D3/Penta 21 clinical trial design: A randomised non-inferiority trial with nested drug licensing substudy to assess dolutegravir and lamivudine fixed dose formulations for the maintenance of virological suppression in children with HIV-1 infection, aged 2 to 15 years

D3 trial team

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BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in utilising two-drug regimens for HIV treatment with the goal of reducing toxicity and improve acceptability. The D3 trial evaluates the efficacy and safety of DTG/3TC in children and adolescents and includes a nested pharmacokinetics(PK) substudy for paediatric drug licensing.

METHODS: D3 is an ongoing open-label, phase III, 96-week non-inferiority randomised controlled trial(RCT) conducted in South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom. D3 has enrolled 386 children aged 2- < 15 years, virologically suppressed for ≥6 months, with no prior treatment failure. Participants were randomised 1:1 to receive DTG/3TC or DTG plus two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors(NRTIs), stratified by region, age (2- < 6, 6- < 12, 12- < 15 years) and DTG use at enrolment (participants permitted to start DTG at enrolment). The primary outcome is confirmed HIV-1 RNA viral rebound ≥50 copies/mL by 96-weeks. The trial employs the Smooth Away From Expected(SAFE) non-inferiority frontier, which specifies the non-inferiority margin and significance level based on the observed event risk in the control arm. The nested PK substudy evaluates WHO weight-band-aligned dosing in the DTG/3TC arm.

DISCUSSION: D3 is the first comparative trial evaluating DTG/3TC in children and adolescents. Implications of integrating a PK substudy and supplying data for prompt regulatory submission, were carefully considered to ensure the integrity of the ongoing trial. The trial uses an innovative non-inferiority frontier for the primary analysis to allow for a lower-than-expected confirmed viral rebound risk in the control arm, while ensuring interpretability of results and maintaining the planned sample size in an already funded trial.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Clinical Trial Number Register: ISRCTN17157458. European Clinical Trials Database: 2020-001426-57.


Original languageEnglish
Article number107540
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Early online date4 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2024

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