Publications by authors named "Hagop M Kantarjian"

675 Publications

The cure of leukemia through the optimist's prism.

Cancer 2021 Oct 6. Epub 2021 Oct 6.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Progress is occurring at a dizzying rate across all leukemias. Since the authors' review of the topic in Cancer in 2018, numerous discoveries have been made that have improved the therapy and outcomes of several leukemia subsets. Hairy cell leukemia is potentially curable with a single course of cladribine followed by rituximab (10-year survival, ≥90%). Acute promyelocytic leukemia is curable at a rate of 80% to 90% with a nonchemotherapy regimen of all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide. The cure rate for core-binding factor acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is ≥75% with fludarabine, high-dose cytarabine, and gemtuzumab ozogamicin. Survival for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia is close to that for an age-matched normal population with BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a previously incurable disease, may now be potentially curable with a finite duration of therapy with Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors and venetoclax. The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) exceeds 70% with intensive chemotherapy and ponatinib, a third-generation BCR-ABL1 TKI, and more recent nonchemotherapy regimens using dasatinib or ponatinib with blinatumomab are producing outstanding results. Survival in both younger and older patients with ALL has improved with the addition of antibodies targeting CD20, CD19 (blinatumomab), and CD22 (inotuzumab) to chemotherapy. Several recent drug discoveries (venetoclax, FLT3 and IDH inhibitors, and oral hypomethylating agents) are also improving outcomes for younger and older patients with AML and for those with higher risk myelodysplastic syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33933DOI Listing
October 2021

Predictors of outcomes in adults with acute myeloid leukemia and KMT2A rearrangements.

Blood Cancer J 2021 Sep 29;11(9):162. Epub 2021 Sep 29.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, Houston, USA.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with rearrangement of the lysine methyltransferase 2a gene (KMT2Ar) has adverse outcomes. However, reports on the prognostic impact of various translocations causing KMT2Ar are conflicting. Less is known about associated mutations and their prognostic impact. In a retrospective analysis, we identified 172 adult patients with KMT2Ar AML and compared them to 522 age-matched patients with diploid AML. KMT2Ar AML had fewer mutations, most commonly affecting RAS and FLT3 without significant impact on prognosis, except for patients with ≥2 mutations with lower overall survival (OS). KMT2Ar AML had worse outcomes compared with diploid AML when newly diagnosed and at relapse, especially following second salvage (median OS of 2.4 vs 4.8 months, P < 0.0001). Therapy-related KMT2Ar AML (t-AML) had worse outcomes compared with de novo KMT2Ar AML (median OS of 0.7 years vs 1.4 years, P < 0.0001). Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT) in first remission was associated with improved OS (5-year, 52 vs 14% for no allo-HSCT, P < 0.0001). In a multivariate analysis, translocation subtypes causing KMT2Ar did not predict survival, unlike age and allo-HSCT. In conclusion, KMT2Ar was associated with adverse outcomes regardless of translocation subtype. Therefore, AML risk stratification guidelines should include all KMT2Ar as adverse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41408-021-00557-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8481264PMC
September 2021

Outcomes of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with KMT2A (MLL) rearrangement - The MD Anderson Experience.

Blood Adv 2021 Sep 15. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with t(4;11)(q21;q23) - KMT2A-AFF1 is associated with a poor prognosis. The impact of KMT2A rearrangements other than t(4;11) is uncertain and the benefit of allogeneic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is unclear. We reviewed adult patients with ALL treated at our institution from 1984 to 2019 and identified 50/1102 (5%) with KMT2A rearrangement: 42 (84%) with t(4;11)/KMT2A-AFF1 and 8 (16%) with other gene partners. The median age was 45 years old (range, 18 - 78 years); median white blood cell count was 109.0 x 109/L (range, 0.5 - 1573.0). The complete remission (CR) rate was 88% and the rate of measurable residual disease negativity by flow cytometry at CR was 41% (76% overall during follow-up). At the last follow-up, 14 patients were alive. The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate was 18% (95% CI, 9 - 35%) with no difference between t(4;11) and other KMT2A rearrangements (p=0.87). In a 4-month landmark analysis, the 5-year OS rate was 32% (95% CI, 14 - 70%) in patients who underwent HSCT versus 11% (95% CI, 3 - 39) in others (p=0.10). Our study confirms the poor prognosis of ALL with any KMT2A rearrangement and the role of HSCT in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004580DOI Listing
September 2021

Ibrutinib induces durable remissions in treatment-naïve patients with CLL and 17p deletion/TP53 mutations.

Blood 2021 Sep 14. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States.

Ibrutinib, the first-in class Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, has become a preferred treatment for patients with CLL, based on improved progression free and overall survival (PFS, OS) when compared to previous standard chemo-(+/-) immunotherapy regimen, in the frontline and relapsed disease settings. However, patients with 17p deletion and/or TP53 mutations were excluded from several of the pivotal CLL frontline therapy trials, and therefore there are limited data about the outcome with ibrutinib in this group of high-risk patients. Here, we report the long-term outcome of 27 patients with CLL treatment naïve with 17p deletion and/or TP53 mutation treated with ibrutinib alone or in combination with rituximab on a Phase-2 clinical study. After a median follow-up of 70 months, median PFS and OS were not reached, and the estimated 6-year PFS and OS were 60% and 79%, respectively. These data corroborate that ibrutinib therapy, induces durable remissions in patients with 17p deletion and/or TP53 mutations, and suggest that BTK inhibitor therapy should be a preferred treatment for these patients outside of clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021012315DOI Listing
September 2021

Results of a randomized phase 3 study of oral sapacitabine in elderly patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (SEAMLESS).

Cancer 2021 Aug 23. Epub 2021 Aug 23.

Cyclacel Limited, Dundee, United Kingdom.

Background: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is fatal in elderly patients who are unfit for standard induction chemotherapy. The objective of this study was to evaluate the survival benefit of administering sapacitabine, an oral nucleoside analogue, in alternating cycles with decitabine, a low-intensity therapy, to elderly patients with newly diagnosed AML.

