biogen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Global Blood Therapeutics: Other: Site PI; Baxalta: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Speakers Bureau; Roche/Genentech: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Site PI, Speakers Bureau; Octapharma: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc: Other: Owns stock, stock options, or bonds ; Shire: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Speakers Bureau; Bayer HealthCare; Pfizer Inc.; Roche; Shire: Consultancy; Sancillio: Other: Site PI; Bayer: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Pfizer Inc.: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Site PI, Research Funding; Roche; Shire: Speakers Bureau; Novo Nordisk: Speakers Bureau. Pittman: Pfizer: Employment. Beidler: Pfizer: Employment. Rybin: Pfizer: Employment. Liu: Functional Fluidics: Employment. Pleil: Pfizer: Employment. Barsdorf: Pfizer: Employment. David: Pfizer: Employment. Simmons: Pfizer: Employment. Frelinger: Baxalta: Research Funding; Ionis: Research Funding; Sysmex: Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding; Ironwood: Research Funding; GLSynthesis: Research Funding. Michelson: Eisai: Research Funding; Ionis: Research Funding; Ironwood: Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding; Sysmex: Research Funding; GLSynthesis: Research Funding; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Instrumentation Laboratory: Consultancy; AstraZeneca: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Elsevier: Patents & Royalties; Baxalta: Research Funding. Clarke: Pfizer: Employment. Charnigo: Pfizer: Employment.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.
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