Background and objectives
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents correct anemia of CKD but may increase cardiovascular risk. We compared cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality associated with monthly methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta with those of the shorter-acting agents epoetin alfa/beta and darbepoetin alfa in patients with anemia of CKD.
Design, setting, participants, & measurements
We conducted a multicenter, open-label, noninferiority trial in which patients were randomized to receive methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta or reference erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, stratified by maintenance or correction treatment status and C-reactive protein level. The trial had a prespecified noninferiority margin of 1.20 for the hazard ratio (HR) for the primary end point (a composite of all-cause mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke, adjudicated by an independent blinded committee). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00773513.
In total, 2818 patients underwent randomization, received methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta or a reference agent, and were followed for a median of 3.4 years (maximum, 8.4 years). In the modified intention-to-treat analysis, a primary end point event occurred in 640 (45.4%) patients in the methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta arm, and 644 (45.7%) in the reference arm (HR 1.03; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.93 to 1.15, P=0.004 for noninferiority). All-cause mortality was not different between treatment groups (HR 1.06; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.19). Results in patient subgroups on dialysis or treated in the correction or maintenance settings were comparable to the primary analysis.
In patients with anemia of CKD, once-monthly methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta was noninferior to conventional, shorter-acting erythropoiesis-stimulating agents with respect to rates of major adverse cardiovascular events or all-cause mortality.