Results show many dapagliflozin benefits
While this broadening of the range of patients proven to tolerate and benefit from an SGLT2 inhibitor was an important consequence of DAPA-CKD, the study’s primary finding – that dapagliflozin was as safe and effective for slowing CKD progression in patients regardless of whether they also had T2D – will have an even bigger impact on expanding the target patient population. Showing efficacy in patients with CKD but without a T2D etiology, the status of about a third of the enrolled 4,304 patients, makes this treatment an option for “millions” of additional patients worldwide, said Dr. Heerspink. “These are the most common patients nephrologists see.” A major challenge now will be to do a better job finding patients with CKD who could benefit from dapagliflozin.
DAPA-CKD enrolled CKD patients based primarily on prespecified albuminuria and eGFR levels at more than 300 centers in 34 countries, including the United States. Virtually all patients, 97%, were on the only treatment now available with proven efficacy for slowing CKD, either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker. The small number of patients not on one of these drugs was because of poor tolerance.
The study’s primary endpoint was the combined rate of cardiovascular death, renal death, end-stage renal disease, or a drop in eGFR of at least 50% from baseline. This occurred in 14.5% of patients who received placebo and in 9.2% of those who received dapagliflozin during a median follow-up of 2.4 years, a highly significant 39% relative risk reduction. Concurrently with the report at the virtual meeting the results also appeared online in the New England Journal of Medicine. This 5.3% cut in the absolute rate of the combined, primary adverse outcome converted into a number needed to treat of 19 to prevent 1 event during 2.4 years, a “much lower” number needed to treat than reported for renin-angiotensin system inhibitors in these types of patients, Dr. Heerspink said.
Notable positive secondary outcomes included a significant 31% relative cut (a 2% absolute decline) in all-cause mortality, “a major highlight” of the findings, Dr. Heerspink said. Dapagliflozin treatment also linked with a significant 29% relative cut in the incidence of cardiovascular death or hospitalization for heart failure.
“Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in patients with CKD,” explained David C. Wheeler, MD, a coinvestigator on the study and professor of kidney medicine at University College London. “The heart and kidney are intertwined. This is about cardiorenal disease.”
DAPA-CKD was funded by AstraZeneca, the company that markets dapagliflozin. Dr. Heerspink has been a consultant to and received research funding from AstraZeneca. He has also received personal fees from Mundipharma and Novo Nordisk, and he has also served as consultant to several other companies with the honoraria being paid to his institution. Dr. Mathieu has had relationships with AstraZeneca and several other companies. Dr. Cherney has been a consultant to and has received research funding from AstraZeneca and several other companies. Dr. Wheeler has received personal fees from AstraZeneca and from several other companies.
SOURCE: Heerspink HJL et al. EASD 2020 and N Engl J Med. 2020 Sep 24. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2024816.