Medical management and surgery versus medical management alone for symptomatic cerebral cavernous malformation (CARE): a feasibility study and randomised, open, pragmatic, pilot phase trial

CARE pilot trial collaboration, Rustam Al-Shahi Salman*, Laura Forsyth, Steff C. Lewis, James Loan, Aileen R Neilson , Jacqueline Stephen, Neil Kitchen, Kirsty Harkness, Peter J Hutchinson, Conor Mallucci, Julia Wade, Phillip White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Background
The highest priority uncertainty for people with symptomatic cerebral cavernous malformation is whether to have medical management and surgery or medical management alone. We conducted a pilot phase randomised controlled trial to assess the feasibility of addressing this uncertainty in a definitive trial.

Methods
The CARE pilot trial was a prospective, randomised, open-label, assessor-blinded, parallel-group trial at neuroscience centres in the UK and Ireland. We aimed to recruit 60 people of any age, sex, and ethnicity who had mental capacity, were resident in the UK or Ireland, and had a symptomatic cerebral cavernous malformation. Computerised, web-based randomisation assigned participants (1:1) to medical management and surgery (neurosurgical resection or stereotactic radiosurgery) or medical management alone, stratified by the neurosurgeon's and participant's consensus about the intended type of surgery before randomisation. Assignment was open to investigators, participants, and carers, but not clinical outcome event adjudicators. Feasibility outcomes included site engagement, recruitment, choice of surgical management, retention, adherence, data quality, clinical outcome event rate, and protocol implementation. The primary clinical outcome was symptomatic intracranial haemorrhage or new persistent or progressive non-haemorrhagic focal neurological deficit due to cerebral cavernous malformation or surgery during at least 6 months of follow-up. We analysed data from all randomly assigned participants according to assigned management. This trial is registered with ISRCTN (ISRCTN41647111) and has been completed.

Findings
Between Sept 27, 2021, and April 28, 2023, 28 (70%) of 40 sites took part, at which investigators screened 511 patients, of whom 322 (63%) were eligible, 202 were approached for recruitment, and 96 had collective uncertainty with their neurosurgeon about whether to have surgery for a symptomatic cerebral cavernous malformation. 72 (22%) of 322 eligible patients were randomly assigned (mean recruitment rate 0·2 [SD 0·25] participants per site per month) at a median of 287 (IQR 67–591) days since the most recent symptomatic presentation. Participants’ median age was 50·6 (IQR 38·6–59·2) years, 68 (94%) of 72 participants were adults, 41 (57%) were female, 66 (92%) were White, 56 (78%) had a previous intracranial haemorrhage, and 28 (39%) had a previous epileptic seizure. The intended type of surgery before randomisation was neurosurgical resection for 19 (26%) of 72, stereotactic radiosurgery for 44 (61%), and no preference for nine (13%). Baseline clinical and imaging data were complete for all participants. 36 participants were randomly assigned to medical management and surgery (12 to neurosurgical resection and 24 to stereotactic radiosurgery) and 36 to medical management alone. Three (4%) of 72 participants withdrew, one was lost to follow-up, and one declined face-to-face follow-up, leaving 67 (93%) retained at 6-months’ clinical follow-up. 61 (91%) of 67 participants with follow-up adhered to the assigned management strategy. The primary clinical outcome occurred in two (6%) of 33 participants randomly assigned to medical management and surgery (8·0%, 95% CI 2·0–32·1 per year) and in two (6%) of 34 participants randomly assigned to medical management alone (7·5%, 1·9–30·1 per year). Investigators reported no deaths, no serious adverse events, one protocol violation, and 61 protocol deviations.

Interpretation
This pilot phase trial exceeded its recruitment target, but a definitive trial will require extensive international engagement.

Funding
National Institute for Health and Care Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-576
Number of pages12
JournalLancet Neurology
Volume23
Issue number6
Early online date18 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

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