OBJECTIVE: The aim of these analyses was to investigate the rate of decline in forced vital capacity (FVC) in patients with SSc-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) with and without cough or dyspnoea in the SENSCIS trial. METHODS: Patients in the SENSCIS trial were randomized to receive nintedanib or placebo. Subgroups with and without cough or dyspnoea at baseline were defined by responses to the St George's Respiratory Questionnaire. RESULTS: At baseline, 114/575 patients (19.8%) did not have cough and 172/574 patients (30.0%) did not have dyspnoea. In the placebo group, the rate of FVC decline over 52 weeks was similar in patients with and without cough (-95.6 and -83.4 mL/year, respectively) or dyspnoea (-95.8 and -87.7 mL/year, respectively). The effect of nintedanib vs placebo on reducing the rate of FVC decline was numerically more pronounced in patients without than with cough [difference: 74.4 (95% CI -11.1, 159.8) vs 31.5 (-11.1, 74.1)] and without than with dyspnoea [79.8 (9.8, 149.7) vs 25.7 (-19.9, 71.3)], but interaction P-values did not indicate heterogeneity in the treatment effect between these subgroups (P = 0.38 and P = 0.20, respectively). CONCLUSION: In the placebo group of the SENSCIS trial, the rate of FVC decline was similar irrespective of the presence of cough or dyspnoea at baseline. The effect of nintedanib on reducing the rate of FVC decline was numerically more pronounced in patients without than with cough or dyspnoea at baseline, but no statistically significant heterogeneity was observed between the subgroups. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, https://clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02597933.
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© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology.