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1.  The Effect of Hydroxychloroquine on Insulin Sensitivity and Lipid Parameters in Non-Diabetic Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Blinded Cross-Over Trial 
Arthritis care & research  2014;66(8):1246-1251.
Observational studies suggest that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may reduce the risk of developing diabetes mellitus in patients with RA. We examined the effect of HCQ on insulin resistance in non-diabetic subjects with stable RA.
Twenty-three RA subjects not currently using HCQ completed a 16 week double blind cross-over study. Subjects were randomly allocated to receive HCQ (6.5 mg/kg per day) or placebo for the first 8 weeks followed by cross-over to the other arm for the final 8 weeks. Subjects underwent oral glucose tolerance testing and fasting lipid measurements at baseline, 8 and 16 weeks. The change (standard deviation) from baseline in insulin sensitivity index (ISI), insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and lipid parameters were compared between placebo and HCQ using linear regression.
The mean age was 56 years, with 96% females and the median body mass index was 26.0 kg/m2. After 8 weeks of HCQ, the ISI increased 0.4 (SD 2.9) compared with a small increase during placebo of 0.14 (SD 3.1) (adjusted p = 0.785), and HOMA-IR decreased 0.3 (SD 1.5) during HCQ versus a decrease of 0.42 (SD 1.4) during placebo (adjusted p = 0.308). Small decreases in total cholesterol (12.7mg/dl) and LDL cholesterol (12.4mg/dl) were observed during the HCQ treatment periods (both adjusted p < 0.05 compared to placebo).
HCQ use for 8 weeks in non-diabetic patients with stable RA produced no significant change in insulin resistance. We observed small and statistically significant improvements in total and LDL cholesterol during HCQ treatment.
PMCID: PMC4467535  PMID: 24470436
Rheumatoid arthritis; diabetes; insulin resistance; cholesterol; lipids; Inflammation; Diabetes; Insulin; Glucose metabolism; Cholesterol; LDL
2.  Antidiabetogenic effects of hydroxychloroquine on insulin sensitivity and beta cell function: a randomised trial 
Diabetologia  2015;58(10):2336-2343.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an antimalarial drug with anti-inflammatory properties, is employed in rheumatic diseases. In observational studies, patients with rheumatic diseases treated with HCQ have a lower risk of developing diabetes. However, the physiological mechanisms remain unexplained. We hypothesised that HCQ may have favourable effects on insulin sensitivity and/or beta cell function.
This was a randomised, double-blind, parallel-arm (placebo vs HCQ 400 mg/day) trial at the University of Pittsburgh. Randomisation was conducted by a computer system with concealment by sealed envelopes. Treatment duration was 13 ± 1 weeks. Randomised participants (HCQ n = 17; placebo n = 15) were non-diabetic volunteers, age > 18, overweight or obese, with one or more markers of insulin resistance. All participants were included in intention-to-treat analysis. Outcomes were changes in insulin sensitivity and beta cell function measured by intravenous glucose tolerance tests and minimal model analysis.
There was a positive change in insulin sensitivity with HCQ but not placebo (mean±SEM: + 20.0% ± 7.1% vs − 18.4% ± 7.9%, respectively; p <0.01; difference: 38.3% ± 10.6%; 95% CI: 16%, 60%). Improvement in beta cell function was also observed with HCQ but not placebo (+ 45.4% ± 12.3% vs −19.7% ± 13.6%; p < 0.01; difference: 65% ± 19%; 95% CI: 27%, 103%). There were modest treatment effects on fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c (p < 0.05) but circulating markers of inflammation (IL-6, IL-1, TNF-α, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule) were not affected in either group. In contrast, adiponectin levels increased after HCQ treatment but not after placebo (+ 18.7% vs + 0.7%, respectively; p < 0.001). Both low- and high-molecular-weight adiponectin forms accounted for the increase. There were no serious or unexpected adverse effects.
HCQ improves both beta cell function and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic individuals. These metabolic effects may explain why HCQ treatment is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. An additional novel observation is that HCQ improves adiponectin levels, possibly being a mediator of the favourable effects on glucose metabolism. Our findings suggest that HCQ is a drug with considerable metabolic effects that warrant further exploration in disorders of glucose metabolism.
Trial registration NCT01326533
This study was funded by National Institutes of Health no. 5R21DK082878, UL1-RR024153 and UL-1TR000005.
PMCID: PMC4575248  PMID: 26197707
Beta cell function; Hydroxychloroquine; Insulin sensitivity
3.  Hydroxychloroquine and Glycemia in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The Journal of rheumatology  2010;37(6):1136-1142.
To determine the relationship between current hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) use and 2 indicators of glycemic control, fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity, in nondiabetic women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Nondiabetic women with SLE (n = 149) or RA (n = 177) recruited between 2000 and 2005 for a cross-sectional evaluation of cardiovascular risk factors were characterized by HCQ usage status. Unadjusted and multivariately adjusted mean fasting glucose, median insulin, and insulin resistance [assessed by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) calculation] were compared among HCQ users and nonusers for disease-specific groups.
More women with SLE were taking HCQ than those with RA (48% vs 18%; p < 0.0001; mean dose ~ 400 mg vs ~ 200 mg). For women with SLE or RA, after adjustment for age, waist circumference, disease duration, prednisone dosage, C-reactive protein, menopausal status, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, and disease-specific indicators, serum glucose was lower in HCQ users than in nonusers (SLE: 85.9 vs 89.3 mg/dl, p = 0.04; RA: 82.5 vs 86.6 mg/dl, p = 0.05). In women with SLE, HCQ use also was associated with lower logHOMA-IR (0.97 vs 1.12, p = 0.09); in those with RA, no differences in logHOMA-IR were seen. HCQ usage was not associated with fasting insulin levels in either patient group.
HCQ use was associated with lower fasting glucose in women with SLE or RA and also lower logHOMA-IR in the SLE group. The use of HCQ may be beneficial for reducing cardiovascu lar risk by improving glycemic control in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3457696  PMID: 20436082
4.  Hydroxychloroquine inhibits autophagy to potentiate antiestrogen responsiveness in ER+ breast cancer 
Estrogen receptor-α (ERα) targeted therapies including tamoxifen (TAM) or Faslodex (ICI) are used to treat ER+ breast cancers. Up to 50% of tumors will acquire resistance to these interventions. Autophagy has been implicated as a major driver of antiestrogen resistance. We have explored the ability of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which inhibits autophagy, to affect antiestrogen responsiveness.
Experimental Design
TAM-resistant MCF7-RR and ICI-resistant/TAM cross-resistant LCC9 ER+ breast cancer cells were injected into mammary fat pads of female athymic mice and treated with TAM and/or ICI in combination with oral low-dose HCQ.
We show HCQ can increase antiestrogen responsiveness in MCF7-RR and LCC9 cells and tumors, likely through the inhibition of autophagy. However, the combination of ICI+HCQ was less effective than HCQ alone in vivo, unlike the TAM+HCQ combination. Antiestrogen treatment stimulated angiogenesis in tumors but did not prevent HCQ effectiveness. The lower efficacy of ICI+HCQ was associated with ICI effects on cell-mediated immunity within the tumor microenvironment. The mouse chemokine KC (CXCL1) and IFNγ were differentially regulated by both TAM and ICI treatments, suggesting a possible effect on macrophage development/activity. Consistent with these observations, TAM+HCQ treatment increased tumor CD68+ cells infiltration, whereas ICI and ICI+HCQ reduced peripheral tumor macrophage content. Moreover, macrophage elimination of breast cancer target cells in vitro was reduced following exposure to ICI.
HCQ restores antiestrogen sensitivity to resistant tumors. Moreover, the beneficial combination of TAM+HCQ suggests a positive outcome for ongoing neoadjuvant clinical trials using this combination for the treatment of ER+ ductal carcinoma in situ lesions.
