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abstracts & posters

Phase 3 Study of L-Glutamine Therapy in Sickle Cell Anemia and Sickle ß0-Thalassemia Subgroup Analyses Show Consistent Clinical Improvement

key information

source: American Society of Hematology

year: 2016

authors: Yutaka Niihara, Kusum Viswanathan, Scott T. Miller, Edouard Guillaume, Miren Blackwood, Rafael Razon, Lan Tran, Charles Stark


Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is characterized by continuous oxidative stress through various mechanisms contributing to the pathophysiology and clinical course of sickle cell crises (SCC) and organ damage. L-glutamine is a precursor for the synthesis of essential metabolic redox cofactors including Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD). Early studies have demonstrated that altered erythrocyte NAD redox potential was improved by oral L-glutamine therapy, suggesting that higher L-glutamine utilization in SCD exceeded de novo synthesis and its depletion played a role in oxidative stress.
A Phase 2 study of Pharmaceutical Grade L-glutamine (L-glutamine) versus placebo showed promising results on clinical endpoints. In a Phase 3 study with 230 SCD patients, randomized 2:1 to L-glutamine or placebo, the median number of SCCs was 25% lower for L-glutamine than placebo (L-glutamine 3.0 vs. placebo 4.0). An analysis of SCC events showed significant differences between groups (p < 0.01). Categories for pre-specified subgroups for Age, Gender and Hydroxyurea (HU) use were defined in the statistical plan. HU use was also a randomization stratification factor since HU is the only FDA-approved drug for SCD treatment. Examination of the HU subgroup for differences in L-glutamine effect across categories (HU vs. no HU) was appropriate since approximately 66% of patients remained on HU throughout the Phase 3 study. To investigate the subgroup treatment effect size, treatment by subgroup interaction and consistency of the primary endpoint across the categories of the subgroups, an examination was performed following the guidelines for reporting subgroup analysis.

Methods: The Negative Binomial Regression (NBR) model was utilized to generate an estimate of treatment effect and treatment by subgroup interactions of the three pre-specified subgroups. SCC events are most accurately described as counts and NBR is specifically intended for modeling count variables, usually for over-dispersed counts as seen in SCD studies. Rates of SCC for each treatment arm in a subgroup (Rate L-glutamine per 48 weeks / Rate placebo per 48 weeks) provide rate ratios, and an estimate of effect size, with 95% confidence intervals. A rate ratio

organization: Emmaus Medical, Inc, Torrance; Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn; SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn; Interfaith Medical Center, Brooklyn

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