Exploring the role of CT densitometry: a randomised study of augmentation therapy in alpha(1)-antitrypsin deficiency

A. Dirksen, Eeva Piitulainen, D. G. Parr, C. Deng, M. Wencker, S. B. Shaker, R. A. Stockley

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Assessment of emphysema-modifying therapy is difficult, but newer outcome measures offer advantages over traditional methods. The EXAcerbations and Computed Tomography scan as Lung End-points (EXACTLE) trial explored the use of computed tomography (CT) densitometry and exacerbations for the assessment of the therapeutic effect of augmentation therapy in subjects with alpha(1)-antitrypsin (alpha(1)-AT) deficiency. In total, 77 subjects (protease inhibitor type Z) were randomised to weekly infusions of 60 mg.kg(-1) human alpha(1)-AT (Prolastin (R)) or placebo for 2-2.5 yrs. The primary end-point was change in CT lung density, and an exploratory approach was adopted to identify optimal methodology, including two methods of adjustment for lung volume variability and two statistical approaches. Other end-points were exacerbations, health status and physiological indices. CT was more sensitive than other measures of emphysema progression, and the changes in CT and forced expiratory volume in 1 s were correlated. All methods of densitometric analysis concordantly showed a trend suggestive of treatment benefit (p-values for Prolastin (R) versus placebo ranged 0.049-0.084). Exacerbation frequency was unaltered by treatment, but a reduction in exacerbation severity was observed. In patients with alpha(1)-AT deficiency, CT is a more sensitive outcome measure of emphysema-modifying therapy than physiology and health status, and demonstrates a trend of treatment benefit from alpha(1)-AT augmentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1353
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • alpha(1)-Antitrypsin deficiency
  • computed tomography
  • emphysema
  • exacerbations
  • lung densitometry
  • lung function


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