Publications by authors named "Inger Byrjalsen"

58 Publications

A biomarker perspective on the acute effect of exercise with and without impact on joint tissue turnover: an exploratory randomized cross-over study.

Eur J Appl Physiol 2021 Oct 22;121(10):2799-2809. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Nordic Bioscience Clinical Development, Herlev, Denmark.

Purpose: To investigate acute changes in biochemical markers of bone and cartilage turnover in response to moderate intensity exercise with and without joint impact in healthy human subjects.

Methods: A randomized, cross-over, exploratory, clinical study was conducted. Twenty healthy subjects with no history of joint trauma completed 30 min interventions of standardized moderate intensity cycling and running as well as a resting intervention 1 week apart. Blood samples were taken immediately before, four times after exercise and again the next day. Urine was sampled, before, after and the next day. On the day of rest, samples were taken at timepoints similar to the days of exercise. Markers of type I (CTX-I), II (C2M, CTX-II) and VI (C6M) collagen degradation, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and procollagen C-2 (PRO-C2) was measured.

Trial Registration Number: NCT04542655, 02 September 2020, retrospectively registered.

Results: CTX-I was different from cycling (4.2%, 95%CI: 0.4-8.0%, p = 0.03) and resting (6.8%, 95%CI: 2.9-10.7%, p = 0.001) after running and the mean change in COMP was different from cycling (10.3%, 95%CI: 1.1-19.5%, p = 0.03), but not from resting (8.6%, 95%CI: - 0.7-17.8%, p = 0.07) after running. Overall, changes in other biomarkers were not different between interventions.

Conclusion: In this exploratory study, running, but not cycling, at a moderate intensity and duration induced acute changes in biomarkers of bone and cartilage extra-cellular matrix turnover.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04751-zDOI Listing
October 2021

Long-term structural and symptomatic effects of intra-articular sprifermin in patients with knee osteoarthritis: 5-year results from the FORWARD study.

Ann Rheum Dis 2021 May 7. Epub 2021 May 7.

Rheumatology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK.

Objective: The FORWARD (FGF-18 Osteoarthritis Randomized Trial with Administration of Repeated Doses) trial assessed efficacy and safety of the potential disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) sprifermin in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Here, we report 5-year efficacy and safety results.

Methods: Patients were randomised to intra-articular sprifermin 100 µg or 30 µg every 6 months (q6mo) or 12 months, or placebo, for 18 months. The primary analysis was at year 2, with follow-up at years 3, 4 and 5. Additional post hoc exploratory analyses were conducted in patients with baseline minimum radiographic joint space width 1.5-3.5 mm and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain 40-90, a subgroup at risk (SAR) of progression.

Results: 378 (69%) patients completed the 5-year follow-up. A significant dose-response in total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness with sprifermin (trend test, p<0.001) and a 0.05 mm mean difference with sprifermin 100 µg q6mo versus placebo (95% CI 0.00 to 0.10; p=0.015) were sustained to year 5. WOMAC pain scores improved ~50% from baseline in all groups. No patient in the 100 µg q6mo group had replacement of the treated knee. 96%-98% of patients receiving sprifermin and 98% placebo reported adverse events, most were mild or moderate and deemed unrelated to treatment. Adverse event-related study withdrawals were <10%. Differentiation in WOMAC pain between sprifermin 100 µg q6mo and placebo in the SAR (n=161) at year 3 was maintained to year 5 (-10.08; 95% CI -25.68 to 5.53).

Conclusion: In the longest DMOAD trial reported to date, sprifermin maintained long-term structural modification of articular cartilage over 3.5 years post-treatment. Potential translation to clinical benefit was observed in the SAR.

Trial Registration Number: NCT01919164.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-219181DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8292562PMC
May 2021

Serum C-reactive protein metabolite (CRPM) is associated with incidence of contralateral knee osteoarthritis.

Sci Rep 2021 03 22;11(1):6583. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Immuno-Science, Nordic Bioscience, Biomarkers and Research, Herlev Hovedgade, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

The heterogeneous nature of osteoarthritis (OA) and the need to subtype patients is widely accepted in the field. The biomarker CRPM, a metabolite of C-reactive protein (CRP), is released to the circulation during inflammation. Blood CRPM levels have shown to be associated with disease activity and response to treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated the level of blood CRPM in OA compared to RA using data from two phase III knee OA and two RA studies (N = 1591). Moreover, the association between CRPM levels and radiographic progression was investigated. The mean CRPM levels were significantly lower in OA (8.5 [95% CI 8.3-8.8] ng/mL, n = 781) compared to the RA patients (12.8 [9.5-16.0] ng/mL, n = 60); however, a significant subset of OA patients (31%) had CRPM levels (≥ 9 ng/mL) comparable to RA. Furthermore, OA patients (n = 152) with CRPM levels ≥ 9 ng/mL were more likely to develop contra-lateral knee OA assessed by X-ray over a two-year follow-up period with an odds ratio of 2.2 [1.0-4.7]. These data suggest that CRPM is a blood-based biochemical marker for early identification OA patients with an inflammatory phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86064-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985384PMC
March 2021

A low cartilage formation and repair endotype predicts radiographic progression of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

J Orthop Traumatol 2021 Mar 9;22(1):10. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Rheumatology, Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade 207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease with multiple endotypes. A hallmark of OA is loss of cartilage; however, it is evident that the rate of cartilage loss differs among patients, which may partly be attributed to differential capacity for cartilage repair. We hypothesize that a low cartilage repair endotype exists and that such endotypes are more likely to progress radiographically. The aim of this study is to examine the associations of level of cartilage formation with OA severity and radiographic OA progression. We used the blood-based marker PRO-C2, reflecting type II collagen formation, to assess levels of cartilage formation.

Materials And Methods: The type II collagen propeptide PRO-C2 was measured in the serum/plasma of knee OA subjects from New York University (NYU, n = 106) and a subcohort of the phase III oral salmon calcitonin (sCT) trial SMC021-2301 (SMC, n = 147). Risk of radiographic medial joint space narrowing (JSN) over 24 months was compared between quartiles (very low, low, moderate, and high) of PRO-C2. Associations were adjusted for age, gender, BMI, race, baseline pain levels, and baseline joint space width.

Results: In both the NYU and SMC cohorts, subjects with low PRO-C2 levels had greater JSN compared with subjects with high PRO-C2. Mean difference in JSN between subjects with very low and high levels of PRO-C2 was 0.65 mm (p = 0.002), corresponding to a 3.4 (1.4-8.6)-fold higher risk of progression. There was no significant effect of sCT treatment, compared with placebo, on JSN over 2 years before stratification based on baseline PRO-C2. However, there were proportionately fewer progressors in the sCT arm of the very low/low PRO-C2 group compared with the moderate/high group (Chi squared = 6.5, p = 0.011).

