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ABSTRACT: Background Due to lack of adequate clinical research data, drug treatment of the rare disease systemic sclerosis (SSc) is commonly off-label. The international EC-funded research project DeSScipher (acronym for “to decipher the optimal management of systemic sclerosis”) was designed to increase the evidence-based treatment strategies for SSc patients and subsequently to improve their long-term quality-of-life.
Objectives The primary objective is to compare the outcomes of different treatments with respect to efficacy and safety of currently used off-label drugs from the early to the advanced phases of the main SSc-associated organ dysfunctions in a routine rheumatology in- and outpatient setting.
Methods Five prospective observational trials (OTs), carried out within the EULAR Scleroderma Trials and Research (EUSTAR) group, have been designed to analyze current treatment approaches of early functionally relevant manifestations such as digital ulcers (OT1) and hand arthritis (OT2) to the morbidity and mortality-driving manifestations such as interstitial lung disease (OT3), pulmonary hypertension (OT4) and severe heart disease (OT5). The study protocols are accessible at clinicaltrials.gov Identifiers NCT01836263, NCT01834157, NCT01858259, NCT01840748, NCT01829126.
Results Between April 2013 and January 2015, 1781 SSc patients have been screened at 27 contributing EUSTAR centers. 1577 (89%) patients have been enrolled into at least one of the five OTs. In particular, 1179, 127, 981, 237 and 716 patients have been enrolled into OT1-5, respectively (3240 in total; a given patient could be enrolled into multiple OTs), which represents a baseline patient recruitment rate of 79% of the target number of 4098 patients (accordingly 226%, 79%, 59%, 25% and 91% of the required number of 522, 160, 1670, 960, 786 patients for OT1-5, respectively). The completion of 1-year (OT3, OT5) and 2-year follow-up visits (OT1, OT2, OT4) are pending.
Conclusions DeSScipher is currently the largest prospective observational research project ever for SSc. While patient recruitment is still ongoing, preliminary results of the five OTs are expected in late 2015 and the final results depending on the completion of follow-up visits are expected between 2017 and 2018.
Acknowledgements The DeSScipher project was funded by the European Community's Framework Programme 7 (FP7-HEALTH-2012.2.4.4-2 - Observational trials in rare diseases) under grant agreement N° 305495.
We acknowledge the contribution of the following EUSTAR centers: Wuppertal (member N°192), Lille (93), Bad Bramstedt (187), Moscow (78), Assiut (168), Moscow (190), Bucharest (100), Monserrato (142), Iasi (162), Cluj-Napoca (16), Frankfurt (124), Salford/Manchester (80), Tübingen (56), Ancona (34), Zagreb (51) and Roma (94).
Disclosure of Interest None declared
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 06/2015; 74(Suppl 2):829.3-830. DOI:10.1136/annrheumdis-2015-eular.1441 · 10.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The optimal treatment of systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a challenge because the pathogenesis of SSc is unclear and it is an uncommon and clinically heterogeneous disease affecting multiple organ systems. The aim of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Scleroderma Trials and Research group (EUSTAR) was to develop evidence-based, consensus-derived recommendations for the treatment of SSc.
To obtain and maintain a high level of intrinsic quality and comparability of this approach, EULAR standard operating procedures were followed. The task force comprised 18 SSc experts from Europe, the USA and Japan, two SSc patients and three fellows for literature research. The preliminary set of research questions concerning SSc treatment was provided by 74 EUSTAR centres.
Based on discussion of the clinical research evidence from published literature, and combining this with current expert opinion and clinical experience, 14 recommendations for the treatment of SSc were formulated. The final set includes the following recommendations: three on SSc-related digital vasculopathy (Raynaud's phenomenon and ulcers); four on SSc-related pulmonary arterial hypertension; three on SSc-related gastrointestinal involvement; two on scleroderma renal crisis; one on SSc-related interstitial lung disease and one on skin involvement. Experts also formulated several questions for a future research agenda.
Evidence-based, consensus-derived recommendations are useful for rheumatologists to help guide treatment for patients with SSc. These recommendations may also help to define directions for future clinical research in SSc.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 02/2009; 68(5):620-8. DOI:10.1136/ard.2008.096677 · 10.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To describe methods and procedures used for the development of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)/EULAR Scleroderma Trial and Research group (EUSTAR) recommendations for the treatment of systemic sclerosis. In particular, the results of a web-based Delphi exercise aimed at selection of research questions and evidence from systematic literature research, as parts of the development of these recommendations, are presented in detail.
In agreement with the EULAR standard operating procedures a Task Force was created that consisted of the EUSTAR board members, 10 systemic sclerosis (SSc) experts invited from outside the EUSTAR board and representing Europe, the USA and Japan, a clinical epidemiologist, 2 patients with SSc and 3 fellows for literature research. All EUSTAR centres were invited to contribute to the development of recommendations through submission and preliminary selection of the research questions. The systematic literature research was performed using the Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane databases. Retrieved trials were evaluated according to the Jadad classification, and the level of evidence was graded from 1 to 4. Outcome data for efficacy and adverse events were abstracted and effect size, number needed to treat (NNT) and number needed to harm (NNH) were calculated when appropriate.
In all, 65 EUSTAR Centres provided 304 research questions concerning SSc treatment. These questions were aggregated, subdivided into 19 treatment categories and then subjected to preliminary selection by a web-based Delphi technique. The final set of 26 research questions was created by the Expert Committee based on the results of the Delphi exercise and the expert's experience.
This paper is a comprehensive summary of the methods we used to build recommendations for the drug treatment of systemic sclerosis, combining an evidence based approach and expert opinion.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases 11/2008; 68(5):629-34. DOI:10.1136/ard.2008.095299 · 10.38 Impact Factor