Efficacy of granulocyte colony stimulating factor in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis with partial or null response to steroid (GRACIAH trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Yuri Cho, Youn Su Park, Hwi Young Kim, Won Kim, Heon Ju Lee, Dong Joon Kim
Trials 2018 December 22, 19 (1): 696

BACKGROUND: Alcoholic hepatitis (AH) has the most severe presentation among alcohol-related liver diseases. Corticosteroids are the most widely recommended treatment for severe AH. However, more innovative, refined treatment measures are required because of its high mortality despite corticosteroid treatment. This study aims to determine whether granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) treatment increases short-term survival in patients with severe AH refractory to corticosteroid treatment.

METHODS/DESIGN: Patients with severe AH whose Maddrey's discriminant function (MDF) score is ≥ 32 and who will be treated with prednisolone (40 mg/day) for 1 week will be screened. Among them, 190 subjects with a partial response (PR) (Lille score 0.16-0.56), and 78 subjects with a null response (NR) (Lille score ≥ 0.56) will be enrolled. Subjects with PR will be randomized to steroid plus placebo or steroid plus 12 G-CSF injections (5 μg/kg/day for 5 days followed by every 3 days) at a ratio of 1:1. Subjects with a NR will be randomized to the placebo or G-CSF group (1:1). Study subjects in the PR group will be treated with prednisolone for 28 days followed by dose tapering for an additional 2 weeks. The primary endpoint is the 2-month survival rate in the NR group and the 6-month survival rate in the PR group. Child-Turcotte-Pugh, model for end-stage liver disease score, and the change in the proportion of peripheral circulating CD34-positive cells will be analyzed as risk factors for mortality. Preliminary safety data for the initial 10 study subjects enrolled in the PR study will be assessed to determine whether the PR study would be continued, according to the G-CSF-mobilized, peripheral-blood stem cell donor assessment protocol of the National Marrow Donor Program.

DISCUSSION: We hypothesized that G-CSF would prolong short-term survival of patients with severe AH refractory to corticosteroid treatment. This is a proof-of-concept trial designed to assess the efficacy of Lille-score-guided G-CSF treatment. This trial is also designed to identify a special subgroup in whom G-CSF rescue treatment would improve liver function and prolong survival.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:, NCT02442180 . Prospectively registered on 13 May 2015.

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