Conclusion: Serum/plasma level of type II collagen formation, PRO-C2, may be an objective indicator of a low cartilage repair endotype, displaying radiographic progression and superior response to a proanabolic drug.

Level Of Evidence: Level III post hoc exploratory analysis of one longitudinal cohort and a sub-study from one phase III clinical trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s10195-021-00572-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7943687PMC
March 2021

A novel diclofenac gel (AMZ001) applied once or twice daily in subjects with painful knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Semin Arthritis Rheum 2020 12 24;50(6):1203-1213. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Amzell B.V., Hoofddorp, the Netherlands.

Purpose: Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) Expert Consensus Guidelines recommend topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as first-line medications for osteoarthritis (OA) knee pain, but several voluminous daily applications are required to achieve efficacy. There is a need to develop new and improved topical analgesics with a faster onset, longer duration of action, and the requirement to apply less gel. This trial investigated the safety and efficacy of a new 3.06% diclofenac gel (AMZ001) in subjects with knee OA.

Methods: In total, 444 subjects (AMZ001 twice daily (BID) [n = 121], AMZ001 once daily (QD) + placebo QD [n = 121], placebo BID [n = 121], or Voltaren 1% 4-times daily [n = 81]) were enrolled. All except Voltaren 1% (single-blinded) were applied topically in a double-blind manner for a total of 4-weeks. The primary endpoint was the change from baseline to week 4 in the WOMAC pain sub-score in the target knee. Secondary and exploratory endpoints included additional efficacy measures (WOMAC total score, WOMAC function and stiffness sub-scores, WOMAC pain weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing sub-scores, ICOAP, chair-stand test, OMERACT-OARSI responder rate, PGA, WPAI, EQ-5D, rescue medication use, satisfaction questionnaire) and safety.

Results: Treatment with AMZ001 QD was effective at reducing WOMAC pain sub-scores vs placebo (estimated treatment difference [ETD]: -4.61 [95% confidence interval (CI): -9.09, -0.12]; p = 0.0440); however, BID application was not (ETD: -3.76 [95% CI: -8.21, 0.68]; p = 0.0969). For several secondary endpoints, changes from baseline to week 4 conferred nominally statistically significant improvements in favor of AMZ001 vs placebo, including PGA score (AMZ001 BID vs placebo, ETD: -0.61 [95% CI: -1.11, -0.11]; p = 0.0162; AMZ001 QD vs placebo, ETD: -0.63 [95% CI: -1.13, -0.13]; p = 0.0134), WPAI overall work impairment score (AMZ001 QD vs placebo, ETD: -10.44 [95% CI: -20.84, -0.04]; p = 0.0492), and EQ-5D VAS score (AMZ001 BID vs placebo, ETD: 4.70 [95% CI: 0.55, 8.85]; p = 0.0264). Post-hoc analysis excluding 11-14 subjects per group with pain scores that decreased between screening and baseline suggests a consistent effect of both AMZ001 QD (ETD: -5.84 [95% CI: -10.71, -0.97]; p = 0.0189) and BID (ETD: -5.35 [95% CI: -10.16, -0.54]; p = 0.0292) in reducing WOMAC pain sub-scores vs placebo. In general, treatment satisfaction was high, as measured by the satisfaction questionnaire. The frequency and incidence of adverse events (AEs) was greatest in the placebo group. Most AEs (>99%) were of mild or moderate severity. There were no serious AEs. There were no notable effects of any treatment on vital signs, ECGs, physical examination findings, or other laboratory assessments.

Conclusions: Treatment with AMZ001 BID for 4 weeks improved WOMAC pain sub-scores; however, only QD application conferred nominally statistically significant improvements vs placebo. AMZ001 was generally well tolerated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.09.007DOI Listing
December 2020

Clinical and biochemical factors associated with risk of total joint replacement and radiographic progression in osteoarthritis: Data from two phase III clinical trials.

Semin Arthritis Rheum 2020 12 15;50(6):1374-1381. Epub 2020 Mar 15.

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark.

Objectives: Clinical trials of new disease-modifying treatments for osteoarthritis should demonstrate a positive effect on a functional outcome or reduction in joint failure in order to be considered successful. Total joint replacement (TJR) surgery may be considered as joint failure, but great variation in the incidence of TJR complicates its use as a study endpoint. Factors predicting elevated risk of TJR could potentially be used to enrich such outcome-trials.

Methods: Using cumulative data from two phase three clinical trials with urine samples from 1255 knee OA patients followed for two years, we assessed the value of a series of baseline clinical variables including the uCTX-II biomarker, as predictors of joint-space narrowing, Kellgren-Lawrence-grade progression, and total joint replacement.

Results: A prediction-model incorporating age, sex, BMI, CTX-II and KL-grade predicted TJR within the two-year period with an AUC of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.72-0.77). The participants with a cumulative KL-grade between knees of 5, 6, or 7 had a more than 3 times higher risk of TJR in the study period compared to lower (HR: 3.03, 95% CI: 1.54 to 5.96, p = 0.001). Age was associated with increased TJR risk (per 5 years of age: HR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.03-3.79, p = 0.05). Baseline u-CTX-II was associated with elevated risk of radiographic progression in terms of both JSN and KL-grade.

Conclusions: A composite model combining baseline age, sex, BMI, u-CTX-II and KL-grade was able to acceptably predict TJR during a two-year period. In the absence of baseline radiographic OA severity, u-CTX-II independently contributed to prediction of TJR. Baseline urine CTX-II was associated with risk of radiographic progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.03.002DOI Listing
December 2020

Effect of Intra-Articular Sprifermin vs Placebo on Femorotibial Joint Cartilage Thickness in Patients With Osteoarthritis: The FORWARD Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2019 10;322(14):1360-1370

Institute of Anatomy, Department of Imaging and Functional Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg and Nuremberg, Salzburg, Austria.

Importance: Sprifermin is under investigation as a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of sprifermin on changes in total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness in the more symptomatic knee of patients with osteoarthritis.

