Osilodrostat Effective for Patients With Cushing Disease

Osilodrostat is associated with rapid normalization of mean urinary free cortisol (mUFC) excretion in patients with Cushing disease and has a favorable safety profile, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The phase 3 LINC-4 study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02697734) evaluated the safety and efficacy of osilodrostat, a potent, orally available 11β­-hydroxylase inhibitor, compared with placebo in patients with Cushing disease.

The trial, which was conducted at 40 centers in 14 countries, included a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled period that was followed by a 36-week, open-label osilodrostat treatment period with an optional extension.

Osilodrostat Normalizes Urinary Free Cortisol in Most Adults with Cushing’s Disease

More than three-quarters of adults with Cushing’s disease assigned osilodrostat had a normalized mean urinary free cortisol level at 12 weeks and maintained a normal level at 36 weeks, according to data from the LINC 4 phase 3 trial.

In findings published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 77% of adults with Cushing’s disease randomly assigned to osilodrostat (Isturisa, Recordati) had mean urinary free cortisol (UFC) levels reduced to below the upper limit of normal at 12 weeks compared with 8% of adults assigned to placebo.

Osilodrostat normalizes UFC in most people with Cushing's disease at 12 weeks
Most adults with Cushing’s disease taking 2 mg twice daily osilodrostat had normalized mean UFC levels at 12 weeks compared with placebo. Data were derived from Gadelha M, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022;doi:10.1210/clinem/dgac178.

“Osilodrostat is a highly effective treatment for Cushing’s disease, normalizing urinary free cortisol excretion in 77% of patients after 12 weeks’ treatment,” Mônica Gadelha, MD, professor of endocrinology at The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues wrote. “Cortisol reductions were maintained throughout 48 weeks of treatment and were accompanied by improvements in clinical signs of hypercortisolism and quality of life.”

Gadelha and colleagues enrolled 73 adults aged 18 to 75 years with Cushing’s disease from 40 centers in 14 countries into the LINC 4 phase 3 trial. Participants were randomly assigned to 2 mg osilodrostat twice daily (n = 48) or placebo (n = 25) for 12 weeks. Urinary samples were collected at weeks 2, 5 and 8 to measure mean UFC, and dosage was adjusted based on efficacy and tolerability. After 12 weeks, participants from both groups received osilodrostat in a 36-week open-label treatment period. All participants restarted the open-label portion of the trial at 2 mg osilodrostat unless they were on a lower dose at week 12. Dose adjustments in the open-label phase were made using the same guidelines in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The primary endpoint was the efficacy of osilodrostat at achieving a mean UFC below the upper limit of normal of 138 nmol per 24 hours at 12 weeks vs. placebo; the key secondary endpoint was the percentage of participants achieving a normal mean UFC at 36 weeks.

At 12 weeks, the percentage of adults with a normalized mean UFC level was higher in the osilodrostat group compared with placebo (77.1% vs. 8%; P < .0001).

At 36 weeks, 80.8% of all participants had a normal mean UFC level. The overall response rate was 79.5% at 48 weeks.

Median time to first controlled mean UFC response was 35 days for those randomly assigned to osilodrostat as well as those randomly assigned to placebo who crossed over to osilodrostat for the open-label phase. At 48 weeks, 84% of participants were receiving 10 mg or less of osilodrostat per day, including 56% receiving 4 mg or less daily.

At 12 weeks, the osilodrostat group had several cardiovascular and metabolic-related improvements, including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c, HDL cholesterol, body weight and waist circumference. No changes were observed in the placebo group.

“The improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic parameters were sustained throughout osilodrostat treatment and have the potential to alleviate the burden of comorbidities in many patients with Cushing’s disease,” the researchers wrote.

At 12 weeks, 52.5% of those receiving osilodrostat had a reduction in supraclavicular fat pad and 50% had a reduction in dorsal fat pad. At least 25% of participants also had improvements in facial redness, striae, proximal muscle atrophy and central obesity. Improvements were sustained through week 48.

During the placebo-controlled trial, grade 3 and 4 adverse events occurred for about 20% of participants in both groups. For the entire study, 38.4% of adults reported grade 3 and 4 adverse events, with the most common being hypertension. Eight participants discontinued the study due to adverse events.

