Assessing the efficacy and safety of mycophenolate mofetil versus azathioprine in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (CAMARO trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Romée J.A.L.M. Snijders*, Anna E.C. Stoelinga, on behalf of the Dutch Autoimmune Hepatitis Working Group, Tom J.G. Gevers, Simon Pape, Maaike Biewenga, Robert C. Verdonk, Hendrik J.M. de Jonge, Jan Maarten Vrolijk, Sjoerd F. Bakker, Thomas Vanwolleghem, Ynto S. de Boer, Martine A.M.C.Baven Pronk, Ulrich H.W. Beuers, Adriaan J. van der Meer, Nicole M.F. van Gerven, Marijn G.M. Sijtsma, Bart J. Verwer, Ingrid A.M. Gisbertz, Maartje BartelinkFloris F. van den Brand, Kerem Sebib Korkmaz, Aad P. van den Berg, Maureen M.J. Guichelaar, Khalida Soufidi, Amar D. Levens, Bart van Hoek, Joost P.H. Drenth

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Currently, the standard therapy for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) consists of a combination of prednisolone and azathioprine. However, 15% of patients are intolerant to azathioprine which necessitates cessation of azathioprine or changes in therapy. In addition, not all patients achieve complete biochemical response (CR). Uncontrolled data indicate that mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) can induce CR in a majority of patients. Better understanding of first-line treatment and robust evidence from randomised clinical trials are needed. The aim of this study was to explore the potential benefits of MMF as compared to azathioprine, both combined with prednisolone, as induction therapy in a randomised controlled trial in patients with treatment-naive AIH. Methods: CAMARO is a randomised (1:1), open-label, parallel-group, multicentre superiority trial. All patients with AIH are screened for eligibility. Seventy adult patients with AIH from fourteen centres in the Netherlands and Belgium will be randomised to receive MMF or azathioprine. Both treatment arms will start with prednisolone as induction therapy. The primary outcome is biochemical remission, defined as serum levels of alanine aminotransferase and immunoglobulin G below the upper limit of normal. Secondary outcomes include safety and tolerability of MMF and azathioprine, time to remission, changes in Model For End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD)-score, adverse events, and aspects of quality of life. The study period will last for 24 weeks. Discussion: The CAMARO trial investigates whether treatment with MMF and prednisolone increases the proportion of patients in remission compared with azathioprine and prednisolone as the current standard treatment strategy. In addition, we reflect on the challenges of conducting a randomized trial in rare diseases. Trial registration: EudraCT 2016-001038-91. Prospectively registered on 18 April 2016. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number1012
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2022

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