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C. Reed, M. Happich, J. Raskin, A. Tockhorn-Heidenreich, M. Belger

J Prev Alz Dis 2019;6(2):90-99

Background: Randomized placebo-controlled trials in the development of disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are typically of short duration (12–18 months), and health economic modeling requires extrapolation of treatment effects beyond the trial period. OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether observational data can be used to extrapolate data from open-label trials, we compared outcomes (cognition, function, behavior) over 36 months for patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia in the GERAS observational study (proxy for placebo control) with those of the mild Alzheimer’s disease population on active treatment (solanezumab) in two 18-month randomized placebo-controlled trials (EXPEDITION and EXPEDITION2) and the additional 18-month open-label extension study (EXPEDITION-EXT). DESIGN & SETTING: Analysis of longitudinal data from patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia in the GERAS observational study (conducted in France, Germany and the United Kingdom) and the EXPEDITION program (conducted in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia). PARTICIPANTS: European and North American community-living patients, aged ≥55 years, with probable Alzheimer’s disease dementia and their caregivers. Mild Alzheimer’s disease dementia was defined as a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 20–26 in EXPEDITION and 21–26 in GERAS. INTERVENTION: Active treatment in both randomized placebo-controlled trials and the open-label extension study was intravenous solanezumab 400 mg every 4 weeks. Patients in GERAS were receiving treatment as part of standard care. MEASUREMENTS: Between-group differences for changes from baseline over 36 months in cognitive function, ability to perform activities of daily living, and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia were assessed using models stratified by propensity score. RESULTS: At baseline, patients and caregivers participating in GERAS were significantly older than those in the EXPEDITION studies, and the GERAS patient cohort had fewer years of education and a shorter time since diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The baseline mean Mini-Mental State Examination score of the GERAS cohort was significantly higher (indicating better cognition) than that of patients receiving placebo or active treatment in the pooled EXPEDITION studies Baseline functional ability scores were significantly lower for the GERAS cohort, indicating poorer functioning. Propensity score stratification achieved a good balance in the baseline variables between GERAS and the two EXPEDITION arms. Over 18 months, least squares mean changes from baseline in outcome measures were similar in the GERAS cohort and the pooled placebo groups from the randomized controlled trials. Also, the 18-month results for the comparison between the GERAS cohort and the pooled active treatment groups from the randomized controlled trials were generally similar to those reported for the comparison with the control group in the randomized trial. Comparison of active treatment (EXPEDITION-EXT) and observational study (GERAS, as proxy control) results over 36 months of the open-label trial showed a significantly smaller decline in activities of daily living (instrumental and basic) in the active treatment group, reflecting better functioning, but no between-group differences at 36 months for cognitive function or behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. CONCLUSIONS: Comparing results from clinical trials and observational studies (real-world data) may be a useful methodological approach for informing long-term outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease drug development and could be used to inform health economic modeling. Further research using this methodological approach is needed.

C. Reed ; M. Happich ; J. Raskin ; A. Tockhorn-Heidenreich ; M. Belger (2019): Utilization of Observational Data as a Proxy Cohort for Comparison Purposes with Open-Label Study Results: An Example from Alzheimer’s Disease. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (JPAD).


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