Randomized phase 2 trial of regadenoson for treatment of acute vaso-occlusive crises in sickle cell disease

Blood Adv. 2017 Aug 28;1(20):1645-1649. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017009613. eCollection 2017 Sep 12.


Adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) agonists have been shown to decrease tissue inflammation induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation in mice with sickle cell disease (SCD). The key mediator of the A2AR agonist's anti-inflammatory effects is a minor lymphocyte subset, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. We tested the hypothesis that administration of an A2AR agonist in patients with SCD would decrease iNKT cell activation and dampen the severity of vaso-occlusive (VO) crises. In a phase 2, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we administered a 48-hour infusion of the A2AR agonist regadenoson (1.44 μg/kg per hour) to patients with SCD during VO crises to produce a plasma concentration of ∼5 nM, a concentration known from prior studies to suppress iNKT cell activation in SCD. The primary outcome measure was a >30% reduction in the percentage of activated iNKT cells. Ninety-two patients with SCD were randomized to receive a 48-hour infusion of regadenoson or placebo, in addition to standard-of-care treatment, during hospital admission for a VO crisis and had analyzable iNKT cell samples. The proportion of subjects who demonstrated a reduction of >30% in activated iNKT cells was not significantly different between the regadenoson and placebo arms (43% vs 23%; P = .07). There were also no differences between regadenoson and placebo groups in length of hospital stay, mean total opioid use, or pain scores. These data demonstrate that a low-dose infusion of regadenoson intended to reduce the activity of iNKT cells is not sufficient to produce a statistically significant reduction in such activation or in measures of clinical efficacy. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01788631.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01788631