Design, Setting, And Participants: FORWARD (FGF-18 Osteoarthritis Randomized Trial with Administration of Repeated Doses) was a 5-year, dose-finding, multicenter randomized clinical trial conducted at 10 sites. Eligible participants were aged 40 to 85 years with symptomatic, radiographic knee osteoarthritis and Kellgren-Lawrence grade 2 or 3. Enrollment began in July 2013 and ended in May 2014; the last participant visit occurred on May 8, 2017. The primary outcome at 2 years and a follow-up analysis at 3 years are reported.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to 1 of 5 groups: intra-articular injections of 100 μg of sprifermin administered every 6 months (n = 110) or every 12 months (n = 110), 30 μg of sprifermin every 6 months (n = 111) or every 12 months (n = 110), or placebo every 6 months (n = 108). Each treatment consisted of weekly injections over 3 weeks.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was change in total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness measured by quantitative magnetic resonance imaging at 2 years. The secondary end points (of 15 total) included 2-year change from baseline in total Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores. The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) is unknown for the primary outcome; for total WOMAC score in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis, the absolute MCID is 7 U (95% CI, 4 to 10 U) and the percentage MCID is 14% (95% CI, 9% to 18%).

Results: Among 549 participants (median age, 65.0 years; 379 female [69.0%]), 474 (86.3%) completed 2-year follow-up. Compared with placebo, the changes from baseline to 2 years in total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness were 0.05 mm (95% CI, 0.03 to 0.07 mm) for 100 μg of sprifermin administered every 6 months; 0.04 mm (95% CI, 0.02 to 0.06 mm) for 100 μg of sprifermin every 12 months; 0.02 mm (95% CI, -0.01 to 0.04 mm) for 30 μg of sprifermin every 6 months; and 0.01 mm (95% CI, -0.01 to 0.03 mm) for 30 μg of sprifermin every 12 months. Compared with placebo, there were no statistically significant differences in mean absolute change from baseline in total WOMAC scores for 100 μg of sprifermin administered every 6 months or every 12 months, or for 30 μg of sprifermin every 6 months or every 12 months. The most frequently reported treatment-emergent adverse event was arthralgia (placebo: n = 46 [43.0%]; 100 μg of sprifermin administered every 6 months: n = 45 [41.3%]; 100 μg of sprifermin every 12 months: n = 50 [45.0%]; 30 μg of sprifermin every 6 months: n = 40 [36.0%]; and 30 μg of sprifermin every 12 months: n = 48 [44.0%]).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among participants with symptomatic radiographic knee osteoarthritis, the intra-articular administration of 100 μg of sprifermin every 6 or 12 months vs placebo resulted in an improvement in total femorotibial joint cartilage thickness after 2 years that was statistically significant, but of uncertain clinical importance; there was no significant difference for 30 μg of sprifermin every 6 or 12 months vs placebo. Durability of response also was uncertain.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01919164.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.14735DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6784851PMC
October 2019

Associations between biomarkers of bone and cartilage turnover, gender, pain categories and radiographic severity in knee osteoarthritis.

Arthritis Res Ther 2019 09 3;21(1):203. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Herlev Hovedgade 207, DK2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Excessive cartilage degradation is a known characteristic of osteoarthritis (OA). Biochemical markers, such as uCTX-II, have been shown to be associated with disease severity, yet the tissue origin of CTX-II has been disputed. This analysis investigates the association between OA knee joints at different radiographic stages and pain categories with levels of uCTX-II and biomarkers of bone resorption and formation.

Methods: Baseline data of two randomised clinical trials (NCT00486434 and NCT00704847) in patients with radiographic OA and presence of pain were analysed post hoc. A subgroup with available urine samples and evaluable radiographs for both knees (N = 1241) was analysed. Urine CTX-I, urine CTX-II and serum osteocalcin were analysed for associations with combined Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) scores, gender and pain for both knees to assess the contribution of joints at different stages.

Results: Pain, BMI, age, gender and KL grade were all significantly associated with uCTX-II. The association between pain and CTX-II appeared to be driven by weight-bearing pain. The level of uCTX-II incrementally increased with higher radiographic severity of each knee. Levels of bone markers CTX-I and osteocalcin were both significantly associated with BMI and gender, but neither were associated with radiographic severity. Biomarker levels between male or female groups of identical KL scores were found to be higher in females compared to males in some but not all KL score groups.

Conclusions: These results indicate that levels of uCTX-II are independently associated with radiographic severity of OA and pain intensity. CTX-II was associated with weight-bearing pain, but not non-weight-bearing pain, independent of co-variates. Bilateral OA knee joints appear to contribute to uCTX-II levels in an incremental manner according to radiographic severity of single joints. The data suggest that biomarker differences between genders should be taken into account when evaluating these markers in the context of structural features of OA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-019-1987-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6724319PMC
September 2019

Incidence of total hip and total knee replacements from the prospective epidemiologic risk factor study: considerations for event driven clinical trial design.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2019 Jun 26;20(1):303. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) leads to joint failure and total joint replacement (TJR, either hip (H) or knee (K)). Worsening of pain and joint space narrowing are believed to be surrogates for joint failure; however, we hypothesize that TJR, as a reflection of joint failure, can be used as an endpoint in event-driven clinical trials within a reasonable duration. We explored the incidence of TJR in the Prospective Epidemiologic Risk Factor (PERF I) study.

Methods: A total of 5855 Danish postmenopausal women aged 49-88 enrolled in the PERF I study during 1999-2001 (baseline). Three-, six- and twelve-year follow-up data from the Danish National Patient Registry was collected, including occurrence of TJR and OA diagnosis. At baseline the women were asked whether they had OA.

Results: The women with a TJR diagnosis before or after baseline were on average 1 year older (p < 0.001) and heavier (p < 0.001), compared to women with no TJR. The 3-, 6- and 12-year cumulative incidences were 1.1, 2.4 and 6.0% for TKR, and 2.1, 4.4 and 9.3% for THR. For those with an OA diagnosis at baseline the respective incidences were 2.7, 5.6 and 11.7% and 3.9, 7.2 and 13.6% CONCLUSIONS: Within 3, 6 or 12 years TJR incidences were double for women with an OA diagnosis compared to the all-comer population. TJRs are frequent amongst elderly women with OA and it is, therefore, feasible to conduct event-driven clinical trials where TJR is the endpoint demonstrating clinical benefit of a novel disease-modifying OA drug (DMOAD).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2680-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6593498PMC
June 2019

Publisher Correction: GWAS of bone size yields twelve loci that also affect height, BMD, osteoarthritis or fractures.

Nat Commun 2019 May 24;10(1):2358. Epub 2019 May 24.

Bone Biology Division, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW, 2010, Australia.

