Context: The clinical course of secondary hyperparathyroidism (sHPT) in patients on hemodialysis is not well described, and the effect of the calcimimetic cinacalcet on disease progression is uncertain.
Objective: Our objective was to describe 1) the clinical course of sHPT in patients treated with phosphate binders and/or vitamin D sterols and 2) the impact of cinacalcet on the occurrence of severe unremitting HPT, defined by the persistence of markedly elevated PTH concentrations together with hypercalcemia or parathyroidectomy (PTX).
Design and setting: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, global, multicenter clinical trial.
Patients: Of 5755 patients screened with moderate to severe sHPT, 3883 patients on hemodialysis were included in the trial.
Main outcome measures: Outcomes included PTX; severe, unremitting HPT; and use of commercial cinacalcet (a protocol violation).
Intervention: Intervention was cinacalcet (30-180 mg daily) or placebo for up to 64 months.
Results: In the 1935 patients randomized to placebo, 278 patients (14%) underwent PTX (median PTH 1872 pg/mL within the previous 12 weeks from surgery). Age, sex, geographic region, co-morbidity, calcium-containing phosphate binder use, and baseline serum calcium, phosphorus, and PTH concentrations were associated with PTX. Commercial cinacalcet was started in 443 (23%) patients (median PTH 1108 pg/mL before treatment began). Severe unremitting HPT developed in 470 patients (24%). In a multivariable Cox model, the relative hazard (comparing patients randomized to cinacalcet versus placebo) of severe unremitting HPT was 0.31 (95% confidence interval = 0.26-0.37). The relative hazard differed little when adjusted by baseline clinical characteristics.
Conclusions: Severe unremitting HPT develops frequently in patients on hemodialysis despite conventional therapy, and cinacalcet substantially reduces its occurrence.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00345839.