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      Phase 2 studies of oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor FG-4592 for treatment of anemia in China

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          FG-4592 (roxadustat) is an oral hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor (HIF-PHI) promoting coordinated erythropoiesis through the transcription factor HIF. Two Phase 2 studies were conducted in China to explore the safety and efficacy of FG-4592 (USAN name: roxadustat, CDAN name: ), a HIF-PHI, in patients with anemia of chronic kidney disease (CKD), both patients who were dialysis-dependent (DD) and patients who were not dialysis-dependent (NDD).


          In the NDD study, 91 participants were randomized to low (1.1–1.75 mg/kg) or high (1.50–2.25 mg/kg) FG-4592 starting doses or to placebo. In the DD study, 87 were enrolled to low (1.1–1.8 mg/kg), medium (1.5–2.3 mg/kg) and high (1.7–2.3 mg/kg) starting FG-4592 doses or to continuation of epoetin alfa. In both studies, only oral iron supplementation was allowed.


          In the NDD study, hemoglobin (Hb) increase ≥1 g/dL from baseline was achieved in 80.0% of subjects in the low-dose cohort and 87.1% in the high-dose cohort, versus 23.3% in the placebo arm (P < 0.0001, both). In the DD study, 59.1%, 88.9% (P = 0.008) and 100% (P = 0.0003) of the low-, medium- and high-dose subjects maintained their Hb levels after 5- and 6-weeks versus 50% of the epoetin alfa-treated subjects.

          In both studies, significant reductions in cholesterol were noted in FG-4592-treated subjects, with stability or increases in serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) and transferrin (without intravenous iron administration). In the NDD study, hepcidin levels were significantly reduced across all FG-4592-treated arms as compared with no change in the placebo arm. In the DD study, hepcidin levels were also reduced in a statistically significant dose-dependent manner in the highest dose group as compared with the epoetin alfa-treated group. Adverse events were similar for FG-4592-treated and control subjects.


          FG-4592 may prove an effective alternative for managing anemia of CKD. It is currently being investigated in a pivotal global Phase 3 program.

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          Correction of anemia with epoetin alfa in chronic kidney disease.

           Lynda Szczech,  ,  Shelly Sapp (2006)
          Anemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease, usually develops as a consequence of erythropoietin deficiency. Recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the correction of anemia associated with this condition. However, the optimal level of hemoglobin correction is not defined. In this open-label trial, we studied 1432 patients with chronic kidney disease, 715 of whom were randomly assigned to receive a dose of epoetin alfa targeted to achieve a hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter and 717 of whom were assigned to receive a dose targeted to achieve a level of 11.3 g per deciliter. The median study duration was 16 months. The primary end point was a composite of death, myocardial infarction, hospitalization for congestive heart failure (without renal replacement therapy), and stroke. A total of 222 composite events occurred: 125 events in the high-hemoglobin group, as compared with 97 events in the low-hemoglobin group (hazard ratio, 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.74; P=0.03). There were 65 deaths (29.3%), 101 hospitalizations for congestive heart failure (45.5%), 25 myocardial infarctions (11.3%), and 23 strokes (10.4%). Seven patients (3.2%) were hospitalized for congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction combined, and one patient (0.5%) died after having a stroke. Improvements in the quality of life were similar in the two groups. More patients in the high-hemoglobin group had at least one serious adverse event. The use of a target hemoglobin level of 13.5 g per deciliter (as compared with 11.3 g per deciliter) was associated with increased risk and no incremental improvement in the quality of life. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00211120 [ClinicalTrials.gov].). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Normalization of hemoglobin level in patients with chronic kidney disease and anemia.

            Whether correction of anemia in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease improves cardiovascular outcomes is not established. We randomly assigned 603 patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15.0 to 35.0 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area and mild-to-moderate anemia (hemoglobin level, 11.0 to 12.5 g per deciliter) to a target hemoglobin value in the normal range (13.0 to 15.0 g per deciliter, group 1) or the subnormal range (10.5 to 11.5 g per deciliter, group 2). Subcutaneous erythropoietin (epoetin beta) was initiated at randomization (group 1) or only after the hemoglobin level fell below 10.5 g per deciliter (group 2). The primary end point was a composite of eight cardiovascular events; secondary end points included left ventricular mass index, quality-of-life scores, and the progression of chronic kidney disease. During the 3-year study, complete correction of anemia did not affect the likelihood of a first cardiovascular event (58 events in group 1 vs. 47 events in group 2; hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.53 to 1.14; P=0.20). Left ventricular mass index remained stable in both groups. The mean estimated GFR was 24.9 ml per minute in group 1 and 24.2 ml per minute in group 2 at baseline and decreased by 3.6 and 3.1 ml per minute per year, respectively (P=0.40). Dialysis was required in more patients in group 1 than in group 2 (127 vs. 111, P=0.03). General health and physical function improved significantly (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively, in group 1, as compared with group 2). There was no significant difference in the combined incidence of adverse events between the two groups, but hypertensive episodes and headaches were more prevalent in group 1. In patients with chronic kidney disease, early complete correction of anemia does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00321919 [ClinicalTrials.gov].). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Mechanisms of anemia in CKD.

              Anemia is a common feature of CKD associated with poor outcomes. The current management of patients with anemia in CKD is controversial, with recent clinical trials demonstrating increased morbidity and mortality related to erythropoiesis stimulating agents. Here, we examine recent insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying anemia of CKD. These insights hold promise for the development of new diagnostic tests and therapies that directly target the pathophysiologic processes underlying this form of anemia.

                Author and article information

                Nephrol Dial Transplant
                Nephrol. Dial. Transplant
                Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation
                Oxford University Press
                August 2017
                27 March 2017
                27 March 2017
                : 32
                : 8
                : 1373-1386
                [1 ]Institute of Nephrology, Department of Nephrology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
                [2 ]Renji Hospital, Shanghai, China
                [3 ]Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
                [4 ]Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
                [5 ]Changzheng Hospital, Shanghai, China
                [6 ]Shanghai Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China
                [7 ]Xinhua Hospital, Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China
                [8 ]Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China
                [9 ]Shenzhen People’s Hospital, Shenzhen, China
                [10 ]Beijing University First Hospital, Beijing, China
                [11 ]Sichuan Province Hospital, Chengdu, China
                [12 ]West China Hospital, Chengdu, China
                [13 ]Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China
                [14 ]FibroGen, Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence and offprint requests to: Lynda Szczech; E-mail: lszczech@ 123456fibrogen.com
                © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

                Page count
                Pages: 42
                Original Articles


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