Abstract

Introduction: β-thalassemia is an inherited hemoglobinopathy associated with an erythroid maturation defect characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis and impaired RBC maturation. Luspatercept is a first-in-class erythroid maturation agent under development to treat patients with β-thalassemia. Luspatercept binds to select TGFβ superfamily ligands to reduce aberrant Smad2/3 signaling and enhance late-stage erythropoiesis (Suragani RN, et al. Nat Med. 2014;20:408-14).

We report the results of a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to determine the efficacy and safety of luspatercept in adult β-thalassemia patients requiring regular RBC transfusions. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02604433.

Methods: Eligible patients were aged ≥ 18 years; had β-thalassemia or hemoglobin (Hb) E/β-thalassemia (compound β-thalassemia mutation and/or multiplication of α-globin genes was allowed); and required regular transfusions of 6-20 RBC units in the 24 weeks prior to randomization with no transfusion-free period ≥ 35 days during that time. Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive either luspatercept, at a starting dose level of 1.0 mg/kg with titration up to 1.25 mg/kg, or placebo, subcutaneously every 3 weeks for ≥ 48 weeks. Patients in both treatment arms continued to receive RBC transfusions and iron chelation therapy to maintain the same baseline Hb level.

The primary endpoint was a ≥ 33% reduction in transfusion burden (with a reduction of ≥ 2 RBC units) during weeks 13-24, when compared with a 12-week baseline period. Key secondary endpoints included: ≥ 33% reduction in RBC transfusion burden at weeks 37-48, ≥ 50% reduction in transfusion burden at weeks 13-24, ≥ 50% reduction in transfusion burden at weeks 37-48, and mean change in transfusion burden at weeks 13-24.

Achievement of ≥ 33% reduction in RBC transfusion burden over any consecutive 12 weeks on study was also evaluated.

Results: A total of 336 patients were randomized, of whom 332 were treated. Median age was 30 years (range 18-66) and 58% of patients were female. Patients received a median of 6 RBC units in the 12 weeks prior to treatment. 58% of patients in each arm had undergone splenectomy. B0/B0 genotype (classification according to the HbVar database) was observed in 68 of 224 (30.4%) and 35 of 112 (31.3%) patients in the luspatercept and placebo arms, respectively.

48 of 224 (21.4%) patients in the luspatercept arm achieved the primary endpoint versus 5 of 112 (4.5%) patients receiving placebo (odds ratio 5.79, P < 0.0001). 44 of 224 (19.6%) patients receiving luspatercept achieved a ≥ 33% reduction in RBC transfusion burden at weeks 37-48 compared with 4 of 112 (3.6%) patients receiving placebo (P < 0.0001). Of 224 patients receiving luspatercept, 17 (7.6%) and 23 (10.3%) achieved a ≥ 50% reduction in RBC transfusion burden at weeks 13-24 and 37-48, respectively, compared with 2 (1.8%) and 1 of 112 (0.9%) patients receiving placebo (P = 0.0303 and P = 0.0017, respectively). The difference of mean change from baseline in transfusion burden from week 13 to week 24 was 1.35 units (P < 0.0001).

158 of 224 (70.5%) patients receiving luspatercept achieved a ≥ 33% RBC transfusion reduction over any consecutive 12 weeks compared with 33 of 112 (29.5%) patients receiving placebo (P < 0.0001); statistically significant differences were also noted for all other transfusion burden reduction endpoints.

Adverse events (AEs) observed in the study were generally consistent with previously reported phase 2 data. Treatment-emergent AEs leading to dose delay or dose reduction were similar between treatment arms. No patient deaths were reported for those treated with luspatercept.

Conclusions: Treatment with luspatercept resulted in significant reductions in RBC transfusion burden in adults with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia. Luspatercept was generally well tolerated in this patient population.

As of May 11, 2018, cutoff date.

Disclosures

Cappellini:Celgene Corporation: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Sanofi/Genzyme: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Novartis: Honoraria; Vifor: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Viprakasit:F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Consultancy, Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Research Funding; Agios: Consultancy, Research Funding; Protagonist Therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding. Taher:Protagonist Therapeutics: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Ionis Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; La Jolla Pharmaceutical: Research Funding; Celgene Corp.: Research Funding. Georgiev:Alnylam: Consultancy. Coates:Celgene Corp.: Consultancy; ApoPharma: Consultancy, Honoraria; Vifor Pharma: Consultancy; Sangamo: Consultancy, Honoraria. Voskaridou:Acceleron: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Celgene Corp: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Forni:Novartis: Research Funding; Roche: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding. Perrotta:Acceleron Pharma: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding. Lal:Celgene Corporation: Research Funding; Bluebird Bio: Research Funding; La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company: Consultancy, Research Funding; Insight Magnetics: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Terumo Corporation: Research Funding. Kattamis:ApoPharma: Honoraria; Vifor Pharma: Consultancy; CELGENE: Consultancy, Honoraria; Novartis: Consultancy, Honoraria. Vlachaki:Novartis: Honoraria. Origa:Cerus Corporation: Research Funding; Bluebird Bio: Consultancy; Novartis: Honoraria; Apopharma: Honoraria. Aydinok:TERUMO: Research Funding; Protagonist: Other: SSC; CRISPR Tech: Other: DMC; Cerus: Honoraria, Research Funding; La Jolla Pharmaceuticals: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Research Funding. Ho:Takeda: Honoraria, Other: travel to meeting; Novartis: Honoraria; Janssen: Honoraria; Amgen: Honoraria; Celgene: Other: Travel to meeting. Chew:Celgene: Research Funding. Tantiworawit:Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau. Shah:Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Sobi/Apotex: Honoraria; Celgene Corp: Other: Steering committee; Roche: Other: Advisory board meeting. Neufeld:Celgene Corp.: Consultancy, Other: Steering committee; Acceleron Pharma: Consultancy. Laadem:Celgene: Employment, Equity Ownership. Shetty:Celgene: Employment, Equity Ownership. Zou:Celgene Corporation: Employment, Equity Ownership. Miteva:Celgene Corporation: Employment, Other: grants. Zinger:Celgene Corporation: Employment. Linde:AbbVie: Equity Ownership; Abbott Laboratories: Equity Ownership; Fibrogen: Equity Ownership; Acceleron Pharma: Employment, Equity Ownership. Sherman:Acceleron Pharma: Employment, Equity Ownership. Hermine:AB Science: Consultancy, Equity Ownership, Honoraria, Research Funding; Celgene Corporation: Research Funding; Hybrigenics: Research Funding; Erythec: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding. Porter:Cerus: Honoraria; Agios: Honoraria; Novartis: Consultancy. Piga:La Jolla: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Bluebird Bio: Honoraria; Apopharma: Honoraria, Research Funding; Celgene Corp: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Acceleron: Research Funding.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

This icon denotes a clinically relevant abstract