Atorvastatin Treatment of Cavernous Angiomas with Symptomatic Hemorrhage Exploratory Proof of Concept (AT CASH EPOC) Trial

Neurosurgery 2019 Dec 1;85(6):843-853

More than a million Americans harbor a cerebral cavernous angioma (CA), and those who suffer a prior symptomatic hemorrhage have an exceptionally high rebleeding risk. Preclinical studies show that atorvastatin blunts CA lesion development and hemorrhage through inhibiting RhoA kinase (ROCK), suggesting it may confer a therapeutic benefit.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether atorvastatin produces a difference compared to placebo in lesional iron deposition as assessed by quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) on magnetic resonance imaging in CAs that have demonstrated a symptomatic hemorrhage inĀ the prior year. Secondary aims shall assess effects on vascular permeability, ROCKactivity in peripheral leukocytes, signal effects on clinical outcomes, adverse events, and prespecified subgroups.

METHODS: The phase I/IIa placebo-controlled, double-blinded, single-site clinical trialĀ aims to enroll 80 subjects randomized 1-1 to atorvastatin (starting dose 80 mg PO daily) or placebo. Dosing shall continue for 24-mo or until reaching a safety endpoint.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: The trial is powered to detect an absolute difference of 20% in the mean percent change in lesional QSM per year (2-tailed, power 0.9, alpha 0.05). A decrease in QSM change would be a signal of potential benefit, and an increase would signal a safety concern with the drug.

DISCUSSION: With firm mechanistic rationale, rigorous preclinical discoveries, and biomarker validations, the trial shall explore a proof of concept effect of a widely used repurposed drug in stabilizing CAs after a symptomatic hemorrhage. This will be the first clinical trial of a drug aimed at altering rebleeding in CA.

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