Methods: This randomized, open-label, phase 3 study (SEAMLESS) was conducted at 87 sites in 11 countries. Patients aged ≥70 years who were not candidates for or chose not to receive standard induction chemotherapy were randomized 1:1 to arm A (decitabine in alternating cycles with sapacitabine) received 1-hour intravenous infusions of decitabine 20 mg/m once daily for 5 consecutive days every 8 weeks (first cycle and subsequent odd cycles) and sapacitabine 300 mg twice daily on 3 consecutive days per week for 2 weeks every 8 weeks (second cycle and subsequent even cycles) or to control arm C who received 1-hour infusions of decitabine 20 mg/m once daily for 5 consecutive days every 4 weeks. Prior hypomethylating agent therapy for preexisting myelodysplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative neoplasms was an exclusion criterion. Randomization was stratified by antecedent myelodysplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative neoplasms, white blood cell count (<10 × 10 /L and ≥10 × 10 /L), and bone marrow blast percentage (≥50% vs <50%). The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points were the rates of complete remission (CR), CR with incomplete platelet count recovery, partial remission, hematologic improvement, and stable disease along with the corresponding durations, transfusion requirements, number of hospitalized days, and 1-year survival. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01303796).

Results: Between October 2011 and December 2014, 482 patients were enrolled and randomized to receive decitabine administered in alternating cycles with sapacitabine (study arm, n = 241) or decitabine monotherapy (control arm, n = 241). The median OS was 5.9 months on the study arm versus 5.7 months on the control arm (P = .8902). The CR rate was 16.6% on the study arm and 10.8% on the control arm (P = .1468). In patients with white blood cell counts <10 × 10 /L (n = 321), the median OS was higher on the study arm versus the control arm (8.0 vs 5.8 months; P = .145), as was the CR rate (21.5% vs 8.6%; P = .0017).

Conclusions: The regimen of decitabine administered in alternating cycles with sapacitabine was active but did not significantly improve OS compared with decitabine monotherapy. Subgroup analyses suggest that patients with baseline white blood cell counts <10 × 10 /L might benefit from decitabine alternating with sapacitabine, with an improved CR rate and the convenience of an oral drug. These findings should be prospectively confirmed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33828DOI Listing
August 2021

Ten-day decitabine with venetoclax versus intensive chemotherapy in relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia: A propensity score-matched analysis.

Cancer 2021 Aug 3. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Relapsed/refractory (R/R) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has poor outcomes. Although lower-intensity venetoclax-containing regimens are standard for older/unfit patients with newly diagnosed AML, it is unknown how such regimens compare with intensive chemotherapy (IC) for R/R AML.

Methods: Outcomes of R/R AML treated with 10-day decitabine and venetoclax (DEC10-VEN) were compared with IC-based regimens including idarubicin with cytarabine, with or without cladribine, clofarabine, or fludarabine, with or without additional agents. Propensity scores derived from patient baseline characteristics were used to match DEC10-VEN and IC patients to minimize bias.

Results: Sixty-five patients in the DEC10-VEN cohort were matched to 130 IC recipients. The median ages for the DEC10-VEN and IC groups were 64 and 58 years, respectively, and baseline characteristics were balanced between the 2 cohorts. DEC10-VEN conferred significantly higher responses compared with IC including higher overall response rate (60% vs 36%; odds ratio [OR], 3.28; P < .001), complete remission with incomplete hematologic recovery (CRi, 19% vs 6%; OR, 3.56; P = .012), minimal residual disease negativity by flow cytometry (28% vs 13%; OR, 2.48; P = .017), and lower rates of refractory disease. DEC10-VEN led to significantly longer median event-free survival compared with IC (5.7 vs 1.5 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30-0.70; P < .001), as well as median overall survival (OS; 6.8 vs 4.7 months; HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.37-0.86; P = .008). DEC10-VEN was independently associated with improved OS compared with IC in multivariate analysis. Exploratory analysis for OS in 27 subgroups showed that DEC10-VEN was comparable with IC as salvage therapy for R/R AML.

Conclusion: DEC10-VEN represents an appropriate salvage therapy and may offer better responses and survival compared with IC in adults with R/R AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33814DOI Listing
August 2021

Phase II study of azacitidine with pembrolizumab in patients with intermediate-1 or higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome.

Br J Haematol 2021 Aug 2. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is upregulated in cluster of differentiation 34 (CD34) bone marrow cells from patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Hypomethylating agent (HMA) treatment results in further increased expression of these immune checkpoints. We hypothesised that combining an anti-PD-1 antibody with HMAs may have efficacy in patients with MDS. To test this concept, we designed a phase II trial of the combination of azacitidine and pembrolizumab with two cohorts. In the 17 previously untreated patients, the overall response rate (ORR) was 76%, with a complete response (CR) rate of 18% and median overall survival (mOS) not reached after a median follow-up of 12·8 months. For the HMA-failure cohort (n = 20), the ORR was 25% and CR rate was 5%; with a median follow-up of 6·0 months, the mOS was 5·8 months. The most observed toxicities were pneumonia (32%), arthralgias (24%) and constipation (24%). Immune-related adverse events requiring corticosteroids were required in 43%. Overall, this phase II trial suggests that azacitidine and pembrolizumab is safe with manageable toxicities in patients with higher-risk MDS. This combined therapy may have anti-tumour activity in a subset of patients and merits further studies in the front-line setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17689DOI Listing
August 2021

Venetoclax plus intensive chemotherapy with cladribine, idarubicin, and cytarabine in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome: a cohort from a single-centre, single-arm, phase 2 trial.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Aug;8(8):e552-e561

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Addition of the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax to lower intensity therapy has been shown to improve overall survival in older (aged 75 years or older) and unfit patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the activity of venetoclax combined with intensive chemotherapy in patients aged 65 years or younger with acute myeloid leukaemia.

