Objective: To investigate the safety and efficacy of oral bovine type I collagen (CI) treatment in patients who have had diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (dcSSc; scleroderma) for <or=10 years.
Methods: One hundred sixty-eight patients with dcSSc were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral CI (500 microg/day) or placebo administered over 12 months, with a followup visit at month 15. The primary outcome was the modified Rodnan skin thickness score (MRSS). Other clinical and immune system parameters were also assessed.
Results: Intent-to-treat and modified intent-to-treat analyses showed that for the total population of patients with dcSSc, there were no significant differences in the mean change in MRSS or other key clinical parameters between the CI and placebo treatment groups at 12 months or at 15 months. However, in a subanalysis of the available data at month 15, the CI-treated group of patients with late-phase dcSSc experienced a significant reduction in the MRSS compared with that in the placebo-treated patients with late-phase dcSSc (change in MRSS at month 15 -7.9 versus -2.9; P = 0.0063).
Conclusion: Although the results from this trial did not meet the primary outcome goals, the findings from exploratory analyses indicated that CI treatment may benefit patients with late-phase dcSSc. This new treatment strategy and preliminary clinical observations in patients with dcSSc need to be corroborated.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00005675.