Outcome after Discontinuing Long-Term Benzimidazole Treatment in 11 Patients with Non-resectable Alveolar Echinococcosis with Negative FDG-PET/CT and Anti-EmII/3-10 Serology.

PLoS neglected tropical diseases

PubMedID: 26389799

Ammann RW, Stumpe KD, Grimm F, Deplazes P, Huber S, Bertogg K, Fischer DR, Müllhaupt B. Outcome after Discontinuing Long-Term Benzimidazole Treatment in 11 Patients with Non-resectable Alveolar Echinococcosis with Negative FDG-PET/CT and Anti-EmII/3-10 Serology. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015;9(9):e0003964.
BACKGROUND/AIMS
Benzimidazoles are efficacious for treating non-resectable alveolar echinococcosis (AE), but their long-term parasitocidal (curative) effect is disputed. In this study, we prospectively analyzed the potential parasitocidal effect of benzimidazoles and whether normalization of FDG-PET/CT scans and anti-Emll/3-10-antibody levels could act as reliable "in vivo" parameters of AE-inactivation permitting to abrogate chemotherapy with a low risk for AE-recurrence.

METHOD
This prospective study included 34 patients with non-resectable AE subdivided into group A (n = 11), followed-up after diagnosis and begin of chemotherapy at months 6, 12 and 24, and group B (n = 23) with a medium duration of chemotherapy of 10 (range 2-25) years. All patients were assessed by FDG-PET/CT examinations and anti-EmII/3-10 serology. Chemotherapy was abrogated in patients with normalization of FDG-PET/CT and serum anti-EmII/3-10 levels. These patients were closely followed-up for AE recurrence. Endpoint (parasitocidal efficacy) was defined by the absence of AE-recurrence >24 months after stopping treatment.

RESULTS
Normalization of FDG-PET/CT scan and anti-EmII/3-10 levels occurred in 11 of 34 patients (32%). After abrogation of chemotherapy in these 11 patients, there was no evidence of AE-recurrence within a median of 70.5 (range 16-82) months. However, the patients' immunocompetence appears pivotal for the described long-term parasitocidal effect of benzimidazoles.

CONCLUSIONS
The combination of negative FDG-PET/CT-scans and anti-EmII/3-10 antibody levels seem to be reliable parameters for assessing in vivo AE-larval inactivity after long-term benzimidazole chemotherapy.

TRIAL REGISTRATION
clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00658294.