Methods: This cohort study was done at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the USA, as part of the single-centre, single arm, phase 2, CLIA trial. Here we report on the independent cohort investigating the safety and activity of venetoclax added to intensive chemotherapy (the CLIA regimen [cladribine, high-dose cytarabine, idarubicin]). Eligible patients were aged 18-65 years with a new diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia, mixed phenotype acute leukaemia, or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (≥10% blasts or International Prognostic Scoring System ≥2 [intermediate]), who received no previous potentially curative therapy for leukaemia. Patients received cladribine (5 mg/m) and cytarabine (1·5 g/m for patients aged <60 years, 1 g/m for patients aged ≥60 years) intravenously on days 1-5 and idarubicin (10 mg/m) intravenously on days 1-3. Consolidation was cladribine (5 mg/m) and cytarabine (1 g/m for patients aged <60 years and 0·75 g/m for patients aged ≥60 years) on days 1-3 and idarubicin (8 mg/m) on days 1-2. Venetoclax (400 mg) was given on days 2-8 with each course. Patients with a known FLT3-ITD or FLT3-TKD mutation received midostaurin or gilteritinib. The primary outcome was composite complete response (complete response plus complete response with incomplete blood count recovery). Secondary outcomes were overall response, duration of response, event-free survival, overall survival, and safety. This trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02115295.

Findings: Between Feb 25, 2019, and March 23, 2021, 77 patients were assessed for eligibility, 50 of whom were enrolled. Median age was 48 years (IQR 37-56). 47 (94% [95% CI 83-98]) patients had composite complete response, with the same proportion also having an overall response; two (4% [1-14]) patients did not respond, and one (2% [0-11]) patient died during induction. 37 (82% [95% CI 68-92]) of 45 patients had undetectable measurable residual disease (MRD). At a median follow-up of 13·5 months (IQR 6·4-19·5), the median duration of response, event-free survival, and overall survival were not reached. At 12 months, the estimated duration of response was 74% (95% CI 60-92), event-free survival was 68% (54-85), and overall survival was 85% (75-97). The most common adverse events of grade 3 or worse were febrile neutropenia (42 [84%] patients), infection (six [12%]), and alanine aminotransferase elevations (six [12%]). There was one death during induction in a patient treated with CLIA-venetoclax plus a FLT3 inhibitor. Two patients died of infectious complications while in complete response in consolidation cycles, both of whom had FLT3-mutated acute myeloid leukaemia and were receiving combined therapy with a FLT3 inhibitor. No deaths were deemed to be treatment related.

Interpretation: Venetoclax added to CLIA was safe and active in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, producing high rates of durable MRD-negative remissions and encouraging event-free survival and overall survival.

Funding: MD Anderson Cancer Center.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(21)00192-7DOI Listing
August 2021

Outcomes of TP53-mutant acute myeloid leukemia with decitabine and venetoclax.

Cancer 2021 Oct 13;127(20):3772-3781. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: TP53 mutation (TP53 ) confers an adverse prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Venetoclax with hypomethylating agents is a current standard for older patients; however, recent reports suggest that TP53 confers resistance to venetoclax. The authors investigated the outcomes of patients with TP53 AML who were treated with a 10-day decitabine and venetoclax (DEC10-VEN) (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT03404193).

Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed AML received decitabine 20 mg/m for 10 days every 4 to 6 weeks for induction, followed by decitabine for 5 days after response. The venetoclax dose was 400 mg daily. TP53 was identified in bone marrow samples using next-generation sequencing, with sensitivity of 5%. Outcomes were analyzed according to European LeukemiaNet 2017 guidelines.

Results: Among 118 patients (median age, 72 years; age range, 49-89 years), 63 (53%) had secondary AML, 39 (33%) had AML with complex karyotype, and 35 (30%) had TP53 AML. The median TP53 variant allele frequency was 32% (interquartile range, 16%-65%), 8 patients (23%) had only a single TP53 mutation, 15 (43%) had multiple mutations, and 12 (34%) had mutation and deletion. Outcomes were significantly worse in patients who had TP53 AML compared with those who had wild-type TP53 AML, with an overall response rate of 66% vs 89% (P = .002), a complete response/complete response with incomplete hematologic recovery rate of 57% vs 77% (P = .029), and a 60-day mortality of 26% vs 4% (P < .001), respectively. Patients with TP53 versus wild-type TP53 had shorter overall survival at 5.2 versus 19.4 months, respectively (hazard ratio, 4.67; 95% CI, 2.44-8.93; P < .0001), and shorter relapse-free survival at 3.4 versus 18.9 months (hazard ratio, 4.80; 95% CI, 1.97-11.69; P < .0001), respectively. Outcomes with DEC10-VEN in patients with TP53 AML were comparable to historical results with 10-day decitabine alone.

Conclusions: Patients with TP53 AML have lower response rates and shorter survival with DEC10-VEN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33689DOI Listing
October 2021

Outcomes in patients with newly diagnosed TP53-mutated acute myeloid leukemia with or without venetoclax-based therapy.

Cancer 2021 Oct 28;127(19):3541-3551. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Venetoclax (VEN) in combination with a hypomethylating agent (HMA) has become the standard of care for patients aged >75 years and for those not eligible for intensive chemotherapy who have newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The benefit of VEN-based therapy in patients who have newly diagnosed AML with mutations in the TP53 gene (TP53 ) over standard therapy is undefined.

Methods: In this single-institutional, retrospective analysis, the authors assessed the clinical outcomes of 238 patients with newly diagnosed TP53 AML and compared the clinical characteristics, response to different therapies, and outcomes of those who received VEN-based (n = 58) and non-VEN-based (n = 180) regimens.

Results: Patients who received VEN-based regimens were older (aged >65 years: 81% vs 65%; P = .02) and had higher response rates (complete remission, 43% vs 32%; P = .06) than those who received non-VEN-based regimens. Compared with patients who received non-VEN-based regimens, no difference in overall survival (median, 6.6 vs 5.7 months; P = .4) or relapse-free survival (median, 4.7 vs 3.5 months; P = .43) was observed in those who received VEN-based regimens, regardless of age or intensity of treatment.

