Topical Delgocitinib Effective for Hand Eczema in Phase 3 Trial

NEW ORLEANS — Adults with moderate to severe chronic hand eczema who were randomized to treatment with delgocitinib cream had significantly greater improvement in efficacy outcomes at 16 weeks, compared with those who received vehicle cream, results from a pivotal phase 3 trial showed.

“Chronic hand eczema is the most frequent chronic inflammatory disorder affecting the hands,” Robert Bissonnette, MD, a dermatologist who is founder and CEO of Innovaderm Research, said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, where the study was presented during a late-breaking research session. “It’s associated with pain, pruritus, and has a huge impact on quality of life,” and results with current topical treatments are often unsatisfactory, he noted.

Delgocitinib is an investigational topical pan-JAK inhibitor that inhibits activation of the JAK-STAT pathway and targets key mediators of chronic hand eczema. In a phase 2b dose-ranging trial, twice-daily treatment with delgocitinib cream demonstrated significantly greater efficacy, compared with the cream vehicle, and was well tolerated in adults with mild to severe chronic hand eczema.

For the phase 3 study, known as DELTA 1, researchers randomized 487 adults with moderate to severe chronic hand eczema to receive twice-daily applications of delgocitinib cream 20 mg/g or cream vehicle for 16 weeks. After week 16, patients had the option to enter a long-term extension trial, which is currently ongoing. DELTA 1 was limited to adults with a diagnosis of chronic hand eczema defined as hand eczema that had persisted for more than 3 months or had returned more than twice within the past 12 months; an Investigator’s Global Assessment for chronic hand eczema (IGA-CHE) score of 3 (moderate) or 4 (severe); a weekly average Hand Eczema Symptom Diary (HESD) itch score of 4 or more points, and a medical history of inadequate response to topical corticosteroids within the past 12 months or for whom treatment with topical corticosteroids was not medically advisable.

The IGA-CHE scale used in the trial was new, “where, in order to be almost clear, the only sign that could be present on the skin was barely perceptible erythema,” Dr. Bissonnette said. He noted that he has used many IGA scales over the more than 25 years he has been involved with clinical trials, and “this was the first that used a scale with a bar so high.” Key secondary endpoints include a 75% and 90% improvement in Hand Eczema Severity Index (HECSI) from baseline at week 16 and a 4-point or greater improvement in the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) from baseline at week 16.

The median age of patients was 44 years, 88% were White, 4% were Asian, 1% were Black, and the remainder were from other racial groups. One-third of patients (33%) had severe hand eczema based on their IGA-CHE score, the median HECSI was 65 (in line with severe disease), and the median DLQI was 12. As for previous chronic hand eczema treatments, 19% had undergone phototherapy, 14% had tried oral retinoids, and 12% had tried oral corticosteroids.

In the study, a greater proportion of delgocitinib-treated patients achieved the primary endpoint of IGA-CHE 0/1, compared with the cream vehicle group at week 4 (15.4% vs. 4.9%; < .001); week 8 (22.8% vs. 10.5%; = .001), and week 16 (19.7% vs. 9.9%; = .006). “As early as week 2, there is a separation between cream and vehicle,” Dr. Bissonnette said. When reviewing the results and the patients in the trial, he said that, in his personal opinion, “I don’t think this is uniquely representative of the efficacy of the drug,” because of the IGA scale that was used, which set such a high bar for efficacy.

As for secondary endpoints, a greater proportion of delgocitinib-treated patients than those in the vehicle group achieved a HESCI-75 (49.2% vs. 23.5%), a HECSI-90 (29.5% vs. 12.3%), and a 4-point or greater improvement on the DLQI (74.4% vs 50%; < .001 for all endpoints).

Delgocitinib had a similar safety profile as the vehicle over 16 weeks, with no difference between the delgocitinib and vehicle arms in the proportion of patients who had adverse events (45.2% vs. 50.6%, respectively) and serious adverse events (1.8% vs. 1.9%). The most common adverse events (defined as 5% or greater in any treatment group) during the study were COVID-19 infections and nasopharyngitis; rates were comparable in the two arms.

Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD, a dermatologist who directs the Center for Eczema and Itch at Northwestern University, Chicago, who was asked to comment on the study, said that chronic hand eczema can be functionally limiting for many patients. “Given its focal symptoms but multifaceted immunopathogenesis, topical JAK inhibition represents a rational strategy for targeted treatment,” Dr. Chovatiya told this news organization. He was not an investigator in the trial.

“In the phase 3 DELTA 1 study, topical delgocitinib cream was superior to vehicle control with nearly one out of five patients achieving clear or almost clear skin, with no difference in total adverse events between groups. While both comparative and long-term data would be helpful to better assess how delgocitinib cream stacks up against common topical anti-inflammatories and how it may be used for a chronic condition that typically requires ongoing treatment, these findings move us closer to a potential first-in-class approved therapy for chronic hand eczema.”

Dr. Bissonnette disclosed that he served as a consultant and investigator for the developer of delgocitinib, LEO Pharma, on this study. He has also received grants and research funding from many other pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Chovatiya disclosed that he is a consultant to, a speaker for, and/or a member of the advisory board for several pharmaceutical companies, including LEO Pharma.

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

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