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Lancet Infect Dis. 2015 Oct;15(10):1167-1174. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00074-2. Epub 2015 Jul 16.

Oral prenylation inhibition with lonafarnib in chronic hepatitis D infection: a proof-of-concept randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2A trial.

Author information

1
Translational Hepatology Unit, Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address: Christopher.Koh@nih.gov.
2
The Program for Experimental & Theoretical Modeling, Division of Hepatology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA; Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
3
The Program for Experimental & Theoretical Modeling, Division of Hepatology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA; Theoretical Biology & Biophysics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA.
4
Office of the Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
5
The Program for Experimental & Theoretical Modeling, Division of Hepatology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA.
6
Translational Hepatology Unit, Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
7
Departments of Medicine (Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology) and Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.
8
Division of Hepatology, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.
9
Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
10
Unit on Reproductive and Regenerative Medicine, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
11
Consult Services Section, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
12
Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
13
Department of Gastroenterology, Ankara University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.
14
Translational Hepatology Unit, Liver Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address: TheoH@intra.niddk.nih.gov.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Therapies for chronic hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection are unsatisfactory. Prenylation is essential for HDV and inhibition abrogates HDV production in experimental models. In a proof-of-concept study, we aimed to assess the effect on HDV RNA levels, safety, and tolerability of the prenylation inhibitor lonafarnib in patients with chronic delta hepatitis.

METHODS:

In this phase 2A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study, patients aged 18 years or older with chronic HDV infection were randomly assigned (3:1 in group 1 and 2:1 in group 2) to receive lonafarnib 100 mg (group 1) or lonafarnib 200 mg (group 2) twice daily for 28 days with 6 months' follow-up. Participants were randomised by random-number tables blocked in groups of four without stratification. Both groups enrolled six treatment participants and two placebo participants. Group 1 placebo patients received open-label lonafarnib as group 2 participants. The primary therapeutic endpoint was a decrease in HDV RNA viral titre in serum and the primary safety endpoint was the ability to tolerate the drug at the prescribed dose for the full 4-week duration, defined as drug discontinuation due to intolerance or grade 3/4 adverse events. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01495585.

FINDINGS:

Between Jan 19, 2012, and April 28, 2014, 14 patients were enrolled, of whom eight were assigned to group 1 and six were assigned to group 2. At day 28, compared with placebo, mean log HDV RNA declines from baseline were -0·73 log IU/mL in group 1 (95% CI 0·17-1·31; p=0·03) and -1·54 log IU/mL in group 2 (1·21-1·93; p<0·0001). Lonafarnib serum concentrations correlated with HDV RNA change (r(2)=0·78, p<0·0001). Model fits show that hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) remained stable after a short pharmacological delay (0·75 days [SE 0·24]), lonafarnib effectiveness in blocking HDV production was greater in group 2 than in group 1 (0·952 [SE 0·06] vs 0·739 [0·05], p<0·001), and the HDV half-life was 1·62 days (0·07). There was no evidence of virological resistance. Adverse events were mainly mild to moderate with group 1 patients experiencing diarrhoea in three patients (50%) and nausea in two patients (33%) and in group 2 with all patients (100%) experiencing nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal bloating, and weight loss greater than 2 kg (mean of 4 kg). No treatment discontinuations occurred in any treatment groups.

INTERPRETATION:

Treatment of chronic HDV with lonafarnib significantly reduces virus levels. The decline in virus levels significantly correlated with serum drug levels, providing further evidence for the efficacy of prenylation inhibition in chronic HDV.

FUNDING:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and Eiger Biopharmaceuticals Inc.

PMID:
26189433
PMCID:
PMC4700535
DOI:
10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00074-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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