Conclusions: The addition of VEN to standard treatment regimens did not improve outcomes in younger or older patients who had TP53 AML. These data highlight the need for novel therapies beyond VEN to improve the outcome of patients with TP53 AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33675DOI Listing
October 2021

Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Historical Perspective and Progress in Research and Therapy Over 5 Decades.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk 2021 Sep 29;21(9):580-597. Epub 2021 May 29.

Department of Clinical Hematology, The Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

With the Food and Drug Administration approval of 9 agents for different acute myeloid leukemia (AML) indications, the prognosis and management of AML is evolving rapidly. Herein, we review the important milestones in the history of AML research and therapy, discuss insights regarding prognostic assessment and prediction of treatment outcome, detail practical supportive care measures, and summarize the current treatment landscape and areas of evolving research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2021.05.016DOI Listing
September 2021

Only SF3B1 mutation involving K700E independently predicts overall survival in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Cancer 2021 Oct 23;127(19):3552-3565. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: SF3B1 mutations (SF3B1 ) in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) frequently involve codon K700E and have a favorable prognosis. The prognostic effect of non-K700E SF3B1 is uncertain.

Methods: The authors analyzed the clinicopathological features and outcomes of a single-institution series of 94 treatment-naive SF3B1 MDS patients (18%) and 415 treatment-naive SF3B1 MDS patients and explored the differences between K700E and non-K700E SF3B1 MDS.

Results: Fifty-five patients (59%) carried K700E. Recurrent non-K700E mutations (39 [41%]) included R625, H662, and K666. Compared with SF3B1 K700E patients, non-K700E patients had a lower median absolute neutrophil count (1.8 vs 2.4; P = .005) and were frequently "high" according to the Revised International Prognostic Scoring System (19% vs 4%; P = .031). Non-K700E MDS was associated frequently with RUNX1 (26% vs 7%; P = .012) and exclusively with BCOR, IDH2, and SRSF2 mutations. A splicing analysis showed the differential distribution of alternatively spliced events and gene expression profiles between K700 and non-K700E MDS patients. The majority (at least 80%) of SF3B1 K700E, SF3B1 non-K700E, and SF3B1 patients were treated with hypomethylating agents. Over a median follow-up of 16 months, SF3B1 had superior overall survival (OS) in comparison with SF3B1 in all MDS patients (not reached vs 25.2 months; P = .0003), in patients with low-grade MDS, and in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes with ring sideroblasts (MDS-RS). Compared with SF3B1 , SF3B1 K700E had superior outcomes in all MDS (median OS, 25 months vs not reached; P = .0001), in low-grade MDS (median OS, 41.3 months vs not reached; P = .0015), and in MDS-RS (median OS, 22.3 months vs not reached; P = .0001), but no significant difference was seen between non-K700E and SF3B1 MDS. By multivariable analysis, the absence of SF3B1 K700E mutations was independently associated with the prognosis.

Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of the SF3B1 mutation subtype in MDS risk assessment.

Lay Summary: Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) with SF3B1 mutations are regarded as having a favorable prognosis by both the World Health Organization and the International Working Group for the Prognosis of Myelodysplastic Syndromes. However, this article shows that only MDS patients with SF3B1 K700E mutations have a favorable prognosis (and not MDS patients with SF3B1 mutations involving other codons). This has important implications for refining future MDS subclassification and risk assessment criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33745DOI Listing
October 2021

Open-Label Phase II Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study of Romyelocel-L Myeloid Progenitor Cells to Reduce Infection During Induction Chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Oct 22;39(29):3261-3272. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Cellerant Therapeutics, San Carlos, CA.

Purpose: Standard cytotoxic induction chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) results in prolonged neutropenia and risk of infection. Romyelocel-L is a universal, allogeneic myeloid progenitor cell product being studied to reduce infection during induction chemotherapy.

Patients And Methods: One hundred sixty-three patients with de novo AML (age ≥ 55 years) receiving induction chemotherapy were randomly assigned on day 0 (d0), of whom 120 were evaluable. Subjects received either romyelocel-L infusion on d9 with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) starting daily d14 (treatment group) or G-CSF daily alone on d14 (control) until absolute neutrophil count recovery to 500/µL. End points included days in febrile episode, microbiologically defined infections, clinically diagnosed infection, and days in hospital.

Results: Mean days in febrile episode was shorter in the treatment arm from d15 through d28 (2.36 3.90; = .02). Similarly, a trend toward decreased microbiologically defined infections and clinically diagnosed infection in the treatment arm was observed from d9 to d28 (35.6% 47.5%; = .09), reaching a statistically significant difference from d15 to d28 (6.8% 27.9%; = .002). Because of this, antibacterial or antifungal use for treatment of an infection was significantly less in the treatment group (d9-d28: 44.1% 63.9%; = .01). Significantly fewer patients in the treatment arm received empiric antifungals from d9 tod28 (42.4% 63.9%; = .02) and d15-d28 (42.4% 62.3%; = .02). Patients in the treatment arm also had 3.2 fewer hospital days compared with control (25.5 28.7; = .001). Remission rates and days to absolute neutrophil count recovery were similar in the two groups. No patients in the romyelocel-L plus G-CSF group died because of infection compared with two patients in the control arm. No graft-versus-host disease was observed.

Conclusion: Subjects receiving romyelocel-L showed a decreased incidence of infections, antimicrobial use, and hospitalization, suggesting that romyelocel-L may provide a new option to reduce infections in patients with AML undergoing induction therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500663PMC
October 2021

Hyper-CVAD plus ofatumumab versus hyper-CVAD plus rituximab as frontline therapy in adults with Philadelphia chromosome-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A propensity score analysis.

