PARIS – In patients at high bleeding risk undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention for acute coronary syndrome, a unique drug-coated, polymer-free stent backed by just a single month of dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) trounced a bare metal stent in both efficacy and safety at 1 year in a large randomized trial, Dr. Christoph K. Naber reported at the annual congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions.
The BioFreedom stent, coated with a proprietary sirolimus analogue called Biolimus-A9, rapidly transfers the drug to the vessel wall, leaving in place a metallic stent. This drug-coated stent (DCS) provides the antirestenotic benefits of a drug-eluting stent with the advantages of a shorter DAPT requirement and no potential polymer-related adverse events. The device’s performance in this prespecified subgroup analysis of the Leaders Free trial will be practice altering, predicted Dr. Naber of Elisabeth University Hospital in Essen, Germany.
“We believe that current guidelines and clinical practice need to change. Bare-metal stents can no longer be recommended for high–bleeding risk patients presenting with ACS. The Biolimus-A9–coated stent currently has the best supporting evidence for this indication,” he said.
“This was the last chance for bare metal stents to show a good indication. They were thought to be good only in high–bleeding risk patients. Now we see that a drug-coated stent provides better efficacy and is even safer,” the cardiologist continued.
Leaders Free was a randomized double-blind clinical trial in which 2,499 patients at high risk of bleeding who underwent PCI received either the DCS or the Gazelle bare-metal stent (BMS) and 1 month of dual-antiplatelet therapy. The main results, in which the DCS showed superior safety and efficacy at 12 months of follow-up, have been published (N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 19;373:2038-47).
Dr. Naber presented a prespecified subgroup analysis that included the 659 Leaders Free participants who presented with ACS.
The primary efficacy endpoint – the 12-month rate of clinically driven target lesion revascularization – was 3.9% in the DCS group, compared with 9% in patients randomized to the BMS, for an adjusted 59% relative risk reduction.
The composite safety endpoint was composed of the 1-year rate of cardiac death, acute MI, and definite or probable stent thrombosis. This occurred in 9.3% of the DCS- and 18.5% of the BMS-treated patients, for a relative risk reduction of 52%.
The BioFreedom stent has a selectively microstructured surface coated with Biolimus-A9, a drug that’s far more lipophilic than sirolimus, everolimus, or zotarolimus. As a result, 98% of the drug is transferred to the plaque-laden vessel within 30 days, which is why it’s safe to shorten DAPT to 1 month, Dr. Naber explained.
It’s estimated that up to 20% of patients undergoing PCI are at high bleeding risk for various reasons.
The DCS is marketed in Europe and in clinical trials in the United States aimed at getting Food and Drug Administration approval.
Discussant Dr. Thomas Cuisset of Timone Hospital in Marseille, France, agreed that “in 2016, bare-metal stents are no longer the gold standard in patients at high bleeding risk.”
He added that the Leaders Free ACS substudy leaves unanswered two major remaining questions: What’s the optimal duration of DAPT for DCS in non-ACS patients at high bleeding risk – is 1 month of DAPT as safe as 6 months? And how do contemporary drug-eluting, polymer-based stents compare to the BioFreedom stent for PCI in the setting of high bleeding risk?
In an interview, Dr. Naber said that before a head-to-head comparative clinical trial can even be considered, there will need to be evidence that drug-eluting stents are safe with shortened DAPT. That has yet to be shown.
The study was funded by Biosensors. Dr. Naber reported receiving consultant’s fees from that medical device company and several others. Dr. Cuisset serves as a consultant to or paid lecturer for more than a dozen medical companies.
Simultaneous with Dr. Naber’s presentation at EuroPCR in Paris, the Leaders Free ACS substudy results were published online (Eur Heart J. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehw203).