Tenecteplase Thrombolysis for Acute Ischemic Stroke

Stroke. 2020 Nov;51(11):3440-3451. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029749. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Tenecteplase is a fibrinolytic drug with higher fibrin specificity and longer half-life than the standard stroke thrombolytic, alteplase, permitting the convenience of single bolus administration. Tenecteplase, at 0.5 mg/kg, has regulatory approval to treat ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction, for which it has equivalent 30-day mortality and fewer systemic hemorrhages. Investigated as a thrombolytic for ischemic stroke over the past 15 years, tenecteplase is currently being studied in several phase 3 trials. Based on a systematic literature search, we provide a qualitative synthesis of published stroke clinical trials of tenecteplase that (1) performed randomized comparisons with alteplase, (2) compared different doses of tenecteplase, or (3) provided unique quantitative meta-analyses. Four phase 2 and one phase 3 study performed randomized comparisons with alteplase. These and other phase 2 studies compared different tenecteplase doses and effects on early outcomes of recanalization, reperfusion, and substantial neurological improvement, as well as symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and 3-month disability on the modified Rankin Scale. Although no single trial prospectively demonstrated superiority or noninferiority of tenecteplase on clinical outcome, meta-analyses of these trials (1585 patients randomized) point to tenecteplase superiority in recanalization of large vessel occlusions and noninferiority in disability-free 3-month outcome, without increases in symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage or mortality. Doses of 0.25 and 0.4 mg/kg have been tested, but no advantage of the higher dose has been suggested by the results. Current clinical practice guidelines for stroke include intravenous tenecteplase at either dose as a second-tier option, with the 0.25 mg/kg dose recommended for large vessel occlusions, based on a phase 2 trial that demonstrated superior recanalization and improved 3-month outcome relative to alteplase. Ongoing randomized phase 3 trials may better define the comparative risks and benefits of tenecteplase and alteplase for stroke thrombolysis and answer questions of tenecteplase efficacy in the >4.5-hour time window, in wake-up stroke, and in combination with endovascular thrombectomy.

Keywords: fibrin; half-life; percutaneous coronary intervention; tenecteplase; tissue-type plasminogen activator.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / epidemiology*
  • Ischemic Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Mortality*
  • ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy
  • Tenecteplase / therapeutic use*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator
  • Tenecteplase