Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a key signaling molecule involved in migraine pathophysiology. Efficacy of CGRP monoclonal antibodies and antagonists in migraine treatment has fueled an increasing interest in the prospect of treating cluster headache (CH) with CGRP antagonism. The exact role of CGRP and its mechanism of action in CH have not been fully clarified. A search for original studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in English was performed in PubMed and in ClinicalTrials.gov. The search term used was “cluster headache and calcitonin gene related peptide” and “primary headaches and calcitonin gene related peptide.”
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a signaling neuropeptide released from activated trigeminal sensory afferents in headache and facial pain disorders. There are a handful of CGRP-targeted therapies currently in phase 3 studies for migraine acute treatment or prevention. Currently, 4 monoclonal antibodies targeting either the CGRP ligand or receptor are being studied for migraine prevention: ALD403 (eptinezumab), AMG 334 (erenumab), LY2951742 (galcanezumab), and TEV-48125 (fremanezumab).
Migraine is a highly disabling neurological pain disorder in which management is frequently problematic. Most abortive and preventative treatments employed are classically non-specific, and their efficacy and safety and tolerability are often unsatisfactory. Mechanism-based therapies are, therefore, needed. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is recognized as crucial in the pathophysiology of migraine, and new compounds that target the peptide have been increasingly explored in recent years. First tested were CGRP receptor antagonists; they proved effective in acute migraine treatment in several trials, but were discontinued due to liver toxicity in long-term administration.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a ubiquitous neuropeptide found at the very centers of the migraine process, both centrally and peripherally. It has been under careful study for approximately 25 years. Several CGRP-receptor antagonists are being evaluated for acute treatment of episodic migraine. Three monoclonal antibodies are being studied for prevention of episodic migraine, and 1 monoclonal antibody is being studied for prevention of chronic migraine. In this review, we discuss the role of CGRP in normal physiology and the consequences of CGRP inhibition for human homeostasis. We then review the current state of development for CGRP-receptor antagonists and CGRP monoclonal antibodies. We close by speculating on the potential clinical role of CGRP antagonism in the acute and preventive treatment of episodic and chronic migraine.
Therapeutic agents that block the calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP) signaling pathway are a highly anticipated and promising new drug class for migraine therapy, especially after reports that small-molecule CGRP-receptor antagonists are efficacious for both acute migraine treatment and migraine prevention. Using XenoMouse technology, we successfully generated AMG 334, a fully human monoclonal antibody against the CGRP receptor. Here we show that AMG 334 competes with [125I]-CGRP binding to the human CGRP receptor, with a Ki of 0.02 nM. AMG 334 fully inhibited CGRP-stimulated cAMP production with an IC50 of 2.3 nM in cell-based functional assays (human CGRP receptor) and was 5000-fold more selective for the CGRP receptor than other human calcitonin family receptors, including adrenomedullin, calcitonin, and amylin receptors.
Migraine is a highly prevalent headache disease that typically affects patients during their most productive years. Despite significant progress in understanding the underlying pathophysiology of this disorder, its treatment so far continues to depend on drugs that, in their majority, were not specifically designed for this purpose. The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) has been indicated as playing a critical role in the central and peripheral pathways leading to a migraine attack.
This article highlights the evidence behind the role of CGRP in migraine and the state of CGRP-based mechanism treatment development. We present a summary of the evidence base behind CGRP in migraine pathophysiology and the novel CGRP mechanism drugs and their potential future contribution to migraine management in our clinical practice.
Recently developed calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonistic molecules have shown promising results in clinical trials for acute treatment of migraine attacks. Drugs from the gepant class of CGRP receptor antagonists are effective and do not cause vasoconstriction, one of the major limitations in the use of triptans. However their use had to be discontinued because of risk of liver toxicity after continuous exposure. As an alternative approach to block CGRP transmission, fully humanized monoclonal antibodies towards CGRP and the CGRP receptor have been developed for treatment of chronic migraine (attacks >15 days/month). Initial results from phase I and II clinical trials have revealed promising results with minimal side effects and significant relief from chronic migraine as compared with placebo.