Darunavir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide in treatment-experienced, virologically suppressed patients with HIV-1: subgroup analyses of the phase 3 EMERALD study

AIDS Res Ther. 2019 Aug 29;16(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12981-019-0235-1.


Background: Darunavir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (D/C/F/TAF) 800/150/200/10 mg is a once-daily, single-tablet regimen for treatment of HIV-1 infection. The efficacy/safety of switching to D/C/F/TAF versus continuing boosted protease inhibitor (bPI) + emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (control) were demonstrated in a phase 3, randomized study (EMERALD) of treatment-experienced, virologically suppressed adults through week 48. The objective of this analysis was to evaluate EMERALD outcomes across subgroups of patients based on demographic characteristics, prior treatment experience, and baseline antiretroviral regimen.

Methods: EMERALD patients were virologically suppressed (viral load [VL] < 50 copies/mL for ≥ 2 months at screening). Prior non-darunavir virologic failure (VF) was allowed. Primary endpoint was proportion of patients with virologic rebound (confirmed VL ≥ 50 copies/mL) cumulative through week 48. Virologic response was VL < 50 copies/mL (FDA snapshot). Safety was assessed by adverse events, renal proteinuria markers, and bone mineral density. Outcomes were examined for prespecified subgroups by age (≤/> 50 years), gender, race (black/non-black), prior number of antiretrovirals used (4/5/6/7/> 7), prior VF (0/≥ 1), baseline bPI (darunavir/atazanavir or lopinavir), and baseline boosting agent (ritonavir/cobicistat).

Results: Among 1141 patients in the D/C/F/TAF (n = 763) and control (n = 378) arms, virologic rebound rates (2.5% and 2.1%, respectively) were similar, and this was consistent across all subgroups. Virologic response rates ranged from 91 to 97% (D/C/F/TAF) and 89 to 99% (control) across all subgroups, with differences between treatment arms of 0 and 6%. Adverse event rates were low in both arms and across subgroups. Improvements in renal and bone parameters were observed with D/C/F/TAF across demographic subgroups.

Conclusions: For treatment-experienced, virologically suppressed patients, switching to D/C/F/TAF was highly effective and safe, regardless of demographic characteristics, prior treatment experience, or pre-switch bPI. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02269917. Registered 21 October 2014. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02269917.

Keywords: Antiretroviral; Darunavir; HIV-1; Protease inhibitor; Single-tablet regimen; Switch study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenine / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Cobicistat / therapeutic use
  • Darunavir / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Substitution*
  • Emtricitabine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sustained Virologic Response
  • Tablets
  • Tenofovir / therapeutic use
  • Viral Load / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Tablets
  • Tenofovir
  • tenofovir alafenamide
  • Emtricitabine
  • Adenine
  • Cobicistat
  • Alanine
  • Darunavir

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02269917