From https://www.healio.com/news/endocrinology/20220408/osilodrostat-normalizes-urinary-free-cortisol-in-most-adults-with-cushings-disease

Synergistic Cortisol Suppression by Ketoconazole–Osilodrostat Combination Therapy

Abstract

Summary

Here, we describe a case of a patient presenting with adrenocorticotrophic hormone-independent Cushing’s syndrome in a context of primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia. While initial levels of cortisol were not very high, we could not manage to control hypercortisolism with ketoconazole monotherapy, and could not increase the dose due to side effects. The same result was observed with another steroidogenesis inhibitor, osilodrostat. The patient was finally successfully treated with a well-tolerated synergitic combination of ketoconazole and osilodrostat. We believe this case provides timely and original insights to physicians, who should be aware that this strategy could be considered for any patients with uncontrolled hypercortisolism and delayed or unsuccessful surgery, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning points

  • Ketoconazole–osilodrostat combination therapy appears to be a safe, efficient and well-tolerated strategy to supress cortisol levels in Cushing syndrome.
  • Ketoconazole and osilodrostat appear to act in a synergistic manner.
  • This strategy could be considered for any patient with uncontrolled hypercortisolism and delayed or unsuccessful surgery, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Considering the current cost of newly-released drugs, such a strategy could lower the financial costs for patients and/or society.
Keywords: Adult; Male; White; France; Adrenal; Adrenal; Novel treatment; December; 2021

Background

Untreated or inadequately treated Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is a morbid condition leading to numerous complications. The latter ultimately results in an increased mortality that is mainly due to cardiovascular events and infections. The goal of the treatment with steroidogenesis inhibitors is normalization of cortisol production allowing the improvement of comorbidities (1). Most studies dealing with currently available steroidogenesis inhibitors used as monotherapy reported an overall antisecretory efficacy of roughly 50% in CS. Steroidogenesis inhibitors can be combined to better control hypercortisolism. To the best of our knowledge, we report here for the first time a patient treated with a ketoconazole–osilodrostat combination therapy.

Case presentation

Here, we report the case of Mr D.M., 53-years old, diagnosed with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)-independent CS 6 months earlier. At diagnosis, he presented with resistant hypertension, hypokalemia, diabetes mellitus, easy bruising, purple abdominal striae and major oedema of the lower limbs.

Investigations

A biological assessment was performed, and the serum cortisol levels are depicted in Table 1. ACTH levels were suppressed (mean levels 1 pg/mL). Mean late-night salivary cortisol showed a four-fold increase (Table 2), and mean 24 h-urinary cortisol showed a two-fold increase. Serum cortisol was 1000 nmol/L at 08:00 h after 1 mg dexamethasone dose at 23:00 h. The rest of the adrenal hormonal workup was within normal ranges (aldosterone: 275 pmol/L and renin: 15 mIU/L). An adrenal CT was performed (Fig. 1) and exhibited a 70-mm left adrenal mass (spontaneous density: 5 HU and relative washout: 65%) and a 45-mm right adrenal mass (spontaneous density: −2 HU and relative washout: 75%). The case was discussed in a multidisciplinary team meeting, which advised to perform 18F-FDG PET-CT and 123I-Iodocholesterol scintigraphy before considering surgery. A genetic screening was performed, testing for ARMC5 and PRKAR1A pathogenic variants.

Figure 1View Full Size
Figure 1
Adrenal CT depicting the bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia.

Citation: Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports 2021, 1; 10.1530/EDM-21-0071

Table 1Serum cortisol levels at diagnosis (A), using ketoconazole monotherapy (B), using osilodrostat monotherapy (C) and using osilodrostat–ketoconazole combination therapy (D).

Serum cortisol (nmol/L) 08:00 h 24:00 h 16:00 h 20:00 h 12:00 h 16:00 h
A. At diagnosis 660 615 716 566 541 561
B. Ketoconazole monotherapy 741 545 502 224 242 508
C. Osilodrostat monotherapy 658 637 588 672 486 692
D. Osilodrostat–ketoconazole combination 436 172 154 103 135 274
Table 2Salivary cortisol levels at diagnosis (A), using ketoconazole monotherapy (B), using osilodrostat monotherapy (C) and using osilodrostat-ketoconazole combination therapy (D).

