Osteolysis causes recurrent pain and disability after total hip arthroplasty. We investigated the effect of the human monoclonal antibody denosumab on osteolytic lesion activity in patients undergoing revision total hip arthroplasty surgery to show the biological proof of concept for a non-surgical treatment for the disease..
Between Dec 12, 2012, and June 24, 2018, 51 patients were assessed for eligibility, of whom 24 were randomly assigned to study treatment. Two patients had their revision surgery cancelled for unrelated reasons, leaving 22 patients (ten in the denosumab group) for analysis of the primary outcome.
There were 83% fewer osteoclasts at the osteolysis membrane–bone interface in the denosumab versus the placebo group (median 0·05 per mm [IQR 0·11] vs 0·30 mm [0·40], p=0·011). No deaths or treatment-related serious adverse events occurred. Seven adverse events, including one severe adverse event, occurred in four (36%) of 11 patients in the denosumab group. In the placebo group ten adverse events, including three severe adverse events, occurred in five (38%) of 13 patients.
To our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial of an investigational drug for osteolysis that shows tissue-specific biological efficacy. These results justify the need for future trials that target earlier-stage disease to test for clinical efficacy in reducing the need for revision surgery.