PMCID: PMC4073207  PMID: 24928945
estrogen receptor-α; chloroquine; tamoxifen; TAM; fulvestrant; ICI 182,780; antiestrogen resistant breast cancer; autophagy; angiogenesis; macrophages
5.  Hydroxychloroquine in patients with inflammatory and erosive osteoarthritis of the hands (OA TREAT): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:412.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a heterogeneous group of conditions with disturbed integrity of articular cartilage and changes in the underlying bone. The pathogenesis of OA is multifactorial and not just a disease of older people. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) typically used for the treatment of various rheumatic and dermatologic diseases. Three studies of HCQ in OA, including one abstract and one letter, are available and use a wide variety of outcome measures in small patient populations. Despite initial evidence for good efficacy of HCQ, there has been no randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial in a larger patient group. In the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), evidence-based recommendations for the management of hand OA, HCQ was not included as a therapeutic option because of the current lack of randomized clinical trials.
OA TREAT is an investigator-initiated, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. A total of 510 subjects with inflammatory and erosive hand OA, according to the classification criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), with recent X-ray will be recruited across outpatient sites, hospitals and universities in Germany. Patients are randomized 1:1 to active treatment (HCQ 200 to 400 mg per day) or placebo for 52 weeks. Both groups receive standard therapy (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAID], coxibs) for OA treatment, taken steadily two weeks before enrollment and continued further afterwards. If disease activity increases, the dose of NSAID/coxibs can be increased according to the drug recommendation. The co-primary clinical endpoints are the changes in Australian-Canadian OA Index (AUSCAN, German version) dimensions for pain and hand disability at week 52. The co-primary radiographic endpoint is the radiographic progression from baseline to week 52. A multiple endpoint test and analysis of covariance will be used to compare changes between groups. All analyses will be conducted on an intention-to-treat basis.
The OA TREAT trial will examine the clinical and radiological efficacy and safety of HCQ as a treatment option for inflammatory and erosive OA over 12 months. OA TREAT focuses on erosive hand OA in contrast to other current studies on symptomatic hand OA, for example, HERO [Trials 14:64, 2013].
Trial registration
ISRCTN46445413, date of registration: 05-10-2011.
PMCID: PMC4219005  PMID: 25348033
Erosive hand osteoarthritis; Hydroxychloroquine; Double-blind; Hand; Placebo-controlled; Randomized
6.  Impact of Hydroxychloroquine on Atherosclerosis and Vascular Stiffness in the Presence of Chronic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0139226.
Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of morbidity and mortality among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease, with nearly half of all deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), an anti-inflammatory drug, has been shown to have multiple pleiotropic actions relevant to atherosclerosis. We conducted a proof-of-efficacy study to evaluate the effects of hydroxychloroquine in an animal model of atherosclerosis in ApoE knockout mice with and without chronic kidney disease. Forty male, 6-week-old mice were divided into four groups in a 2 x 2 design: sham placebo group; sham treatment group; CKD placebo group; and CKD treatment group. CKD was induced by a two-step surgical procedure. All mice received a high-fat diet through the study duration and were sacrificed after 16 weeks of therapy. Mice were monitored with ante-mortem ultrasonic echography (AUE) for atherosclerosis and vascular stiffness and with post-mortem histology studies for atherosclerosis. Therapy with HCQ significantly reduced the severity of atherosclerosis in CKD mice and sham treated mice. HCQ reduced the area of aortic atherosclerosis on en face examination by approximately 60% in HCQ treated groups compared to the non-treated groups. Additionally, therapy with HCQ resulted in significant reduction in vascular endothelial dysfunction with improvement in vascular elasticity and flow patterns and better-preserved vascular wall thickness across multiple vascular beds. More importantly, we found that presence of CKD had no mitigating effect on HCQ’s anti-atherosclerotic and vasculoprotective effects. These beneficial effects were not due to any significant effect of HCQ on inflammation, renal function, or lipid profile at the end of 16 weeks of therapy. This study, which demonstrates structural and functional protection against atherosclerosis by HCQ, provides a rationale to evaluate its use in CKD patients. Further studies are needed to define the exact mechanisms through which HCQ confers these benefits.
PMCID: PMC4586379  PMID: 26414017
7.  Detection of Hydroxychloroquine Retinal Toxicity by Automated Perimetry in 60 Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients With Normal Fundoscopic Findings 
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial drug used extensively in treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Retinal toxicity is the most important side effects of this drug. Even after the drug is discontinued, retinal degeneration from HCQ can continue to progress. Consequently, multiple ophthalmic screening tests have been developed to detect early retinopathy. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the value of central 2-10 perimetry method in early detection of retinal toxicity. This prospective cross-sectional investigation was carried out on 60 rheumatoid arthritis patients, who had been receiving HCQ for at least 6 months and still were on their medication (HCQ intake) at the time of enrollment. An ophthalmologist examined participants using direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy. Visual field testing with automated perimetry technique (central 2-10 perimetry with red target) was performed on all included subjects twice in 6 months interval: The first one at the time of enrollment and the second one 6 months later. Males and females did not show any significant difference in terms of age, duration of therapy, daily and cumulative HCQ dose, anterior or posterior segment abnormalities, hypertension, body mass index, and best corrected visual acuity. Anterior segment was abnormal in 9 individuals including 3 subjects with macular pigmentary changes, 4 individuals with cataract and 2 cases with dry eyes. Moreover, 12 subjects had retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) in their posterior segments. After 6 months, depressive changes appeared in 12 subjects. Additionally, HCQ therapy worsened significantly the perimetric results of 5 (55.6%) patients with abnormal anterior segment. A same trend was observed in perimetric results of 6 (50.0%) subjects with abnormal posterior segments (P=0.009). The daily dose of HCQ (P=0.035) as well as the cumulative dose of hydroxychloroquine (P=0.021) displayed statistically significant associations with perimetric results. Central 2-10 perimetry is a useful method for early detection of HCQ retinal toxicity, but more comprehensive studies, with larger sample size, longer-term follow-up and more precise techniques are mandatory to confirm HCQ retinal toxicity.
PMCID: PMC4803972  PMID: 26493438
hydroxychloroquine; rheumatoid arthritis; perimetry; retinal toxicity
8.  Pharmacokinetics of Hydroxychloroquine and Its Clinical Implications in Chemoprophylaxis against Malaria Caused by Plasmodium vivax▿  
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial drug used as chemoprophylaxis against malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax in the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA). In this study, we evaluated the pharmacokinetics (PK) of HCQ and its metabolites and the relationship between the PK of HCQ and the effect of treatment of HCQ on vivax malaria in South Koreans. Three PK studies of HCQ were conducted with 91 healthy subjects and patients with vivax malaria. Plasma concentrations were analyzed by noncompartmental and mixed-effect modeling approaches. A two-compartment model with first-order absorption best described the data. The clearance and the central and peripheral volumes of distribution were 15.5 liters/h, 733 liters, and 1,630 liters, respectively. We measured the plasma concentrations of HCQ in patients with prophylactic failure of HCQ and compared them with the prediction intervals of the simulated concentrations for HCQ from the final PK model built in this study. In 71% of the patients with prophylactic failure, the plasma concentrations of HCQ were below the lower bounds of the 95% prediction interval, while only 8% of them showed higher levels than the upper bounds of the 95% prediction interval. We report that a significant cause of prophylactic failure among the individuals in ROKA was ascribed to plasma concentrations of HCQ lower than those predicted by the PK model. However, prophylactic failure despite sufficient plasma concentrations of HCQ was confirmed in several individuals, warranting continued surveillance to monitor changes in the HCQ susceptibility of Plasmodium vivax in the Republic of Korea.
PMCID: PMC2663072  PMID: 19188392
9.  Effects of low-dose hydroxychloroquine on expression of phosphorylated Akt and p53 proteins and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in peri-infarct myocardium in rats 
Low-dose hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) protein kinase have recently been postulated to be beneficial for the prevention of the age-associated metabolic syndrome including hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and glucose intolerance; however, the effects of low-dose HCQ on the expression of ATM downstream phosphorylated Akt (protein kinase B) and p53 proteins and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the peri-infarct myocardium remain unclear.