The original HTML version of this Article was updated shortly after publication to add links to the Peer Review file.In addition, affiliations 16 and 17 incorrectly read 'School of Medicine Sydney, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, WA, 6160, Australia' and 'St Vincent's Clinical School, University of New South Wales Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia.' This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10425-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534558PMC
May 2019

GWAS of bone size yields twelve loci that also affect height, BMD, osteoarthritis or fractures.

Nat Commun 2019 05 3;10(1):2054. Epub 2019 May 3.

Bone Biology Division, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, NSW, 2010, Australia.

Bone area is one measure of bone size that is easily derived from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans. In a GWA study of DXA bone area of the hip and lumbar spine (N ≥ 28,954), we find thirteen independent association signals at twelve loci that replicate in samples of European and East Asian descent (N = 13,608 - 21,277). Eight DXA area loci associate with osteoarthritis, including rs143384 in GDF5 and a missense variant in COL11A1 (rs3753841). The strongest DXA area association is with rs11614913[T] in the microRNA MIR196A2 gene that associates with lumbar spine area (P = 2.3 × 10, β = -0.090) and confers risk of hip fracture (P = 1.0 × 10, OR = 1.11). We demonstrate that the risk allele is less efficient in repressing miR-196a-5p target genes. We also show that the DXA area measure contributes to the risk of hip fracture independent of bone density.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09860-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6499783PMC
May 2019

Tissue metabolite of type I collagen, C1M, and CRP predicts structural progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

BMC Rheumatol 2019 31;3. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

1Rheumatology, Nordic Bioscience, Biomarkers and Research, Herlev Hovedgade 205-207, 2730 Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Biomarkers of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity typically measure inflammation or autoimmunity (e.g. CRP, RF). C1M and C3M, metabolites of type I and III collagen, are markers reflecting tissue metabolism. These markers have been documented to provide additional prognostic and predictive value compared to commonly used biomarkers. We investigated the relationship of high serum levels of C1M or C3M to radiographic progression, and benchmarked them to CRP and RF.

Methods: Placebo treated patients of the OSK1, 2 and 3 studies (Phase III clinical trials testing efficacy of fostamatinib) with baseline serum biomarkers C1M, C3M, CRP and RF were included (n = 474). Van der Heijde mTSS was calculated at baseline and 24-week (n = 261). Progression was defined as moderate or rapid by ΔmTSS ≥0.5 or ≥ 5 units/year. Patients were divided into subgroups; low (L), high (H) or very high (V) C1M, C3M and CRP, or RF negative, positive and high positive. Difference in clinical parameters were analyzed by Mann-Whitney or χtests, and modelling for prediction of progression by logistic regression including covariates (age, gender, BMI, and clinical assessment scores).

Results: Levels of C1M, C3M, CRP and RF were significantly ( < 0.05) associated with measures of disease activity and mTSS at baseline. For prognostic measures, there were 2.5 and 4-fold as many rapid progressors in the C1M and CRP (p < 0.05), and in the C1M and CRP groups ( < 0.001) compared C1M and CRP, respectively. C1M and CRP performed similarly in the predictive analysis, where high levels predicted moderate and rapid progression with odds ratio of 2.1 to 3.8 and 3.7 to 13.1 after adjustment for covariates. C3M and RF did not provide prognostic value alone.

Discussion: Serum C1M and CRP showed prognostic value and may be tools for enrichment of clinical trials with structural progressor. The two markers reflect two different aspect of disease pathogenesis (tissue turnover vs. inflammation), thus may provide individual and supplementary information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s41927-019-0052-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390574PMC
January 2019

Type IV collagen metabolism is associated with disease activity, radiographic progression and response to tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2018 Sep-Oct;36(5):829-835. Epub 2018 May 8.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

Objectives: The expanding spectrum of targeted therapies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) implies a need for development of precision tools for disease assessment reflecting pathobiologic processes. Type IV collagen is an abundant protein of basement membranes, but is also present in the intercellular matrix of the synovial lining layer. We aimed to investigate the association of type IV collagen turnover with RA disease activity, response to IL-6 inhibition and radiographic progression.

Methods: C4M, a serologic marker of type IV collagen metabolism, was measured at baseline and at follow-up in serum samples of RA patients participating in the phase III studies LITHE (n=687) and RADIATE (n=217). Both were double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials testing the safety and efficacy of 4 and 8 mg/kg tocilizumab (TCZ) in combination with methotrexate (MTX) vs. MTX plus placebo. Associations with disease activity, radiographic severity and ACR response were investigated.

Results: Baseline C4M correlated significantly with clinical disease parameters in both study populations, including DAS28, HAQ score and VASpain (all p<0.00001). C4M at baseline correlated significantly with change in JSN (p=0.001) and Sharp score (p=0.00002) at 52 weeks. TCZ lowered C4M by 11-40% in a dose dependent manner. The likelihood of achieving an ACR20 response by week 16 was associated with C4M suppression exceeding the median decrease at week 4 (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: Type IV collagen remodelling was associated with disease activity and radiographic progression in RA and was persistently and dose-dependently suppressed by TCZ. These findings indicate that C4M may serve as a plausible biologic marker of destructive synovitis growth in RA.
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January 2019

Identification of pain categories associated with change in pain in patients receiving placebo: data from two phase 3 randomized clinical trials in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2018 01 17;19(1):17. Epub 2018 Jan 17.

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

Background: Pain is the principal clinical symptom of osteoarthritis (OA), and development of safe and effective analgesics for OA pain is needed. Drug development of new analgesics for OA pain is impaired by substantial change in pain in patients receiving placebo, and more data describing clinical characteristics and pain categories particularly associated with this phenomenon is needed. The purpose of this post-hoc analysis was to investigate clinical characteristics and pain categories and their association with radiographic progression and placebo pain reduction (PPR) in OA patients as measured the Western Ontario and McMasters Arthritis (WOMAC).

Methods: Pooled data from the placebo groups of two phase III randomized clinical trials in patients with knee OA followed for 2 years were analyzed. Differences between individual sub-scores and pain categories of weight-bearing and non-weight bearing pain over time were assessed. Selected patient baseline characteristics were assessed for association with PPR. Association between pain categories and radiographic progression was analyzed.

Results: The reduction of pain in placebo-treated patients was significantly higher in the composite of questions related to weight-bearing pain compared to non-weight-bearing pain of the target knee. Baseline BMI, age and JSW were not associated with pain change. Pain reduction was higher in the Target knee, compared to the Non-Target knee at all corresponding time-points. A very weak correlation was found between weight-bearing pain and progression in the non-target knee.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the reduction in pain in patients treated with placebo is significantly different between pain categories, as weight-bearing pain was significantly more reduced compared to non-weight-bearing pain. Further research in pain categories in OA is warranted.

