Benralizumab for eosinophilic gastritis: a single-site, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Sep;8(9):803-815. doi: 10.1016/S2468-1253(23)00145-0. Epub 2023 Jun 16.


Background: In eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases, the role of eosinophils in disease pathogenesis and the effect of eosinophil depletion on patient outcomes are unclear. Benralizumab, an eosinophil-depleting monoclonal antibody that targets the interleukin-5 receptor α, might eliminate gastric tissue eosinophils and improve outcomes in eosinophilic gastritis. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of benralizumab in patients with eosinophilic gastritis.

Methods: We conducted a single-site, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, OH, USA). Individuals aged 12-60 years with symptomatic, histologically active eosinophilic gastritis (peak gastric eosinophil count ≥30 eosinophils per high-power field [eos/hpf] in at least five hpfs) and blood eosinophilia (>500 eosinophils per μL [eos/μL]) were randomly assigned (1:1, block size of four) to benralizumab 30 mg or placebo, stratified by the use of glucocorticoids for gastric disease. Investigators, study staff, and study participants were masked to treatment assignment; statisticians were unmasked when analysing data. Treatments were administered subcutaneously once every 4 weeks for a 12-week double-blind period (three total injections). The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who achieved histological remission (peak gastric eosinophil count <30 eos/hpf) at week 12. Key secondary endpoints were the changes from baseline to week 12 in peak gastric eosinophil count, blood eosinophil count, eosinophilic gastritis histology (total, inflammatory, and structural feature scores), Eosinophilic Gastritis Endoscopic Reference System (EG-REFS) score, and patient-reported outcome symptom measures (Severity of Dyspepsia Assessment [SODA] and Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System [PROMIS] short-form questionnaire). After the 12-week double-blind period, patients were eligible for entry into two open-label extension (OLE) periods up to week 88, in which all patients received benralizumab. Efficacy was analysed in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug. The trial was registered on, NCT03473977, and is completed.

Findings: Between April 23, 2018, and Jan 13, 2020, 34 patients were screened, and 26 were subsequently randomly assigned to benralizumab (n=13) or placebo (n=13) and included in the ITT and safety populations (mean age 19·5 years [SD 7·3]; 19 [73%] male patients and seven [27%] female patients). At week 12, ten (77% [95% CI 50 to 92]) of 13 patients who received benralizumab and one (8% [1 to 33]) of 13 who received placebo achieved histological remission (difference 69 percentage points [95% CI 32 to 85]; p=0·0010). Changes from baseline to week 12 were significantly greater in the benralizumab group versus the placebo group for peak gastric eosinophil counts (mean -137 eos/hpf [95% CI -186 to -88] vs -38 eos/hpf [-94 to 18]; p=0·0080), eosinophilic gastritis histology total score (mean -0·31 [-0·42 to -0·20] vs -0·02 [-0·16 to 0·12]; p=0·0016), histology inflammatory score (mean -0·46 [-0·60 to -0·31] vs -0·04 [-0·22 to 0·13]; p=0·0006), and blood eosinophil counts (median -1060 eos/μL [IQR -1740 to -830] vs -160 eos/μL [-710 to 120]; p=0·0044). Changes were not significantly different between the groups for eosinophilic gastritis histology structural score (mean -0·07 [95% CI -0·19 to 0·05] vs 0·03 [-0·09 to 0·15]; p=0·23), EG-REFS score (mean -1·0 [-2·3 to 0·3] vs -0·5 [-2·0 to 1·0]; p=0·62), or in patient-reported outcomes (SODA and PROMIS). During the double-blind period, treatment-emergent adverse events occurred in 11 (85%) of 13 patients in the benralizumab group and six (46%) of 13 in the placebo group; the most common treatment-emergent adverse events were headache (six [46%] vs two [15%] patients), nausea (three [23%] vs two [15%]), and vomiting (two [15%] vs three [23%]). There were no treatment-related deaths. Two patients had serious adverse events (dizziness and rhabdomyolysis in one patient; aspiration in one patient) during the OLE periods, which were considered unrelated to study treatment.

Interpretation: Benralizumab treatment induced histological remission, as defined by absence of tissue eosinophilia, in most patients with eosinophilic gastritis. However, the persistence of histological, endoscopic, and other features of the disease suggest a co-existing, eosinophil-independent pathogenic mechanism and the need for broader targeting of type 2 immunity.

Funding: AstraZeneca and the Division of Intramural Research (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US National Institutes of Health).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma* / complications
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Eosinophilia* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • benralizumab

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilic enteropathy

Associated data