Background: The potential of neuroprotective agents should be revisited in the era of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) for acute large-artery occlusion because their preclinical effects have been optimized for ischemia and reperfusion injury. Neu2000, a derivative of sulfasalazine, is a multi-target neuroprotectant. It selectively blocks N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and scavenges for free radicals. This trial aimed to determine whether neuroprotectant administration before EVT is safe and leads to a more favorable outcome.
Methods: This trial is a phase-II, multicenter, three-arm, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, blinded-endpoint drug trial that enrolled participants aged ≥ 19 years undergoing an EVT attempt less than 8 h from symptom onset, with baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≥ 8, Alberta Stroke Program Early CT score ≥ 6, evidence of large-artery occlusion, and at least moderate collaterals on computed tomography angiography. EVT-attempted patients are randomized into control, low-dose (2.75 g), and high-dose (5.25 g) Neu2000KWL over 5 days. Seventy participants per group are enrolled for 90% power, assuming that the treatment group has a 28.4% higher proportion of participants with functional independence than the placebo group. The primary outcome, based on intention-to-treat criteria is the improvement of modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores at 3 months using a dichotomized model. Safety outcomes include symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage within 5 days. Secondary outcomes are distributional change of mRS, mean differences in NIHSS score, proportion of NIHSS score 0-2, and Barthel Index > 90 at 1 and 4 weeks, and 3 months.
Discussion: The trial results may provide information on new therapeutic options as multi-target neuroprotection might mitigate reperfusion injury in patients with acute ischemic stroke before EVT.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT02831088 . Registered on 13 July 2016.
Keywords: Collateral; Endovascular recanalization; Ischemia and reperfusion; Neuroprotectants.