The continous erythropoietin receptor activator (C.E.R.A.) corrects anemia at extended administration intervals in patients with chronic kidney disease not on dialysis: Results of a phase II study

Robert Provenzano, A. Besarab, I. C. Macdougall, D. H. Ellison, A. P. Maxwell, W. Sulowicz, M. Klinger, B. Rutkowski, R. Correa-Rotter, F. C. Dougherty, P. Barre, A. Levin, A. McMahon, S. W. Tobe, A. Valdes, S. Fishbane, J. Lewis, M. Leiserowitz, R. Mehta, S. Vicks

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Aim: This study was designed to assess the potential of the continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (C.E.R.A.) to correct anemia at extended administration intervals in erythropoiesis-stimulating agent-naïve patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) not on dialysis and to determine its optimal starting dose. Methods: Patients were assigned to subcutaneous C.E.R.A. at 3 doses: 0.15, 0.30 and 0.60 μg/kg/wk. During the first 6 weeks, dose adjustments for efficacy were not permitted in order to assess dose response. Within each of the 3 dose groups, patients were randomized to receive C.E.R.A. QW, Q2W or Q3W; the total dose during the first 6 weeks was the same for a particular dose group across the frequency subgroups. During the next 12 weeks, dose was adjusted according to predefined hemoglobin (Hb) criteria. The primary efficacy parameter was change in Hb over 6 weeks, estimated from regression analysis between baseline and the point at which the patient received a dose change or blood transfusion. It therefore provided an estimate of Hb increase based on starting dose. Other endpoints included Hb response rate (proportion of patients with a Hb increase ≥ 1.0 g/dl on 2 consecutive occasions). A 1-year extension period investigated long term tolerability and efficacy. Results: A dose-dependent relationship was noted in the mean change in Hb from baseline over 6 weeks (p < 0.0001), independent of administration schedule (p = 0.9201). There was also a significant relationship between Hb change and median serum C.E.R.A. concentration (p < 0.0001). Erythropoietic responses were sustained in all groups with mean changes from baseline in Hb > 1.2 g/dl observed at doses ≥0.30 μg/kg/wk. Hb response rate increased with increasing dose: 67, 72 and 90% with C.E.R.A. 0.15, 0.30 and 0.60 μg/kg/wk, respectively. Generally, the median Hb response time was faster with increasing dose (89, 43 and 31 days, respectively). Response was unrelated to administration frequency. Stable Hb concentrations were maintained throughout the 1-year extension period. C.E.R.A. was generally well tolerated, and the most common adverse events were hypertension, urinary tract infection and renal failure. Conclusions: C.E.R.A. corrected anemia and maintained sustained and stable control of Hb over 1 year. These results suggest that 0.60 μg/kg subcutaneous C.E.R.A. given twice monthly is a suitable starting dose for further investigation in Phase III studies in patients with CKD not on dialysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2007



  • Anemia
  • C.E.R.A.
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Continous erythropoietin receptor activator
  • Hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology

Cite this

Provenzano, R., Besarab, A., Macdougall, I. C., Ellison, D. H., Maxwell, A. P., Sulowicz, W., Klinger, M., Rutkowski, B., Correa-Rotter, R., Dougherty, F. C., Barre, P., Levin, A., McMahon, A., Tobe, S. W., Valdes, A., Fishbane, S., Lewis, J., Leiserowitz, M., Mehta, R., & Vicks, S. (2007). The continous erythropoietin receptor activator (C.E.R.A.) corrects anemia at extended administration intervals in patients with chronic kidney disease not on dialysis: Results of a phase II study. Clinical Nephrology, 67(5), 306-317.