Biomarkers for response in major depression: comparing paroxetine and venlafaxine from two randomised placebo-controlled clinical studies

Translational Psychiatry
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Carboni L, McCarthy DJ, Delafont B, Filosi M, Ivanchenko E, Ratti E, Learned SM, Alexander R and Domenici E.

Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 2;9(1):182. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0521-7.

Abstract

The identification of biomarkers of response might speed drug development and set the premises to assist clinical practice in psychiatry. In this work, we evaluated a panel of peripheral biomarkers (including IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, TNFRII, BDNF, CRP, MMP9 and PAI1) in depressed patients receiving paroxetine, venlafaxine, or placebo. Samples were obtained from two randomised placebo-controlled studies evaluating the efficacy and tolerability of a novel drug candidate, using either paroxetine or venlafaxine as active comparators. In both studies, the biomarker candidates were analysed in plasma collected at randomization and after 10 weeks of treatment with either placebo or active comparator (for a total of 106 and 108 subjects in the paroxetine and venlafaxine study, respectively). Data were obtained by multiplexing sandwich-ELISA system. Data were subjected to statistical analysis to assess their correlation with baseline severity and with responseoutcome. Increases in biomarker levels were correlated with reduction in depression severity for TNF-α, IL-6 IL-10 and CRP. Response to paroxetine treatment correlated with baseline IL-10, IL-6 and TNF-α levels, with the strongest signal being observed in males. In the venlafaxine study, a correlation was observed only between CRP level at randomisation and response, suggesting differences between the two active treatments and the two studies. Our investigations suggest that a combination of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines may predict response outcome in patients treated with paroxetine. The potential for IL-10, IL-6 and TNF-α as response biomarkers for a wider range of antidepressants warrants further investigations in clinical trials with other monoamine reuptake inhibitors.