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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2011 Jul;142(1):89-98. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2010.08.035. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

Effects of C5 complement inhibitor pexelizumab on outcome in high-risk coronary artery bypass grafting: combined results from the PRIMO-CABG I and II trials.

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Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



The previous Pexelizumab for Reduction of Infarction and Mortality in Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery I (PRIMO-CABG I) trial (n = 3099) indicated that C5 complement inhibition with pexelizumab might reduce myocardial infarction (MI) and postoperative mortality. PRIMO-CABG II was designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of terminal complement inhibition in reducing perioperative MI and mortality in patients undergoing CABG surgery who have 2 or more predefined preoperative risk factors.


PRIMO-CABG II, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, enrolled 4254 patients undergoing CABG with or without valve surgery at 249 hospitals in North America and Western Europe from June 2004 to July 2005. The patients were randomly assigned to receive intravenous pexelizumab or placebo. The primary composite endpoint was the incidence of death or MI within 30 days of randomization.


The PRIMO-CABG II trial did not meet its prespecified primary endpoint of death or MI at 30 days, the secondary endpoints of death at 30 days, or the development of new or worsening congestive heart failure (relative risk 0.91, 0.82, and 1.01, respectively; P > .05). However, in a combined analysis of both pivotal trials, PRIMO-CABG I and II (n = 7353), death at 30 days was significantly reduced for the greatest risk subset (n = 2156, pexelizumab 5.7% vs placebo 8.1%, P = .024). Furthermore, this mortality reduction persisted throughout the 180-day follow-up period (pexelizumab 11.1% vs placebo 14.4%, P = .036).


Pexelizumab was associated with a nonsignificant 6.7% reduction in the primary composite endpoint of death or MI at postoperative day 30 in CABG patients enrolled in the PRIMO-CABG II trial, despite the suggestion of a more favorable treatment effect in the previous PRIMO-CABG I trial. However, an exploratory analysis of the combined PRIMO I and II data set using an established predictive risk model showed a mortality benefit for high-risk surgical patients.


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