Research Spotlight

Posted March 16th 2021

Dynamic changes in cardiovascular and systemic parameters prior to sudden cardiac death in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: a PARADIGM-HF analysis.

Milton Packer M.D.

Milton Packer M.D.

Rohde, L.E., Vaduganathan, M., Claggett, B.L., Polanczyk, C.A., Dorbala, P., Packer, M., Desai, A.S., Zile, M., Rouleau, J., Swedberg, K., Lefkowitz, M., Shi, V., McMurray, J.J.V. and Solomon, S.D. (2021). “Dynamic changes in cardiovascular and systemic parameters prior to sudden cardiac death in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: a PARADIGM-HF analysis.” Eur J Heart Fail Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print].

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AIMS: Prognostic models of sudden cardiac death (SCD) typically incorporate data at only a single time-point. We investigated independent predictors of SCD addressing the impact of integrating time-varying covariates to improve prediction assessment. METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 8399 patients enrolled in the PARADIGM-HF trial and identified independent predictors of SCD (n = 561, 36% of total deaths) using time-updated multivariable-adjusted Cox models, classification and regression tree (CART), and logistic regression analysis. Compared with patients who were alive or died from non-sudden cardiovascular deaths, patients who suffered a SCD displayed a distinct temporal profile of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class, heart rate and levels of three biomarkers (albumin, uric acid and total bilirubin), with significant differences observed more than 1 year prior to the event (P(interaction)  < 0.001). In multivariable models adjusted for baseline covariates, seven time-updated variables independently contributed to SCD risk (incremental likelihood chi-square = 46.2). CART analysis identified that baseline variables (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator use and N-terminal prohormone of B-type natriuretic peptide levels) and time-updated covariates (NYHA class, total bilirubin, and total cholesterol) improved risk stratification. CART-defined subgroup of highest risk had nearly an eightfold increment in SCD hazard (hazard ratio 7.7, 95% confidence interval 3.6-16.5; P < 0.001). Finally, changes over time in heart rate, NYHA class, blood urea nitrogen and albumin levels were associated with differential risk of sudden vs. non-sudden cardiovascular deaths (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Beyond single time-point assessments, distinct changes in multiple cardiac-specific and systemic variables improved SCD risk prediction and were helpful in differentiating mode of death in chronic heart failure.


Posted March 16th 2021

Influence of neprilysin inhibition on the efficacy and safety of empagliflozin in patients with chronic heart failure and a reduced ejection fraction: the EMPEROR-Reduced trial.

Milton Packer M.D.

Milton Packer M.D.

Packer, M., Anker, S.D., Butler, J., Filippatos, G., Ferreira, J.P., Pocock, S.J., Rocca, H.B., Janssens, S., Tsutsui, H., Zhang, J., Brueckmann, M., Jamal, W., Cotton, D., Iwata, T., Schnee, J. and Zannad, F. (2021). “Influence of neprilysin inhibition on the efficacy and safety of empagliflozin in patients with chronic heart failure and a reduced ejection fraction: the EMPEROR-Reduced trial.” Eur Heart J 42(6): 671-680.

