PVR Costs for Mycophenolate vs. Oral Cyclophosphamide in Scleroderma Interstitial Lung Disease

Sponsor: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Location(s): United States


Scleroderma is a rare, long-term autoimmune disease in which normal tissue is replaced with dense, thick fibrous tissue. Normally, the immune system helps defend the body against disease and infection. In people with scleroderma, the immune system triggers fibroblast cells to produce too much of the protein collagen. The extra collagen becomes deposited in the skin and organs, causing hardening and thickening that is similar to the scarring process. Although scleroderma most often affects the skin, it also can affect other parts of the body, including the lungs, and in its most severe forms scleroderma can be life-threatening. Scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease is one example of a life-threatening scleroderma condition. In people with symptomatic scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease, scarring occurs in the delicate lung tissue, compromising lung function. The purpose of this study is to determine whether people with symptomatic scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease experience more respiratory benefits from treatment with a 2-year course of mycophenolate mofetil or treatment with a 1-year course of oral cyclophosphamide.

Interstitial lung disease describes a condition in which the lung tissue has become scarred or inflamed. Interstitial lung disease caused by scleroderma, specifically seen as progressive pulmonary fibrosis, occurs in approximately 40 percent of patients with scleroderma and has emerged as the leading overall cause of death.

In a previous study, the Scleroderma Lung Study I (SLS I), investigators evaluated a 1-year cyclophosphamide (CYC) treatment for people with scleroderma-related interstitial lung disease. The study results demonstrated statistically significant improvements in forced vital capacity, total lung capacity, dyspnea, Rodnan skin scores, and several measures of quality of life. However, when patients were followed for another year after completing their CYC therapy, the beneficial effects of CYC waned and were no longer significant by the 24-month follow-up. Preliminary information suggests that an alternative immunosuppressive medication, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), may be effective in treating this disease, be given for longer periods, and result in fewer side effects.

This study, the Scleroderma Lung Study II (SLS II), will compare the safety and efficacy of a 2-year treatment with MMF versus a 1-year treatment with CYC. Specifically, investigators will determine whether MMF produces similar or better improvements in lung capacity and fewer side effects throughout the entire 2-year period.

Participation will include about 21 study visits over a 2-year period. Eligible participants will be randomly assigned to receive either MMF twice daily for 2 years or CYC once daily for 1 year, followed by placebo for 1 year. Blood and urine samples will be collected every 2 weeks for the first 2 months and then once a month for the remainder of the study. Every 3 months, participants will attend study visits that will include pulmonary function tests, blood and urine sampling, a physical exam, and questionnaires about current health and medications. At the final study visit, participants will also undergo a high resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) scan and possibly a punch biopsy.

This project covers the Pulmonary vascular resistance index measurement costs for the UCSF site.