Thursday, December 2, 2010

Update Dec '10: Clinical trials and patents relevant to Asherman's syndrome

Clinical trials:

There are a number of trials involving the use of misoprostol for miscarriage management (note: I am not including studies on misoprostol use for pregnancy terminations because this choice is already routinely available to women who abort. It is not routinely- let alone occasionally-available to those who miscarry). As a blog which promotes prevention, these are naturally included. Below is more information and links to the studies.

Optimal Treatment of Miscarriage OR
Which is the Optimal Treatment for Miscarriage With a Gestational ac in the Uterus and Which Factors Can Predict if the Treatment Will be Successful?Region Skane, Kvinnokliniken, University Hopsital MAS Malmo Sweden.
Study type: Open labelled randomized trial (parallel assignment).
Aim: To compare the number of women with a complete miscarriage after 10 days between expectant management versus treatment with 800 micrograms of misoprostol intravaginally in women with an an incomplete miscarriage before 14 weeks and a gestational sac retained in the uterus.

A Randomized Trial of Two Regimens of Misoprostol for Second Trimester Termination for Intrauterine Fetal DeathAmerican University of Beirut Medical Center
Study type: Open labelled, randomized controlled crossover trial.
Aim: To compare the safety, efficacy and patient satisfaction of vaginal versus sublingual administration of misoprostol (400 mcg every 4 hours until delivery. Time frame=24 hours)

Sublingual Misoprostol Versus Standard Surgical Care for the Treatment of Incomplete AbortionGynuity Health Projects, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger.
Study type: Open labeled randomized controlled trial.
Aim: To compare the safety and efficacy of 400 mcg sublingual misoprostol to standard surgical curretage (D&C or MVA) for incomplete abortion (ie. retained products of conception). Presumably either spontaneous or induced.

Non Surgical Management for Uterine Residua After Pregnancy Termination, Abortion or DeliveryHaEmek Medical Center, Israel
Study type: open labelled randomized trial (parallel assignment)
Aim:To compare the outcome of misoprostol treatment (intravaginal, 800 mcg) and expectant management in the case of intrauterine residua after completion of pregnancy.

Misoprostol for Treatment of Fetal Death at 14-28 Weeks of PregnancyGynuity, California, Illinois, Boston, New York.
Study type: Double blinded randomized trial, parallel assignment.
Aim: To establish the safety and effectiveness of two different doses of the prostaglandin E1 analogue misoprostol administered buccally as a treatment for fetal death at 14 - 28 weeks, inclusive, of pregnancy.

Effect of Colony Stimulating Factor on Poor Endometrial Development During IVF
Official Title: G-CSF and Endometrial Growth, Embryo Implantation and Pregnancy Following FET or Donor ET
The Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) is conducting a double-blind, randomized cross over trial to investigate the effect of G-CSF on endometrial thickness in women who have failed reaching minimal endometrial thickness by standard treatments. Outcome measures will include endometrial thickness (must be >7mm for transfer), implantation and pregnancy rates compared to control patients. The study will be conducted in women undergoing transfer of previously cryopreserved embryos or transfer of embryos from donor eggs. 

There are published studies on the use of Vitamin E (tocopherol), Pentoxyfilline, and Sildenafil in women with a thin endometrium (some of whom have a history of Asherman’s syndrome (1-4)). To my knowledge this is the first trial using G-CSF for this purpose.
For more information see:

Safety of Leaving Cook Balloon Uterine Stent in Uterus for One Month
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Shin-Kong Wu-Ho-Su Memorial Hospital in Taiwan is conducting an open label randomized controlled trial to investigate the feasibility of leaving an intrauterine Cook balloon in the uterus for 1 month. The experimental arm of the study will be fitted with a uterine Cook stent while the control will not. Both groups will have swabs taken for culture just before hysteroscopic adhesiolysis and 30 days later, during second look hysteroscopy to evaluate the outcome of surgery.

The practice of leaving a Cook Balloon stent in the uterus for this length of time is used by some Asherman’s syndrome specialists in cases of severe and recurrent intrauterine adhesions (personal communication). In the above study there is no mention of antibiotic use, however the specialists that use the Cook balloon or Foley catheter prescribe antibiotic prophylaxy during the entire therapy to prevent the potential infection. The results of the study will also reveal the effectiveness of the Cook balloon in preventing adhesion recurrence compared to no stent. Previously there was a study comparing the IUD (3 cycles) to the Foley catheter (10 days), however the method of ‘adhesiolysis’ was blind D&C, not dissection of adhesions under direct hysteroscopic view (5). As blind D&C is the most common cause of intrauterine adhesions, it is difficult to know if the previous findings are due to the barrier method used or to fortuitous variations in the success of ‘surgery’ which is carried out blindly.

For more information see:

SIGnificance of Routine Hysteroscopy Prior to a First 'in Vitro Fertilization'(IVF) Treatment Cycle (inSIGHT)
A multicenter single-blinded (caregiver) randomized intervention trial is being undertaken in the Netherlands to assess the cost effectiveness of screening women for intauterine abnormalities using hysteroscopy and SIS (saline infusion sonography) prior to fertility treatment (IVF/ICSI). If abnormalities are found (defined as the existence of a septum, endometrial polyp, submucous myoma, adhesions or endometritis) these will be treated on the spot, using scissors, Versapoint, grasping forceps, polypsnare or antibiotics. The primary outcome measure is cumulative ongoing pregnancy rate and live birth after randomization within 18 months of IVF/ICSI. Secondary outcome measures include cumulative implantation rates, miscarriage rates, and comparative cost calculations.

