Effect of Androgen Suppression on Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized Men with COVID-19: The HITCH Randomized Clinical Trial

Nicholas G. Nickols, Zhibao Mi, Ellen Dematt, Kousick Biswas, Christina E. Clise, John T. Huggins, Spyridoula Maraka, Elena Ambrogini, Mehdi S. Mirsaeidi, Ellis R. Levin, Daniel J. Becker, Danil V. Makarov, Victor Adorno Febles, Pooja M. Belligund, Mohammad Al-Ajam, Muthiah P. Muthiah, Robert B. Montgomery, Kyle W. Robinson, Yu Ning Wong, Roger J. BedimoReina C. Villareal, Samuel M. Aguayo, Martin W. Schoen, Matthew B. Goetz, Christopher J. Graber, Debika Bhattacharya, Guy Soo Hoo, Greg Orshansky, Leslie E. Norman, Samantha Tran, Leila Ghayouri, Sonny Tsai, Michelle Geelhoed, Mathew B. Rettig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Importance: SARS-CoV-2 entry requires the TMPRSS2 cell surface protease. Antiandrogen therapies reduce expression of TMPRSS2. Objective: To determine if temporary androgen suppression induced by degarelix improves clinical outcomes of inpatients hospitalized with COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: The Hormonal Intervention for the Treatment in Veterans With COVID-19 Requiring Hospitalization (HITCH) phase 2, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial compared efficacy of degarelix plus standard care vs placebo plus standard care on clinical outcomes in men hospitalized with COVID-19 but not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. Inpatients were enrolled at 14 Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals from July 22, 2020, to April 8, 2021. Data were analyzed from August 9 to October 15, 2021. Interventions: Patients stratified by age, history of hypertension, and disease severity were centrally randomized 2:1 to degarelix, (1-time subcutaneous dose of 240 mg) or a saline placebo. Standard care included but was not limited to supplemental oxygen, antibiotics, vasopressor support, peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, intravenous fluids, remdesivir, convalescent plasma, and dexamethasone. Main Outcomes and Measures: The composite primary end point was mortality, ongoing need for hospitalization, or requirement for mechanical ventilation at day 15 after randomization. Secondary end points were time to clinical improvement, inpatient mortality, length of hospitalization, duration of mechanical ventilation, time to achieve a temperature within reference range, maximum severity of COVID-19, and the composite end point at 30 days. Results: The trial was stopped for futility after the planned interim analysis, at which time there were 96 evaluable patients, including 62 patients randomized to the degarelix group and 34 patients in the placebo group, out of 198 initially planned. The median (range) age was 70.5 (48-85) years. Common comorbidities included chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (15 patients [15.6%]), hypertension (75 patients [78.1%]), cardiovascular disease (27 patients [28.1%]), asthma (12 patients [12.5%]), diabetes (49 patients [51.0%]), and chronic respiratory failure requiring supplemental oxygen at baseline prior to COVID-19 (9 patients [9.4%]). For the primary end point, there was no significant difference between the degarelix and placebo groups (19 patients [30.6%] vs 9 patients [26.5%]; P =.67). Similarly, no differences were observed between degarelix and placebo groups in any secondary end points, including inpatient mortality (11 patients [17.7%] vs 6 patients [17.6%]) or all-cause mortality (11 patients [17.7%] vs 7 patents [20.6%]). There were no differences between degarelix and placebo groups in the overall rates of adverse events (13 patients [21.0%] vs 8 patients [23.5%) and serious adverse events (19 patients [30.6%] vs 13 patients [32.4%]), nor unexpected safety concerns. Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial of androgen suppression vs placebo and usual care for men hospitalized with COVID-19, degarelix did not result in amelioration of COVID-19 severity. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04397718.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E227852
JournalJAMA Network Open
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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