A Randomized Trial of Roxadustat in Anemia of Kidney Failure: SIERRAS Study

Kidney Int Rep. 2021 Apr 17;6(7):1829-1839. doi: 10.1016/j.ekir.2021.04.007. eCollection 2021 Jul.


Introduction: Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, standard of care for anemia of end-stage kidney disease, are associated with cardiovascular events. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of roxadustat, an oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor that stimulates erythropoiesis.

Methods: SIERRAS was a phase 3, randomized, open-label, active-controlled study enrolled adults on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease receiving erythropoiesis-stimulating agents for anemia. Patients were randomized (1:1) to thrice-weekly roxadustat or epoetin alfa. Doses were based on previous epoetin alfa dose and adjusted in the roxadustat arm to maintain hemoglobin at ∼11 g/dl during treatment. Epoetin alfa dosing was adjusted per US package insert. Primary efficacy endpoint was mean hemoglobin (g/dl) change from baseline averaged over weeks 28 to 52. Treatment-emergent adverse events were monitored.

Results: Enrolled patients (roxadustat, n = 370 and epoetin alfa, n = 371) had similar mean (SD) baseline hemoglobin levels (10.30 [0.66] g/dl). Mean (SD) hemoglobin changes for weeks 28 to 52 were 0.39 (0.93) and -0.09 (0.84) in roxadustat and epoetin alfa, respectively. Roxadustat was noninferior (least squares mean difference: 0.48 [95% confidence interval: 0.37, 0.59]; P < 0.001) to epoetin alfa. Tolerability was comparable between treatments.

Conclusion: In end-stage kidney disease, roxadustat was noninferior to epoetin alfa in up to 52 weeks of treatment in this erythropoietin-stimulating agent conversion study. Roxadustat had an acceptable tolerability profile.

Keywords: dialysis; epoetin alfa; hemoglobin; kidney failure; roxadustat.