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Liver Immunosuppression Free Trial (LIFT)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02498977
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : July 15, 2015
Last Update Posted : March 11, 2021
King's College Hospital NHS Trust
National Institute for Health Research, United Kingdom
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
King's College London

Brief Summary:
LIFT is prospective randomised marker-based trial to assess the clinical utility and safety of biomarker-guided immunosuppression withdrawal in liver transplantation. 'LIFT' aims to validate a biomarker test of operational tolerance to stratify liver transplant recipients before withdrawing immunosuppressive medication. Primary objective is clinical utility and risk/benefit ratio of employing a transcriptional test of tolerance to stratify liver recipients prior to immunosuppression withdrawal. Secondary objectives are: safety of biomarker-guided immunosuppression withdrawal; health-economic and quality of life impact of biomarker-guided immunosuppression withdrawal; improvement in drug-related co-morbidities; prevalence of tolerance over time; role of donor-specific anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies; identify mechanisms of liver allograft tolerance. It is a prospective, multi-centre, phase IV, biomarker-strategy design trial with a randomized control group in which adult liver transplant recipients will undergo immunosuppression withdrawal. The sample size is 148 patients.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Transplantation, Liver Genetic: Biomarker Drug: Tacrolimus, cyclosporine and/or mycophenolic acid, mycophenolate mofetil or azathioprine Phase 4

Detailed Description:

This is a prospective, multi-centre, phase IV, biomarker-strategy design trial with a randomised control group in which adult liver transplant recipients will undergo immunosuppression (IS) withdrawal. Immunosuppression drugs (IS) are: Tacrolimus, cyclosporine and/or mycophenolic acid, mycophenolate mofetil or azathioprine.

Enrolled participants will be randomised 1:1 to either: 1) Non-Biomarker-based IS weaning (Weaning-All; Arm A); or 2) Biomarker-based IS weaning (Arm B). In participants allocated to Arm A IS will be withdrawn regardless of the result of the biomarker test. Among participants allocated to Arm B, only those found to be biomarker-positive (Arm B+, i.e. potentially tolerant) will be offered IS withdrawal, while biomarker-negative participants (Arm B-, i.e. potentially non-tolerant) will remain on their baseline maintenance IS. This will allow us to demonstrate that the biomarker is a useful test to personalise IS by offering drug withdrawal only to those participants who are likely to complete the process successfully, avoiding unnecessary rejections among those who have not developed tolerance. Comparing the outcome of IS withdrawal between arms A and B+ will provide direct evidence of the clinical usefulness of the test as a function of its predictive accuracy. We have established that for the biomarker to drive safe IS withdrawal its Positive Predictive Value should be no less than 0.80, and its sensitivity at least 070. To account for centre effects, we will use stratified randomization. Furthermore, to avoid biases, participants undergoing drug withdrawal and their physicians will be blinded to the biomarker results. Participants randomized to Arm B- will know their biomarker status, and will be maintained in the study until its termination and contribute to secondary clinical outcomes and to the evaluation of the stability of the tolerance signature.

Cost and quality of life (HrQOL) assessments will be conducted alongside the trial to estimate the health-economic implications of the 2 different strategies. Furthermore, sequential biological specimens will be collected to conduct ancillary mechanistic studies. Recruitment will take place in 11 European liver transplant units (King's College Hospital, Royal Free London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Leuven, Hannover, Berlin and Barcelona).

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 116 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Participant)
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
Official Title: Prospective Randomised Marker-based Trial to Assess the Clinical Utility and Safety of Biomarker-guided Immunosuppression Withdrawal in Liver Transplantation
Study Start Date : October 2015
Estimated Primary Completion Date : October 2021
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 31, 2021

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Arm A (weaning)
All participants satisfying clinical criteria will be weaned off immunosuppression drugs irrespective of biomarker result.
Drug: Tacrolimus, cyclosporine and/or mycophenolic acid, mycophenolate mofetil or azathioprine
Immunosuppression drugs as per protocol
Other Name: IS

Active Comparator: Arm B+ (weaning- positive biomarker)
Participants with a positive biomarker will be weaned of immunosuppression drugs.
Genetic: Biomarker
Real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) gene expression measurement

Active Comparator: Arm B- (maintenance)
Participant with negative biomarker test result will be informed of the result and will remain on baseline maintenance immunosuppression drugs.
Genetic: Biomarker
Real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) gene expression measurement

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Successful discontinuation of IS with maintenance of normal allograft status [ Time Frame: 12 months from IS withdrawal ]
    Number of patients with successful discontinuation of IS with maintenance of normal allograft status as assessed by liver biopsy and liver tests 12 months after IS withdrawal (operational tolerance)

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Proportion of tolerant participants remaining free of rejection [ Time Frame: 3 years post IS withdrawal ]
    Measures of rejection in patients (incidence, severity, timing, steroid resistant rejection, chronic rejection) and to investigate if liver transplant recipients under IS become operationally tolerant over time.

