Biological and functional changes in healthy adult smokers who are continuously abstinent from smoking for one year: Protocol for a prospective, observational, multicenter cohort study


Authored by  CT Tran, Loyse Felber Medlin , N Lama, BV Taranu, W Teck Ng, C Haziza, P Picavet, G Baker, F L├╝dicke

Published in JMIR Research Protocols    

Abstract

Background
The harm of smoking results mainly from long-term exposure to harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) generated by tobacco combustion. Smoking cessation (SC) engenders favorable changes of clinical signs, pathomechanisms, and metabolic processes that together could reduce the harm of smoking-related diseases to a relative risk level approximating that of never-smokers over time. In most SC studies, the main focus is on the quitting rate of the SC program being tested. As there is limited information in the literature on short to multiple long-term functional or biological changes following SC, more data on short to mid-term favorable impacts of SC are needed.

Objective
The overall aim of the study was to assess the reversibility of the harm related to smoking over 1 year of continuous smoking abstinence (SA). This has been verified by assessing a set of biomarkers of exposure to HPHCs and a set of biomarkers of effect indicative of multiple pathophysiological pathways underlying the development of smoking-related diseases.

Methods
This multiregional (United States, Japan, and Europe), multicenter (42 sites) cohort study consisting of a 1-year SA period in an ambulatory setting was conducted from May 2015 to May 2017. A total of 1184 male and female adult healthy smokers, willing to quit smoking, were enrolled in the study. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was provided for up to 3 months upon the subject’s request. SC counseling and behavioral support were continuously provided. Biomarkers of exposure to HPHCs and biomarkers of effect were assessed in urine and blood at baseline, Month 3, Month 6, and Month 12. Cardiovascular biomarkers of effect included parameters reflecting inflammation (white blood cell), lipid metabolism (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), endothelial function (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1), platelet function (11-dehydrothromboxane B2), oxidative stress (8-epi-prostaglandin F2 alpha), and carbon monoxide exposure (carboxyhemoglobin). Respiratory biomarkers of effect included lung function parameters and cough symptoms. The biomarkers of effect to evaluate genotoxicity (total 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol) and xenobiotic metabolism (cytochrome P450 2A6 activity) were also assessed. Continuous SA was verified at each visit following the actual quit date using self-reporting and chemical verification. Safety assessments included adverse events and serious adverse events, body weight, vital signs, spirometry, electrocardiogram, clinical chemistry, hematology and urine analysis safety panel, physical examination, and concomitant medications.

Results
In total, 1184 subjects (50.1% male) were enrolled; 30% of them quit smoking successfully for 1 year. Data analyses of the study results are ongoing and will be published after study completion.

Conclusions
This study provides insights into biological and functional changes and health effects, after continuous SA over 1 year. Study results will be instrumental in assessing novel alternative products to cigarettes considered for tobacco harm reduction strategies.