Cancer 2021 Sep 17;127(18):3381-3389. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: The outcome of hyperfractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone plus ofatumumab hyper-CVAD + ofatumumab (hyper-CVAD + ofatumumab) has not been compared with the outcome of hyperfractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone plus ofatumumab hyper-CVAD plus rituximab (hyper-CVAD + Rituximab) in Philadelphia chromosome-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in a randomized clinical trial.

Methods: The authors compared the outcomes of 69 patients treated with hyper-CVAD + ofatumumab and 95 historical-control patients treated with hyper-CVAD + Rituximab. Historical-control patients were treated with hyper-CVAD + Rituximab if they had CD20 expression ≥ 20%. Ofatumumab (day 1 of course 1, 300 mg intravenously; subsequent doses, 2000 mg intravenously) was administered on days 1 and 11 of courses 1 and 3 and on days 1 and 8 of courses 2 and 4 for a total of 8 doses. A propensity score analysis with inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) was performed to adjust for baseline covariates between groups.

Results: The median event-free survival with stem cell transplantation (SCT) censoring was 33 and 65 months with hyper-CVAD + Rituximab and hyper-CVAD + ofatumumab, respectively (crude P = .064; IPTW P = .054). The median overall survival with SCT censoring was 52 months and not reached, respectively (crude P = .087; IPTW P = .097).

Conclusions: Hyper-CVAD + ofatumumab was associated with better outcomes than hyper-CVAD + Rituximab among patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-negative ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33655DOI Listing
September 2021

Therapeutic implications of menin inhibition in acute leukemias.

Leukemia 2021 09 15;35(9):2482-2495. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Menin inhibitors are novel targeted agents currently in clinical development for the treatment of genetically defined subsets of acute leukemia. Menin has a tumor suppressor function in endocrine glands. Germline mutations in the gene encoding menin cause the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome, a hereditary condition associated with tumors of the endocrine glands. However, menin is also critical for leukemogenesis in subsets driven by rearrangement of the Lysine Methyltransferase 2A (KMT2A) gene, previously known as mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL), which encodes an epigenetic modifier. These seemingly opposing functions of menin can be explained by its various roles in gene regulation. Therefore, leukemias with rearrangement of KMT2A are predicted to respond to menin inhibition with early clinical data validating this proof-of-concept. These leukemias affect infants, children and adults, and lead to adverse outcomes with current standard therapies. Recent studies have identified novel targets in acute leukemia that are susceptible to menin inhibition, such as mutated Nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1), the most common genetic alteration in adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In addition to these alterations, other leukemia subsets with similar transcriptional dependency could be targeted through menin inhibition. This led to rationally designed clinical studies, investigating small-molecule oral menin inhibitors in relapsed acute leukemias with promising early results. Herein, we discuss the physiologic and malignant biology of menin, the mechanisms of leukemia in these susceptible subsets, and future therapeutic strategies using these inhibitors in acute leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-021-01309-yDOI Listing
September 2021

Clonal Dynamics and clinical implications of Post-Remission Clonal Hematopoiesis in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

Blood 2021 Jun 3. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States.

While clonal hematopoiesis (CH) can precede the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), it can also persist after achieving remission. Long-term clonal dynamics and clinical implications of persistent CH are not well understood. Here, we studied the prevalence, dynamics and clinical implications of post-remission CH in 164 AML patients who attained complete remission after induction chemotherapies. Post-remission CH was identified in 79 (49%) patients. Post-remission CH persisted long-term in 91% of the trackable patients despite treatment with various types of consolidation and maintenance therapies. Post-remission CH was eradicated in 20 out of 21 (95%) patients who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplant. While patients with post-remission CH as a group had comparable hematopoiesis with those without it, patients with persistent TET2 mutations showed significant neutropenia long-term. Post-remission CH had little impact on relapse risk, non-relapse mortality, and incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, although the clinical impact of post-CR CH was heterogeneous among different mutations. These data suggest that while residual clonal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are generally resistant to consolidation and maintenance therapies, they retain the ability to maintain normal hematopoiesis and have little impact on clinical outcomes, although larger study is needed to dissect the gene-specific heterogeneity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020010483DOI Listing
June 2021

Harnessing the Therapeutic Value of Venetoclax: A Breakthrough Therapy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 4;39(25):2742-2748. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00080DOI Listing
September 2021

Venetoclax Combined With FLAG-IDA Induction and Consolidation in Newly Diagnosed and Relapsed or Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 27;39(25):2768-2778. Epub 2021 May 27.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Purpose: Sixty percent of newly diagnosed patients with acute myeloid leukemia (ND-AML) receiving frontline therapy attain a complete response (CR), yet 30%-40% of patients relapse. Relapsed or refractory AML (R/R-AML) remains a particularly adverse population necessitating improved therapeutic options. This phase Ib/II study evaluated the safety and efficacy of fludarabine, cytarabine, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and idarubicin combined with the B-cell lymphoma-2 inhibitor venetoclax in ND-AML and R/R-AML.

Materials And Methods: The phase IB portion (PIB) enrolled patients with R/R-AML using a 3 + 3 dose escalation and de-escalation algorithm for identification of maximum tolerated dose and dose-limiting toxicities. The phase II portion enrolled patients into two arms to evaluate response and time-to-event end points: phase IIA (PIIA): ND-AML and phase IIB (PIIB): R/R-AML.

Results: Sixty-eight patients have enrolled to date (PIB, 16; PIIA, 29; PIIB, 23). Median age was 46 years (range, 20-73). Grade 3 and 4 adverse events occurring in ≥ 10% of patients included febrile neutropenia (50%), bacteremia (35%), pneumonia (28%), and sepsis (12%). The overall response rate for PIB, PIIA, and PIIB was 75%, 97%, and 70% with 75%, 90%, and 61%, respectively, achieving a composite CR. Measurable residual disease-negative composite CR was attained in 96% of ND-AML and 69% of R/R-AML patients. After a median follow-up of 12 months, median overall survival (OS) for both PII cohorts was not reached. Fifty-six percent of patients proceeded to allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (ND-AML, 69%; R/R-AML, 46%). In R/R-AML, allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation resulted in a significant improvement in OS (median OS, NR; 1-year OS, 87%). One-year survival post-HSCT was 94% in ND-AML and 78% in R/R-AML.

