Safety of Paclitaxel-Coated Balloon Angioplasty for Femoropopliteal Peripheral Artery Disease

JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2019 Dec 23;12(24):2515-2524. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2019.08.025. Epub 2019 Sep 28.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess safety outcomes of femoropopliteal drug-coated balloon (DCB) angioplasty using patient-level data from the Lutonix clinical program.

Background: A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of heterogenous trials and summary-level data identified increased long-term mortality in patients treated with paclitaxel-coated balloons and stents.

Methods: We evaluated DCB angioplasty (n = 1,093) and uncoated balloon angioplasty (percutaneous transluminal angioplasty [PTA]) (n = 250) outcomes in LEVANT 1 (The Lutonix Paclitaxel-Coated Balloon for the Prevention of Femoropopliteal Restenosis), LEVANT 2 (Moxy Drug Coated Balloon vs. Standard Balloon Angioplasty for the Treatment of Femoropopliteal Arteries), and the LEVANT Japan Clinical Trial. Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated with Cox proportional hazards modeling.

Results: There were no significant differences in mortality rates between DCB angioplasty and PTA. The 5-year HR was 1.01 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.68 to 1.52) in the aggregated LEVANT trials. The 2-year HR after DCB angioplasty was 0.99 (95% CI: 0.25 to 3.95) in LEVANT 1, 1.40 (95% CI: 0.62 to 3.14) in LEVANT 2, and 0.32 (95% CI: 0.05 to 1.92) in the LEVANT Japan Clinical Trial. The 5-year HR was 1.60 (95% CI: 0.94 to 2.72) in LEVANT 2. Adverse events and causes of death were balanced, without clustering between DCB angioplasty and PTA. Patients who underwent paclitaxel or nonpaclitaxel reinterventions had higher survival rates than those who did not undergo reinterventions. Baseline covariates predicting mortality included, among others, age (HR: 1.03 per year; p < 0.0001), prior treatment of target lesion (HR: 1.67; p = 0.022), arrhythmia (HR: 1.65; p = 0.031), and diabetes (HR: 1.18; p = 0.047), without differences between the 2 arms. No dose-response relationship was identified when adjusted for key predictors of mortality.

Conclusions: Analyses of patient-level data identified no mortality differences between DCB angioplasty and PTA. Furthermore, the lack of dose-response relationships or clustering of causes of death argues against a causal relationship between paclitaxel and mortality. (LEVANT 1, The Lutonix Paclitaxel-Coated Balloon for the Prevention of Femoropopliteal Restenosis [LEVANT 1], NCT00930813; Moxy Drug Coated Balloon vs. Standard Balloon Angioplasty for the Treatment of Femoropopliteal Arteries [LEVANT 2], NCT01412541; LEVANT 2 Continued Access Registry, NCT01628159; LEVANT Japan Clinical Trial, NCT01816412).

Keywords: drug-coated balloon; femoropopliteal; mortality; paclitaxel; peripheral artery disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / adverse effects
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / instrumentation*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiovascular Agents / adverse effects
  • Cause of Death
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible*
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoral Artery* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage*
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / mortality
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / physiopathology
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / therapy*
  • Popliteal Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Popliteal Artery* / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Patency


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Paclitaxel

Associated data