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CROI 2014: Raltegravir Plus Boosted Darunavir Is Safe and Effective for First-line ART

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A NRTI-sparing initial regimen of raltegravir (Isentress) plus boosted darunavir (Prezista) worked as well as traditional antiretroviral therapy containing tenofovir/emtricitabine (the drugs in Truvada), according to findings from the NEAT 001 study reported at the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014) this week in Boston.

HIV treatment guidelines have historically recommended combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) consisting of a pair of nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) plus a third drug from a different class, such as a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or protease inhibitor. NRTIs cause side effects and toxicities in some patients, however, and the advent of novel antiretroviral classes allows more flexibility to create NRTI-free regimens.

Francois Raffi from University Hospital in Nantes presented findings from NEAT 001/ANRS 143, a randomized clinical trial comparing 2 different types of first-line ART regimen.

This multicenter, open-label Phase 3 study included 805 previously untreated adults with HIV at 78 sites in 15 countries in Europe. Most (88%) were men, 82% were white, 13% were black, and the median age was 38 years. Participants were required to have a CD4 T-cell count of at least 500 cells/mm3 (median about 330 cells/mm3) and no major drug-resistance mutations. Only 4% were coinfected with hepatitis C.

Study participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either 400 mg raltegravir taken twice-daily or the Truvada tenofovir/emtricitabine coformulation taken once-daily, both with 800/100 mg ritonavir-boosted darunavir. They were followed for at least 96 weeks.

The primary study endpoint was time to treatment failure, using a composite measure of 3 virological criteria (switching therapy before week 32 due to insufficient virological response or HIV RNA >50 copies/m at week 32 or at any time thereafter) and 3 clinical criteria (death due to any cause, any new or recurring AIDS-defining event, or any serious non-AIDS event).

Results

  • More than 90% of participants in both arms completed 96 weeks of treatment, and most of the remainder were lost to follow-up.
  • At 96 weeks, the probability of meeting one of the specified criteria for treatment failure was 17% for raltegravir recipients vs 14% for Truvada recipients.
  • This difference fell within the pre-set 9% margin, indicating that raltegravir was non-inferior to Truvada overall.
  • In most cases this was due to viral load >50 copies/mL at week 32 or after.
  • In addition there were 4 deaths (3 in the raltegravir arm and 1 in the Truvada arm), eight AIDS-defining events (5 and 3, respectively) and 14 non-AIDS events (7 in each arm).
  • Raltegravir was also non-inferior to Truvada when looking only at virological failure (15% vs 12%) or at the primary endpoint plus discontinuation of any drug in the randomized regimen (23% vs 20%).
  • Similar proportions of patients in the raltegravir and Truvada arms achieved HIV RNA <50 copies/ml (89% vs 93%).
  • CD4 cell gains were also equivalent (+197 vs +193 at 48 weeks, +267 vs +266 at 96 weeks).
  • The researchers also did a planned sub-analysis looking at the effects of baseline viral load and CD4 cell count.
  • Among people with high viral load (>100,000 copies/ml) at study entry, treatment failure rates were 36% with raltegravir and 27% with Truvada.
  • Among those with low CD4 counts (<200 cells/mm3), failure rates were 39% vs 21%, respectively.
  • Among participants with virological failure who underwent genotypic testing, 5 out of 28 people in the raltegravir arm had evidence of major resistance mutations (mostly integrase inhibitor resistance) compared with none in the Truvada arm.
  • Raltegravir and Truvada were both generally safe and well-tolerated as part of combination ART, with similar rates of serious adverse events (89 vs 75, respectively), grade 3-4 adverse events (2.1 vs 1.0 per 100 person-years), and adverse events leading to treatment modification (4.2 per 100 person-years in both arms).
  • People taking raltegravir had somewhat larger increases in blood fat levels, but total-to-HDL cholesterol ratios remained stable in both arms.
  • Looking at kidney function, creatinine clearance -- measured as eGFR -- declined in the Truvada arm (-3.8 ml/min) while rising in the raltegravir arm (+0.9 ml/min), a significant difference.

In this well-powered, open-label, randomized study, the researchers summarized, "Overall twice-daily raltegravir was well tolerated and had comparable efficacy to once-daily tenofovir/emtricitabine, when co-administered with once daily darunavir/ritonavir, over 96 weeks in first-line antiretroviral therapy."

Raffi explained that the CD4 count difference in the sub-analysis was significant, meaning that raltegravir was inferior to Truvada for people with low baseline CD4 counts. People with high baseline viral load also did not do as well on raltegravir, but the difference did not reach statistical significance and was largely driven by patients who had both high viral load and low CD4 count at study entry.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that raltegravir plus darunavir/ritonavir "represents an alternative option" to tenofovir/emtricitabine plus darunavir/ritonavir for first-line therapy, particularly for people with CD4 counts above 200 cells/mm3.

See also: CROI 2014: Raltegravir Works as Well as Tenofovir for HIV Treatment [VIDEO]

3/6/14

Reference

F Raffi, AG Babiker, L Richert, et al. First-Line RAL + DRV/r Is Non-Inferior To TDF/FTC + DRV/r: The NEAT001/ANRS143 Randomised Trial. 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014). Boston, March 3-6. Abstract 84LB.