To explore the effects of low-dose HCQ on the expression of phosphorylated Akt and p53 proteins and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the peri-infarct myocardium in a rat model.
Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced experimentally in a subset of rats, while others underwent sham operation (sham). Three days after operation, surviving Sprague-Dawley male rats were divided into MI+HCQ, MI, sham+HCQ and sham groups. MI+HCQ and sham + HCQ groups were treated with HCQ (3.4 mg/kg); and MI and sham groups were treated with phosphate buffered (ie, physiological) saline (10 mL/kg) by gavage every day for 12 weeks. The expression of phosphorylated Akt and p53 proteins and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the peri-infarct myocardium was detected by Western blot and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling, respectively.
Twelve weeks after treatment, the expression of phosphorylated Akt protein was significantly increased (P<0.05). Expression of phosphorylated p53 protein was not significantly different (P>0.05) in the peri-infarct myocardium of the MI+HCQ group from that in the MI group. The cardiomyocyte apoptosis rate in the peri-infarct myocardium was significantly decreased in the MI+HCQ group compared with the MI group (P<0.05).
Low-dose HCQ can significantly increase the expression of phosphorylated Akt protein without significantly impacting expression of phosphorylated p53 protein in the peri-infarct myocardium. Accordingly, it can inhibit cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the peri-infarct myocardium.
PMCID: PMC3718607  PMID: 23940455
Akt (protein kinase B); Cardiomyocyte apoptosis; Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ); Myocardial infarction (MI); P53 (protein 53)
10.  Effect of atorvastatin and hydroxychloroquine combination on blood glucose in alloxan-induced diabetic rats 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2009;41(3):125-128.
To evaluate the antihyperglycemic activity of atorvastatin and hydroxychloroquine combination in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.
Materials and Methods:
Alloxan induced diabetic Wistar male rats were randomized into six groups of 6 rats each. (Normal rats, diabetic control, atorvastatin (ATV), hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), ATV 5 mg /kg + HCQ 100 mg/kg, and ATV 10 mg/kg + HCQ 200 mg/kg). The rats were treated for 9 days and blood samples were collected at baseline and end of therapy. These samples were analyzed for plasma glucose by autoanalyzer. Changes in body weight, water, food intakes and total protein content were also recorded.
Atorvastatin and hydroxychloroquine alone and in combination reported significant fall in blood glucose level from baseline. Fall in glucose level was significantly more in high dose combination of atorvastatin and hydroxychloroquine (ATV: 10 mg/kg + HCQ: 200 mg/kg) as compared to other study treatment groups (ATV: 17% Vs HCQ: 7% Vs ATV 5mg/kg + HCQ 100mg /kg: 14% Vs ATV 10mg/kg + HCQ 200mg /kg: 21%; p<0.01). ATV and HCQ individually and in combination also improved the body weight loss. The weight gain was significantly more in combination treated rats as compared to positive control group and greater than those who received atorvastatin and hydroxychloroquine alone. Rats treated with the combination also reported significant decrease in food intake and significant increase in total protein.
Increased hypoglycemic effect in combination may be due to potentiation or synergism between HCQ and ATV. Further studies are required to demonstrate clinically significant antidiabetic effect.
PMCID: PMC2861813  PMID: 20442820
Antihyperglycemic activity; alloxan; atorvastatin; hydroxychloroquine; plasma glucose
11.  Effect of Hydroxychloroquine Treatment on Dry Eyes in Subjects with Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome: a Double-Blind Randomized Control Study 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2016;31(7):1127-1135.
The effect of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on dry eye has not been fully determined. This study aimed to compare the 12-week efficacy of HCQ medication with that of a placebo in the management of dry eye in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS). A double-blind, randomized control study was conducted in 39 pSS subjects from May 2011 through August 2013. pSS was diagnosed based on the classification criteria of the American-European Consensus Group. Subjects received 300 mg of HCQ or placebo once daily for 12 weeks and were evaluated at baseline, 6, and 12 weeks, with a re-visit at 16 weeks after drug discontinuance. The fluorescein staining score, Schirmer test score, tear film break-up time (TBUT), and ocular surface disease index (OSDI) were measured, and tears and blood were collected for ESR, IL-6, IL-17, B-cell activating factor (BAFF), and Th17 cell analysis. Color testing was performed and the fundus was examined to monitor HCQ complications. Twenty-six subjects completed the follow-up. The fluorescein staining score and Schirmer test score did not differ significantly. The OSDI improved with medication in the HCQ group but was not significantly different between the groups. TBUT, serum IL-6, ESR, serum and tear BAFF, and the proportion of Th17 cells did not change in either group. HCQ at 300 mg daily for 12 weeks has no apparent clinical benefit for dry eye and systemic inflammation in pSS ( NCT01601028).
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC4901007  PMID: 27366013
Hydroxychloroquine; Dry Eye Syndromes; Sjögren's Syndrome; Double-Blind Method; Prospective Studies
12.  Changes in Glycated Hemoglobin after Initiation of Hydroxychloroquine or Methotrexate in Diabetic Patients with Rheumatologic Diseases 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2010;62(12):3569-3573.
Prior research demonstrates that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) lowers glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) in non-rheumatic diabetic patients. We examined medical records of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and concomitant rheumatic illness to measure changes in HbA1c after starting HCQ or methotrexate (MTX).
We utilized electronic medical records to identify patients initiating either HCQ or MTX, with a diagnosis of DM or HbA1c ≥ 7%, and with at least one HbA1c measurement before and within 12 months after initiation. A structured medical record abstraction examined rheumatologic diagnosis, use of oral glucocorticoids, body mass index, age, gender. Adjusted linear regression models determined changes in HbA1c from pre-drug values to the lowest post-drug values within twelve months.
We identified 45 HCQ users and 37 MTX users who met inclusion criteria. Half in each group carried a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Age, gender, and mean pre-drug HbA1c levels were similar across groups. Mean BMI for HCQ users (35.4 kg/m2) was slightly higher than MTX users (32.2 kg/m2) (p = 0.13). Glucocorticoid use appeared more common in MTX (46%) than HCQ (29%) users (p = 0.17). The mean reduction in HbA1c between pre- and post-HCQ was 0.66% (95% CI 0.26–1.05) versus 0.11% (95% CI −0.18 – 0.40) for MTX. In fully adjusted analyses, the reduction in HbA1c among HCQ users was 0.54% greater than the drop among MTX users (p = 0.041).
HCQ initiation was associated with a significantly greater reduction in HbA1c as compared to MTX initiation among diabetic patients with rheumatic disease.
PMCID: PMC2992611  PMID: 20722019
13.  Very low blood hydroxychloroquine concentration as an objective marker of poor adherence to treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(6):821-824.
Poor adherence to treatment is difficult to diagnose accurately. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has a long elimination half‐life and its concentration in whole blood can be measured easily.
To evaluate the utility of a very low blood HCQ concentration as a marker of poor compliance in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
HCQ concentrations were determined on a blinded basis in 203 unselected patients with SLE. At the end of the study, the patients were informed of the results and retrospectively interviewed about their adherence to treatment.
14 (7%) patients said that they had stopped taking HCQ (n = 8) or had taken it no more than once or twice a week (n = 6). Their mean (SD) HCQ concentration was 26 (46) ng/ml. range (0–129 ng/ml) By contrast, the other patients had a mean HCQ concentration of 1079 ng/ml range (205–2629 ng/ml). The principal barriers to adherence were related to HCQ treatment characteristics. Adherence subsequently improved in 10 of the 12 patients whose blood HCQ concentrations were remeasured.
Very low whole‐blood HCQ concentrations are an objective marker of prolonged poor compliance in patients with SLE. Regular drug assays might help doctors in detect non‐compliance and serve as a basis for counselling and supporting these patients.
PMCID: PMC1954674  PMID: 17324970
14.  Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII) Pumps for Type 1 and Type 2 Adult Diabetic Populations 
Executive Summary
In June 2008, the Medical Advisory Secretariat began work on the Diabetes Strategy Evidence Project, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding strategies for successful management and treatment of diabetes. This project came about when the Health System Strategy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care subsequently asked the secretariat to provide an evidentiary platform for the Ministry’s newly released Diabetes Strategy.
