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CROI 2012: New Integrase Inhibitor Dolutegravir Still Potent and Well-Tolerated at 96 Weeks


The next-generation integrase inhibitor dolutegravir maintains viral suppression and remains safe after 2 years of use, according to a small study presented Wednesday at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012) in Seattle.

[Produced in collaboration with Aidsmap]

HIV integrase inhibitors prevent the virus from inserting its genetic material into host cells. The sole approved drug in this class, raltegravir (Isentress), has demonstrated long-term efficacy, has few interactions, and is among the best-tolerated antiretrovirals, encouraging development of more agents of this type.

Dolutegravir (formerly S/GSK1349572), produced by ViiV/Shionogi, is taken once daily with no need for boosting and no food requirements. Prior studies showed low potential for drug interactions and a distinct resistance profile.

Hans-Jürgen Stellbrink presented the latest data from the Phase 2b SPRING-1 trial (ING112276), a 4-arm dose-ranging study designed to select an optimal dolutegravir dose for further trials.

The study included 205 treatment-naive participants. Most (86%) were men, 80% were white, and the median age was 37 years. The average CD4 T-cell count at baseline was 324 cells/mm3 and one-fifth of patients had high viral load > 100,000 copies/mL at baseline.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive dolutegravir at once-daily doses of 10 mg, 25 mg, or 50 mg, or else 600 mg efavirenz (Sustiva), all in combination with tenofovir and emtricitabine (the drugs in Truvada; 67%) or abacavir and lamivudine (the drugs in Epzicom; 33%).

Findings from the typical 48-week analysis and an unusual 16-week primary analysis were presented at last summer's International AIDS Society conference (IAS 2011) in Rome. To assess longer-term safety and durability of response, researchers continued to follow patients in all arms through 96 weeks. The 50mg does was chosen for Phase 3 studies in treatment-naive people, now enrolling.


  • Dolutegravir was associated with more rapid viral load decline than efavirenz, but suppression rates soon leveled out.
  • At 48 weeks, virological response rates (< 50 copies/mL) were 88% to 91% in the dolutegravir arms, compared with 82% in the efavirenz arm, not a statistically significant difference.
  • At 96 weeks, rates of undetectable HIV RNA were 88% for 50 mg dolutegravir, 78% for 25 mg dolutegravir, and 79% for 10 mg dolutegravir, compared with 72% for efavirenz.
  • No cases of protocol-defined virological failure (confirmed viral load > 400 copies/mL) were seen in the 50 mg dolutegravir arm through 96 weeks; 1, 2, and 1 patient(s), respectively, had failure in the other 3 arms.
  • Several patients experienced early viral rebound while on therapy, but re-suppressed HIV RNA while maintaining the same regimen; this occurred more often with dolutegravir.
  • No genotypic or phenotypic evidence of integrase or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance was observed in any arm through 96 weeks.
  • The median CD4 cell gain from baseline was slightly greater in the combined dolutegravir arms (339 vs 301 cells/mm3), but the difference did not reach statistical significance.
  • No new safety issues were identified between 48 and 96 week.
  • There continued to be fewer moderate-to-severe drug-related adverse events with dolutegravir than with efavirenz (11% vs 24%, respectively).
  • Fewer participants discontinued the study due to adverse events in the dolutegravir arms (3% vs 10%, respectively).
  • Some patients experienced small changes in serum creatinine (a potential biomarker of kidney dysfunction), but this did not progress over time and there was no evidence of renal damage.

"Dolutegravir administered once daily with 2 NRTIs was associated with good treatment response at all doses," the researchers concluded. "Fewer subjects treated with dolutegravir discontinued therapy due to adverse events when compared to efavirenz.

These results are very encouraging, Cal Cohen from the Community Research Initiative of New England said in an overview of new HIV drug data presented at CROI. "There's really no bad news in this study."

Dolutegravir has also demonstrated good outcomes among heavily treatment-experienced patients in the VIKING study, though people with pre-existing raltegravir resistance may require twice-daily dosing. A dolutegravir early access program for treatment-experienced patients recently opened, prompting advocates to caution that people needing "salvage therapy" so not use dolutegravir as a sole active agent.



H Stellbrink, J Reynes, A Lazzarin, et al. Dolutegravir in Combination Therapy Exhibits Rapid and Sustained Antiviral Response in ARV-naive Adults: 96-week Results from SPRING-1 (ING112276).19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Seattle, March 5-8, 2012. Abstract 102LB.