TC-325, a bentonite-derived hemostatic powder, was not inferior to standard therapy for the endoscopic management of acute nonvariceal upper GI bleeding, according to a new study.
The findings from the study, lead investigator and study author James Y.W. Lau, MD, of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, said in an interview, suggest TC-325 could “be considered one of the primary endoscopic treatments to actively stop nonvariceal bleeding,” particularly in cases when other therapies prove unsuccessful. The study findings were published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study team noted that, after they first reported the use of TC-325 in active bleeding from gastroduodenal ulcers in 2011, there have been other studies of its use with acute nonvariceal upper GI bleeding, but to date there has been only two randomized controlled trials of it as a sole endoscopic treatment option for acute nonvariceal upper GI bleeding. To close this research gap, Dr. Lau and researchers enrolled 224 adult patients with acute bleeding from a nonvariceal source on upper GI endoscopy and randomly assigned these patients to receive either TC-325 (n = 111) or standard hemostatic treatment (n = 113). Standard endoscopic bleeding management consisted of contact thermocoagulation using a heater probe or bipolar probe, or hemoclipping with or without previously injected diluted epinephrine.
Success of assigned treatment was defined by the cessation of active bleeding as well as flattening of the protuberance or vessel with a heater or bipolar probe. For the primary outcome of the study, the investigators assessed the rate of bleeding control within 30 days following randomization. Additionally, the researchers compared the treatment groups to identify differences in the failure to control bleeding during the initial endoscopy and recurrent bleeding following hemostasis.
Treatment groups were even in regard to the proportions of patients with bleeding gastroduodenal ulcers (61.3% vs. 60.2%). A smaller proportion of patients in the TC-325 arm had a history of alcohol use (3.0% vs. 9.8%) and current use of NSAIDs (8.1% vs. 20.4%). The group assigned to TC-325 had more bleeding tumors (20.7% vs. 8.8%) and fewer Dieulafoy lesions (5.4% vs. 14.2%), compared with the standard treatment arm. Additionally, patients in the TC-325 group had a higher median Glasgow-Blatchford Score at hospital admission than the standard endoscopy management group (12 vs. 11, respectively; P < .05).
Although a greater proportion of patients assigned TC-325 had bleeding controlled within 30 days of randomization (90.1% vs. 81.4%; risk difference, 8.7 percentage points; 1-sided 95% CI, 0.95 percentage points), the researchers noted that the lower limit of the confidence interval for treatment difference “did not extend beyond the prespecified noninferiority margin of 10 percentage points, indicating that TC-325 is not inferior to standard treatment in the control of bleeding.”
Fewer failures of hemostasis were observed with TC-325 during index endoscopy (2.7% vs. 9.7%; odds ratio, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.07-0.95). After initial endoscopic control, recurrent bleeding was observed in 9 patients in the TC-325 arm and 10 patients in the standard treatment group.
The authors suggested that the low recurrent bleeding rate in the TC-325 arm may reflect enhanced responsiveness in the predominantly Asian study population, a group with lower parietal cell masses and higher rates of Helicobacter pylori infections. In an accompanying editorial published online in Annals of Internal Medicine, Alan N. Barkun, MD, McGill University and McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and Ali Alali, MB BCh BAO, in the department of medicine at Kuwait University, Kuwait City, noted that “possible additional reasons for the enhanced effectiveness of TC-325 observed in the current trial may be its varied performance in the patients with nonulcer bleeding.”
No difference was found between the treatment strategies in terms of the need for additional interventions within 30 days. The need for further endoscopic treatment was reported in 7.2% of patients in the TC-325 groups versus 8.8% of patients assigned to standard treatment. In addition, further angiography was required in 1.8% and 3.5% of patients, while further surgery was required in 0.9% of patients treated with TC-325 versus none in the standard treatment group. Each group reported 14 deaths.
Dr. Lau noted that the study enrolled Asian patients who were more responsive to proton pump inhibitor therapy, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. “We also included patients with mixed etiologies,” he added. “Studies that focus on specific lesions would further inform our practice, and larger observational studies are required to understand failures with TC-325.”
Based on the study findings, corresponding editorial author Dr. Barkun wrote that “TC-325 can be used alone in nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding or as rescue therapy but should be reserved for patients with actively bleeding lesions” and suggests the treatment option “is likely one of the most effective modalities in achieving immediate hemostasis.”
The researchers reported no conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry. The editorialists also reported no disclosures of interest.