After an initial review of the strategy and consultation with experts, the secretariat identified five key areas in which evidence was needed. Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these five areas: insulin pumps, behavioural interventions, bariatric surgery, home telemonitoring, and community based care. For each area, an economic analysis was completed where appropriate and is described in a separate report.
To review these titles within the Diabetes Strategy Evidence series, please visit the Medical Advisory Secretariat Web site,,
Diabetes Strategy Evidence Platform: Summary of Evidence-Based Analyses
Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Pumps for Type 1 and Type 2 Adult Diabetics: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Behavioural Interventions for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Bariatric Surgery for People with Diabetes and Morbid Obesity: An Evidence-Based Summary
Community-Based Care for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telemonitoring for Type 2 Diabetes: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Application of the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) to Determine the Cost-effectiveness and Budget Impact of Selected Type 2 Diabetes Interventions in Ontario
The objective of this analysis is to review the efficacy of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) pumps as compared to multiple daily injections (MDI) for the type 1 and type 2 adult diabetics.
Clinical Need and Target Population
Insulin therapy is an integral component of the treatment of many individuals with diabetes. Type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes, is a life-long disorder that commonly manifests in children and adolescents, but onset can occur at any age. It represents about 10% of the total diabetes population and involves immune-mediated destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. The loss of these cells results in a decrease in insulin production, which in turn necessitates exogenous insulin therapy.
Type 2, or ‘maturity-onset’ diabetes represents about 90% of the total diabetes population and is marked by a resistance to insulin or insufficient insulin secretion. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, obesity, and lack of physical activity. The condition tends to develop gradually and may remain undiagnosed for many years. Approximately 30% of patients with type 2 diabetes eventually require insulin therapy.
CSII Pumps
In conventional therapy programs for diabetes, insulin is injected once or twice a day in some combination of short- and long-acting insulin preparations. Some patients require intensive therapy regimes known as multiple daily injection (MDI) programs, in which insulin is injected three or more times a day. It’s a time consuming process and usually requires an injection of slow acting basal insulin in the morning or evening and frequent doses of short-acting insulin prior to eating. The most common form of slower acting insulin used is neutral protamine gagedorn (NPH), which reaches peak activity 3 to 5 hours after injection. There are some concerns surrounding the use of NPH at night-time as, if injected immediately before bed, nocturnal hypoglycemia may occur. To combat nocturnal hypoglycemia and other issues related to absorption, alternative insulins have been developed, such as the slow-acting insulin glargine. Glargine has no peak action time and instead acts consistently over a twenty-four hour period, helping reduce the frequency of hypoglycemic episodes.
Alternatively, intensive therapy regimes can be administered by continuous insulin infusion (CSII) pumps. These devices attempt to closely mimic the behaviour of the pancreas, continuously providing a basal level insulin to the body with additional boluses at meal times. Modern CSII pumps are comprised of a small battery-driven pump that is designed to administer insulin subcutaneously through the abdominal wall via butterfly needle. The insulin dose is adjusted in response to measured capillary glucose values in a fashion similar to MDI and is thus often seen as a preferred method to multiple injection therapy. There are, however, still risks associated with the use of CSII pumps. Despite the increased use of CSII pumps, there is uncertainty around their effectiveness as compared to MDI for improving glycemic control.
Part A: Type 1 Diabetic Adults (≥19 years)
An evidence-based analysis on the efficacy of CSII pumps compared to MDI was carried out on both type 1 and type 2 adult diabetic populations.
Research Questions
Are CSII pumps more effective than MDI for improving glycemic control in adults (≥19 years) with type 1 diabetes?
Are CSII pumps more effective than MDI for improving additional outcomes related to diabetes such as quality of life (QoL)?
Literature Search
Inclusion Criteria
Randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, meta-analysis and/or health technology assessments from MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL
Adults (≥ 19 years)
Type 1 diabetes
Study evaluates CSII vs. MDI
Published between January 1, 2002 – March 24, 2009
Patient currently on intensive insulin therapy
Exclusion Criteria
Studies with <20 patients
Studies <5 weeks in duration
CSII applied only at night time and not 24 hours/day
Mixed group of diabetes patients (children, adults, type 1, type 2)
Pregnancy studies
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcomes of interest were glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, mean daily blood glucose, glucose variability, and frequency of hypoglycaemic events. Other outcomes of interest were insulin requirements, adverse events, and quality of life.
Search Strategy
The literature search strategy employed keywords and subject headings to capture the concepts of:
1) insulin pumps, and
2) type 1 diabetes.
The search was run on July 6, 2008 in the following databases: Ovid MEDLINE (1996 to June Week 4 2008), OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE (1980 to 2008 Week 26), OVID CINAHL (1982 to June Week 4 2008) the Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment. A search update was run on March 24, 2009 and studies published prior to 2002 were also examined for inclusion into the review. Parallel search strategies were developed for the remaining databases. Search results were limited to human and English-language published between January 2002 and March 24, 2009. Abstracts were reviewed, and studies meeting the inclusion criteria outlined above were obtained. Reference lists were also checked for relevant studies.
Summary of Findings
The database search identified 519 relevant citations published between 1996 and March 24, 2009. Of the 519 abstracts reviewed, four RCTs and one abstract met the inclusion criteria outlined above. While efficacy outcomes were reported in each of the trials, a meta-analysis was not possible due to missing data around standard deviations of change values as well as missing data for the first period of the crossover arm of the trial. Meta-analysis was not possible on other outcomes (quality of life, insulin requirements, frequency of hypoglycemia) due to differences in reporting.
In studies where no baseline data was reported, the final values were used. Two studies (Hanaire-Broutin et al. 2000, Hoogma et al. 2005) reported a slight reduction in HbA1c of 0.35% and 0.22% respectively for CSII pumps in comparison to MDI. A slightly larger reduction in HbA1c of 0.84% was reported by DeVries et al.; however, this study was the only study to include patients with poor glycemic control marked by higher baseline HbA1c levels. One study (Bruttomesso et al. 2008) showed no difference between CSII pumps and MDI on Hba1c levels and was the only study using insulin glargine (consistent with results of parallel RCT in abstract by Bolli 2004). While there is statistically significant reduction in HbA1c in three of four trials, there is no evidence to suggest these results are clinically significant.
Mean Blood Glucose
Three of four studies reported a statistically significant reduction in the mean daily blood glucose for patients using CSII pump, though these results were not clinically significant. One study (DeVries et al. 2002) did not report study data on mean blood glucose but noted that the differences were not statistically significant. There is difficulty with interpreting study findings as blood glucose was measured differently across studies. Three of four studies used a glucose diary, while one study used a memory meter. In addition, frequency of self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) varied from four to nine times per day. Measurements used to determine differences in mean daily blood glucose between the CSII pump group and MDI group at clinic visits were collected at varying time points. Two studies use measurements from the last day prior to the final visit (Hoogma et al. 2005, DeVries et al. 2002), while one study used measurements taken during the last 30 days and another study used measurements taken during the 14 days prior to the final visit of each treatment period.
Glucose Variability
All four studies showed a statistically significant reduction in glucose variability for patients using CSII pumps compared to those using MDI, though one, Bruttomesso et al. 2008, only showed a significant reduction at the morning time point. Brutomesso et al. also used alternate measures of glucose variability and found that both the Lability index and mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE) were in concordance with the findings using the standard deviation (SD) values of mean blood glucose, but the average daily risk range (ADRR) showed no difference between the CSII pump and MDI groups.
Hypoglycemic Events
There is conflicting evidence concerning the efficacy of CSII pumps in decreasing both mild and severe hypoglycemic events. For mild hypoglycemic events, DeVries et al. observed a higher number of events per patient week in the CSII pump group than the MDI group, while Hoogma et al. observed a higher number of events per patient year in the MDI group. The remaining two studies found no differences between the two groups in the frequency of mild hypoglycemic events. For severe hypoglycemic events, Hoogma et al. found an increase in events per patient year among MDI patients, however, all of the other RCTs showed no difference between the patient groups in this aspect.
