Riociguat for the treatment of Phe508del homozygous adults with cystic fibrosis

on behalf of the Rio-CF Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Riociguat is a first-in-class soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator for which preclinical data suggested improvements in cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) function. Methods: This international, multicenter, two-part, Phase II study of riociguat enrolled adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) homozygous for Phe508del CFTR. Part 1 was a 28-day, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in participants not receiving CFTR modulator therapy. Twenty-one participants were randomized 1:2 to placebo or oral riociguat (0.5 mg three times daily [tid] for 14 days, increased to 1.0 mg tid for the subsequent 14 days). The primary and secondary efficacy endpoints were change in sweat chloride concentration and percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (ppFEV1), respectively, from baseline to Day 14 and Day 28 with riociguat compared with placebo. Results: Riociguat did not alter CFTR activity (change in sweat chloride) or lung function (change in ppFEV1) at doses up to 1.0 mg tid after 28 days. The most common drug-related adverse event (AE) was headache occurring in three participants (21%); serious AEs occurred in one participant receiving riociguat (7%) and one participant receiving placebo (14%). This safety profile was consistent with the underlying disease and the known safety of riociguat for its approved indications. Conclusions: The Rio-CF study was terminated due to lack of efficacy and the changing landscape of CF therapeutic development. The current study⁠, within its limits of a small sample size, did not provide evidence that riociguat could be a valid treatment option for CF. Clinical trial registration number: NCT02170025.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1025
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Phe508del
  • Riociguat


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