Dupilumab Efficacy and Safety in Moderate-to-Severe Uncontrolled Asthma

Mario Castro, M.D., Jonathan Corren, M.D., Ian D. Pavord, M.D., Jorge Maspero, M.D., Sally Wenzel, M.D., Klaus F. Rabe, M.D., William W. Busse, M.D., Linda Ford, M.D., Lawrence Sher, M.D., J. Mark FitzGerald, M.D., Constance Katelaris, M.D., Yuji Tohda, M.D., et al.

NEJM May 21, 2018
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1804092

Abstract
BACKGROUND
Dupilumab is a fully human anti–interleukin-4 receptor α monoclonal antibody that blocks both interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signaling. We assessed its efficacy and safety in patients with uncontrolled asthma.

METHODS
We randomly assigned 1902 patients 12 years of age or older with uncontrolled asthma in a 2:2:1:1 ratio to receive add-on subcutaneous dupilumab at a dose of 200 or 300 mg every 2 weeks or matched-volume placebos for 52 weeks. The primary end points were the annualized rate of severe asthma exacerbations and the absolute change from baseline to week 12 in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) before bronchodilator use in the overall trial population. Secondary end points included the exacerbation rate and FEV1 in patients with a blood eosinophil count of 300 or more per cubic millimeter. Asthma control and dupilumab safety were also assessed.

RESULTS
The annualized rate of severe asthma exacerbations was 0.46 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39 to 0.53) among patients assigned to 200 mg of dupilumab every 2 weeks and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.72 to 1.05) among those assigned to a matched placebo, for a 47.7% lower rate with dupilumab than with placebo (P<0.001); similar results were seen with the dupilumab dose of 300 mg every 2 weeks. At week 12, the FEV1 had increased by 0.32 liters in patients assigned to the lower dose of dupilumab (difference vs. matched placebo, 0.14 liters; P<0.001); similar results were seen with the higher dose. Among patients with a blood eosinophil count of 300 or more per cubic millimeter, the annualized rate of severe asthma exacerbations was 0.37 (95% CI, 0.29 to 0.48) among those receiving lower-dose dupilumab and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.38) among those receiving a matched placebo (65.8% lower rate with dupilumab than with placebo; 95% CI, 52.0 to 75.6); similar results were observed with the higher dose. Blood eosinophilia occurred after the start of the intervention in 52 patients (4.1%) who received dupilumab as compared with 4 patients (0.6%) who received placebo.

CONCLUSIONS
In this trial, patients who received dupilumab had significantly lower rates of severe asthma exacerbation than those who received placebo, as well as better lung function and asthma control. Greater benefits were seen in patients with higher baseline levels of eosinophils. Hypereosinophilia was observed in some patients. (Funded by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; LIBERTY ASTHMA QUEST ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02414854.)

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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