N Engl J Med. 2021 May 13;384(19):1800-1809. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034975.
BACKGROUND: Tezepelumab is a human monoclonal antibody that blocks thymic stromal lymphopoietin, an epithelial-cell-derived cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of asthma. The efficacy and safety of tezepelumab in patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma require further assessment.
METHODS: We conducted a phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients (12 to 80 years of age) were randomly assigned to receive tezepelumab (210 mg) or placebo subcutaneously every 4 weeks for 52 weeks. The primary end point was the annualized rate of asthma exacerbations over a period of 52 weeks. This end point was also assessed in patients with baseline blood eosinophil counts of less than 300 cells per microliter. Secondary end points included the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and scores on the Asthma Control Questionnaire-6 (ACQ-6; range, 0 [no impairment] to 6 [maximum impairment]), Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ; range, 1 [maximum impairment] to 7 [no impairment]), and Asthma Symptom Diary (ASD; range, 0 [no symptoms] to 4 [worst possible symptoms]).
RESULTS: Overall, 1061 patients underwent randomization (529 were assigned to receive tezepelumab and 532 to receive placebo). The annualized rate of asthma exacerbations was 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.80 to 1.07) with tezepelumab and 2.10 (95% CI, 1.84 to 2.39) with placebo (rate ratio, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.53; P<0.001). In patients with a blood eosinophil count of less than 300 cells per microliter, the annualized rate was 1.02 (95% CI, 0.84 to 1.23) with tezepelumab and 1.73 (95% CI, 1.46 to 2.05) with placebo (rate ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.75; P<0.001). At week 52, improvements were greater with tezepelumab than with placebo with respect to the prebronchodilator FEV1 (0.23 vs. 0.09 liters; difference, 0.13 liters; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.18; P<0.001) and scores on the ACQ-6 (-1.55 vs. -1.22; difference, -0.33; 95% CI, -0.46 to -0.20; P<0.001), AQLQ (1.49 vs. 1.15; difference, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.47; P<0.001), and ASD (-0.71 vs. -0.59; difference, -0.12; 95% CI, -0.19 to -0.04; P = 0.002). The frequencies and types of adverse events did not differ meaningfully between the two groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma who received tezepelumab had fewer exacerbations and better lung function, asthma control, and health-related quality of life than those who received placebo. (Funded by AstraZeneca and Amgen; NAVIGATOR ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03347279.).