Introduction Feeding strategies are critical for healthy growth in preterm infants. Bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL), present in human milk, is important for fat digestion and absorption but is inactivated during pasteurization and absent in formula. This study evaluated if recombinant human BSSL (rhBSSL) improves growth in preterm infants when added to formula or pasteurized breast milk. Patients and Methods LAIF (Lipase Added to Infant Feeding) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study in infants born before 32 weeks of gestation. The primary efficacy variable was growth velocity (g/kg/day) during 4 weeks intervention. Follow-up visits were at 3 and 12 months. The study was performed at 54 centers in 10 European countries. Results In total 415 patients were randomized (rhBSSL n = 207, placebo n = 208), 410 patients were analyzed (rhBSSL n = 206, placebo n = 204) and 365 patients were followed until 12 months. Overall, there was no significantly improved growth velocity during rhBSSL treatment compared to placebo (16.77 vs. 16.56 g/kg/day, estimated difference 0.21 g/kg/day, 95% CI [-0.40; 0.83]), nor were secondary endpoints met. However, in a predefined subgroup, small for gestational age infants, there was a significant effect on growth in favor of rhBSSL during treatment. The incidence of adverse events was higher in the rhBSSL group during treatment. Conclusions Although this study did not meet its primary endpoint, except in a subgroup of infants small for gestational age, and there was an imbalance in short-term safety, these data provide insights in nutrition, growth and development in preterm infants.
2016. Vol. 11, no 5, e0156071