Salivary cortisol (nmol/L) 23:00 h 12:00 h 13:00 h Mean
A. At diagnosis 47 62 38 49
B. Ketoconazole monotherapy 20 15 21 18
C. Osilodrostat monotherapy 85 90 56 77
D. Osilodrostat–ketoconazole combination 10 14 9 11

Treatment

As this condition occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to first initiate steroidogenesis inhibitors to lower the patient’s cortisol levels. Initially, ketoconazole was initiated and uptitrated up to 1000 mg per day based on close serum cortisol monitoring, with a three-fold increase of liver enzymes and poor control of cortisol levels (Table 1). In the absence of biological efficacy, ketoconazole was replaced by osilodrostat, which was gradually increased up to 30 mg per day (10 mg at 08:00 h and 20 mg at 20:00 h) without reaching normal cortisol levels (Table 1) and with slightly increased blood pressure levels. Considering the lack of efficacy of anticortisolic drugs used as monotherapy, we combined osilodrostat (30 mg per day) to ketoconazole (600 mg per day), that is, at the last maximal tolerated dose as monotherapy of each drug.

Outcome

This combination of steroidogenesis inhibitors achieved a good control in cortisol levels, mimicking a physiological circadian rhythm (Table 1D). The patient did not exhibit any side effect and the control of cortisol levels resulted in a rapid improvement of hypertension, kalemia, diabetes control and disappearance of lower limbs oedema. The patient underwent a 18F-FDG PET-CT that did not exhibit any increased uptake in both adrenal masses and a 123I-Iodocholesterol scintigraphy exhibiting a highly increased uptake in both adrenal masses, predominating in the left adrenal mass (70 mm). Unilateral adrenalectomy of the larger mass was then performed, and as the immediate post-operative serum cortisol level was 50 nmol/L, hydrocortisone was administered at a dose of 30 mg per day, with a stepwise decrease to 10 mg per day over 3 months. Pathological examination exhibited macronodular adrenal hyperplasia with a 70-mm adreno cortical adenoma (WEISS score: 1 and Ki67: 1%). The genetic screening exhibited a c.1908del p.(Phe637Leufs*6) variant of ARMC5 (pathogenic), located in exon 5. The patient has no offspring and is no longer in contact with the rest of his family.

Discussion

The goal of the treatment with steroidogenesis inhibitors is normalization of cortisol production allowing the improvement of comorbidities (1). Most studies dealing with currently available steroidogenesis inhibitors used as monotherapy reported an overall antisecretory efficacy of roughly 50% in CS. This rate of efficacy was probably underestimated in retrospective studies due to the lack of adequate uptitration of the dose; For example, the median dose reported in the French retrospective study on ketoconazole was only 800 mg/day, while 50% of the patients were uncontrolled at the last follow-up (2).

Steroidogenesis inhibitors can be combined to better control hypercortisolism. Up to now, such combinations, mainly ketoconazole and metyrapone, were mainly reported in patients with severe CS (median urinary-free Cortisol (UFC) 30- to 40-fold upper-limit norm (ULN)) and life-threatening comorbidities (3, 4). Normal UFC was reported in up to 86% of these patients treated with high doses of ketoconazole and metyrapone. Expected side effects (such as increased liver enzymes for ketoconazole or worsened hypertension and hypokalemia for metyrapone) were reported in the majority of the patients. The fear of these side effects probably explains the lack of uptitration in previous reports. Combination of steroidogenesis inhibitors has previously been described by Daniel et al. in the largest study reported on the use of metyrapone in CS; 29 patients were treated with metyrapone and ketoconazole or mitotane, including 22 in whom the second drug was added to metyrapone monotherapy because of partial efficacy or adverse effects. The final median metyrapone dose in patients controlled with combination therapy was 1500 mg per day (5).