Studies have shown that minor intrauterine abnormalities can be found in 11-40% of infertile women with a normal tranvaginal sonography. Detection and treatment of these abnormalities by office hysteroscopy have led to a 9-13% increase in pregnancy rate. Therefore, it is increasingly advised to screen all infertile women on intracavitary pathology prior to the start of IVF/ICSI.

Note that women with recurrent miscarriage are excluded from the study, when it is known that women with uterine abnormalities (congenital or acquired) are at a risk of repeated pregnancy loss. This exclusion is perhaps added in order to eliminate women who have other causes of infertility that are not due to anatomical anomalies and which cannot be diagnosed and corrected via hysteroscopy. However, this possible bias could have been avoided by excluding women who tested positive for other conditions known to cause recurrent miscarriage. I also wonder how effective outcomes will be in the experimental arm if IVF/ICSI is commenced immediately after treatment, without assessing the state of the cavity (IUA often recur, and IUA are a common consequence of septum correction and myomectomy). Furthermore, would it not be possible to answer this clinical question by reviewing the prevalence of uterine abnormalities in infertile and subfertile women, the cumulative implantation, pregnancy and live birth rates following treatment of these conditions, and analyzing the costs versus benefits ratio? For example, if past studies have shown that more than 10% of infertile women have an intrauterine pathology, and 40% of these women have a live birth after treatment, is it not justified to perform a diagnostic hysteroscopy prior to IVF/ICSI?

For more information:

Note: There appears to be an error in the table describing the intervention and control arms of the study.


Patent Applications:
WO 2010/05/054068 A2 Cyclic adenosine monophosphates (cAMPs) for reducing the formation of adhesions. This world patent application claims the use of various derivatives of cAMPs for the reduction of adhesion formation for reducing inflammation or tissue damage after abdominal or pelvic surgery.
Jackson, EK. Cyclic adenosine monophosphates for reducing the formation of adhesions. 14 May 2010.
More info

In contrast to adhesion barriers, the invention would not involve placing a foreign body in the surgical cavity. Present adhesion barriers can cause immunological reactions. Also, the cyclic adenosine monophosphates are naturally-occuring substances and therefore should be quite safe. The cyclic adenosine monophosphates can be quickly and easily administered with a syringe. It can be used in minimally-invasive surgery, the future of surgery, and should be effective even if blood is in the surgical field. It is likely that the invention will be more efficacious than existing adhesion barriers.

Theoretically it could also be useful for intrauterine adhesions as many of the gel barriers used for pelvic surgery are also being used/trialled post adhesiolysis in Asherman’s syndrome treatment.So far there are only limited data on the efficacy of gel barriers in the treatment of Asherman’s syndrome (6-8). One of the difficulties of using gels is that they do not stay in a fixed position which is essential for them to be effective.

Granted Patents:
2005/0084,508 A61K Topical anesthesia formulation for bodily cavities
Innovators: Vancaillie, Thierry G; Hewitt, Alan Ernest
A topical anesthetic used for in-office hysteroscopy has recently been patented. The pH is adjusted to that of the body’s to optimize the effectiveness of the anesthetic.One of the inventors is an Asherman’s syndrome specialist. He has also developed a device for administering the anesthetic.
More info:

1. Acharya S, Yasmin E, & Balen AH. The use of a combination of pentoxifylline and tocopherol in women with a thin endometrium undergoing assisted conception therapies – a report of 20 cases Human Fertility, December 2009; 12(4): 198–203.
2. Batailles N, Oliviennes F, Lefaix JL, Chaouat G, Frydman R, Delanian S. Combined treatment by pentoxifylline and tocopherol for recipient women with a thin endometrium enrolled in an oocyte donation programme. Hum Rep 2002;17(5):1249-53.
3. Sher G, Fisch D. Effect of vaginal sildenafil on the outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF) after multiple IVF failures attributed to poor endometrial development. Fertil Steril. 2002 Nov;78(5):1073-6.
4. Zinger M, Liu Thomas JH, MA. Successful Use of Vaginal Sildenafil Citrate in Two Infertility Patients with Asherman’s Syndrome. JOURNAL OF WOMEN’S HEALTH 2006;15(4):,442-4.
5. Orhue AA, Aziken ME, Igbefoh JO. A comparison of two adjunctive treatments for intrauterine adhesions following lysis. Int J Gynaecol Obstet; 2003;82:49-56.
6. Abbott J, Thomson A, Vancaillie T. SprayGel following surgery for Asherman’s syndrome may improve pregnancy outcome. J Obstet Gynaecol 2004;24:710-1.
7. Acunzo G, Guida M, Pellicano M, Tommaselli GA, Di Spiezio Sardo A, Bifulco G, et al. Effectiveness of auto-cross-linked hyaluronic acid gel in the prevention of intrauterine adhesions after hysteroscopic adhesiolysis: a prospective, randomized, controlled study. Hum Reprod2003;18:1918-21.
8. Metwally M, Watson A, Lilford R, Vandekerckhove P. Fluid and pharmacological agents for adhesion prevention after gynaecological surgery. Cochrane Database Syst Rev2006;(2): CD001298. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001298.pub3.

Relevant links:
Understanding Clinical Trials