Trial Registration: NCT00486434 (trial 1) and NCT00704847 (trial 2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-018-1938-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5773024PMC
January 2018

Gender Differences in Knee Joint Congruity Quantified from MRI: A Validation Study with Data from Center for Clinical and Basic Research and Osteoarthritis Initiative.

Cartilage 2018 01 28;9(1):38-45. Epub 2016 Dec 28.

4 Biomediq A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objective Gender is a risk factor in the onset of osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of the study was to investigate gender differences in contact area (CA) and congruity index (CI) in the medial tibiofemoral (MTF) joint in 2 different cohorts, quantified automatically from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Design The CA and CI markers were validated on 2 different data sets from Center for Clinical and Basic Research (CCBR) and Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). The CCBR cohort consisted of 159 subjects and the OAI subcohort consisted of 1,436 subjects. From the MTF joint, the contact area was located and quantified using Euclidean distance transform. Furthermore, the CI was quantified over the contact area by assessing agreement of the first- and second-order general surface features. Then, the gender differences between CA and CI values were evaluated at different stages of radiographic OA. Results Female CAs were significantly higher than male CAs after normalization, male CIs were significantly higher than female CIs after correcting with age and body mass index ( P < 0.05), consistent across the 2 data sets. For the OAI data set, the gender differences were present at all stages of radiographic OA. Conclusion This study demonstrated the gender differences in CA and CI in MTF joints. The higher normalized CA and lower CI values in female knees may be linked with the increased risk of incidence of radiographic OA in females. These differences may help further understand the gender differences and/or to establish gender specific treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1947603516684590DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5724673PMC
January 2018

Biomarkers of collagen turnover are related to annual change in FEV in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease within the ECLIPSE study.

BMC Pulm Med 2017 Dec 4;17(1):164. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Centre for Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Manchester Academic Science Centre, The University of Manchester and University Hospital South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

Background: Change in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV) is important for defining severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Serological neoepitope markers of collagen turnover may predict rate of change in FEV.

Methods: One thousand COPD subjects from the observational, multicentre, three-year ECLIPSE (Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate Endpoints) study (NCT00292552, trial registration in February 2006) were included. Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-generated fragments of collagen type I, and type VI (C1M and C6M) were assessed in month six serum samples. A random-coefficient model with both a random intercept and a random slope was used to test the ability of the markers to predict post-dose bronchodilator FEV (PD-FEV) change over two years adjusting for sex, age, BMI, smoking, bronchodilator reversibility, prior exacerbations, emphysema and chronic bronchitis status at baseline.

Results: Annual change of PD-FEV was estimated from a linear model for the two-year study period. Serum C1M and C6M were independent predictors of lung function change (p = 0.007/0.005). Smoking, bronchodilator reversibility, plasma hsCRP and emphysema were also significant predictors. The effect estimate between annual change in PD-FEV per one standard deviation (1SD) increase of C1M and C6M was +10.4 mL/yr. and +8.6 mL/yr. C1M, and C6M, had a significant association with baseline FEV.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that markers of tissue turnover were significantly associated with lung function change. These markers may function as prognostic biomarkers and possibly as efficacy biomarkers in clinical trials focusing on lung function change in COPD.

Trial Registration: NCT00292552 , Retrospectively registered, trial registration in February 2006.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12890-017-0505-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5716018PMC
December 2017

Suppression of active, but not total MMP-3, is associated with treatment response in a phase III clinical study of rheumatoid arthritis.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2018 Jan-Feb;36(1):94-101. Epub 2017 Aug 28.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev, Denmark.

Objective: Biologics for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with moderate to severe disease may preserve joint function. Matrix metalloproteinase 3 (MMP-3), a key tissue degrading protease, is highly elevated in RA. MMP-3, which measures the total pool of circulating MMP-3 species (cMMP3), is a commonly measured biomarker in rheumatology. The aim was to investigate the association of activated MMP-3 (actMMP3) species with treatment response compared to cMMP-3.

Methods: The LITHE biomarker study (n=741) was a 1-year phase III, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of TCZ in RA patients on stable methotrexate. cMMP-3 and actMMP-3 were assessed in fasting serum at baseline, week 4, 16, 24 and 52. Patients not achieving ACR20 remission at week 16 or 28 received rescue treatment (escapers). Spearman's correlation was analysed between biomarker baseline level or biomarker delta and clinical measures. Changes in biomarker levels were studied as a function of time and treatment.

Results: ActMMP-3 16-week change in treatment groups was predictive of 1-year radiographic progression; a small change in actMMP3 was equal to worsening radiographics. Baseline cMMP-3 was associated with 52-weeks' radiographic status and cMMP3 16-weeks' change was predictive of 1-year change in disease activity. ActMMP-3 was dose-dependently decreased by TCZ, and escapers decreased in actMMP-3 upon treatment.

Conclusions: ActMMP-3 and cMMP-3 were found to be efficacy biomarkers of TCZ and actMMP-3 were able to differentiated doses. Moreover, the suppression of actMMP3, but not cMMP3 was associated with treatment response. This study illustrates that two biomarkers of the same protein may have different predictive capacities.
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April 2018

Fibrogenesis assessed by serological type III collagen formation identifies patients with progressive liver fibrosis and responders to a potential antifibrotic therapy.

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2016 12 20;311(6):G1009-G1017. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Institute of Translational Immunology and Research Center for Immune Therapy, University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany; and.

There are no approved treatments for liver fibrosis. To aid development of antifibrotic therapies, noninvasive biomarkers that can identify patients with progressive fibrosis and that permit monitoring of the response to antifibrotic therapy are much needed. Samples from a phase II antifibrotic trial of the glitazone farglitazar in patients with advanced hepatitis C, with matched follow-up liver biopsies, and from a phase III study of balaglitazone in patients with late-stage Type 2 diabetes (BALLET study) were analyzed for serological Pro-C3 levels in conjunction with other disease parameters. In the farglitazar study, a predefined cutoff value for Pro-C3 as a selection criterion led to the identification of subjects who 1) progressed by histological scores and 2) responded to therapy, as documented by attenuated fibrosis in liver biopsies. In the BALLET trial, subjects with the highest tertile of Pro-C3 levels responded to balaglitazone with reductions in levels of alanine aminotransferase and Pro-C3, as well as improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profile. Elevated Pro-C3 levels are indicative of active fibrogenesis and structural progression of fibrosis, and it can potentially identify patients most likely to benefit from antimetabolic and antifibrotic treatments. Serum Pro-C3 may facilitate patient selection and could help to speed up antifibrotic drug development and validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpgi.00283.2016DOI Listing
December 2016

High levels of biomarkers of collagen remodeling are associated with increased mortality in COPD - results from the ECLIPSE study.