Combination of adrenal steroidogenesis inhibitors should not be reserved to patients with severe hypercortisolism. In the case shown here, the association was highly effective in terms of secretion, using lower doses than those applied as a single treatment, but without the side effects previously observed with higher doses of each treatment used as a monotherapy. To our knowledge, the association of ketoconazole and osilodrostat had never been reported. Ketoconazole blocks several enzymes of the adrenal steroidogenesis such as CYP11A1, CYP17, CYP11B2 (aldosterone synthase) and CYP11B1 (11-hydroxylase), leading to decreased cortisol and occasionally testosterone concentrations. Though liver enzymes increase is not dose-dependent, it usually happens at doses exceeding 400–600 mg per day (2). Osilodrostat blocks CYP11B1 and CYP11B2; a combination should thus allow for a complete blockade of these enzymes that are necessary for cortisol secretion. Short-term side effects such as hypokalemia and hypertension are similar to those observed with metyrapone, due to increased levels of the precursor deoxycorticosterone, correlated with the dose of osilodrostat (6). As for our patient, the occurrence of side effects should not lead to immediately switch to another drug, but rather to decrease the dose and add another cortisol-lowering drug. Moreover, considering the current cost of newly-released drugs such a strategy could lower financial costs for patients and/or society.

Another point to take into account is the current COVID-19 pandemic, for which, as recently detailed in experts’ opinion (7), the main aim is to reach eucortisolism, whatever the way. Indeed patients presenting with CS usually also present with comorbidities such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and immunodeficiency (8). Surgery, which represents the gold standard strategy in the management of CS (1, 9), might be delayed to reduce the hospital-associated risk of COVID-19, with post-surgical immunodepression and thromboembolic risks (7). Because immunosuppression and thromboembolic diathesis are common CS features (9, 10), during the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of steroidogenesis inhibitors appears of great interest. In these patients, combing steroidogenesis inhibitors at intermediate doses might allow for a rapid control of hypercortisolism without risks of major side effects if a single uptitrated treatment is not sufficient. Obviously, the management of associated comorbidities would also be crucial in this situation (11).

To conclude, we report for the first time a case of CS, in the context of primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia successfully treated with a well-tolerated combination of ketoconazole and osilodrostat. While initial levels of cortisol were not very high, we could not manage to control hypercortisolism with ketoconazole monotherapy, and could not increase the dose due to side effects. The same result was observed with another steroidogenesis inhibitor, osilodrostat. This strategy could be considered for any patient with uncontrolled hypercortisolism and delayed or unsuccessful surgery, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Declaration of interest

F C and T B received research grants from Recordati Rare Disease and HRA Pharma Rare Diseases. Frederic Castinetti is on the editorial board of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism case reports. Frederic Castinetti was not involved in the review or editorial process for this paper, on which he is listed as an author.

Funding

This work did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.

Patient consent

Informed written consent has been obtained from the patient for publication of the case report.

Author contribution statement

V A was the patient’s physician involved in the clinical care and collected the data. T B and F C supervised the management of the patient. F C proposed the original idea of this case report. V A drafted the manuscript. F C critically reviewed the manuscript. T B revised the manuscript into its final version.

References

Osilodrostat Improves Signs and Symptoms Associated With Cushing Disease

Osilodrostat therapy was found to be effective in improving blood pressure parameters, health-related quality of life, depression, and other signs and symptoms in patients with Cushing disease, regardless of the degree of cortisol control, according to study results presented at the 30th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (ENVISION 2021).

Investigators of the LINC 3 study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02180217), a phase 3, multicenter study with a double-blind, randomized withdrawal period, sought to assess the effects of twice-daily osilodrostat (2-30 mg) on signs, symptoms, and health-related quality of life in 137 patients with Cushing disease. Study endpoints included change in various parameters from baseline to week 48, including mean urinary free cortisol (mUFC) status, cardiovascular-related measures, physical features, Cushing Quality-of-Life score, and Beck Depression Inventory score. Participants were assessed every 2, 4, or 12 weeks depending on the study period, and eligible participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to withdrawal at week 24.

The median age of participants was 40.0 years, and women made up 77.4% of the cohort. Of 137 participants, 132 (96%) achieved controlled mUFC at least once during the core study period. At week 24, patients with controlled or partially controlled mUFC showed improvements in blood pressure that were not seen in patients with uncontrolled mUFC; at week 48, improvement in blood pressure occurred regardless of mUFC status. Cushing Quality-of-Life and Beck Depression Inventory scores, along with other metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, improved from baseline to week 24 and week 48 regardless of degree of mUFC control. Additionally, most participants reported improvements in physical features of hypercortisolism, including hirsutism, at week 24 and week 48.

