Dupilumab Moves Forward as Possible COPD Treatment

Dupilumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody, significantly improved quality of life and respiratory symptoms compared with placebo in a phase 3 trial of more than 900 adults with uncontrolled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In the study, known as the BOREAS trial, dupilumab met its primary and secondary endpoints, with a significant reduction compared with placebo in exacerbations for adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that was uncontrolled despite use of the maximal standard-of-care inhaled therapy (triple therapy), according to a press release from manufacturers Regeneron and Sanofi.

Dupilumab, which inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) pathways, is currently approved in multiple countries for certain patients with conditions including atopic dermatitis, asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, eosinophilic esophagitis, or prurigo nodularis in different age groups. The drug is not an immunosuppressant, and would be the first biologic approved for COPD, according to the manufacturers.

In the BOREAS trial, 468 adults with COPD who were current or former smokers aged 40-80 years were randomized to dupilumab and 471 to placebo; both groups continued to receive maximal standard of care.

Over 52 weeks, patients in the dupilumab group experienced a 30% reduction in moderate to severe COPD exacerbations compared with placebo (P = .0005).

In addition, patients treated with dupilumab met the key secondary endpoints of significant improvement in lung function from baseline to 12 weeks compared with placebo (160 mL vs. 77 mL, P < .0001); this difference persisted at 52 weeks (P = .0003).

Dupilumab also met endpoints for improvement in patient-reported health-related quality of life based on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and reduction in the severity of respiratory symptoms of COPD based on the Evaluation Respiratory Symptoms: COPD (E-RS: COPD) Scale, according to the companies’ statement.

The results represent a previously unreported magnitude of improvement for COPD patients treated with a biologic, principal investigator George D. Yancopoulos, MD, said in the statement. “These results also validate the role type 2 inflammation plays in driving COPD in these patients, advancing the scientific community’s understanding of the underlying biology of this disease,” he added.

The safety results in the BOREAS trial were generally consistent with the known safety profile of Dupixent in its approved indications. Overall adverse event rates were similar for dupilumab and placebo patients (77% and 76%, respectively) and the overall safety profiles were consistent with the currently approved dupilumab indications, according to the manufacturers.

The adverse events that were more common in dupilumab patients compared with placebo patients were headache (8.1% vs. 6.8%), diarrhea (5.3% vs. 3.6%), and back pain (5.1% vs. 3.4%).

Adverse events leading to deaths were similar between the groups (1.7% in placebo patients and 1.5% in dupilumab patients).

Complete safety and efficacy results from the BOREAS trial are scheduled to be presented in a future scientific forum, and a second phase 3 trial of dupilumab for COPD, known as NOTUS, is ongoing, with data expected in 2024, according to the manufacturers.

The Boreas trial was sponsored by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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