• Competing risk events in antimalarial drug trials in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network individual participant data meta-analysis.

      Dahal, P; Simpson, JA; Abdulla, S; Achan, J; Adam, I; Agarwal, A; Allan, R; Anvikar, AR; Arinaitwe, E; Ashley, EA; et al. (BioMed Central, 2019-07-05)
      BACKGROUND: Therapeutic efficacy studies in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria are confounded by new infections, which constitute competing risk events since they can potentially preclude/pre-empt the detection of subsequent recrudescence of persistent, sub-microscopic primary infections. METHODS: Antimalarial studies typically report the risk of recrudescence derived using the Kaplan-Meier (K-M) method, which considers new infections acquired during the follow-up period as censored. Cumulative Incidence Function (CIF) provides an alternative approach for handling new infections, which accounts for them as a competing risk event. The complement of the estimate derived using the K-M method (1 minus K-M), and the CIF were used to derive the risk of recrudescence at the end of the follow-up period using data from studies collated in the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network data repository. Absolute differences in the failure estimates derived using these two methods were quantified. In comparative studies, the equality of two K-M curves was assessed using the log-rank test, and the equality of CIFs using Gray's k-sample test (both at 5% level of significance). Two different regression modelling strategies for recrudescence were considered: cause-specific Cox model and Fine and Gray's sub-distributional hazard model. RESULTS: Data were available from 92 studies (233 treatment arms, 31,379 patients) conducted between 1996 and 2014. At the end of follow-up, the median absolute overestimation in the estimated risk of cumulative recrudescence by using 1 minus K-M approach was 0.04% (interquartile range (IQR): 0.00-0.27%, Range: 0.00-3.60%). The overestimation was correlated positively with the proportion of patients with recrudescence [Pearson's correlation coefficient (ρ): 0.38, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.30-0.46] or new infection [ρ: 0.43; 95% CI 0.35-0.54]. In three study arms, the point estimates of failure were greater than 10% (the WHO threshold for withdrawing antimalarials) when the K-M method was used, but remained below 10% when using the CIF approach, but the 95% confidence interval included this threshold. CONCLUSIONS: The 1 minus K-M method resulted in a marginal overestimation of recrudescence that became increasingly pronounced as antimalarial efficacy declined, particularly when the observed proportion of new infection was high. The CIF approach provides an alternative approach for derivation of failure estimates in antimalarial trials, particularly in high transmission settings.
    • The risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after P. falciparum malaria: An individual patient data meta-analysis from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network

      Hossain, MS; Commons, RJ; Douglas, NM; Thriemer, K; Alemayehu, BH; Amaratunga, C; Anvikar, AR; Ashley, EA; Asih, PBS; Carrara, VI; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2020-11-19)
      Background: There is a high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia following treatment of falciparum malaria. Our study aimed to quantify this risk and the associated determinants using an individual patient data meta-analysis in order to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be beneficial. Methods and findings: A systematic review of Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews identified efficacy studies of uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with ACT that were undertaken in regions coendemic for P. vivax between 1 January 1960 and 5 January 2018. Data from eligible studies were pooled using standardised methodology. The risk of P. vivax parasitaemia at days 42 and 63 and associated risk factors were investigated by multivariable Cox regression analyses. Study quality was assessed using a tool developed by the Joanna Briggs Institute. The study was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO: CRD42018097400). In total, 42 studies enrolling 15,341 patients were included in the analysis, including 30 randomised controlled trials and 12 cohort studies. Overall, 14,146 (92.2%) patients had P. falciparum monoinfection and 1,195 (7.8%) mixed infection with P. falciparum and P. vivax. The median age was 17.0 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 9.0-29.0 years; range = 0-80 years), with 1,584 (10.3%) patients younger than 5 years. 2,711 (17.7%) patients were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (AL, 13 studies), 651 (4.2%) with artesunate-amodiaquine (AA, 6 studies), 7,340 (47.8%) with artesunate-mefloquine (AM, 25 studies), and 4,639 (30.2%) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP, 16 studies). 14,537 patients (94.8%) were enrolled from the Asia-Pacific region, 684 (4.5%) from the Americas, and 120 (0.8%) from Africa. At day 42, the cumulative risk of vivax parasitaemia following treatment of P. falciparum was 31.1% (95% CI 28.9-33.4) after AL, 14.1% (95% CI 10.8-18.3) after AA, 7.4% (95% CI 6.7-8.1) after AM, and 4.5% (95% CI 3.9-5.3) after DP. By day 63, the risks had risen to 39.9% (95% CI 36.6-43.3), 42.4% (95% CI 34.7-51.2), 22.8% (95% CI 21.2-24.4), and 12.8% (95% CI 11.4-14.5), respectively. In multivariable analyses, the highest rate of P. vivax parasitaemia over 42 days of follow-up was in patients residing in areas of short relapse periodicity (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 6.2, 95% CI 2.0-19.5; p = 0.002); patients treated with AL (AHR = 6.2, 95% CI 4.6-8.5; p < 0.001), AA (AHR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.4-3.7; p = 0.001), or AM (AHR = 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.9; p = 0.028) compared with DP; and patients who did not clear their initial parasitaemia within 2 days (AHR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.4-2.3; p < 0.001). The analysis was limited by heterogeneity between study populations and lack of data from very low transmission settings. Study quality was high. Conclusions: In this meta-analysis, we found a high risk of P. vivax parasitaemia after treatment of P. falciparum malaria that varied significantly between studies. These P. vivax infections are likely attributable to relapses that could be prevented with radical cure including a hypnozoitocidal agent; however, the benefits of such a novel strategy will vary considerably between geographical areas.