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AIMS: We evaluated the influence of sacubitril/valsartan on the effects of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibition with empagliflozin in patients with heart failure and a reduced ejection fraction. METHODS AND RESULTS: The EMPEROR-Reduced trial randomized 3730 patients with heart failure and an ejection fraction ≤40% to placebo or empagliflozin (10 mg/day), in addition to recommended treatment for heart failure, for a median of 16 months. A total of 727 patients (19.5%) received sacubitril/valsartan at baseline. Analysis of the effect of neprilysin inhibition was 1 of 12 pre-specified subgroups. Patients receiving a neprilysin inhibitor were particularly well-treated, as evidenced by lower systolic pressures, heart rates, N-terminal prohormone B-type natriuretic peptide, and greater use of cardiac devices (all P < 0.001) when compared with those not receiving sacubitril/valsartan. Nevertheless, when compared with placebo, empagliflozin reduced the risk of cardiovascular death or hospitalization for heart failure in patients receiving or not receiving sacubitril/valsartan [hazard ratio 0.64 (95% CI 0.45-0.89), P = 0.009 and hazard ratio 0.77 (95% CI 0.66-0.90), P = 0.0008, respectively, interaction P = 0.31]. Empagliflozin slowed the rate of decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate by 1.92 ± 0.80 mL/min/1.73 m2/year in patients taking a neprilysin inhibitor (P = 0.016) and by 1.71 ± 0.35 mL/min/1.73 m2/year in patients not taking a neprilysin inhibitor (P < 0.0001), interaction P = 0.81. Combined inhibition of SGLT2 and neprilysin was well-tolerated. CONCLUSION: The effects on empagliflozin to reduce the risk of heart failure and renal events are not diminished in intensively treated patients who are receiving sacubitril/valsartan. Combined treatment with both SGLT2 and neprilysin inhibitors can be expected to yield substantial additional benefits.


Posted March 16th 2021

Serum potassium and outcomes in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: a post-hoc analysis of the PARAGON-HF trial.

Milton Packer M.D.

Milton Packer M.D.

Ferreira, J.P., Claggett, B.L., Liu, J., Desai, A.S., Pfeffer, M.A., Anand, I.S., Van Veldhuisen, D.J., Kober, L., Cleland, J.G.F., Rouleau, J.L., Packer, M., Zile, M.R., Shi, V.C., Lefkowitz, M.P., Shah, S.J., Vardeny, O., Zannad, F., Solomon, S.D. and McMurray, J.J.V. (2021). “Serum potassium and outcomes in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: a post-hoc analysis of the PARAGON-HF trial.” Eur J Heart Fail Feb 20. [Epub ahead of print].

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AIMS: The relationship between serum potassium concentration and outcomes in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is not well-established. The aim of this study was to explore the association between serum potassium and clinical outcomes in the PARAGON-HF trial in which 4822 patients with HFpEF were randomised to treatment with sacubitril/valsartan or valsartan. METHODS AND RESULTS: The relationship between serum potassium concentrations and the primary study composite outcome of total (first and recurrent) heart failure hospitalisations and cardiovascular death was analysed. Hypo-, normo-, and hyperkalaemia were defined as serum potassium <4 mmol/L, 4-5 mmol/L and >5 mmol/L, respectively. Both screening and time-updated potassium (categorical and continuous spline-transformed) were studied. Patient mean age was 73 years and 52% were women. Patients with higher baseline potassium more often had an ischaemic aetiology and diabetes and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist treatment. Compared with normokalaemia, both time-updated (but not screening) hypo- and hyperkalaemia were associated with a higher risk of the primary outcome [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for hypokalaemia 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30-1.85; P < 0.001, and for hyperkalaemia HR 1.21, 95% CI 1.02-1.44; P = 0.025]. Hypokalaemia had a stronger association with a higher risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular death than hyperkalaemia. The association of hypokalaemia with increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular death was most marked in participants with impaired kidney function (interaction P < 0.05). Serum potassium did not significantly differ between sacubitril/valsartan and valsartan throughout the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Both hypo- and hyperkalaemia were associated with heart failure hospitalisation but only hypokalaemia was associated with mortality, especially in the context of renal impairment. Hypokalaemia was as strongly associated with death from non-cardiovascular causes as with cardiovascular death. Collectively, these findings suggest that potassium disturbances are a more of a marker of HFpEF severity rather than a direct cause of death.


Posted March 16th 2021

Recurrence rates in patients with HER2+ breast cancer who achieved a pathological complete response after neoadjuvant pertuzumab plus trastuzumab followed by adjuvant trastuzumab: a real-world evidence study.

Joyce O'Shaughnessy M.D.

Joyce O’Shaughnessy M.D.

