Eculizumab in STEC-HUS: need for a proper randomized controlled trial
Hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC-HUS) is often associated with a severe morbidity including neurological involvement and a mortality of 1–5%. Although STEC-HUS is often self-limited, improvement of treatment strategies is needed for cases with complications and, among others, plasma exchange/plasmapheresis and use of antibiotics have been advocated. With the availability of the complement blocker eculizumab, now a standard treatment of atypical HUS, several series have addressed its use in STEC-HUS, with variable response; randomized controlled trials are lacking.
In this issue of Pediatric Nephrology, Pecheron et al. present a cohort of 33 pediatric patients with severe HUS treated with eculizumab. Neurological involvement was observed in 85% of the patients and 94% required dialysis. Most patients (55%) did not benefit from eculizumab and renal dysfunction as well as neurological sequelae did not resolve. In a subgroup of patients, however, rapid neurological improvement was described. In the post-hoc-defined group of patients with favorable outcome, there was a trend towards more sustained complement inhibition, although this finding was not significant compared to patients with an unfavorable outcome.
Because multiple interventions were used and the study did not include any control group, future controlled studies are urgently needed to resolve the debate as to whether eculizumab can be an effective treatment for both prevention and treatment of complications in STEC-HUS.
KeywordsHemolytic uremic syndrome Shiga toxin Eculizumab Outcome Children
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
SL, JO, and MK received support for travel, honoraria for lectures by Alexion, and took part in clinical trials sponsored by Alexion.
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