Insulin Requirements and Adverse Events
In all four studies, insulin requirements were significantly lower in patients receiving CSII pump treatment in comparison to MDI. This difference was statistically significant in all studies. Adverse events were reported in three studies. Devries et al. found no difference in ketoacidotic episodes between CSII pump and MDI users. Bruttomesso et al. reported no adverse events during the study. Hanaire-Broutin et al. found that 30 patients experienced 58 serious adverse events (SAEs) during MDI and 23 patients had 33 SAEs during treatment out of a total of 256 patients. Most events were related to severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.
Quality of Life and Patient Preference
QoL was measured in three studies and patient preference was measured in one. All three studies found an improvement in QoL for CSII users compared to those using MDI, although various instruments were used among the studies and possible reporting bias was evident as non-positive outcomes were not consistently reported. Moreover, there was also conflicting results in two of the studies using the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (DTSQ). DeVries et al. reported no difference in treatment satisfaction between CSII pump users and MDI users while Brutomesso et al. reported that treatment satisfaction improved among CSII pump users.
Patient preference for CSII pumps was demonstrated in just one study (Hanaire-Broutin et al. 2000) and there are considerable limitations with interpreting this data as it was gathered through interview and 72% of patients that preferred CSII pumps were previously on CSII pump therapy prior to the study. As all studies were industry sponsored, findings on QoL and patient preference must be interpreted with caution.
Quality of Evidence
Overall, the body of evidence was downgraded from high to low due to study quality and issues with directness as identified using the GRADE quality assessment tool (see Table 1) While blinding of patient to intervention/control was not feasible in these studies, blinding of study personnel during outcome assessment and allocation concealment were generally lacking. Trials reported consistent results for the outcomes HbA1c, mean blood glucose and glucose variability, but the directness or generalizability of studies, particularly with respect to the generalizability of the diabetic population, was questionable as most trials used highly motivated populations with fairly good glycemic control. In addition, the populations in each of the studies varied with respect to prior treatment regimens, which may not be generalizable to the population eligible for pumps in Ontario. For the outcome of hypoglycaemic events the evidence was further downgraded to very low since there was conflicting evidence between studies with respect to the frequency of mild and severe hypoglycaemic events in patients using CSII pumps as compared to CSII (see Table 2). The GRADE quality of evidence for the use of CSII in adults with type 1 diabetes is therefore low to very low and any estimate of effect is, therefore, uncertain.
GRADE Quality Assessment for CSII pumps vs. MDI on HbA1c, Mean Blood Glucose, and Glucose Variability for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
Inadequate or unknown allocation concealment (3/4 studies); Unblinded assessment (all studies) however lack of blinding due to the nature of the study; No ITT analysis (2/4 studies); possible bias SMBG (all studies)
HbA1c: 3/4 studies show consistency however magnitude of effect varies greatly; Single study uses insulin glargine instead of NPH; Mean Blood Glucose: 3/4 studies show consistency however magnitude of effect varies between studies; Glucose Variability: All studies show consistency but 1 study only showed a significant effect in the morning
Generalizability in question due to varying populations: highly motivated populations, educational component of interventions/ run-in phases, insulin pen use in 2/4 studies and varying levels of baseline glycemic control and experience with intensified insulin therapy, pumps and MDI.
GRADE Quality Assessment for CSII pumps vs. MDI on Frequency of Hypoglycemic
Inadequate or unknown allocation concealment (3/4 studies); Unblinded assessment (all studies) however lack of blinding due to the nature of the study; No ITT analysis (2/4 studies); possible bias SMBG (all studies)
Conflicting evidence with respect to mild and severe hypoglycemic events reported in studies
Generalizability in question due to varying populations: highly motivated populations, educational component of interventions/ run-in phases, insulin pen use in 2/4 studies and varying levels of baseline glycemic control and experience with intensified insulin therapy, pumps and MDI.
Economic Analysis
One article was included in the analysis from the economic literature scan. Four other economic evaluations were identified but did not meet our inclusion criteria. Two of these articles did not compare CSII with MDI and the other two articles used summary estimates from a mixed population with Type 1 and 2 diabetes in their economic microsimulation to estimate costs and effects over time. Included were English articles that conducted comparisons between CSII and MDI with the outcome of Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) in an adult population with type 1 diabetes.
From one study, a subset of the population with type 1 diabetes was identified that may be suitable and benefit from using insulin pumps. There is, however, limited data in the literature addressing the cost-effectiveness of insulin pumps versus MDI in type 1 diabetes. Longer term models are required to estimate the long term costs and effects of pumps compared to MDI in this population.
CSII pumps for the treatment of adults with type 1 diabetes
Based on low-quality evidence, CSII pumps confer a statistically significant but not clinically significant reduction in HbA1c and mean daily blood glucose as compared to MDI in adults with type 1 diabetes (>19 years).
CSII pumps also confer a statistically significant reduction in glucose variability as compared to MDI in adults with type 1 diabetes (>19 years) however the clinical significance is unknown.
There is indirect evidence that the use of newer long-acting insulins (e.g. insulin glargine) in MDI regimens result in less of a difference between MDI and CSII compared to differences between MDI and CSII in which older insulins are used.
There is conflicting evidence regarding both mild and severe hypoglycemic events in this population when using CSII pumps as compared to MDI. These findings are based on very low-quality evidence.
There is an improved quality of life for patients using CSII pumps as compared to MDI however, limitations exist with this evidence.
Significant limitations of the literature exist specifically:
All studies sponsored by insulin pump manufacturers
All studies used crossover design
Prior treatment regimens varied
Types of insulins used in study varied (NPH vs. glargine)
Generalizability of studies in question as populations were highly motivated and half of studies used insulin pens as the mode of delivery for MDI
One short-term study concluded that pumps are cost-effective, although this was based on limited data and longer term models are required to estimate the long-term costs and effects of pumps compared to MDI in adults with type 1 diabetes.
Part B: Type 2 Diabetic Adults
Research Questions
Are CSII pumps more effective than MDI for improving glycemic control in adults (≥19 years) with type 2 diabetes?
Are CSII pumps more effective than MDI for improving other outcomes related to diabetes such as quality of life?
Literature Search
Inclusion Criteria
Randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, meta-analysis and/or health technology assessments from MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE), Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL)
Any person with type 2 diabetes requiring insulin treatment intensive
Published between January 1, 2000 – August 2008
Exclusion Criteria
Studies with <10 patients
Studies <5 weeks in duration
CSII applied only at night time and not 24 hours/day
Mixed group of diabetes patients (children, adults, type 1, type 2)
Pregnancy studies
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcome of interest was a reduction in glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels. Other outcomes of interest were mean blood glucose level, glucose variability, insulin requirements, frequency of hypoglycemic events, adverse events, and quality of life.
Search Strategy
A comprehensive literature search was performed in OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published between January 1, 2000 and August 15, 2008. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected from the search results. Data on the study characteristics, patient characteristics, primary and secondary treatment outcomes, and adverse events were abstracted. Reference lists of selected articles were also checked for relevant studies. The quality of the evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE methodology.
Summary of Findings
The database search identified 286 relevant citations published between 1996 and August 2008. Of the 286 abstracts reviewed, four RCTs met the inclusion criteria outlined above. Upon examination, two studies were subsequently excluded from the meta-analysis due to small sample size and missing data (Berthe et al.), as well as outlier status and high drop out rate (Wainstein et al) which is consistent with previously reported meta-analyses on this topic (Jeitler et al 2008, and Fatourechi M et al. 2009).
The primary outcome in this analysis was reduction in HbA1c. Both studies demonstrated that both CSII pumps and MDI reduce HbA1c, but neither treatment modality was found to be superior to the other. The results of a random effects model meta-analysis showed a mean difference in HbA1c of -0.14 (-0.40, 0.13) between the two groups, which was found not to be statistically or clinically significant. There was no statistical heterogeneity observed between the two studies (I2=0%).
