Background: Joint arthrodesis employing autogenous bone graft (autograft) remains a mainstay in the treatment of many foot and ankle problems. However, graft harvest can lead to perioperative morbidity and increased cost. We tested the hypothesis that purified recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-BB (rhPDGF-BB) homodimer combined with an osteoconductive matrix (beta-tricalcium phosphate [β-TCP]) would be a safe and effective alternative to autograft.
Methods: A total of 434 patients were enrolled in thirty-seven clinical sites across North America in a prospective, randomized (2:1), controlled, non-inferiority clinical trial to compare the safety and efficacy of the combination rhPDGF-BB and β-TCP with those of autograft in patients requiring hindfoot or ankle arthrodesis. Radiographic, clinical, functional, and quality-of-life end points were assessed through fifty-two weeks postoperatively.
Results: Two hundred and sixty patients (394 joints) underwent arthrodesis with use of rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP. One hundred and thirty-seven patients (203 joints) underwent arthrodesis with use of autograft. With regard to the primary end point, 159 patients (61.2% [262 joints (66.5%)]) in the rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP group and eighty-five patients (62.0% [127 joints (62.6%)]) in the autograft group were fused as determined by computed tomography at six months (p < 0.05). Clinically, 224 patients (86.2%) [348 joints (88.3%)]) in the rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP group were considered healed at fifty-two weeks, compared with 120 patients (87.6% [177 joints (87.2%)] in the autograft group (p = 0.008). Overall, fourteen of sixteen secondary end points at twenty-four weeks and fifteen of sixteen secondary end points at fifty-two weeks demonstrated statistical non-inferiority between the groups, and patients in the rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP group were found to have less pain and an improved safety profile.
Conclusions: In patients requiring hindfoot or ankle arthrodesis, treatment with rhPDGF-BB/β-TCP resulted in comparable fusion rates, less pain, and fewer side effects as compared with treatment with autograft.