Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Atorvastatin to Reduce Inflammation After Tuberculosis Treatment Completion in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Adults Measured by FDG-PET/CT (StatinTB)

  • End date
    Jun 30, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Cape Town
Updated on 29 October 2022


This is a proof-of-concept phase IIB, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 40 mg atorvastatin to reduce persistent lung inflammation after successful TB treatment completion in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults measured by PET/CT.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes 1.8 million deaths annually. Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) with recurrent TB rates between 3-5% after treatment completion accounting for 10-30% of all cases within some TB control programs. Multiple risk factors have been identified to cause recurrent diseases. A recent study has identified persistent lesion activity by 18F-fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography (PET/CT) suggesting ongoing inflammation and Mtb mRNA suggesting ongoing infection after cure. The presence of inflammation and mRNA implies that current curative treatment options for pulmonary TB may not eradicate Mtb in most patients and more potent treatment options including host-directed therapy (HDT) to sterilize during or after TB treatment is required.

Mtb accumulates host cholesterol ester in foamy macrophages and utilizes cholesterol for its persistence within macrophages. Statins lower cholesterol in cardiovascular diseases through inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-controlling enzyme of the mevalonate pathway. In addition, statins also have broad-range immune-modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

As previously reported in pre-clinical models that statins reduced Mtb burden by enhancing autophagy, phagosomal maturation and decreasing pulmonary pathology, suggesting a role for statins as HDT in TB. Others reported that statins as adjunctive therapy reduced the time for TB cure and decreased lung pathology in mice. A recent population-based study consisting of 1 million people reported that statin treatment was associated with a decreased risk of active TB.

This protocol builds upon successful studies suggesting that directly monitoring lung pathology using PET/CT correlates better with treatment outcome than culture and persistent inflammation measured by PET/CT is present after tuberculosis cure in most patients.

The investigators propose a proof-of-concept phase IIB, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of 40 mg atorvastatin per os daily to reduce persistent inflammation after TB treatment completion in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults measured by PET/CT.

If successful, this trial has proven that statins as HDT can be safe and effective adjunctive therapy to TB treatment in general and further efficacy trials can be undertaken to translate the results of this trial into reduced TB relapse rate and reduced post-TB chronic lung disease, thus decreased long-term TB-related morbidity.

The investigators hypothesize that 12 weeks of 40 mg atorvastatin therapy per os initiated at the end of successful TB treatment in HIV infected and HIV-uninfected participants will significantly reduce persistent lung inflammation on PET/CT scan.

Primary objective To compare persistent lung inflammation measured by total lung glycolysis (TLG) on PET/CT after 12 weeks of 40 mg atorvastatin therapy and placebo.

Condition Tuberculosis, Pulmonary
Treatment Placebo Oral Tablet, Atorvastatin 40mg
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04147286
SponsorUniversity of Cape Town
Last Modified on29 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Has completed the written informed consent process prior to undergoing any pre-screening or screening evaluations and willing to undergo HIV testing
Age 18 to 65 years with body weight from 50 kg to 90 kg
Clinical response to TB treatment and sputum culture negative at week 16
Completed a 24-week course of standard TB treatment (4RHZE/2RH)
Defined as "cured" by the TB Control Program of South Africa
Laboratory parameters within 30 days before enrolment
For HIV-infected participants: receiving antiretroviral therapy for at least 12 weeks and suppressed HIV viral load within 30 days prior to enrolment
For HIV-infected participants: CD4 counts above 350 cells/µL within 30 days prior to enrolment
AST and ALT <3x upper limit of normal (ULN)
Creatinine <2x ULN
Hemoglobin >7.0 g/dL
Platelet count >50 x109 cells/L
Creatinine kinase <2x ULN
Able and willing to return to follow-up
Willing to have samples, including DNA, stored
Willing to consistently practice a highly reliable method of pregnancy prevention

Exclusion Criteria

Acute illness
Fever (temperature >38.0 degrees centigrade)
Participant receiving any type of lipid lowering agent at the time of screening, within three months prior to screening or likely to require any lipid lowering agent in the near future
Known allergy or contraindications to the investigational drug or any other statins
Evidence of drug-resistant TB
Extrapulmonary TB, including pleural TB and/or large pleural effusion
Diabetes as defined by point of care HbA1c≥6.5, random glucose≥200mg/dL (or 11.1mmol/L), fasting plasma glucose≥126mg/dL (or 7.0mmol/L), or the presence of any anti-diabetic agent (including traditional medicines) as a concomitant medicine
Pregnant or desiring/trying to become pregnant in the next 6 months
Unable to take oral medications
Disease complications or concomitant illnesses that may compromise safety or interpretation of trial endpoints, such as known diagnosis of chronic inflammatory condition (e.g. sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disorder)
Use of immunosuppressive medications, such as TNF-alpha inhibitors or systemic or inhaled corticosteroids, within the past 2 weeks
Use of any investigational drug in the previous 3 months
Alcohol and substance abuse which might interfere with medication adherence during the trial
Any person for whom the physician feels this study is not appropriate
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