Forrest plot of two parallel, RCTs comparing CSII to MDI in type 2 diabetes
Secondary Outcomes
Mean Blood Glucose and Glucose Variability
Mean blood glucose was only used as an efficacy outcome in one study (Raskin et al. 2003). The authors found that the only time point in which there were consistently lower blood glucose values for the CSII group compared to the MDI group was 90 minutes after breakfast. Glucose variability was not examined in either study and the authors reported no difference in weight gain between the CSII pump group and MDI groups at the end of study. Conflicting results were reported regarding injection site reactions between the two studies. Herman et al. reported no difference in the number of subjects experiencing site problems between the two groups, while Raskin et al. reported that there were no injection site reactions in the MDI group but 15 such episodes among 8 participants in the CSII pump group.
Frequency of Hypoglycemic Events and Insulin Requirements
All studies reported that there were no differences in the number of mild hypoglycemic events in patients on CSII pumps versus MDI. Herman et al. also reported no differences in the number of severe hypoglycemic events in patients using CSII pumps compared to those on MDI. Raskin et al. reported that there were no severe hypoglycemic events in either group throughout the study duration. Insulin requirements were only examined in Herman et al., who found that daily insulin requirements were equal between the CSII pump and MDI treatment groups.
Quality of Life
QoL was measured by Herman et al. using the Diabetes Quality of Life Clinical Trial Questionnaire (DQOLCTQ). There were no differences reported between CSII users and MDI users for treatment satisfaction, diabetes impact, and worry-related scores. Patient satisfaction was measured in Raskin et al. using a patient satisfaction questionnaire, whose results indicated that patients in the CSII pump group had significantly greater improvement in overall treatment satisfaction at the end of the study compared to the MDI group. Although patient preference was also reported, it was only examined in the CSII pump group, thus results indicating a greater preference for CSII pumps in this groups (as compared to prior injectable insulin regimens) are biased and must be interpreted with caution.
Quality of Evidence
Overall, the body of evidence was downgraded from high to low according to study quality and issues with directness as identified using the GRADE quality assessment tool (see Table 3). While blinding of patient to intervention/control is not feasible in these studies, blinding of study personnel during outcome assessment and allocation concealment were generally lacking. ITT was not clearly explained in one study and heterogeneity between study populations was evident from participants’ treatment regimens prior to study initiation. Although trials reported consistent results for HbA1c outcomes, the directness or generalizability of studies, particularly with respect to the generalizability of the diabetic population, was questionable as trials required patients to adhere to an intense SMBG regimen. This suggests that patients were highly motivated. In addition, since prior treatment regimens varied between participants (no requirement for patients to be on MDI), study findings may not be generalizable to the population eligible for a pump in Ontario. The GRADE quality of evidence for the use of CSII in adults with type 2 diabetes is, therefore, low and any estimate of effect is uncertain.
GRADE Quality Assessment for CSII pumps vs. MDI on HbA1c Adults with Type 2 Diabetes
Inadequate or unknown allocation concealment (all studies); Unblinded assessment (all studies) however lack of blinding due to the nature of the study; ITT not well explained in 1 of 2 studies
Indirect due to lack of generalizability of findings since participants varied with respect to prior treatment regimens and intensive SMBG suggests highly motivated populations used in trials.
Economic Analysis
An economic analysis of CSII pumps was carried out using the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) and has been previously described in the report entitled “Application of the Ontario Diabetes Economic Model (ODEM) to Determine the Cost-effectiveness and Budget Impact of Selected Type 2 Diabetes Interventions in Ontario”, part of the diabetes strategy evidence series. Based on the analysis, CSII pumps are not cost-effective for adults with type 2 diabetes, either for the age 65+ sub-group or for all patients in general. Details of the analysis can be found in the full report.
CSII pumps for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes
There is low quality evidence demonstrating that the efficacy of CSII pumps is not superior to MDI for adult type 2 diabetics.
There were no differences in the number of mild and severe hypoglycemic events in patients on CSII pumps versus MDI.
There are conflicting findings with respect to an improved quality of life for patients using CSII pumps as compared to MDI.
Significant limitations of the literature exist specifically:
All studies sponsored by insulin pump manufacturers
Prior treatment regimens varied
Types of insulins used in study varied (NPH vs. glargine)
Generalizability of studies in question as populations may not reflect eligible patient population in Ontario (participants not necessarily on MDI prior to study initiation, pen used in one study and frequency of SMBG required during study was high suggesting highly motivated participants)
Based on ODEM, insulin pumps are not cost-effective for adults with type 2 diabetes either for the age 65+ sub-group or for all patients in general.
PMCID: PMC3377523  PMID: 23074525
15.  Addition of rapamycin and hydroxychloroquine to metronomic chemotherapy as a second line treatment results in high salvage rates for refractory metastatic solid tumors: a pilot safety and effectiveness analysis in a small patient cohort 
Oncotarget  2015;6(18):16735-16745.
Autophagy is an important oncotarget that can be modulated during anti-cancer therapy. Enhancing autophagy using chemotherapy and rapamycin (Rapa) treatment and then inhibiting it using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) could synergistically improve therapy outcome in cancer patients. It is still unclear whether addition of Rapa and HCQ to chemotherapy could be used for reversing drug resistance.
Twenty-five stage IV cancer patients were identified. They had no clinical response to first-line metronomic chemotherapy; the patients were salvaged by adding an autophagy inducer (Rapa, 2 mg/day) and an autophagosome inhibitor (HCQ, 400 mg/day) to their current metronomic chemotherapy for at least 3 months. Patients included 4 prostate, 4 bladder, 4 lung, 4 breast, 2 colon, and 3 head and neck cancer patients as well as 4 sarcoma patients.
Chemotherapy was administered for a total of 137 months. The median duration of chemotherapy cycles per patient was 4 months (95% confidence interval, 3–7 months). The overall response rate to this treatment was of 40%, with an 84% disease control rate. The most frequent and clinically significant toxicities were myelotoxicities. Grade ≥3 leucopenia occurred in 6 patients (24%), grade ≥3 thrombocytopenia in 8 (32%), and anemia in 3 (12%). None of them developed febrile neutropenia. Non-hematologic toxicities were fatigue (total 32%, with 1 patient developing grade 3 fatigue), diarrhea (total 20%, 1 patient developed grade 3 fatigue), reversible grade 3 cardiotoxicity (1 patient), and grade V liver toxicity from hepatitis B reactivation (1 patient).
Our results of Rapa, HCQ and chemotherapy triplet combination suggest autophagy is a promising oncotarget and warrants further investigation in phase II studies.
PMCID: PMC4599303  PMID: 25944689
rapamycin; hydroxychloroquine; metronomic chemotherapy; autophagy
16.  Hydroxychloroquine Destabilizes Phospho-S6 in Human Renal Carcinoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0131464.
mTOR inhibitors are used to treat metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC), but most patients eventually become resistant. One possible mechanism for resistance is upregulation of autophagy, a pathway that helps recycle intracellular proteins and promotes cell survival. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a potent autophagy inhibitor used to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders, is currently being studied in the context of cancer treatment. Here, we have investigated the effects of HCQ on three different renal carcinoma derived cell lines. We found that HCQ treatment inhibits RCC cell growth, promotes apoptosis, inhibits mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and increases rates of glycolysis. To understand the molecular mechanism behind these effects, we examined various nodes in the mTOR pathway and compared the effects of HCQ with the effects of the mTOR inhibitor RAD001. A key downstream readout of the pathway, phospho-S6 protein, was inhibited by both HCQ and RAD001. However, the upstream kinase, P70S6K was only inhibited by RAD001 and not HCQ, suggesting that the block by HCQ was downstream of P70S6K. Treatment with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib restored phospho-S6 levels, suggesting that the reduction of phospho-S6 is caused by increased degradation of phospho-S6, but not total S6. Surprisingly, treatment with other autophagy inhibitors did not exhibit the same effects. Our findings suggest that HCQ causes the down-regulation of phospho-S6 in RCC cell lines via a novel mechanism that is not shared with other autophagy inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4489871  PMID: 26134285
17.  Treatment with cyclosporin switching to hydroxychloroquine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis 
Kim, W | Seo, Y | Park, S | Lee, W | Lee, S | Paek, S | Cho, C | Song, H | Kim, H
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2001;60(5):514-517.