Conclusion: Fludarabine, cytarabine, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, and idarubicin + venetoclax represents an effective intensive treatment regimen in ND-AML and R/R-AML patients, associated with deep remissions and a high rate of transition to successful transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03736DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8407653PMC
September 2021

Leukemia stemness and co-occurring mutations drive resistance to IDH inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia.

Nat Commun 2021 05 10;12(1):2607. Epub 2021 May 10.

Department of Genomic Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Allosteric inhibitors of mutant IDH1 or IDH2 induce terminal differentiation of the mutant leukemic blasts and provide durable clinical responses in approximately 40% of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with the mutations. However, primary resistance and acquired resistance to the drugs are major clinical issues. To understand the molecular underpinnings of clinical resistance to IDH inhibitors (IDHi), we perform multipronged genomic analyses (DNA sequencing, RNA sequencing and cytosine methylation profiling) in longitudinally collected specimens from 60 IDH1- or IDH2-mutant AML patients treated with the inhibitors. The analysis reveals that leukemia stemness is a major driver of primary resistance to IDHi, whereas selection of mutations in RUNX1/CEBPA or RAS-RTK pathway genes is the main driver of acquired resistance to IDHi, along with BCOR, homologous IDH gene, and TET2. These data suggest that targeting stemness and certain high-risk co-occurring mutations may overcome resistance to IDHi in AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22874-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110775PMC
May 2021

Clinicopathologic correlates and natural history of atypical chronic myeloid leukemia.

Cancer 2021 Sep 29;127(17):3113-3124. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: There are limited data on the clonal mechanisms underlying leukemogenesis, prognostic factors, and optimal therapy for atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML).

Methods: The authors evaluated the clinicopathologic features, outcomes, and responses to therapy of 65 patients with aCML. The median age was 67 years (range, 46-89 years).

Results: The most frequently mutated genes included ASXL1 (83%), SRSF2 (68%), and SETBP1 (58%). Mutations in SETBP1, SRSF2, TET2, and GATA2 appeared at variant allele frequencies (VAFs) greater than 40%, whereas other RAS pathway mutations were more likely to appear at low VAFs. The acquisition of new, previously undetectable mutations at transformation was observed in 63% of the evaluable patients, with the most common involving signaling pathway mutations. Hypomethylating agents (HMAs) were associated with the highest response rates but with a short duration of response (median, 2.7 months). Therapy with ruxolitinib was not associated with clinically significant responses as a single agent or in combination with an HMA. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation was the only therapy associated with improved outcomes (hazard ratio, 0.144; 95% CI, 0.035-0.593; P = .007). Age, platelet counts, bone marrow blast percentages, and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were independent predictors of survival and were integrated in a multivariable model that allowed the prediction of 1- and 3-year survival.

Conclusions: aCML is characterized by high frequencies of ASXL1, SRSF2, and SETBP1 mutations and is associated with a high risk of acute myeloid leukemia transformation. Response and survival outcomes with current therapies remain poor. The incorporation of age, platelet counts, bone marrow blast percentages, and LDH levels can allow survival prediction, and allogeneic stem cell transplantation should be considered for all eligible patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33622DOI Listing
September 2021

Impact of splicing mutations in acute myeloid leukemia treated with hypomethylating agents combined with venetoclax.

Blood Adv 2021 04;5(8):2173-2183

Department of Leukemia and.

Spliceosome mutations (SRSF2, SF3B1, U2AF1, ZRSR2), are encountered in ∼50% of secondary acute myeloid leukemia cases (sAML) and define a molecular subgroup with outcomes similar to sAML in de novo AML patients treated with intensive chemotherapy. Outcomes in patients with spliceosome mutations treated with hypomethylating agents in combination with venetoclax (HMA+VEN) remains unknown. The primary objective was to compare outcomes in patients with spliceosome mutations vs wild-type patients treated with HMA+VEN. Secondary objectives included analysis of the mutational landscape of the spliceosome cohort and assessing the impact of co-occurring mutations. We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of patients treated with HMA+VEN-based regimens at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. A total of 119 patients (spliceosome mutated n = 39 [SRSF2, n = 24; SF3B1, n = 8; U2AF1, n = 7]; wild-type, n = 80) were included. Similar responses were observed between spliceosome and wild-type cohorts for composite complete response (CRc; 79% vs 75%, P = .65), and measurable residual disease-negative CRc (48% vs 60%, P = .34). Median overall survival for spliceosome vs wild-type patients was 35 vs 14 months (P = .58), and was not reached; 35 months and 8 months for patients with SRSF2, SF3B1, and U2AF1 mutations, respectively. IDH2 mutations were enriched in patients with SRSF2 mutations and associated with favorable outcomes (1- and 2-year overall survival [OS] of 100% and 88%). RAS mutations were enriched in patients with U2AF1 mutations and associated with inferior outcomes (median OS, 8 months). Comparable outcomes were observed between patients with vs without spliceosome mutations treated with HMA+VEN regimens, with specific co-mutation pairs demonstrating favorable outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020004173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095152PMC
April 2021

A phase I/II study of the combination of quizartinib with azacitidine or low-dose cytarabine for the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.

Haematologica 2021 08 1;106(8):2121-2130. Epub 2021 Aug 1.

