Literature

Clinical Pearls & Morning Reports


By Carla Rothaus

Published December 25, 2019

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In the COLCOT trial, did colchicine, as compared to placebo, reduce the incidence of the primary composite efficacy end point? 

Tardif et al. conducted the Colchicine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial (COLCOT) to evaluate the effects of colchicine on cardiovascular outcomes as well as its long-term safety profile in patients who had recently had a myocardial infarction. Read the Original Article here.

Clinical Pearls

Q: What were the findings of the CANTOS trial?

A: Inhibition of interleukin-1β by the injectable monoclonal antibody canakinumab led to a 15% lower risk of cardiovascular events than was observed with placebo in the Canakinumab Antiinflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study (CANTOS) but also led to a slightly higher incidence of fatal infections. In contrast, methotrexate did not affect cardiovascular outcomes or plasma markers of inflammation in the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT). In light of these differing results and given that canakinumab has not been approved for cardiovascular prevention, the search for a widely used alternative antiinflammatory treatment that may reduce the risk of atherosclerotic events among patients with coronary artery disease continues.

Q: What is the mechanism of action of colchicine?

A: Colchicine is an inexpensive, orally administered, potent antiinflammatory medication that was initially extracted from the autumn crocus and has been used for centuries. Its mechanism of action is through the inhibition of tubulin polymerization and microtubule generation and, possibly, effects on cellular adhesion molecules, inflammatory chemokines, and the inflammasome. Colchicine is currently indicated for the treatment of gout, familial Mediterranean fever, and pericarditis.

Morning Report Questions

Q: In the COLCOT trial, did colchicine, as compared to placebo, reduce the incidence of the primary composite efficacy end point?

A: In COLCOT, the risk of the primary composite efficacy end point of death from cardiovascular causes, resuscitated cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, stroke, or urgent hospitalization for angina leading to coronary revascularization, as assessed in a time-to-event analysis, was significantly lower among the patients who were randomly assigned to receive 0.5 mg of colchicine once daily than among those who received placebo. A primary end-point event occurred in 5.5% of the patients in the colchicine group, as compared with 7.1% of those in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61 to 0.96; P=0.02 by the log-rank test). This result was due predominantly to a lower incidence of strokes and urgent hospitalizations for angina leading to coronary revascularization. The secondary efficacy end point consisting of a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, or stroke occurred in 4.7% of the patients in the colchicine group and in 5.5% of those in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.10).

Q: What were some of the adverse events reported in the COLCOT trial?

A: The most common adverse events observed were gastrointestinal. Diarrhea was reported in 9.7% of the patients in the colchicine group and in 8.9% of those in the placebo group, and nausea occurred in 1.8% and 1.0%, respectively. Infection as a serious adverse event was more frequent in the colchicine group than in the placebo group (in 2.2% vs. 1.6% of the patients), and pneumonia as a serious adverse event was also more frequent in the colchicine group (0.9% vs. 0.4%). These differences in the incidence of infections could be due to the play of chance or could reflect altered immunologic responses. In contrast to canakinumab, colchicine did not increase the incidence of septic shock in the COLCOT trial.

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