Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often coexists with cardiovascular disease. Treatments for airflow limitation might improve survival and both respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess whether inhaled treatment with a combined treatment of the corticosteroid, fluticasone furoate, and the long-acting β agonist, vilanterol could improve survival compared with placebo in patients with moderate COPD and heightened cardiovascular risk.
In this double-blind randomised controlled trial (SUMMIT) done in 1368 centres in 43 countries, eligible patients were aged 40–80 years and had a post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) between 50% and 70% of the predicted value, a ratio of post-bronchodilator FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) of 0·70 or less, a smoking history of at least 10 pack-years, and a score of 2 or greater on the modified Medical Research Council dyspnoea scale. Patients had to have a history, or be at increased risk, of cardiovascular disease. Enrolled patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) through a centralised randomisation service in permuted blocks to receive once daily inhaled placebo, fluticasone furoate (100 μg), vilanterol (25 μg), or the combination of fluticasone furoate (100 μg) and vilanterol (25 μg). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality, and secondary outcomes were on-treatment rate of decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and a composite of cardiovascular events. Safety analyses were performed on the safety population (all patients who took at least one dose of study drug) and efficacy analyses were performed on the intention-to-treat population (safety population minus sites excluded with Good Clinical Practice violations). This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01313676.
Between Jan 24, 2011, and March 12, 2014, 23 835 patients were screened, of whom 16 590 were randomised. 16 485 patients were included in the intention-to-treat efficacy population; 4111 in the placebo group, 4135 in the fluticasone furoate group, 4118 in the vilanterol group, and 4121 in the combination group. Compared with placebo, all-cause mortality was unaffected by combination therapy (hazard ratio [HR] 0·88 [95% CI 0·74–1·04]; 12% relative reduction; p=0·137) or the components (fluticasone furoate, HR 0·91 [0·77–1·08]; p=0·284; vilanterol, 0·96 [0·81–1·14]; p=0·655), and therefore secondary outcomes should be interpreted with caution. Rate of decline in FEV1 was reduced by combination therapy (38 mL per year [SE 2·4] vs 46 mL per year [2·5] for placebo, difference 8 mL per year [95% CI 1–15]) with similar findings for fluticasone furoate (difference 8 mL per year [95% CI 1–14]), but not vilanterol (difference −2 mL per year [95% CI −8 to 5]). Combination therapy had no effect on composite cardiovascular events (HR 0·93 [95% CI 0·75–1·14]) with similar findings for fluticasone furoate (0·90 [0·72–1·11]) and vilanterol (0·99 [0·80–1·22]). All treatments reduced the rate of moderate and severe exacerbation. No reported excess risks of pneumonia (5% in the placebo group, 6% in the combination group, 5% in the fluticasone furoate group, and 4% in the vilanterol group) or adverse cardiac events (17% in the placebo group, 18% in the combination group, and 17% in the fluticasone furoate group, and 17% in the vilanterol group) were noted in the treatment groups.
In patients with moderate COPD and heightened cardiovascular risk, treatment with fluticasone furoate and vilanterol did not affect mortality or cardiovascular outcomes, reduced exacerbations, and was well tolerated. Fluticasone furoate, alone or in combination with vilanterol, seemed to reduce FEV1 decline.