Department of Leukemia, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3-internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) mutation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with poor prognosis. We hypothesized that quizartinib, a selective and potent FLT3 inhibitor, with azacitidine (AZA) or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) might improve the outcomes in patients with FLT3-ITD-mutated AML. In this open-label phase I/II trial, patients of any age receiving first-salvage treatment for FLT3-ITD AML or age >60 years with untreated myelodysplastic syndrome or AML were treated with quizartinib plus AZA or LDAC. Seventy-three patients were treated (34 frontline, 39 first-salvage). Among previously untreated patients, composite response (CRc) was achieved in 13/15 (87%, 8 CR, 4 Cri, 1 CRp) treated with quizartinib/AZA and 14/19 (74%, 1 CR, 8 CRi, 5 CRp) in quizartinib/LDAC. The median OS was 19.2 months for quizartinib/AZA and 8.5 months for quizartinib/LDAC cohort; RFS was 10.5 and 6.4 months, respectively. Among previously treated patients, 16 (64%) achieved CRc in quizartinib/AZA and 4 (29%) in quizartinib/LDAC. The median OS for patients treated with quizartinib/AZA and quizartinib/LDAC was 12.8 vs. 4 months, respectively. QTc prolongation grade 3 occurred in only 1 patient in each cohort. Quizartinib-based combinations, particularly with AZA, appear effective in both frontline and first-salvage for patients with FLT3-ITD-mutated AML and are well tolerated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.263392DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8327731PMC
August 2021

Outcome of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia in lymphoid blastic phase and Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia treated with hyper-CVAD and dasatinib.

Cancer 2021 Aug 6;127(15):2641-2647. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Dasatinib monotherapy has demonstrated modest clinical activity in chronic myeloid leukemia in lymphoid blastic phase (CML-LBP). The outcome of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has dramatically improved with hyperfractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine sulfate, doxorubicin hydrochloride, and dexamethasone (hyper-CVAD) in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

Methods: The authors reviewed 85 patients (23 with CML-LBP and 62 with newly diagnosed Ph-positive ALL) who received hyper-CVAD plus dasatinib.

Results: In the CML-LBP cohort, 19 had prior chronic myeloid leukemia as chronic phase (n = 17; 74%), accelerated phase (n = 1; 4%), or myeloid blastic phase (n = 1; 4%); 4 (17%) presented with de novo CML-LBP. The BCR-ABL1 transcript was p210 in 22 patients (96%) and p190 in 1 patient (4%). In the Ph-positive ALL cohort, p210 and p190 transcripts were detected in 13 patients (21%) and 48 patients (77%), respectively. Patients with CML-LBP were less likely to achieve deep molecular remission than patients with Ph-positive ALL: the major molecular response (MMR) rates were 70% and 95%, respectively (P = .007), and the complete molecular response (CMR) rates were 55% and 74%, respectively (P = .16). Survival outcomes were similar for CML-LBP and Ph-positive ALL: the 5-year overall survival (OS) rates were 59% and 48%, respectively (P = .97). Allogeneic stem cell transplantation was associated with a better outcome in CML-LBP (5-year OS rate, 88% vs 57%; P = .04). In Ph-positive ALL, the outcome was driven by deeper molecular remission: the 5-year OS rates were 63% and 25% with CMR and MMR, respectively (P = .002).

Conclusions: The outcome of CML-LBP has improved with hyper-CVAD plus dasatinib therapy with survival comparable to that of Ph-positive ALL. Further improvement may be achieved with the use of novel TKIs and targeted agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33539DOI Listing
August 2021

De novo acute myeloid leukemia: A population-based study of outcome in the United States based on the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, 1980 to 2017.

Cancer 2021 Jun 5;127(12):2049-2061. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Several important treatment and supportive care strategies have been implemented over the past 4 decades in the management of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Methods: The authors identified 29,107 patients who were diagnosed with de novo AML between 1980 and 2017 in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Patients were categorized into 5 age groups (ages birth to 14, 15-39, 40-59, 60-69, and ≥70 years) and 4 calendar periods (1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2017). The outcomes of patients who had AML within these categories were analyzed.

Results: The overall 5-year survival rates in patients with AML were 9%, 15%, 22%, and 28% in the decades 1980 to 1989, 1990 to 1999, 2000 to 2009, and 2010 to 2017, respectively. Among patients aged 15 to 39 years, the 5-year survival rates were 24%, 41%, 52%, and 63%, respectively; among those aged ≥70 years, the 5-year survival rates were 1%, 2%, 3%, and 5%, respectively. Four-week mortality was surprising high among adults and older patients (range, 20%-45%), even in modern times. Overall, survival continued to improve over the calendar periods and was best in the period from 2010 to 2017. Survival improvement was noticeable across all age groups except patients aged ≥70 years, in whom the estimated 5-year survival rate remained 5% even during the period from 2010 to 2017.

Conclusions: The outcomes of patients with AML showed incremental improvement over time in a population-based study of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data. The introduction since 2017 of targeted therapies among older patients and optimizations in supportive care hopefully will continue to improve outcomes in AML, particularly among older patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33458DOI Listing
June 2021

Duration of cytopenias with concomitant venetoclax and azole antifungals in acute myeloid leukemia.

Cancer 2021 Jul 1;127(14):2489-2499. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Venetoclax (VEN) combined with the hypomethylating agent (HMA) azacitidine improves survival in patients aged ≥75 years with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). VEN and HMA treatment can result in prolonged and often profound neutropenia, and this warrants antifungal prophylaxis. Azole antifungals inhibit cytochrome P450 3A4, the primary enzyme responsible for VEN metabolism; this results in VEN dose reductions for each concomitant antifungal. Limited clinical data exist on outcomes for patients treated with VEN, an HMA, and various azoles.

Methods: The time to neutrophil recovery (absolute neutrophil count [ANC] > 1000 cells/mm ) and platelet (PLT) recovery (PLT count > 100,000 cells/mm ) in 64 patients with newly diagnosed AML who achieved a response after course 1 of VEN plus an HMA were evaluated. HMA therapy included azacitidine (75 mg/m intravenously/subcutaneously for 7 days) or decitabine (20 mg/m intravenously for 5 or 10 days).

Results: Forty-seven patients (73%) received an azole: posaconazole (n = 17; 27%), voriconazole (n = 9; 14%), isavuconazole (n = 20; 31%), or fluconazole (n = 1; 2%). The median time to ANC recovery were similar for patients who did receive an azole (37 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 34-38 days) and patients who did not receive an azole (39 days; 95% CI, 30 days to not estimable; P = .8). The median time to PLT recovery was significantly longer for patients receiving azoles (28 vs 22 days; P = .01). The median times to ANC recovery (35 vs 38 days) and PLT recovery (26 vs 32 days) were similar with posaconazole and voriconazole.