O’Shaughnessy, J., Robert, N., Annavarapu, S., Zhou, J., Sussell, J., Cheng, A. and Fung, A. (2021). “Recurrence rates in patients with HER2+ breast cancer who achieved a pathological complete response after neoadjuvant pertuzumab plus trastuzumab followed by adjuvant trastuzumab: a real-world evidence study.” Breast Cancer Res Treat Mar 1. [Epub ahead of print].

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PURPOSE: This study assessed real-world risk of invasive disease recurrence (IDR) and associated factors in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 positive (HER2+) early breast cancer (BC) with pathological complete responses (pCR) after neoadjuvant pertuzumab plus trastuzumab (nPT) plus chemotherapy, followed by adjuvant trastuzumab (aT). METHODS: Patients with HER2+ BC with pCR after nPT from 2013 to 2015 who received aT were identified in the US Oncology Network and followed until IDR or censoring. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression methods were used to assess invasive disease-free survival (iDFS) and correlation between iDFS and patient characteristics. RESULTS: A total of 217 pCR patients’ charts were reviewed; median age was 52 years. Most had stage IIA or IIB disease (62%), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) ≤ 1 (84%), tumor size > 2 cm (75%), positive nodes (N+, 62%) and negative estrogen and progesterone receptor (ER- and PR-) expression (52%). Four-year iDFS rates were 90.0% overall (95% CI 84.6%, 93.6%), 86.2% for the N+ cohort and 96.0% for the N- cohort. Cox regression suggested that age, body mass index, ECOG PS, N+ status, stage T3 or T4, and ER+ or PR+ status were risk factors for IDR but were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with previous studies, this real-world study observed that patients with HER2+ BC showing pCR with nPT remain at risk for IDR, especially with node-positive disease at diagnosis. Alternatives to adjuvant trastuzumab alone, including combined trastuzumab and pertuzumab, should be considered to improve outcomes for initially N+ patients showing pCR with nPT.


Posted March 16th 2021

Baseline characteristics and first-line treatment patterns in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in the SystHERs registry.

Joyce O'Shaughnessy M.D.

Joyce O’Shaughnessy M.D.

Kaufman, P.A., Hurvitz, S.A., O’Shaughnessy, J., Mason, G., Yardley, D.A., Brufsky, A.M., Rugo, H.S., Cobleigh, M., Swain, S.M., Tripathy, D., Morris, A., Antao, V., Li, H. and Jahanzeb, M. (2021). “Baseline characteristics and first-line treatment patterns in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in the SystHERs registry.” Breast Cancer Res Treat Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print].

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BACKGROUND: Systemic Therapies for HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Study (SystHERs, NCT01615068) was a prospective, observational disease registry designed to identify treatment patterns and clinical outcomes in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in real-world treatment settings. METHODS: SystHERs enrolled patients aged ≥ 18 years with recently diagnosed HER2-positive MBC. Treatment regimens and clinical management were determined by the treating physician. In this analysis, patients were compared descriptively by first-line treatment, age, or race. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the associations between baseline variables and treatment selections. Clinical outcomes were assessed in patients treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin [H]) + pertuzumab (Perjeta [P]). RESULTS: Patients were enrolled from June 2012 to June 2016. As of February 22, 2018, 948 patients from 135 US treatment sites had received first-line treatment, including HP (n = 711), H without P (n = 175), or no H (n = 62) (with or without chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy). Overall, 68.7% received HP + taxane and 9.3% received H without P + taxane. Patients aged < 50 years received HP (versus H without P) more commonly than those ≥ 70 years (odds ratio 4.20; 95% CI, 1.62-10.89). Chemotherapy was less common in patients ≥ 70 years (68.2%) versus those < 50 years (88.0%) or 50-69 years (87.4%). Patients treated with HP had median overall survival of 53.8 months and median progression-free survival of 15.8 months. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis of real-world data shows that most patients with HER2-positive MBC received first-line treatment with HP + taxane. However, older patients were less likely to receive dual HER2-targeted therapy and chemotherapy.