A randomized, placebo‐controlled trial evaluating effects of lebrikizumab on airway eosinophilic inflammation and remodelling in uncontrolled asthma (CLAVIER)
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BACKGROUND: The anti-interleukin 13 (IL-13) monoclonal antibody lebrikizumab improves lung function in patients with moderate-to-severe uncontrolled asthma, but its effects on airway inflammation and remodelling are unknown. CLAVIER was designed to assess lebrikizumab's effect on eosinophilic inflammation and remodelling. OBJECTIVE: To report safety and efficacy results from enrolled participants with available data from CLAVIER. METHODS: We performed bronchoscopy on patients with uncontrolled asthma before and after 12 weeks of randomized double-blinded treatment with lebrikizumab (n = 31) or placebo (n = 33). The pre-specified primary end-point was relative change in airway subepithelial eosinophils per mm2 of basement membrane (cells/mm2 ). Pre-specified secondary and exploratory outcomes included change in IL-13-associated biomarkers and measures of airway remodelling. RESULTS: There was a baseline imbalance in tissue eosinophils and high variability between treatment groups. There was no discernible change in adjusted mean subepithelial eosinophils/mm2 in response to lebrikizumab (95% CI, -82.5%, 97.5%). As previously observed, FEV1 increased after lebrikizumab treatment. Moreover, subepithelial collagen thickness decreased 21.5% after lebrikizumab treatment (95% CI, -32.9%, -10.2%), and fractional exhaled nitric oxide, CCL26 and SERPINB2 mRNA expression in bronchial tissues also reduced. Lebrikizumab was well tolerated, with a safety profile consistent with other lebrikizumab asthma studies. CONCLUSIONS & CLINICAL RELEVANCE: We did not observe reduced tissue eosinophil numbers in association with lebrikizumab treatment. However, in pre-specified exploratory analyses, lebrikizumab treatment was associated with reduced degree of subepithelial fibrosis, a feature of airway remodelling, as well as improved lung function and reduced key pharmacodynamic biomarkers in bronchial tissues. These results reinforce the importance of IL-13 in airway pathobiology and suggest that neutralization of IL-13 may reduce asthmatic airway remodelling. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02099656.
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