BACKGROUND - The mortality rate of maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients remains high. Measures of protein-energy wasting, including hypoalbuminemia, are strongly associated with their high mortality. Growth hormone (GH) may improve lean body mass (LBM) and serum albumin levels, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), which are significantly and positively associated with survival in MHD patients. The OPPORTUNITY Trial will examine whether GH reduces mortality and morbidity and improves overall health in hypoalbuminemic MHD patients.
HYPOTHESIS - The primary hypothesis is that daily recombinant human GH injections, compared with placebo, improve survival in hypoalbuminemic MHD patients. Secondary hypotheses are that GH improves morbidity and health, including number of hospitalized days, time to cardiovascular events, LBM, serum protein and inflammatory marker levels, exercise capacity, and HRQoL, and has a favorable safety profile.
DESIGN/MEASUREMENTS - This is a prospective, double-blind, multicenter, randomized clinical trial involving 2500 MHD patients, up to 50% with diabetes mellitus, from 22 countries. Patients are randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive daily injections of GH (20 microg/kg per day) or placebo for 104 weeks. Key inclusion criteria include clinically stable and well-dialyzed (Kt/V > or =1.2) adult MHD patients with serum albumin <4.0 g/dl. Exclusion criteria include active malignancy, active proliferative or severe nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, uncontrolled hypertension, chronic use of high-dose glucocorticoids, or immunosuppressive agents and pregnancy.
CONCLUSIONS - The OPPORTUNITY Trial is the first large-scale randomized clinical trial in adult MHD patients evaluating the response to GH of such clinical endpoints as mortality, morbidity, markers of body protein mass, inflammation, exercise capacity, and HRQoL.