OBJECTIVE—To investigate the therapeutic benefit of cyclosporin A (CSA) switching to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
METHODS—Thirty four patients with RA who displayed residual inflammation and disability despite partial responses to prior maximal tolerated doses of methotrexate, were included. All were treated with a staged approach using CSA for 24 weeks to induce clinical improvement, followed by HCQ for 16 weeks to maintain the improvement. Seven ACR core set measures were evaluated every four to eight weeks.
RESULTS—During a 40 week open trial, 27/34 patients completed the study. CSA treatment significantly reduced the tender joints score, swollen joints score, visual analogue pain scale, patient's or doctor's global assessment, patient's self assessed disability, and C reactive protein. Compared with the time of entry into the trial, patients who switched from CSA to HCQ still possessed significantly lower levels of most variables, determined at 28, 32, and 40 weeks. According to the ACR 20% improvement definition, 15/27 (56%) patients had improved at 24 weeks after CSA treatment, and 14/27 (52%) remained improved at 16 weeks after the change to HCQ. Frequent side effects, such as hypertrichosis, gastrointestinal trouble, and hypertension, were noted during CSA treatment, but most of these disappeared after switching to HCQ. The mean levels of blood pressure and serum creatinine were significantly increased during CSA treatment, but returned to normal after changing to HCQ.
CONCLUSIONS—The data suggest that CSA switching to HCQ treatment may be an effective strategy for patients with RA partially responding to methotrexate, particularly those with toxicity due to CSA.

PMCID: PMC1753640  PMID: 11302876
18.  Early treatment with hydroxychloroquine prevents the development of endothelial dysfunction in a murine model of systemic lupus erythematosus 
Accelerated atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of morbidity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is considered an early marker of atherosclerosis. It is a reversible alteration, thus representing an attractive target for prevention strategies against cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that ED occurs in patients with SLE even in the absence of severe, active disease. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is widely used in SLE to control disease activity, but its use is also associated with an improvement in long-term prognosis. Beyond the beneficial effect in well-established disease, our hypothesis is that treatment with HCQ might have a beneficial impact on ED prevention in SLE. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of early treatment with HCQ on ED in a murine model of SLE.
Twelve-week-old NZB/W F1 (NZ) and C57BL/6 J mice (controls) were allocated to receive HCQ or vehicle for 6, 12, or 18 weeks. Proteinuria and anti–double-stranded DNA autoantibodies were determined. ED was assessed in mesenteric arteries (pressurized myography). Nitric oxide (NO) availability and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were evaluated. Vascular ROS production was measured with dihydroethidium (DHE) fluorescent dye.
Starting from 18 weeks of age, NZ mice showed a progressive reduction in NO availability, which was normalized by ascorbic acid and apocynin in the up to 24-week-old group, and partly ameliorated in older animals. HCQ administration normalized the NO availability in the up to 24-week-old group, with a partial amelioration in the 30-week-old group. DHE analysis revealed a progressive increment of vascular ROS generation among NZ groups, which was prevented by apocynin. Similarly, in the NZ HCQ-treated group, vascular ROS production was abrogated.
The ED that characterizes this mouse model of SLE is caused by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase–driven ROS excess. Very early treatment with HCQ is able to exert vascular protection via an antioxidant effect.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0790-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4594997  PMID: 26444671
19.  Phase I clinical trial and pharmacodynamic evaluation of combination hydroxychloroquine and doxorubicin treatment in pet dogs treated for spontaneously occurring lymphoma 
Autophagy  2014;10(8):1415-1425.
Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation process that may act as a mechanism of survival in a variety of cancers. While pharmacologic inhibition of autophagy with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is currently being explored in human clinical trials, it has never been evaluated in canine cancers. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is one of the most prevalent tumor types in dogs and has similar pathogenesis and response to treatment as human NHL. Clinical trials in canine patients are conducted in the same way as in human patients, thus, to determine a maximum dose of HCQ that can be combined with a standard chemotherapy, a Phase I, single arm, dose escalation trial was conducted in dogs with spontaneous NHL presenting as patients to an academic, tertiary-care veterinary teaching hospital. HCQ was administered daily by mouth throughout the trial, beginning 72 h prior to doxorubicin (DOX), which was given intravenously on a 21-d cycle. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells and biopsies were collected before and 3 d after HCQ treatment and assessed for autophagy inhibition and HCQ concentration. A total of 30 patients were enrolled in the trial. HCQ alone was well tolerated with only mild lethargy and gastrointestinal-related adverse events. The overall response rate (ORR) for dogs with lymphoma was 93.3%, with median progression-free interval (PFI) of 5 mo. Pharmacokinetic analysis revealed a 100-fold increase in HCQ in tumors compared with plasma. There was a trend that supported therapy-induced increase in LC3-II (the cleaved and lipidated form of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3/LC3, which serves as a maker for autophagosomes) and SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1) after treatment. The superior ORR and comparable PFI to single-agent DOX provide strong support for further evaluation via randomized, placebo-controlled trials in canine and human NHL.
PMCID: PMC4203518  PMID: 24991836
autophagy; lymphoma; canine model; hydroxychloroquine; doxorubicin
20.  Long term effectiveness of antimalarial drugs in rheumatic diseases 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1998;57(10):582-587.
OBJECTIVE—The purpose of this study was to compare the long term effectiveness between chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
METHODS—Medical charts of all patients seen by eight rheumatologists practising in two tertiary care centres and starting antimalarial treatment between January 1985 and December 1993 were reviewed. Patient characteristics, disease, and treatment information were collected. The main outcome measures were the cause of and the time to the discontinuation of antimalarial drugs resulting from all causes, principally toxicity or inefficacy, or both. Bivariate analysis including t tests and χ2 tests were used to assess differences between means and proportions respectively. Survival curves were evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Multivariate analysis (Cox regression) was used to adjust for potential confounders.
RESULTS—After all medical records were reviewed, 1042 eligible cases were identified. From these, 940 (90%) had usable information and they represent the cohort. Five hundred and fifty eight had rheumatoid arthritis, 178 had systemic lupus erythematosus, 127 had palindromic arthritis, and 77 had other diagnoses. Fifty seven per cent of the patients received CQ and 43% HCQ. The proportion of patients with side effects taking HCQ and CQ was 15% and 28% respectively (p=0.001). Using Cox regression model to adjust for age at the onset of antimalarial treatment, physician differences, sex, disease type, disease duration before treatment, and rank selection, there were no differences in the hazard ratio (HR) for overall discontinuations between CQ and HCQ. While the HR for discontinuations because of toxicity was lower for HCQ (HR= 0.6, 95% CI 0.4, 0.9), the HR for discontinuations because of inefficacy was significantly higher for HCQ (HR= 1.4, 95% CI 1.1, 1.9).
CONCLUSIONS—After adjusting for time and several confounders HCQ was less toxic but less effective than CQ. Only one case of probable/possible retinopathy was found. Therefore, we propose a careful baseline ophthalmological evaluation by an expert and then one or every two years if proper doses are used.

 Keywords: antimalarial drugs; long term effectiveness; efficacy; toxicity; rheumatic diseases
PMCID: PMC1752486  PMID: 9893568
21.  A phase I/II trial of hydroxychloroquine in conjunction with radiation therapy and concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme 
Autophagy  2014;10(8):1359-1368.
