Randomized, Controlled Trial of Therapy Interruption in Chronic HIV-1 Infection

Papasavvas, Emmanouil; Kostman, Jary R.; Mounzer, Karam; Grant, Robert M.; Gross, Robert; Gallo, Cele; Azzoni, Livio; Foulkes, Andrea; Thiel, Brian; Pistilli, Maxwell; Mackiewicz, Agnieszka; Shull, Jane; Montaner, Luis J.
December 2004
PLoS Medicine;Dec2004, Vol. 1 Issue 3, p218
Academic Journal
Background Approaches to limiting exposure to antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs are an active area of HIV therapy research. Here we present longitudinal follow-up of a randomized, open-label, single-center study of the immune, viral, and safety outcomes of structured therapy interruptions (TIs) in patients with chronically suppressed HIV-1 infection as compared to equal follow-up of patients on continuous therapy and including a final therapy interruption in both arms. Methods and Findings Forty-two chronically HIV-infected patients on suppressive ART with CD4 counts higher than 400 were randomized 1:1 to either (1) three successive fixed TIs of 2, 4, and 6 wk, with intervening resumption of therapy with resuppression for 4 wk before subsequent interruption, or (2) 40 wk of continuous therapy, with a final open-ended TI in both treatment groups. Main outcome was analysis of the time to viral rebound (5,000 copies/ml) during the open-ended TI. Secondary outcomes included study-defined safety criteria, viral resistance, therapy failure, and retention of immune reconstitution. There was no difference between the groups in time to viral rebound during the open-ended TI (continuous therapy/single TI, median [interquartile range] = 4 [1--8] wk, n = 21; repeated TI, median [interquartile range] = 5 [4--8] wk, n = 21; p = 0.36). No differences in study-related adverse events, viral set point at 12 or 20 wk of open-ended interruption, viral resistance or therapy failure, retention of CD4 T cell numbers on ART, or retention of lymphoproliferative recall antigen responses were noted between groups. Importantly, resistance detected shortly after initial viremia following the open-ended TI did not result in a lack of resuppression to less than 50 copies/ml after reinitiation of the same drug regimen. Conclusion Cycles of 2- to 6-wk time-fixed TIs in patients with suppressed HIV infection failed to confer a clinically significant benefit with regard to viral suppression off...


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