Randomized clinical trial of aspirin and simvastatin for pulmonary arterial hypertension: ASA-STAT.
ABSTRACT Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease that causes exercise limitation, heart failure, and death. We aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of aspirin and simvastatin in PAH.
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2×2 factorial clinical trial of aspirin and simvastatin in patients with PAH receiving background therapy at 4 centers. A total of 92 patients with PAH were to be randomized to aspirin 81 mg or matching placebo and simvastatin 40 mg or matching placebo. The primary outcome was 6-minute walk distance at 6 months. Sixty-five subjects had been randomized when the trial was terminated by the Data Safety and Monitoring Board after an interim analysis showed futility in reaching the primary end point for simvastatin. After adjustment for baseline 6-minute walk distance, there was no significant difference in the 6-minute walk distance at 6 months between aspirin (n=32) and placebo (n=33; placebo-corrected difference −0.5 m, 95% confidence interval −28.4 to 27.4 m; P=0.97) or between simvastatin (n=32) and placebo (n=33; placebo-corrected difference −27.6 m, 95% confidence interval −59.6 to 4.3 m; P=0.09). There tended to be more major bleeding episodes with aspirin than with placebo (4 events versus 1 event, respectively; P=0.17).
Neither aspirin nor simvastatin had a significant effect on the 6-minute walk distance, although patients randomized to simvastatin tended to have a lower 6-minute walk distance at 6 months. These results do not support the routine treatment of patients with PAH with these medications.
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ABSTRACT: Recent clinical data suggest statins have transient but significant effects in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. In this study we explored the molecular effects of statins on distal human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMCs) and their relevance to proliferation and apoptosis in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Primary distal human PASMCs from patients and controls were treated with lipophilic (simvastatin, atorvastatin, mevastatin and fluvastatin), lipophobic (pravastatin) and nitric-oxide releasing statins and studied in terms of their DNA synthesis, proliferation, apoptosis, matrix metalloproteinase-9 and endothelin-1 release. Treatment of human PASMCs with selected statins inhibited DNA synthesis, proliferation and matrix metalloproteinase-9 production in a concentration-dependent manner. Statins differed in their effectiveness, the rank order of anti-mitogenic potency being simvastatin > atorvastatin > > pravastatin. Nevertheless, a novel nitric oxide-releasing derivative of pravastatin (NCX 6550) was effective. Lipophilic statins, such as simvastatin, also enhanced the anti-proliferative effects of iloprost and sildenafil, promoted apoptosis and inhibited the release of the mitogen and survival factor endothelin-1. These effects were reversed by mevalonate and the isoprenoid intermediate geranylgeranylpyrophosphate and were mimicked by inhibitors of the Rho and Rho-kinase. Lipophilic statins exert direct effects on distal human PASMCs and are likely to involve inhibition of Rho GTPase signalling. These findings compliment some of the recently documented effects in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.Respiratory research 01/2011; 12:137. · 3.36 Impact Factor