Conclusions: VEN plus an HMA resulted in neutropenia and thrombocytopenia, with the latter prolonged in patients receiving concomitant azoles. Concomitant posaconazole or voriconazole and VEN (100 mg) resulted in similar ANC and PLT recovery times, suggesting the safety of these dosage combinations during course 1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33508DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8249340PMC
July 2021

Prognostic factors for progression in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia in complete molecular response within 3 months of therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Cancer 2021 Aug 1;127(15):2648-2656. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: The achievement of a 3-month complete molecular response (CMR) is a major prognostic factor for survival in patients with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, 25% of patients relapse during therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

Methods: The authors reviewed 204 patients with Ph-positive ALL who were treated between January 2001 and December 2018 using the combination of hyper-CVAD (hyperfractionated cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dexamethasone) plus a TKI (imatinib, 44 patients [22%]; dasatinib, 88 patients [43%]; or ponatinib, 72 patients [35%]). Progression-free survival (PFS) was defined as the time from the start date of therapy to the date of relapse, death, or last follow-up. Overall survival (OS) was defined as the time from the start date of therapy to the date of death or last follow-up.

Results: Overall, a 3-month CMR was observed in 57% of patients, including 32% of those who received imatinib, 52% of those who received dasatinib, and 74% of those who received ponatinib. The median follow-up was 74 months (imatinib, 180 months; dasatinib, 106 months; ponatinib, 43 months). Among 84 patients in 3-month CMR, 17 (20%) proceeded to undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation (ASCT). The 5-year PFS and OS rates were 68% and 72%, respectively. By multivariate analysis, ponatinib therapy was the only significant favorable independent factor predicting for progression (P = .028; hazard ratio, 0.388; 95% CI, 0.166-0.904) and death (P = .042; hazard ratio, 0.379; 95% CI, 0.149-0.966). ASCT was not a prognostic factor for PFS and OS by univariate analysis.

Conclusions: In patients with Ph-positive ALL, ponatinib is superior to other types of TKIs in inducing and maintaining a CMR, thus preventing disease progression. ASCT does not improve outcome once a 3-month CMR is achieved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33529DOI Listing
August 2021

Prognostic value of measurable residual disease after venetoclax and decitabine in acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood Adv 2021 04;5(7):1876-1883

Department of Biostatistics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

Assessment of measurable residual disease (MRD) provides prognostic information in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the utility of MRD with venetoclax-based lower intensity regimens is unknown. We analyzed the prognostic value of achieving a negative MRD in older/"unfit" patients with AML receiving first-line therapy with 10-day decitabine and venetoclax. MRD was evaluated in bone marrow specimens using multicolor flow cytometry (sensitivity 0.1%). Ninety-seven patients achieving either a complete remission (CR) or CR with incomplete hematologic recovery (CRi) or morphologic leukemia-free state were included. Median age was 72 years (interquartile range, 68-78 years), and 64% had adverse-risk AML. Eighty-three patients achieved CR/CRi, and 52 (54%) became MRD negative. Median time to becoming MRD negative was 2.0 months (interquartile range, 0.9-3.1 months). Patients becoming MRD negative by 2 months had longer relapse-free survival (RFS) compared with those remaining MRD positive (median RFS, not reached vs 5.2 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12-0.78; P = .004), longer event-free survival (EFS) (median EFS, not reached vs 5.8 months; HR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.12-0.55; P < .001), as well as longer overall survival (OS) (median OS, 25.1 vs 7.1 months; HR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.11-0.51; P < .001). Patients achieving an MRD-negative CR had longer OS compared with those with an inferior response (median OS, 25.1 vs 11.6 months; HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.19-0.58; P < .0005). Patients becoming MRD negative within 1 month had an improved OS compared with MRD-positive patients (median OS, 25.1 vs 3.4 months; HR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.03-0.64; P < .0001). Differential impact of MRD status on survival outcomes persisted at a later 4-month time point of evaluation. In conclusion, MRD-negative status at 1, 2, and 4 months after starting therapy confers significantly better survival in older/unfit patients with AML receiving first-line therapy with 10-day decitabine and venetoclax. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03404193.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003717DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8045494PMC
April 2021

High-throughput proteomic profiling reveals mechanisms of action of AMG925, a dual FLT3-CDK4/6 kinase inhibitor targeting AML and AML stem/progenitor cells.

Ann Hematol 2021 Jun 31;100(6):1485-1496. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

FLT3 mutations, which are found in a third of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), are associated with poor prognosis. Responses to currently available FLT3 inhibitors in AML patients are typically transient and followed by disease recurrence. Thus, FLT3 inhibitors with new inhibitory mechanisms are needed to improve therapeutic outcomes. AMG925 is a novel, potent, small-molecule dual inhibitor of FLT3 and CDK4/6. In this study. we determined the antileukemic effects and mechanisms of action of AMG925 in AML cell lines and primary samples, in particular AML stem/progenitor cells. AMG925 inhibited cell growth and promoted apoptosis in AML cells with or without FLT3 mutations. Reverse-phase protein array profiling confirmed its on-target effects on FLT3-CDK4/6-regulated pathways and identified unrevealed signaling network alterations in AML blasts and stem/progenitor cells in response to AMG925. Mass cytometry identified pathways that may confer resistance to AMG925 in phenotypically defined AML stem/progenitor cells and demonstrated that combined blockade of FLT3-CDK4/6 and AKT/mTOR signaling facilitated stem cell death. Our findings provide a rationale for the mechanism-based inhibition of FLT3-CDK4/6 and for combinatorial approaches to improve the efficacy of FLT3 inhibition in both FLT3 wild-type and FLT3-mutated AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04493-0DOI Listing
June 2021
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