Safety and efficacy of the endothelin receptor antagonist macitentan in pediatric pulmonary hypertension

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2020 Oct;10(5):1675-1685. doi: 10.21037/cdt.2020.04.01.


Background: Macitentan, a dual endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA), was approved in 2014 for the treatment of adults with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Once-per-day dosing and low potential hepatic toxicity make macitentan an appealing therapeutic option for children with PAH, but reports on its use in pediatric patients are still lacking.

Methods: Prospective observational study of 18 children [10 male; median age: 8.5, minimum (min.): 0.6, maximum (max.): 16.8 years] with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Four of these 18 patients were treatment-naïve and started on a de novo macitentan therapy. The remaining 14/18 children were already on a PH-targeted pharmacotherapy (sildenafil or bosentan as monotherapy or in combination). Nine children who were on bosentan were switched to macitentan. We analyzed the 6-minute walking distance (6MWD), NYHA functional class (FC)/modified ROSS score, invasive hemodynamics, echocardiographic variables and the biomarker N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP).

Results: The median follow up was 6 months (min.: 0.5, max.: 30). Macitentan treatment was associated with improvement of invasive hemodynamics, e.g., the ratio of mean pulmonary arterial pressure/mean systemic arterial pressure decreased from a median of 62% (min.: 30%, max.: 87%) to 49% (min.: 30%, max.: 69%), P<0.05; pulmonary vascular resistance index (PVRi) decreased from a median of 7.6 (min.: 3.3, max.: 11.5) to 4.8 Wood units × m2 body surface area (min.: 2.5, max.: 10), P<0.05. The tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) increased from a median of 1.4 (min.: 0.8, max.: 2.8) to 1.9 (min.: 0.8, max.: 2.7) cm, (P<0.05). NT-proBNP values decreased from a median of 272 (min.: 27, max.: 2,010) to 229 (min.: 23, max.: 814) pg/mL under macitentan therapy (P<0.05). The 6MWD and NYHA FC/modified ROSS score did not change significantly.

Conclusions: This is the first prospective study of macitentan pharmacotherapy in infants and children with PH <12 years of age. Except in one patient, macitentan treatment was well tolerated and was associated with improvements in invasive hemodynamics, longitudinal systolic RV function (TAPSE) and serum NT-proBNP values.

Keywords: Bosentan; child; endothelin receptor antagonist (ERA); macitentan; pulmonary hypertension (PH).