Respir Res 2016 10 4;17(1):125. Epub 2016 Oct 4.

Centre for Respiratory Medicine and Allergy, Manchester Academic Science Centre, The University of Manchester and University Hospital South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK.

Background: There is a need to identify individuals with COPD at risk for disease progression and mortality. Lung tissue remodeling is associated with the release of extracellular matrix (ECM) fragments into the peripheral circulation. We hypothesized that ECM remodeling was associated with mortality in COPD and measured neo-epitopes originating from ECM proteins associated with lung tissue remodeling.

Methods: Biomarkers of ECM remodeling were assessed in a subpopulation (n = 1000) of the Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-points (ECLIPSE) cohort. Validated immunoassays measuring serological neo-epitopes produced by proteolytic cleavage associated with degradation of collagen type I, III, IV, and VI, elastin, and biglycan, and formation of collagen type VI as well as fibrinogen and C-reactive protein were used. Multivariate models were used to assess the prognostic value of these biomarkers.

Results: Thirty subjects (3.0 %) died during follow-up. Non-survivors were older, had reduced exercise capacity, increased dyspnea score, and included fewer current smokers. All collagen biomarkers were significantly elevated in non-survivors compared to survivors. Mortality risk was significantly increased for subjects with collagen remodeling biomarkers in the upper quartile, especially for the degradation fragment of collagen type IV C6M (hazard ratio 6.6 [95 % confidence interval 2.9-15.2], P < 0.0001) after adjusting for relevant confounders.

Conclusions: Serological biomarkers of collagen remodeling were strongly associated with mortality in subjects with COPD indicating that assessment of tissue turnover in the parenchyma and small airways may be useful in the prognosis of COPD.

Trial Registration: NCT00292552 , GSK Study No. SCO104960.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12931-016-0440-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5050854PMC
October 2016

Serum endotrophin identifies optimal responders to PPARγ agonists in type 2 diabetes.

Diabetologia 2017 Jan 8;60(1):50-59. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Institute of Translational Immunology and Research Center of Immune Therapy, University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Aims/hypothesis: The treatment of type 2 diabetes with full peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists improves insulin sensitivity, but is associated with weight gain, heart failure, peripheral oedema and bone loss. Endotrophin, the C-terminal fragment of the α3 chain of procollagen type VI (also called Pro-C6), is involved in both adipose tissue matrix remodelling and metabolic control. We established a serum assay for endotrophin to assess if this novel adipokine could identify type 2 diabetic patients who respond optimally to PPARγ agonists, improving the risk-to-benefit ratio.

Methods: The BALLET trial (NCT00515632) compared the glucose-lowering effects and safety of the partial PPARγ agonist balaglitazone with those of pioglitazone in individuals with type 2 diabetes on stable insulin therapy. The per protocol population (n = 297) was stratified into tertiles based on baseline endotrophin levels. Participants were followed-up after 26 weeks, after which correlational analysis was carried out between endotrophin levels and measures of glucose control. This is a secondary post hoc analysis.

Results: Endotrophin was significantly associated with therapeutic response to balaglitazone and pioglitazone. At week 26, only individuals in the upper two tertiles showed significant reductions in HbA and fasting serum glucose compared with baseline. The OR for a 1% and a 0.5% reduction in HbA for individuals in the upper two tertiles were 3.83 (95% CI 1.62, 9.04) p < 0.01, and 3.85 (95% CI 1.94, 7.61) p < 0.001, respectively. Endotrophin levels correlated with adipose tissue mass, insulin resistance and fatty liver index. Notably, PPARγ-associated adverse effects, such as moderate-to-severe lower extremity oedema, only occurred in the lower tertile.

Conclusions/interpretation: Elevated endotrophin serum levels predict response to two insulin sensitisers and reduce the risk of associated adverse effects, thereby, identifying patients with type 2 diabetes who may profit from PPARγ agonist treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00125-016-4094-1DOI Listing
January 2017

A randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral salmon calcitonin in the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women taking calcium and vitamin D.

Bone 2016 10 25;91:122-9. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers & Research, Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev Hovedgade 205-207, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III study was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of oral calcitonin (SMC021) for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. A total of 4665 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were randomized 1:1 to receive calcium and vitamin D plus either SMC021 tablets (0.8mg/d) or placebo for 36months. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with a new vertebral fracture. The two groups were well balanced at baseline with regards to demographic and clinical data. No effect of SMC021 on preventing new vertebral fractures was observed, nor was any effect seen on new hip or non-vertebral fractures. Women receiving SMC021 had a mean 1.02% (±0.12%) increase in lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) compared with a mean 0.18% (±0.12%) increase in the placebo group by the end of the study (p<0.0001). Similarly, small increases in BMD were observed at the femoral neck and hip in both groups. Levels of the biomarkers of bone turnover, urinary CTX-I and CTX-II, were 15% lower in the SMC021 group than in the placebo arm at 12 and 24months, but not at 36months. No change in quality of life between groups, assessed by the Qualeffo-14 questionnaire, was observed in either group between baseline and month 36. Pharmacokinetics analysis confirmed exposure to SMC021, but the drug levels were markedly lower than expected. Approximately 92% of subjects in each treatment group experienced an adverse event (AE), the majority of which were mild or moderate in intensity. AEs associated with SMC021 were primarily of gastrointestinal origin and included nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, as well as hot flushes which were the reason for the slightly higher drop-out rate in the active treatment arm compared to placebo. The number of severe AEs was low in both groups. Thirty-five deaths were reported but none were considered treatment-related. Due to the lack of efficacy in preventing fractures, the development of the orally formulated calcitonin was terminated despite the promising results in earlier studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2016.07.019DOI Listing
October 2016

Early changes in blood-based joint tissue destruction biomarkers are predictive of response to tocilizumab in the LITHE study.

Arthritis Res Ther 2016 Jan 20;18:13. Epub 2016 Jan 20.

Biomarkers and Research, Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade 207, 2730, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by gradual joint destruction. Tocilizumab (TCZ) significantly suppresses symptoms, however not all patients are protected from joint damage. We investigated whether early measurement of specific biomarkers could predict early joint protection response to tocilizumab.

Method: Serum biomarkers (CRPM, VICM, C1M, C2M, C3M (MMP-degraded CRP, vimentin type I, II and III collagen), CTX-I/OC (bone turnover), and CRP) were measured in 740 RA patients (the LITHE study) treated with Placebo, or 4 or 8 mg/kg TCZ. Early responders were those with ≥20 % improvement in SJC or TJC by week 16. The biomarkers' predictability of response was investigated by AUROC and classification regression tree analysis.