The researchers indicated that the high response rate with osilodrostat treatment was sustained during the 48 weeks of treatment, with 96% of patients achieving controlled mUFC levels; improvements in clinical signs, physical features, quality of life, and depression were reported even among patients without complete mUFC normalization.

Disclosure: This study was sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG; however, as of July 12, 2019, osilodrostat is an asset of Recordati AG. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

Visit Endocrinology Advisor‘s conference section for complete coverage from the AACE Annual Meeting 2021: ENVISION.

Reference

Pivonello R, Fleseriu M, Newell-Price J, et al. Effect of osilodrostat on clinical signs, physical features and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) by degree of mUFC control in patients with Cushing’s disease (CD): results from the LINC 3 study. Presented at: 2021 AACE Virtual Annual Meeting, May 26-29, 2021.

From https://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/home/conference-highlights/aace-2021/osilodrostat-improves-blood-pressure-hrqol-and-depression-in-patients-with-cushing-disease/

More Gradual Dose Titration Could Reduce Hypocortisolism Risk with Osilodrostat in Cushing’s Disease

Data from LINC3 and LINC4 provide insight into the impact of dosing titration schedules on risk of hypocortisolism-related adverse events associated with osilodrostat use in patients with Cushing’s disease.

Data from a pair of phase 3 studies presented at the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology’s 30th Annual Meeting (AACE 2021) is providing insight into the effect of dose titration schedules with use of osilodrostat (Isturisa) in patients with Cushing’s disease.

Presented by Maria Fleseriu, MD, of Oregon Health and Science University, the analysis of the LINC3 and LINC4 demonstrated the more gradual titration occurring in LINC4 resulted in a lower proportion of hypocortisolism-related adverse events, suggesting up-titration every 3 weeks rather than every 2 weeks could help lower event risk without compromising mean urinary free cortisol (mUFC) control.

“For patients with Cushing’s disease, osilodrostat should be initiated at the recommended starting dose with incremental dose increases, based on individual response/tolerability aimed at normalizing cortisol levels,” concluded investigators.

With approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in March 2020 for patients not eligible for pituitary surgery or have undergone the surgery but still have the disease, osilodrostat became the first FDA-approved therapy address cortisol overproduction by blocking 11β-hydroxylase. Based on results of LINC3, data from the trial, and the subsequent LINC4 trial, provide the greatest available insight into use of the agent in this patient population.

The study presented at AACE 2021 sought to assess whether slow dose up titration might affect rates of hypocortisolism-related adverse events by comparing titration schedules from both phase 3 trials. Median osilodrostat exposure was 75 (IQR, 48-117) weeks and 70 (IQR, 49-87) weeks in LINC3 and LINC4, respectively. The median time to first mUFC equal to or less than ULN was 41 (IQR, 30-42) days in LINC3 and 35 (IQR, 34-52) days in LINC4.

Adverse events potentially related to hypocortisolism were more common among patients in LINC3 (51%, n=70) than LINC4 (27%, n=20). Upon analysis of adverse events, investigators found the most commonly reported type of adverse event was adrenal insufficiency, which included events of glucocorticoid deficiency, adrenocortical insufficiency, steroid withdrawal syndrome, and decreased urinary free cortisol.

Results incited the majority of hypocortisolism-related adverse events occurred during the dos titration periods of each trial. In LINC3, 54 of the 70 (77%) hypocortisolism-related adverse events occurred by week 26. In comparison, 58% of hypocortisolism-related adverse events occurring in LINC4 occurred prior to week 12. Investigators noted most of events that occurred were mild or moderate and managed with dose interruption or reduction of osilodrostat or concomitant medications.

This study, “Effect of Dosing and Titration of Osilodrostat on Efficacy and Safety in Patients with Cushing’s Disease (CD): Results from Two Phase III Trials (LINC3 and LINC4),” was presented at AACE 2021.

From https://www.endocrinologynetwork.com/view/fda-panels-votes-to-support-teplizumab-potential-for-delaying-type-1-diabetes

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