SUGAR Trial Finds Superior Stent for Those With Diabetes and CAD

Ted Bosworth

November 05, 2021

Designed to show noninferiority for treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients with diabetes, a head-to-head comparison of contemporary stents ended up showing that one was superior to the for the primary endpoint of target lesion failure (TLF).

In the superiority analysis, the 35% relative reduction in the risk of TLF at 1 year for the Cre8 EVO (Alvimedica) stent relative to the Resolute Onyx (Medtronic) device reached significance, according to Rafael Romaguera, MD, PhD, an interventional cardiologist at the Bellvitge University Hospital, Barcelona.

At 1 year, the rates of TLF were 7.2% and 10.5% for the Cre8 EVO and Resolute Onyx stents, respectively. On the basis of noninferiority, the 3.73% reduction in TLF at 1 year among those receiving the Cre8 EVO device provided a highly significant confirmation of noninferiority (P < .001) and triggered the preplanned superiority analysis.

When the significant advantage on the TLF endpoint (P = .03) was broken down into its components, the Cre8 EVO stent was linked to numerically lower rates of cardiac death (2.1% vs. 2.7%), target vessel MI (5.3% vs. 7.2%), and target lesion revascularization (2.4% vs. 3.9%), according to the SUGAR (Second-Generation Drug-Eluting Stents in Diabetes) trial results presented at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics annual meeting, held virtually and live in Orlando and sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

In a previous study comparing these devices, called the ReCre8 trial, the rates of TLF in an all-comer CAD population were similar at 1 year. When an updated 3-year analysis was presented earlier in 2021 at the Cardiovascular Research Technologies meeting, they remained similar.

Diabetes-Centered Trial Was Unmet Need

The rationale for conducting a new trial limited to patients with diabetes was based on the greater risk in this population, according to Romaguera. He cited data that indicate the risk of major adverse cardiac events are about two times higher 2 years after stent implantation in patients with diabetes relative to those without, even when contemporary drug-eluting stents are used.

Both the Cre8 EVO and Resolute Onyx stent are drug eluting and employ contemporary architecture that provides the basis for marketing claims that they are suitable for complex patients; but they have differences.

"There are three features that I think differentiate the Cre8 EVO stent," Romaguera reported at the meeting, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

One is the absence of polymer, which contrasts with the permanent polymer of the Resolute device. This feature affects the dissolution of the anti-inflammatory drug and might be one explanation for the greater protection from ischemic events, according to Romaguera.

Another is the thickness of the struts, which range from 70 to 80 mm for the Cre8 EVO device and from 92 to 102 mm for the Resolute Onyx device. In experimental studies, strut thickness has been associated with greater risk of thrombus formation, although it is unclear if this modest difference is clinically significant.

Also important, the Cre8 EVO device employs sirolimus for an anti-inflammatory effect, while the Resolute Onyx elutes zotarolimus. Again, experimental evidence suggests a greater anti-inflammatory effect reduces the need for dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT); that might offer a relative advantage in patients with an elevated risk of bleeding.

It is not clear whether all of these features contribute to the better results observed in this trial in diabetes patients, but Romaguera indicated that the lower risk of TLF with Cre8 EVO is not just statistically significant but also clinically meaningful.

In SUGAR, which included 23 centers in Spain, 1,175 patients with confirmed diabetes scheduled for percutaneous intervention (PCI) were randomized to one of the two stents. The study was purposely designed with very few exclusion criteria.

SUGAR Trial Employed All-Comer Design

"This was an all-comer design and there was no limitation in regard to clinical presentation, complexity, number of lesions, or other disease features," said Romaguera. The major exclusions were a life expectancy of less than 2 years and a contraindication to taking DAPT for at least 1 month,

The patients were almost equally divided between those who had a non–ST-segment elevation MI) and those with chronic coronary artery disease, but patients with a STEMI, representing about 12% of the population, were included. Almost all of the patients (about 95%) had type 2 diabetes; nearly one-third were on insulin at the time of randomization.

According to Romaguera, "SUGAR is the first powered trial to compare new-generation drug-eluting stents in patients with diabetes," and he emphasized the all-comer design in supporting its clinical relevance.

Several of those participating in discussion of the trial during the late-breaker session agreed. Although the moderator, Gregg Stone, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, expressed surprise that the trial "actually demonstrated superiority" given the difficulty of showing a difference between modern stents, he called the findings "remarkable."

Others seemed to suggest that it would alter their practice.

"This study is sweet like sugar for us, because now we have a stent that is dedicated and fitted for the diabetic population," said Gennaro Sardella, MD, of Sapienza University of Rome.

For Marc Etienne Jolicoeur, MD, an interventional cardiologist associated with Duke University, Durham, N.C., one of the impressive findings was the early separation of the curves in favor of Cre8 EVO. Calling SUGAR a "fantastic trial," he indicated that the progressive advantage over time reinforced his impression that the difference is real.

However, David Kandzari, MD, director of interventional cardiology, Piedmont Hart Institute, Atlanta, was more circumspect. He did not express any criticisms of the trial, but he called for "a larger evidence base" before declaring the Cre8 EVO device a standard of care for patients with diabetes undergoing PCI.

The SUGAR results were published in the European Heart Journal at the time of presentation at the meeting.

The trial was funded by the Spanish Society of Cardiology. Romaguera reported financial relationships with Biotronik and Boston Scientific. Stone, has financial relationships with more than 10 pharmaceutical companies, including those developing devices used in PCI. Sardella and Jolicoeur reported no financial relationships relevant to this topic. Kandzari reported financial relationships with Ablative Solutions and Medtronic.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com , part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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