Results: The best biomarker predictability for identification of TCZ responders were; baseline CTX-I/OC (AUC 0.66, p = 0.0005) and changes in C1M (AUC 0.67, p = 0.0072), C2M (AUC 0.72, p = 0.0002), C3M (AUC 0.63, p = 0.018) and the combination of biomarkers (AUC 0.81, p = 0.0025). Patients with high bone turnover (CTX-I/OC) and low C2M were 6.8-fold (p = 0.003) more likely to have an early response to TCZ.

Conclusion: This enhanced pharmacodynamic (PD) response enabled identification of early responders with a superior TCZ clinical benefit. This biomarker model may assist in the identification of TCZ responsive RA patients and thus potentially benefit individual patients.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00106535 . JAN 2005.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13075-015-0913-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4719735PMC
January 2016

Collagen Type III and VI Turnover in Response to Long-Term Immobilization.

PLoS One 2015 7;10(12):e0144525. Epub 2015 Dec 7.

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Herlev, Denmark.

Background: Muscle mass and function are perturbed by immobilization and remobilization. When muscle mass changes, the quality and quantity of the extracellular matrix protein, particularly the collagens, change with it. In this study, we investigated the temporal profile of three peptide biomarkers derived from turnover of collagen type III and type VI in a long-term immobilization and remobilization study. We also compared individual biomarker levels with Lean body Mass (LBM) and changes therein, hypothesizing that these biomarkers would be biomarkers of the remodeling processes associated with immobilization and/or remobilization.

Methods: In the Berlin bed rest study, 20 young men were recruited and randomly assigned to 8-week's strict bed rest with or without resistive vibration exercise countermeasure. We measured three neo-epitope ELISA kits in the serum samples of this study: Pro-C3, measured the synthesis of collagen type III; Pro-C6, measured the synthesis of collagen type VI; and C6M measured the degradation of collagen type VI induced by MMP-2 and MMP-9 cleavage.

Results: Pro-C3 and Pro-C6 biomarkers are up-regulated with both immobilization and remobilization, whereas C6M is hardly affected at all. We found that Pro-C3 and C6M levels are related to LBM at baseline and that high levels of Pro-C6 are associated with smaller changes in muscle mass during both immobilization and remobilization.

Conclusion: The Pro-C3 and-C6 biomarkers change likely reflect remodeling changes in response to unloading or reloading, whereas C6M does not appear to respond to unloading. Pro-C3 and C6M levels correlate with LBM at baseline, while Pro-C6 is related to the anabolic and catabolic responses to unloading and reloading.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144525PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4671681PMC
June 2016

Impact of source data verification on data quality in clinical trials: an empirical post hoc analysis of three phase 3 randomized clinical trials.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2015 Apr;79(4):660-8

Nordic Bioscience A/S, Herlev, Denmark.

Aim: The aim of this project was to perform an empirical evaluation of the impact of on site source data verification (SDV) on the data quality in a clinical trial database to guide an informed decision on selection of the monitoring approach.

Methods: We used data from three randomized phase III trials monitored with a combination of complete SDV or partial SDV. After database lock, individual subject data were extracted from the clinical database and subjected to post hoc complete SDV. Error rates were calculated with focus on the degree of on study monitoring and relevance and analyzed for potential impact on end points.

Results: Data from a total of 2566 subjects including more than 3 million data fields were 100% source data verified post hoc. An overall error rate of 0.45% was found. No sites had 0% errors. 100% SDV yielded an error rate of 0.27% as compared with partial SDV having an error rate of 0.53% (P < 0.0001). Comparing partly and fully monitored subjects, minor differences were identified between variables of major importance to efficacy or safety.

Conclusions: The findings challenge the notion that a 0% error rate is obtainable with on site monitoring. Data indicate consistently low error rates across the three trials analyzed. The use of complete vs. partial SDV offers a marginal absolute error rate reduction of 0.26%, i.e. a need to perform complete SDV of about 370 data points to avoid one unspecified error and does not support complete SDV as a means of providing meaningful improvements in data accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcp.12531DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386950PMC
April 2015

PRO-C3-levels in patients with HIV/HCV-Co-infection reflect fibrosis stage and degree of portal hypertension.

PLoS One 2014 29;9(9):e108544. Epub 2014 Sep 29.

Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

Background: Liver-related deaths represent the leading cause of mortality among patients with HIV/HCV-co-infection, and are mainly related to complications of fibrosis and portal hypertension. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the structural changes by the assessment of extracellular matrix (ECM) derived degradation fragments in peripheral blood as biomarkers for fibrosis and portal hypertension in patients with HIV/HCV co-infection.

Methods: Fifty-eight patients (67% male, mean age: 36.5 years) with HIV/HCV-co-infection were included in the study. Hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) was measured in forty-three patients. The fibrosis stage was determined using FIB4 -Score. ECM degraded products in peripheral blood were measured using specific ELISAs (C4M, MMP-2/9 degraded type IV collagen; C5M, MMP-2/9 degraded type V collagen; PRO-C3, MMP degraded n-terminal propeptide of type III collagen).

Results: As expected, HVPG showed strong and significant correlations with FIB4-index (rs = 0.628; p = 7*10-7). Interestingly, PRO-C3 significantly correlated with HVPG (rs = 0.354; p = 0.02), alanine aminotransferase (rs = 0.30; p = 0.038), as well as with FIB4-index (rs = 0.3230; p = 0.035). C4M and C5M levels were higher in patients with portal hypertension (HVPG>5 mmHg).

Conclusion: PRO-C3 levels reflect liver injury, stage of liver fibrosis and degree of portal hypertension in HIV/HCV-co-infected patients. Furthermore, C4M and C5M were associated with increased portal pressure. Circulating markers of hepatic ECM remodeling might be helpful in the diagnosis and management of liver disease and portal hypertension in patients with HIV/HCV coinfection.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108544PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180447PMC
November 2015

Relationship between serum levels of tau fragments and clinical progression of Alzheimer's disease.

J Alzheimers Dis 2015 ;43(4):1331-41

Nordic Bioscience Biomarkers and Research, Herlev, Denmark.

