Ceftolozane-tazobactam versus meropenem for definitive treatment of bloodstream infection due to extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and AmpC-producing Enterobacterales («MERINO-3»): study protocol for a multicentre, open-label randomised non-inferiority trial

Trials. 2021 Apr 22;22(1):301. doi: 10.1186/s13063-021-05206-8.


BACKGROUND: Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and AmpC-producing Enterobacterales are common causes of bloodstream infection. ESBL-producing bacteria are typically resistant to third-generation cephalosporins and result in a sizeable economic and public health burden. AmpC-producing Enterobacterales may develop third-generation cephalosporin resistance through enzyme hyper-expression. In no observational study has the outcome of treatment of these infections been surpassed by carbapenems. Widespread use of carbapenems may drive the development of carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacilli.

METHODS: This study will use a multicentre, parallel group open-label non-inferiority trial design comparing ceftolozane-tazobactam and meropenem in adult patients with bloodstream infection caused by ESBL or AmpC-producing Enterobacterales. Trial recruitment will occur in up to 40 sites in six countries (Australia, Singapore, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon). The sample size is determined by a predefined quantity of ceftolozane-tazobactam to be supplied by Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (MSD). We anticipate that a trial with 600 patients contributing to the primary outcome analysis would have 80% power to declare non-inferiority with a 5% non-inferiority margin, assuming a 30-day mortality of 5% in both randomised groups. Once randomised, definitive treatment will be for a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 14 days with the total duration determined by treating clinicians. Data describing demographic information, risk factors, concomitant antibiotics, illness scores, microbiology, multidrug-resistant organism screening, discharge and mortality will be collected.

DISCUSSION: Participants will have bloodstream infection due to third-generation cephalosporin non-susceptible E. coli and Klebsiella spp. or Enterobacter spp., Citrobacter freundii, Morganella morganii, Providencia spp. or Serratia marcescens. They will be randomised 1:1 to ceftolozane-tazobactam 3 g versus meropenem 1 g, both every 8 h. Secondary outcomes will be a comparison of 14-day all-cause mortality, clinical and microbiological success at day 5, functional bacteraemia score, microbiological relapse, new bloodstream infection, length of hospital stay, serious adverse events, C. difficile infection, multidrug-resistant organism colonisation. The estimated trial completion date is December 2024.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The MERINO-3 trial is registered under the US National Institute of Health ClinicalTrials.gov register, reference number: NCT04238390 . Registered on 23 January 2020.

PMID:33888139 | PMC:PMC8060904 | DOI:10.1186/s13063-021-05206-8