Efficacy of Dupilumab in a Phase 2 Randomized Trial of Adults With Active Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Gastroenterology. 2020 Jan;158(1):111-122.e10. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.09.042. Epub 2019 Oct 5.


Background & aims: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergen-mediated inflammatory disease with no approved treatment in the United States. Dupilumab, a VelocImmune-derived human monoclonal antibody against the interleukin (IL) 4 receptor, inhibits IL4 and IL13 signaling. Dupilumab is effective in the treatment of allergic, atopic, and type 2 diseases, so we assessed its efficacy and safety in patients with EoE.

Methods: We performed a phase 2 study of adults with active EoE (2 episodes of dysphagia/week with peak esophageal eosinophil density of 15 or more eosinophils per high-power field), from May 12, 2015, through November 9, 2016, at 14 sites. Participants were randomly assigned to groups that received weekly subcutaneous injections of dupilumab (300 mg, n = 23) or placebo (n = 24) for 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was change from baseline to week 10 in Straumann Dysphagia Instrument (SDI) patient-reported outcome (PRO) score. We also assessed histologic features of EoE (peak esophageal intraepithelial eosinophil count and EoE histologic scores), endoscopically visualized features (endoscopic reference score), esophageal distensibility, and safety.

Results: The mean SDI PRO score was 6.4 when the study began. In the dupilumab group, SDI PRO scores were reduced by a mean value of 3.0 at week 10 compared with a mean reduction of 1.3 in the placebo group (P = .0304). At week 12, dupilumab reduced the peak esophageal intraepithelial eosinophil count by a mean 86.8 eosinophils per high-power field (reduction of 107.1%; P < .0001 vs placebo), the EoE-histologic scoring system (HSS) severity score by 68.3% (P < .0001 vs placebo), and the endoscopic reference score by 1.6 (P = .0006 vs placebo). Dupilumab increased esophageal distensibility by 18% vs placebo (P < .0001). Higher proportions of patients in the dupilumab group developed injection-site erythema (35% vs 8% in the placebo group) and nasopharyngitis (17% vs 4% in the placebo group).

Conclusions: In a phase 2 trial of patients with active EoE, dupilumab reduced dysphagia, histologic features of disease (including eosinophilic infiltration and a marker of type 2 inflammation), and abnormal endoscopic features compared with placebo. Dupilumab increased esophageal distensibility and was generally well tolerated. ClinicalTrials.gov, Number: NCT02379052.

Keywords: EREFS; Esophagus; Food Allergy; HSS.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Deglutition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / immunology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / complications
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / drug therapy*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / immunology
  • Esophageal Mucosa / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophageal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Esophageal Mucosa / immunology
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-4 Receptor alpha Subunit / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-4 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Placebos / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • IL4R protein, human
  • Interleukin-4 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Placebos
  • dupilumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02379052