Preclinical studies indicate autophagy inhibition with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can augment the efficacy of DNA-damaging therapy. The primary objective of this trial was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and efficacy of HCQ in combination with radiation therapy (RT) and temozolomide (TMZ) for newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GB). A 3 + 3 phase I trial design followed by a noncomparative phase II study was conducted in GB patients after initial resection. Patients received HCQ (200 to 800 mg oral daily) with RT and concurrent and adjuvant TMZ. Quantitative electron microscopy and immunoblotting were used to assess changes in autophagic vacuoles (AVs) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Population pharmacokinetic (PK) modeling enabled PK-pharmacodynamic correlations. Sixteen phase I subjects were evaluable for dose-limiting toxicities. At 800 mg HCQ/d, 3/3 subjects experienced Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia, 1 with sepsis. HCQ 600 mg/d was found to be the MTD in this combination. The phase II cohort (n = 76) had a median survival of 15.6 mos with survival rates at 12, 18, and 24 mo of 70%, 36%, and 25%. PK analysis indicated dose-proportional exposure for HCQ. Significant therapy-associated increases in AV and LC3-II were observed in PBMC and correlated with higher HCQ exposure. These data establish that autophagy inhibition is achievable with HCQ, but dose-limiting toxicity prevented escalation to higher doses of HCQ. At HCQ 600 mg/d, autophagy inhibition was not consistently achieved in patients treated with this regimen, and no significant improvement in overall survival was observed. Therefore, a definitive test of the role of autophagy inhibition in the adjuvant setting for glioma patients awaits the development of lower-toxicity compounds that can achieve more consistent inhibition of autophagy than HCQ.
PMCID: PMC4203513  PMID: 24991840
autophagy; hydroxychloroquine; glioblastoma
22.  Hydroxychloroquine use in a community-based cohort of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis care & research  2010;62(3):386-392.
In recent years hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has emerged as a key therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We determined the rates of HCQ use in a diverse, community-based cohort of patients with SLE and identified predictors of current HCQ use.
Patients were participants in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Lupus Outcomes Study (LOS), an ongoing longitudinal study of patients with confirmed SLE. We examined the prevalence of HCQ use per person-year and compared baseline characteristics of users and non-users, including demographic, socioeconomic, clinical, and health-system use variables. Multiple logistic regression with generalized estimating equations was used to evaluate predictors of HCQ use.
Eight hundred and eighty one patients contributed 3095person-years of data over 4 interview cycles. The prevalence of HCQ use was 55 per 100 person-years and was constant throughout the observation period. In multivariate models, the odds of HCQ use were nearly doubled among patients receiving their SLE care from a rheumatologist compared to those identifying generalists or nephrologists as their primary sources of SLE care. In addition, patients with shorter disease duration were more likely to use HCQ, even after adjusting for age and other covariates.
In this community-based cohort of patients, HCQ use was suboptimal. Physician specialty and disease duration were the strongest predictors of HCQ use. Patients who are not using HCQ, those with longer disease duration, and those who see non-rheumatologists for their SLE care should be targeted for quality improvement.
PMCID: PMC2947342  PMID: 20391485
23.  A favorable effect of hydroxychloroquine on glucose and lipid metabolism beyond its anti-inflammatory role 
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a commonly used antimalarial drug in rheumatic diseases, has shown favorable metabolic effects on both glucose control and lipid profiles. We describe a case of a young woman with type 1 diabetes whose glycemic control was optimized with the introduction of HCQ as a treatment for her Sjogren syndrome in addition to a subtle yet measurable improvement in her lipid profile. An increasing body of evidence supports the beneficial impacts of HCQ in various ancillary conditions, including diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia. However, mechanisms of action responsible for these effects remain ill-defined and may include alterations in insulin metabolism and signaling through cellular receptors. These favorable metabolic effects of HCQ and further understanding of underlying mechanisms may provide an additional rational for its use in rheumatic diseases, conditions associated with an elevated cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC4206615  PMID: 25343023
anti-inflammatory; antimalarials; chloroquine; diabetes; dyslipidemia; glycemic control; literature review; rheumatoid arthritis; systemic lupus erythematosus
24.  Enantioselective disposition of hydroxychloroquine after a single oral dose of the racemate to healthy subjects. 
1. Stereoselectivity in the disposition of hydroxychloroquine was investigated in 23 healthy males following a single oral dose of 200 mg racemic HCQ (rac-HCQ) sulphate. Total concentrations (R+S) and R/S ratios of HCQ and its metabolites were measured by stereoselective h.p.l.c. 2. HCQ was detected in whole blood and urine, up to 91 and 85 days after dosing, respectively. Metabolites could not be detected in whole blood while in urine detectable concentrations were still present after 85 days. The blood concentrations of HCQ enantiomers were measurable until 168 h post-dose. 3. R(-)-HCQ accounted for 62 +/- 3% (mean +/- s.d.) of the AUC of rac-HCQ AUC. The elimination half-life of S(+)-HCQ (457 +/- 122 h) was significantly shorter than that of R(-)-HCQ (526 +/- 140 h), partly due to its faster urinary excretion and hepatic metabolism. Its renal clearance was twice that of R(-)-HCQ (4.61 +/- 4.01 vs 1.79 +/- 1.30 1 h-1), and metabolites derived from the S-isomer represented 80-90% of the urinary recovery of the dose. 4. Over 85 days, 4.4 +/- 2.9 and 3.3 +/- 1.8% of the dose was recovered in urine as unchanged S(+)-HCQ and R(-)-HCQ, respectively. For the first 2 weeks, S(+)-HCQ excretion rate clearly surpassed that of R(-)-HCQ whereas afterwards the inverse was observed. However, since the first 2 weeks account for 95% of rac-HCQ renal excretion, the total urinary excretion of S(+)-HCQ clearly surpassed that of R(-)-HCQ.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1365171  PMID: 8562294
25.  Pharmacokinetics and Bioequivalence Study of Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate Tablets in Chinese Healthy Volunteers by LC–MS/MS 
Rheumatology and Therapy  2015;2(2):183-195.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), 4-aminoquinoline, is an antimalarial drug and has become a basic therapy for rheumatic disease treatment. It can stabilize the condition of SLE patients and reduce the chances of patient relapse through its immunosuppressive function and antiinflammatory effects. This drug was absorbed completely and rapidly by oral administration, but has a prolonged half-life for elimination. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic parameters and relative bioequivalence of a new generic (test) formulation with the branded (reference) formulation of HCQ in healthy Chinese male volunteers. This study was designed to acquire regulatory approval for the test formulation.
This study was conducted with a randomized, single-dose, two-period, and crossover design. The male subjects were randomly assigned to two groups at a 1:1 ratio to receive 0.2 g hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets (0.1 g/piece) of the two formulations after a 3-month washout period then administered the alternate formulation. Study drugs were administered after overnight fasting (over 10 h). Plasma concentrations of hydroxychloroquine were measured by a validated LC-MS/MS method. The following pharmacokinetic properties were determined by a noncompartmental pharmacokinetic method: Cmax, Tmax, AUC0–t, AUC0–∝, and t1/2. The bioequivalence between the test and reference products was assessed based on the following parameters: Cmax, AUC0–60d, and AUC0–∝ using the ANOVA method. If the 90% CI for AUC0–t was within 80–125% and for Cmax was within 70–143% of the statistical interval proposed by the SFDA, the two formulations were assumed bioequivalent. Concerning the main pharmacokinetic charateristics of hydroxychloroquine, a long half-life drug, the pharmacokinetic parameters of 0–72 h were determined according to the FDA. Furthermore, a comparison was made between the parameters at 0–60 days and 0–72 h to evaluate whether a truncated AUC method can be applied to estimate the relative bioavailability of HCQ. Tolerability was assessed by monitoring vital signs and laboratory tests and by questioning subjects about adverse events.
The 90% CI of Cmax for HCQ is 103.8–142.3%; the AUC0–60 is 100–114.2% and AUC0–∝ 100–115.5%. Both met the criteria according to the SFDA’s guidelines for bioequivalence. The relative bioavailability was 109.5% (according to AUC0–60d) and 110.7% (according to AUC0–∝). No serious or unexpected adverse events were observed.
In this study, the pharmacokinetic studies and results were conducted so that the test and reference formulations of HCQ met the Chinese criteria for assuming bioequivalence. Both formulations were well tolerated in the population studies.
PMCID: PMC4883261  PMID: 27747530
Bioequivalence; Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ); Pharmacokinetics

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