Dolutegravir plus lamivudine versus dolutegravir plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine in antiretroviral-naive adults with HIV-1 infection (GEMINI-1 and GEMINI-2): week 48 results from two multicentre, double-blind, randomised, non-inferiority, phase 3 trials1

Pedro Cahn, Juan Sierra Madero, José Ramón Arribas, Andrea Antinori, Roberto Ortiz, Amanda E Clarke, Chien-Ching Hung, Jürgen K Rockstroh, Pierre-Marie Girard, Jörg Sievers, Choy Man, Alexander Currie, Mark Underwood, Allan R Tenorio, Keith Pappa, Brian Wynne, Anna Fettiplace, Martin Gartland, Michael Aboud, Kimberly Smith, and the GEMINI Study Team

Background Effective two-drug regimens could decrease long-term drug exposure and toxicity with HIV-1 antiretroviral therapy (ART). We therefore aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a two-drug regimen compared with a three-drug region for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in ART-naive adults

Methods We conducted two identically designed, multicentre, double-blind, randomised, non-inferiority, phase 3 trials: GEMINI-1 and GEMINI-2. Both studies were done at 192 centres in 21 countries. We included participants (≥18 years) with HIV-1 infection and a screening HIV-1 RNA of 500 000 copies per mL or less, and who were naive to ART. We randomly assigned participants (1:1) to receive a once-daily two-drug regimen of dolutegravir (50 mg) plus lamivudine (300 mg) or a once-daily three-drug regimen of dolutegravir (50 mg) plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (300 mg) and emtricitabine (200 mg). Both regimen drugs were administered orally. We masked participants and investigators to treatment assignment: dolutegravir was administered as single-entity tablets (similar to its commercial formulation, except with a different film colour), and lamivudine tablets and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine tablets were over-encapsulated to visually match each other. Primary endpoint was the proportion of participants with HIV-1 RNA of less than 50 copies per mL at week 48 in the intention-to-treat-exposed population, using the Snapshot algorithm and a non-inferiority margin of –10%. Safety analyses were done on the safety population. GEMINI-1 and GEMINI-2 are registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT02831673 and NCT02831764, respectively.

Findings Between July 18, 2016, and March 31, 2017, 1441 participants across both studies were randomly assigned to receive either the two-drug regimen (n=719) or three-drug regimen (n=722). At week 48 in the GEMINI-1 intention-to-treat-exposed population, 320 (90%) of 356 participants receiving the two-drug regimen and 332 (93%) of 358 receiving the three-drug regimen achieved plasma HIV-1 RNA of less than 50 copies per mL (adjusted treatment difference − 2·6%, 95% CI −6·7 to 1·5); in GEMINI-2, 335 (93%) of 360 in the two-drug regimen and 337 (94%) of 359 in the three-drug regimen achieved HIV-1 RNA of less than 50 copies per mL (adjusted treatment difference −0·7%, 95% CI − 4·3 to 2·9), showing non-inferiority at a –10% margin in both studies (pooled analysis: 655 [91%] of 716 in the two-drug regimen vs 669 [93%] of 717 in the three-drug regimen; adjusted treatment difference −1·7%, 95% CI − 4·4 to 1·1). Numerically, more drug-related adverse events occurred with the three-drug regimen than with the two-drug regimen (169 [24%] of 717 vs 126 [18%] of 716); few participants discontinued because of adverse events (16 [2%] in the three-drug regimen and 15 [2%] in the two-drug regimen). Two deaths were reported in the two-drug regimen group of GEMINI-2, but neither was considered to be related to the study medication.

Interpretation The non-inferior efficacy and similar tolerability profile of dolutegravir plus lamivudine to a guideline-recommended three-drug regimen at 48 weeks in ART-naive adults supports its use as initial therapy for patients with HIV-1 infection.

Funding ViiV Healthcare.

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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