Enzyme-generated fragments of tau have been linked to neuronal death and may serve as serum biomarkers of cognitive loss. Two competitive ELISAs detecting an ADAM10-generated fragment (Tau-A) or a caspase-3-generated fragment (Tau-C) were measured in baseline serum samples from patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) from a Phase III clinical trial, and correlated to change in the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog11) and Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes (CDR-SB) over a 64-week period using an MMRM-analysis. Relationship between the biomarkers and changes in ADAS-Cog11 score as a function of time were observed for Tau-C and change in ADAS-Cog11 (p = 0.06), and for Tau-A and change in CDR-SB (p = 0.04). The correlation of Tau-A/Tau-C ratio with cognitive change assessed by ADAS-Cog11 was even more significant (p < 0.006). These data indicate that measuring the balance between tau fragments in serum may provide a marker of the rate of progression of AD and warrant studies in larger cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-140984DOI Listing
August 2015

Serological biomarkers of joint tissue turnover predict tocilizumab response at baseline.

J Clin Rheumatol 2014 Sep;20(6):332-5

From the *Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade, Herlev, Denmark; and †Roche Products Ltd, Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/RHU.0000000000000150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154839PMC
September 2014

Combined antiretroviral therapy attenuates hepatic extracellular matrix remodeling in HIV patients assessed by novel protein fingerprint markers.

AIDS 2014 Sep;28(14):2081-90

Objectives: Combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) attenuates hepatic fibrosis in hepatitis C virus and HIV coinfected patients. However, the role of HIV or cART on hepatic fibrosis in HIV monoinfection is discussed controversially. During liver fibrosis, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) degrade extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins into small soluble fragments, which reflect hepatic remodeling processes. This study used these novel biomarkers to investigate the effect of HIV and cART on hepatic fibrosis remodeling.

Design: In 249 patients with HIV monoinfection and 55 healthy controls, the serum levels of MMP-degraded collagen type III (C3M), biglycan (BGM), elastin (ELM), as well as the formation marker 7S (P4NP 7S), and MMP-degraded collagen type IV (C4M) were determined using specific ELISAs. Sixty-eight patients underwent a follow-up visit 3 years later including assessment of ECM markers and fibrosis using transient elastography (Fibroscan).

Results: C3M, BGM, C4M and P4NP 7S were significantly elevated in HIV patients compared to controls and correlated to HIV viral loads and inversely to cART duration. C4M, P4NP 7S and ELM were lower in patients under cART therapy and in patients without HIV viremia, indicating that lowering of the HIV load by cART attenuates remodeling of ECM. The levels of C3M, C4M, P4NP 7S and ELM correlated significantly with the progression of fibrosis in these patients.

Conclusion: Specific therapy of patients with HIV monoinfection also beneficially influences liver fibrosis. These novel markers of liver fibrosis remodeling may help to monitor the hepatic effects by HIV therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000000388DOI Listing
September 2014

Serological identification of fast progressors of structural damage with rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis Res Ther 2013 Aug 14;15(4):R86. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with structural progression are in most need of immediate treatment to maintain tissue integrity. The serum protein fingerprint, type I collagen degradation mediated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-cleavage (C1M), is a biomarker of tissue destruction. We investigated whether baseline serum C1M levels could identify structural progressors and if the biomarker levels changed during anti-inflammatory treatment with tocilizumab (TCZ).

Methods: The LITHE-biomarker study (NCT00106535, n = 585) was a one-year phase III, double-blind, placebo (PBO)-controlled, parallel group study of TCZ 4 or 8 mg/kg every four weeks, in RA patients on stable doses of methotrexate (MTX). Spearman's ranked correlation was used to assess the correlation between baseline C1M levels and structural progression at baseline and at weeks 24 and 52. Multivariate regression was performed for delta structural progression. Change in C1M levels were studied as a function of time and treatment.

Results: At baseline, C1M was significantly correlated to C-reactive protein (P <0.0001), visual analog scale pain (P <0.0001), disease activity score28-erythrocyte sedimentation rate (DAS28-ESR) (P <0.0001), joint space narrowing (JSN) (P = 0.0056) and modified total Sharp score (mTSS) (P = 0.0006). Baseline C1M was significantly correlated with delta-JSN at Week 24 (R² = 0.09, P = 0.0001) and at Week 52 (R² = 0.27, P <0.0001), and with delta-mTSS at 24 weeks (R² = 0.006, P = 0.0015) and strongly at 52 weeks (R² = 0.013, P <0.0001) in the PBO group. C1M levels were dose-dependently reduced in the TCZ + MTX group.

Conclusions: Baseline C1M levels correlated with worsening joint structure over one year. Serum C1M levels may enable identification of those RA patients that are in most need of aggressive treatment

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00106535.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/ar4266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3978450PMC
August 2013

Effect of tocilizumab combined with methotrexate on circulating biomarkers of synovium, cartilage, and bone in the LITHE study.

Semin Arthritis Rheum 2014 Feb 6;43(4):470-8. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Nordic Bioscience, Herlev Hovedgade, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark.

Objective: We investigated the effects of tocilizumab (TCZ) on joint tissue remodeling in patients with moderate to severely active RA by measuring tissue-specific biomarker.

Methods: The LITHE biomarker study (n = 740) was a phase III study of 4- and 8-mg/kg TCZ in combination with MTX. Early response was evaluated at week 16 as ±20% improvement in swollen/tender joint counts; and ACR50 was evaluated at week 52. Biomarkers (tissue inflammation: C3M, CRPM, and VICM; cartilage degradation: C2M; and bone turnover: CTx and osteocalcin) were tested in serum from baseline, week 4, 16, 24, and 52, and dose-dependent effect was investigated. Patients were divided into the following three groups: early non-responders (ENR), ACR50 responders, and non-responders; their biomarker profiles were compared.

Results: At week 52, CRP was inhibited to 4% and 40% of baseline by TCZ8 and TCZ4, respectively. CRPM (63%), C2M (84%), C3M (69%), and VICM (42%) were significantly (p < 0.05) reduced by TCZ8, but not by TCZ4. MMP3 and osteocalcin changed to <58% and >111%, respectively, in response to TCZ. CTx was not changed significantly. ENRs had significantly less inhibition of CRPM (p < 0.05), C2M (p < 0.01), and C3M (p < 0.01) compared to early responders. There was a significant difference in the C2M, C3M, and CRPM profiles of the ENRs, non-responders, and responders. ACR50 responders had significantly inhibited levels (p < 0.001), irrespective of dose.

Conclusions: TCZ8 strongly inhibited the biomarkers of joint tissue remodeling suggesting that TCZ actively suppresses key pathobiological processes at the site of inflammation in RA patients. The differences in biomarkers' profiles of responders and non-responders indicate that specific responder profiles exist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2013.07.008DOI Listing
February 2014
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