  2. Renal function at 1, 2 and 3 years after enrollment and change in co-morbidities [ Time Frame: 3 years post IS withdrawal ]
    To determine the extent to which IS withdrawal improve drug-related co-morbidities associated with IS use (hypertension, cardiovascular risk profile, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, malignancy) and to explore the association between operational liver transplant tolerance, iron metabolism, immunosenescence, and specific gut microbiome profiles.

  3. Development of anti-HLA antibodies (before and after initiation of IS withdrawal). [ Time Frame: 3 years post IS withdrawal ]
    To determine if the presence of donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies influence the success of IS withdrawal, and whether IS withdrawal promotes the development of anti-HLA antibodies in liver transplant recipients.

  4. Change in Health related quality of life (HrQOL) [ Time Frame: 3 years post IS withdrawal ]
    To assess the effect of IS withdrawal on the quality of life of liver transplant recipients.

  5. Costs of treatment [ Time Frame: 3 years post IS withdrawal ]
    Measuring pharmacoeconomic impact of IS withdrawal.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. At the time of screening: more than 3 years post-transplant if participants are ≥50 years old, OR more than 6 years post-transplant if participant age is 18-49 years old.
  2. Recipient of either deceased or living donor liver transplant.
  3. Recipient of single organ transplant only
  4. Liver function tests: direct bilirubin ≤17.1 umol/L and Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≤60 IU/L at the screening visit.
  5. On calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) based maintenance IS and no more than one of the following: Low dose mycophenolic acid (≤ 1080 mg daily), mycophenolate mofetil (MMF ≤ 1500 mg daily), or azathioprine (≤ 150 mg daily); or on mycophenolate/mycophenolic monotherapy (effective contraception must be used before beginning mycophenolate therapy, during therapy, and for six weeks following discontinuation of therapy).
  6. Ability to sign informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Serum positivity for Hepatitis C virus (HCV-RNA)
  2. Serum positivity for HIV-1 infection, Hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen or HBV-DNA
  3. Immune-mediated liver disease in which IS discontinuation is inadvisable (autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis).
  4. Acute or chronic rejection within the 52 weeks prior to screening.
  5. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <40 mL/min (to mitigate the risk of worsening renal failure should rejection occur and high level of CNI be required).
  6. The need for chronic anti-coagulation that cannot be safely discontinued to safely perform for a liver biopsy.
  7. Baseline (screening) liver biopsy showing any of the following: a) acute rejection according to Banff criteria; b) early or late chronic rejection according to Banff criteria; c) inflammatory activity and/or fibrosis in excess of permissive criteria; f) any other findings that might make participation in the trial unsafe. Eligibility will be determined by the central pathologist.
  8. Patient age <18 years old at the time of transplant.
  9. Pregnant females and females of childbearing age not using effective contraception.
  10. Current illicit drug or alcohol abuse.
  11. Inability to participate in frequent monitoring of liver function (every 3 weeks) and clinical visits during IS withdrawal.
  12. Inability to comply with study directed treatment.
  13. Any medical condition that in the opinion of the principal investigator would interfere with safe completion of the trial.
  14. Participation in another clinical trial during the month prior to enrollment.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02498977

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United Kingdom
King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
London, United Kingdom, SE5 9RS
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Newcastle, United Kingdom, NE7 7DN
Sponsors and Collaborators
King's College London
King's College Hospital NHS Trust
National Institute for Health Research, United Kingdom
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Principal Investigator: Alberto Sanchez-Fueyo King's College London
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Responsible Party: King's College London Identifier: NCT02498977    
Other Study ID Numbers: ASF/001-01
2014-004557-14 ( EudraCT Number )
First Posted: July 15, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 11, 2021
Last Verified: March 2021
Keywords provided by King's College London:
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Mycophenolic Acid
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunologic Factors
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Calcineurin Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Antifungal Agents
Anti-Infective Agents
Dermatologic Agents
Antirheumatic Agents
Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
Antineoplastic Agents
Antibiotics, Antitubercular
Antitubercular Agents
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic