Farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) are a new class of biologically active anticancer drugs. The exact anti-tumorigenic mechanism is currently unknown. FTIs inhibit farnesylation of a wide range of target proteins. In preclinical models, tipifarnib (R115777, Zarnestra®), a non-peptidomimetic competitive FTI, showed great potency against leukemic cells. Although it has recently demonstrated clinical responses in adults with refractory and relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and in older adults with newly diagnosed poor-risk AML, its activity was far less than anticipated. However, it appears that tipifarnib as a single agent may be important in selected groups of patients. Much remains to be learned to optimize such therapy in patients with AML. To this end, trials that combine tipifarnib with cytotoxics are ongoing.
tipifarnib; farnesyltransferase inhibitor; acute myeloid leukemia; prognosis; targeted therapy
Farnesyl protein transferase inhibitors (FTIs) were originally developed to inhibit oncogenic ras, however it is now clear that there are several other potential targets for this drug class. The FTI tipifarnib (ZARNESTRA™, R115777) has recently demonstrated clinical responses in adults with refractory and relapsed acute leukemias. This study was conducted to identify genetic markers and pathways that are regulated by tipifarnib in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Tipifarnib-mediated gene expression changes in 3 AML cell lines and bone marrow samples from two patients with AML were analyzed on a cDNA microarray containing approximately 7000 human genes. Pathways associated with these expression changes were identified using the Ingenuity Pathway Analysis tool.
The expression analysis identified a common set of genes that were regulated by tipifarnib in three leukemic cell lines and in leukemic blast cells isolated from two patients who had been treated with tipifarnib. Association of modulated genes with biological functional groups identified several pathways affected by tipifarnib including cell signaling, cytoskeletal organization, immunity, and apoptosis. Gene expression changes were verified in a subset of genes using real time RT-PCR. Additionally, regulation of apoptotic genes was found to correlate with increased Annexin V staining in the THP-1 cell line but not in the HL-60 cell line.
The genetic networks derived from these studies illuminate some of the biological pathways affected by FTI treatment while providing a proof of principle for identifying candidate genes that might be used as surrogate biomarkers of drug activity.
Prognostic markers, such as NPM1, Flt3-ITD, and cytogenetic abnormalities have made it possible to formulate aggressive treatment plans for unfavorable acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the long-term survival of AML with unfavorable factors remains unsatisfactory. The latest data indicate that the standard dose of daunorubicin (DNR) at 45 mg/m2 is inferior to high dose 90 mg/m2 for induction therapy. The rates of complete remission and overall survival are significantly better in the high dose induction regimen. New regimens exploring the new liposomal encapsulation of Ara-C and DNR as well as addition of gemtuzumab ozogamicin monoclonal antibody have been studied. New agents, including the nucleoside analogues (clofarabine, sapacitabine, elacytarabine), FLT3 inhibitor (sorafenib), farnesyl-transferase inhibitor (tipifarnib), histone deacetylase inhibitor (vorinostat), lenalidomide, as well as DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (decitabine, azacitidine), were recently reported for AML treatment in the 2009 ASH annual meeting. This review also summarizes the updates of the clinical trials on novel agents including voreloxin, AS1413, behenoylara-C, ARRY520, ribavirin, AZD1152, AZD6244, and terameprocol (EM-1421) from the 2009 ASH annual meeting.
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO), an immunoconjugate between an anti-CD33 antibody and a calicheamicin-γ1 derivative, induces remissions and improves survival in a subset of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). As the mechanisms underlying GO and calicheamicin-γ1 resistance are incompletely understood, we herein used flow cytometry-based single cell network profiling (SCNP) assays to study cellular responses of primary human AML cells to GO. Our data indicate that the extent of DNA damage is quantitatively impacted by CD33 expression and drug efflux activity. However, although DNA damage is required for GO-induced cytotoxicity, it is not sufficient for effective cell kill, suggesting that downstream anti-apoptotic pathways may function as relevant resistance mechanisms. Supporting this notion, we found activated PI3K/AKT signaling to be associated with GO resistance in vitro in primary AML cells. Consistently, the investigational AKT inhibitor MK-2206 significantly sensitized various human AML cells to GO or free calicheamicin-γ1 with particularly pronounced effects in otherwise GO or free calicheamicin-γ1 -resistant cells. Likewise, MK-2206 also sensitized primary AML cells to calicheamicin-γ1. Together, our findings illustrate the capacity of SCNP assays to discover chemotherapy-related biological pathways and signaling networks relevant to GO-induced genotoxic stress. The identification of AKT signaling as being associated with GO resistance in vitro may provide a novel approach to improve the in vivo efficacy of GO/calicheamicin-γ1 and, by extrapolation, other DNA damage-based therapeutics.
Treatment outcome in elderly Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is still very disappointing. Although complete remission rate is around 50–60% the 2 years survival is only in the magnitude of 10–20%. This is mainly due to an overrepresentation of adverse prognostic factors present in elderly AML. As relapses emerge from residual disease present after chemotherapy, intensification of treatment could emerge as a rational strategy. Intensification of chemotherapy by increasing the dose of anthracyclines or addition of gemtuzumab ozogamycin (Mylotarg) to standard chemotherapy indeed has proved to be of advantage in elderly AML. In younger AML autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (AuPBSCT) as post remission treatment in comparison to intensive consolidation chemotherapy has been investigated in a few randomized studies. AuPBSCT showed reduced relapse rates with low non-relapse mortality rates. In elderly AML intensification by AuPBSCT also have been performed although randomized studies are lacking. Nevertheless, in the previous years various reports have suggested the potential utility of AuHSCT in AML of the elderly with encouraging results, albeit mostly in highly selected patients. Acceptable toxicity and a relatively low rate of transplant-related mortality has been notified. However relapses occurred which, irrespective of age, still remains the major cause of treatment failure of AuHSCT in AML. In this review we summarize the experience of AuPBSCT in elderly AML.
The treatment of relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains unsatisfactory. We conducted a phase II randomized trial where patients received intermediate-dose cytarabine for four days followed by gemtuzumab ozogamicin on day 5 (Arm A), or combined with liposomal daunorubicin for three days (Arm B), or cytarabine given for five days combined with cyclophosphamide for three days and topotecan by continuous infusion for 5 days (Arm C). Eligible patients had primary refractory AML, a first relapse after a remission of less than one year, or a second or greater relapse. The primary objective of this trial was attainment of a conventional complete remission (CR) or a CR without platelet recovery (CRp) in at least 40% of patients. The CR/CRp rates for the 82 eligible patients were 3/26 (12%) in Arm A, 2/29 (7%) in Arm B, and 1/27 (4%) in Arm C. No patients who had relapsed within six months of initial CR or who had suffered multiple relapses responded. More than 95% of patients subsequently died of AML. No unexpected toxicities were encountered. We conclude that none of these three regimens were effective enough in the treatment of high-risk relapsed or refractory AML to warrant further study. This trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00005962.
acute myeloid leukemia; relapse; gemtuzumab ozogamicin; liposomal daunorubicin; topotecan
The sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins (siglecs) comprise a family of receptors that are differentially expressed on leukocytes and other immune cells. The restricted expression of several siglecs to one or a few cell types makes them attractive targets for cell-directed therapies. The anti-CD33 (Siglec-3) antibody Gemtuzumab (Mylotarg™) is approved for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and antibodies targeting CD22 (Siglec-2) are currently in clinical trials for treatment of B cell non-Hodgkins lymphomas and autoimmune diseases. Because siglecs are endocytic receptors, they are well suited for a ‘Trojan horse’ strategy, whereby therapeutic agents conjugated to an antibody, or multimeric glycan ligand, bind to the siglec and are efficiently carried into the cell. Although the rapid internalization of unmodified siglec antibodies reduces their utility for induction of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement-mediated cytotoxicity (CDC), antibody binding of Siglec-8, Siglec-9, and CD22 have been demonstrated to induce apoptosis of eosinophils, neutrophils, and depletion of B cells, respectively. Here we review the properties of siglecs that make them attractive for cell-targeted therapies.
Antibodies have created high expectations for effective yet tolerated therapeutics in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Hitherto the most exploited target is CD33, a myeloid differentiation antigen found on AML blasts in most patients and, perhaps, leukemic stem cells in some. Treatment efforts have focused on conjugated antibodies, particularly gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO), an anti-CD33 antibody carrying a toxic calicheamicin-γ1 derivative that, after intracellular hydrolytic release, induces DNA strand breaks, apoptosis, and cell death. Serving as paradigm for this strategy, GO was the first anti-cancer immunoconjugate to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S. While efficacious as monotherapy in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), GO alone induces remissions in less than 25–35% of non-APL AML patients. However, emerging data from well controlled trials now indicate that GO improves survival for many non-APL AML patients, supporting the conclusion that CD33 is a clinically relevant target for some disease subsets. It is thus unfortunate that GO has become unavailable in many parts of the world, and the drug’s usefulness should be reconsidered and selected patients granted access to this immunoconjugate.
AML; Antibody; Calicheamicin; CD33; Gemtuzumab ozogamicin; Immunoconjugate; Review
Farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs) represent a new class of signal transduction inhibitors that block the processing of cellular polypeptides that have cysteine terminal residues and, by so doing, interdict multiple pathways involved in proliferation and survival of diverse malignant cell types. Tipifarnib is an orally bioavailable, nonpeptidomimetic methylquinolone FTI that has exhibited clinical activity in patients with myeloid malignancies including elderly adults with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) who are not candidates for traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy, patients with high-risk myelodysplasia, myeloproliferative disorders, and imatinib-resistant chronic myelogenous leukemia. Because of its relatively low toxicity profile, tipifarnib provides an important alternative to traditional cytotoxic approaches for elderly patients who are not likely to tolerate or even benefit from aggressive chemotherapy. In this review, we will focus on the clinical development of tipifarnib for treatment of newly diagnosed AML, both as induction therapy for elderly adults with poor-risk AML and as maintenance therapy following achievement of first complete remission following induction and consolidation therapies for poor-risk AML. As with all other malignancies, the optimal approach is likely to lie in rational combinations of tipifarnib with cytotoxic, biologic and/or immunomodulatory agents with non-cross-resistant mechanisms of action. Gene expression profiling has identified networks of differentially expressed genes and gene combinations capable of predicting response to single agent tipifarnib. The clinical and correlative laboratory trials in progress and under development will provide the critical foundations for defining the optimal roles of tipifarnib and in patients with AMl and other hematologic malignancies.
farnesylation; farnesyltransferase inhibitor; acute myelogenous leukemia (AML); signal transduction; gene expression; tipifarnib
Long-term survival of relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains a major problem, particularly in patients not eligible for transplantation.
We hereby evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of adding Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin to salvage chemotherapy (Ara-C, Idarubicine, Peg-Filgrastim) in relapsed/refractory AML. The main endpoints were: the rate of complete remissions (CR) and the proportion of patients capable of undergoing a stem cell transplant.
Fourty-two patients were enrolled. The overall CR rate was 76% and no induction deaths were reported. In 56% of patients, a transplant procedure could be performed. The treatment schedule proved feasible and well tolerated, providing a high CR rate and a useful bridge to transplant.
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) is a cytotoxic anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody that has given promising preliminary results in adult myeloid CD33+ AML. We conducted a retrospective multicenter study of 12 children treated with GO on a compassionate basis (median age 5.5 y). Three patients (2 MDS/AML, 1 JMML) were refractory to first-line treatment, 8 patients with de novo AML were in refractory first relapse, and one patient with de novo AML was in 2nd relapse after stem cell transplantation (SCT). CD33 expression exceeded 20% in all cases.
GO was administered alone, at a unit dose of 3–9 mg/m2, once (3 patients), twice (3 patients), three (5 patients) or five times (1 patient). Mean follow-up was 128 days (8–585 d).
There were three complete responses (25%) leading to further curative treatment (SCT). Treatment failed in the other nine patients, and only one patient was alive at the end of follow-up. NCI-CTC grade III/IV adverse events comprised hematological toxicity (n = 12), hypertransaminasemia (n = 2), allergy and hyperbilirubinemia (1 case each). There was only one major adverse event (grade IV allergy). No case of sinusoidal obstruction syndrome occurred.
These results warrant a prospective trial of GO in a larger population of children with AML.
As the overall prognosis and treatment response rate to standard chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains poor in the older adult population, there is a need for more effective therapeutic agents with lower toxicity profiles that can be offered to these patients. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) is an anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use as monotherapy in patients 60 years of age and older with relapsed AML. GO consists of a humanized anti-CD33 antibody (hP67.6) which is linked to N-acetyl-γ calicheamicin 1,2-dimethyl hydrazine dichloride. Once the antibody attaches to the surface antigen, it is rapidly internalized. Calicheamicin, a potent enediyne, is subsequently released and acts as a cytotoxic anti-tumor agent. In this population, GO has an acceptable toxicity and yields response rates approaching 30%. The efficacy of GO as monotherapy and in combination therapy for treatment of both de novo and relapsed AML continues to be investigated.
acute myeloid leukemia therapy; older adults; gemtuzumab ozogamicin
To determine the safety, target inhibition, and signals of clinical activity of tipifarnib in combination with bortezomib in patients with advanced acute leukemias.
In a 3+3 design, patients received escalating doses of tipifarnib (days 1–14) and bortezomib (days 1, 4, 8, 11) every 3 weeks until maximum tolerated dose was reached. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were collected at days 1, 8, and 22 for measurement of chymotrypsin-like and farnesyltransferase activity. Purified bone marrow leukemic blasts were collected at baseline and at day 8 for measurement of NF-kB activity.
The combination was well-tolerated, and maximum tolerated dose was not reached. Dose-limiting toxicities included diarrhea, fatigue, and sensorimotor neuropathy. Chymotrypsin-like and farnesyltransferase activity within PBMCs were decreased in a majority of patients at day 8. NF-kB activity within leukemic blasts was decreased in a majority of patients at day 8. Complete response with incomplete count recovery was observed in 2 patients, and an additional 5 patients had stable disease.
Tipifarnib and bortezomib combination in patients with advanced leukemias was well-tolerated, demonstrated relevant target inhibition, and was associated with signals of clinical activity in patients with advanced and refractory acute leukemias. Future studies of this combination may be warranted in more selected groups of patients in whom these molecular targets are of particular importance.
acute leukemia; NF-kappa B; farnesyltransferase inhibitor; proteasome inhibitor; phase 1
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) is an anti-CD33 antibody conjugated with calicheamicin (a cytotoxic antibiotic) that is used for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The relationship between the CD33 expression in leukemic cells and response to GO treatment has been controversial. We studied CD33 transcript and protein expression as well as polymorphisms in the CD33 gene in 22 uniformly treated pediatric AML patients and correlated the results with minimal residual disease (MRD) findings before and after GO. We found that a nonsynonymous coding change (Ala14Val) in CD33 was significantly associated with response to GO (P = .02) whereas CD33 transcript and protein expression were not (P > .2). The results suggest a novel mechanism of resistance to GO, one that may extend to other immunotoxins.
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) does not have a high cure rate, particularly in patients with poor-risk features. Such patients might benefit from additional therapy in complete remission (CR). Tipifarnib is an oral farnesyltransferase inhibitor with activity in AML. We conducted a phase II trial of maintenance tipifarnib monotherapy for 48 adults with poor-risk AML in first CR.
Tipifarnib 400 mg twice daily for 14 of 21 days was initiated after recovery from consolidation chemotherapy, for a maximum of 16 cycles (48 weeks).
Twenty (42%) patients completed 16 cycles, 24 (50%) were removed from study for relapse, and 4 (8%) discontinued drug prematurely for intolerance. Nonhematologic toxicities were rare, but tipifarnib dose was reduced in 58% for myelosuppression. Median disease-free survival (DFS) was 13.5 months (range, 3.5–59+ months), with 30% having DFS >2 years. Comparison of CR durations for 25 patients who received two-cycle timed sequential therapy followed by tipifarnib maintenance with 23 historically similar patients who did not receive tipifarnib showed that tipifarnib was associated with DFS prolongation for patients with secondary AML and adverse cytogenetics.
This study suggests that some patients with poor-risk AML, including patients with secondary AML and adverse cytogenetics, may benefit from tipifarnib maintenance therapy. Future studies are warranted to examine alternative tipifarnib dosing and continuation beyond 16 cycles.
Importance of the field
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) incidence in the United States increase with age. Given the progressive aging of the general population, incidence of these diseses is likely to continue to rise in the future. There is an earnest need for therapeutic developments because of the poor prognosis of these diseases. Since the knowledge of molecular genetics in AML and MDS has expanded recently, targeted therapeutics should offer an exciting new frontier for advancement. Of all the targeted inhibitors developed, tipifarnib represents one of the few compounds with some activity as a single agent.
Areas to be covered in this review
Described in this review are the molecular targets of tipifarnib, safety and tolerability of the drug, chemistry, and clinical efficacy in AML.
What the reader will gain
The reader will gain a thorough understanding of tipifarnib as it relates to the current and future use of the drug in AML.
Take home message
The future of tipifarnib, along with other molecularly-targeted drugs, lies in achieving a better understanding of leukemia biology and harnessing the activity of this agent using predictive biomarkers for improved patient selection.
Acute myeloid leukemia; myelodysplastic syndrome; Ras; farneslytransferase; treatment; lipid
Haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is increasingly regarded as a pro-tumoral target in the treatment of human cancers. Currently, little is known about HO-1 and its role in human acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) to regulate apoptosis in response to chemotherapy. Recently, we showed that HO-1 protects AML samples from tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF)-induced apoptosis - it being regulated by transcription factors Nrf2, NF-κB and AP-1. This study aims to analyse the role of HO-1 in regulating apoptosis in AML cells in response to two front-line chemotherapeutic agents used for AML, cytarabine and daunorubicin. Here we show that HO-1 expression in AML samples was increased in response to both cytarabine and daunorubicin treatment, and micro RNA (miRNA) silenced HO-1 expression in combination with either daunorubicin or cytarabine induced a greater apoptotic responses in AML cells. Moreover, we showed that both daunorubicin and cytarabine induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation to induce apoptosis in AML. However, ROS-dependent induction of HO-1 was limiting the apoptotic response that is seen in AML towards cytarabine and daunorubicin treatment. These findings suggest concurrent inhibition of HO-1 expression in conjunction with chemotherapeutic treatment would improve the number of cases who reach complete remission.
drug-resistance; antioxidant; transcription factor; apoptosis; chemotherapy; MicroRNA
Leucocytes from normal individuals and from patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in remission receiving active immunotherapy with allogeneic AML blasts (AML-I) were cultured for 6 days with AML-I blasts, Burkitt's lymphoma cells (BL) or lymphoblastoid cells (LCL). The leucocytes were then tested for cell-mediated cytotoxicity (CMC) against 51Cr-labelled AML-I, BL or LCL target cells. There was no substantial difference in the CMC of leucocytes from patients and normals cultured without stimulation, and tested against AML-I, BL or LCL targets. Patient's leucocytes stimulated in vitro with AML-I had a greater frequency of positive CMC responses against AML-I, BL and LCL than normal individuals. The results suggest that co-cultivation of leucocytes with AML-I blasts reactivates memory cytotoxic leucocytes in AML patients receiving immunotherapy and that this test may be useful in measuring the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
AVE9633 is a new immunoconjugate comprising a humanized monoclonal antibody, anti-CD33 antigen, linked through a disulfide bond to the maytansine derivative DM4, a cytotoxic agent and potent tubulin inhibitor. It is undergoing a phase I clinical trial. Chemoresistance to anti-mitotic agents has been shown to be related, in part, to overexpression of ABC proteins. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential roles of P-gp, MRP1 and BCRP in cytotoxicity in AVE9633-induced acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
This study used AML cell lines expressing different levels of P-gp, MRP1 or BCRP proteins and twenty-five samples from AML patients. Expression and functionality of the transporter protein were analyzed by flow cytometry. The cytotoxicity of the drug was evaluated by MTT and apoptosis assays.
P-gp activity, but not MRP1 and BCRP, attenuated AVE9633 and DM4 cytotoxicity in myeloid cell lines. Zosuquidar, a potent specific P-gp inhibitor, restored the sensitivity of cells expressing P-gp to both AVE9633 and DM4. However, the data from AML patients show that 10/25 samples of AML cells (40%) were resistant to AVE9633 or DM4 (IC50 > 500 nM), and this was not related to P-gp activity (p-Value: 0.7). Zosuquidar also failed to re-establish drug sensitivity. Furthermore, this resistance was not correlated with CD33 expression (p-Value: 0.6) in those cells.
P-gp activity is not a crucial mechanism of chemoresistance to AVE9633. For patients whose resistance to conventional anthracycline AML regimens is related to ABC protein expression, a combination with AVE9633 could be beneficial. Other mechanisms such as microtubule alteration could play an important role in chemoresistance to AVE9633.
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) is a chemotherapy-conjugated anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody effective in some patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The optimal treatment schedule and optimal timing of GO administration relative to other agents remains unknown. Conventional pharmacokinetic analysis has been of limited insight for the schedule optimization. We developed a mechanism-based mathematical model and employed it to analyze the time-course of free and GO-bound CD33 molecules on the lekemic blasts in individual AML patients treated with GO. We calculated expected intravascular drug exposure (I-AUC) as a surrogate marker for the response to the drug. A high CD33 production rate and low drug efflux were the most important determinants of high I-AUC, characterizing patients with favorable pharmacokinetic profile and, hence, improved response. I-AUC was insensitive to other studied parameters within biologically relevant ranges, including internalization rate and dissociation constant. Our computations suggested that even moderate blast burden reduction prior to drug administration enables lowering of GO doses without significantly compromising intracellular drug exposure. These findings indicate that GO may optimally be used after cyto-reductive chemotherapy, rather than before, or concomitantly with it, and that GO efficacy can be maintained by dose reduction to 6 mg/m2 and a dosing interval of 7 days. Model predictions are validated by comparison with the results of EORTC-GIMEMA AML19 clinical trial, where two different GO schedules were administered. We suggest that incorporation of our results in clinical practice can serve identification of the subpopulation of elderly patients who can benefit most of the GO treatment and enable return of the currently suspended drug to clinic.
Aurora kinases play an essential role in orchestrating chromosome alignment, segregation and cytokinesis during mitotic progression, with both aurora-A and B frequently over-expressed in a variety of human malignancies. Over-expression of the ABC drug transporter proteins P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is a major obstacle for chemotherapy in many tumour types with Pgp conferring particularly poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Barasertib-hQPA is a highly selective inhibitor of aurora-B kinase that has shown tumouricidal activity against a range tumour cell lines including those of leukaemic AML origin.
Effect of barasertib-hQPA on the pHH3 biomarker and cell viability was measured in a panel of leukaemic cell lines and 37 primary AML samples by flow cytometry. Pgp status was determined by flow cytometry and BCRP status by flow cytometry and real-time PCR.
In this study we report the creation of the cell line OCI-AML3DNR, which over-expresses Pgp but not BCRP or multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP), through prolonged treatment of OCI-AML3 cells with daunorubicin. We demonstrate that Pgp (OCI-AML3DNR and KG-1a) and BCRP (OCI-AML6.2) expressing AML cell lines are less sensitive to barasertib-hQPA induced pHH3 inhibition and subsequent loss of viability compared to transporter negative cell lines. We also show that barasertib-hQPA resistance in these cell lines can be reversed using known Pgp and BCRP inhibitors. We report that barasertib-hQPA is not an inhibitor of Pgp or BCRP, but by using 14[C]-barasertib-hQPA that it is effluxed by these transporters. Using phosphoHistone H3 (pHH3) as a biomarker of barasertib-hQPA responsiveness in primary AML blasts we determined that Pgp and BCRP positive primary samples were less sensitive to barasertib-hQPA induced pHH3 inhibition (p = <0.001) than samples without these transporters. However, we demonstrate that IC50 inhibition of pHH3 by barasertib-hQPA was achieved in 94.6% of these samples after 1 hour drug treatment, in contrast to the resistance of the cell lines.
We conclude that Pgp and BCRP status and pHH3 down-regulation in patients treated with barasertib should be monitored in order to establish whether transporter-mediated efflux is sufficient to adversely impact on the efficacy of the agent.
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO), an anti-CD33 immunoconjugate, was combined with high dose cytarabine (HiDAC; cytarabine 3 g/m2 over 3 hours daily for 5 days) for adults with relapsed or refractory AML. HiDAC plus GO 9 mg/m2 on day 7 and 4.5 mg/m2 on day 14 was not tolerated, but HiDAC followed by GO 9 mg/m2 on day 7 was safe: 12/37 (32%) patients with relapsed AML achieved complete remission. Median overall survival was 8.9 months. No grade 4 hepatic veno-occlusive disease was observed. This regimen merits further study, both in this setting and as a remission consolidation therapy.
gemtuzumab ozogamicin; acute myeloid leukemia; cytarabine; relapse
The majority of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients are over sixty years of age. With current treatment regimens, survival rates amongst these, and also those younger patients who relapse, remain dismal and novel therapies are urgently required. In particular, therapies that have anti-leukaemic activity but that, unlike conventional chemotherapy, do not impair normal haemopoiesis.
Here we demonstrate the potent anti-leukaemic activity of the combination of the lipid-regulating drug bezafibrate (BEZ) and the sex hormone medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) against AML cell lines and primary AML cells. The combined activity of BEZ and MPA (B/M) converged upon the increased synthesis and reduced metabolism of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) resulting in elevated levels of the downstream highly bioactive, anti-neoplastic prostaglandin 15-deoxy Δ12,14 PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2). BEZ increased PGD2 synthesis via the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of the lipid peroxidation pathway. MPA directed prostaglandin synthesis towards 15d-PGJ2 by inhibiting the PGD2 11β -ketoreductase activity of the aldo-keto reductase AKR1C3, which metabolises PGD2 to 9α11β-PGF2α. B/M treatment resulted in growth arrest, apoptosis and cell differentiation in both AML cell lines and primary AML cells and these actions were recapitulated by treatment with 15d-PGJ2. Importantly, the actions of B/M had little effect on the survival of normal adult myeloid progenitors.
Collectively our data demonstrate that B/M treatment of AML cells elevated ROS and delivered the anti-neoplastic actions of 15d-PGJ2. These observations provide the mechanistic rationale for the redeployment of B/M in elderly and relapsed AML.
Inhibition of farnesyltransferase (FT) activity has been associated with in vitro and in vivo anti-leukemia activity. We report the results of a phase 1 dose escalation study of tipifarnib, an oral FT inhibitor, in patients with relapsed, refractory, or newly diagnosed (if over age 70) acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), on a week-on, week-off schedule. Forty-four patients were enrolled, 2 patients were newly diagnosed, the rest were relapsed or refractory to previous treatment, with a median age of 61 (range 33–79). The maximum tolerated dose was determined to be 1200 mg given orally twice-daily (bid) on this schedule. Cycle one dose-limiting toxicities were hepatic and renal. There were 3 complete remissions seen, 2 at the 1200 mg bid dose and one at the 1000 mg bid dose, with minor responses seen at the 1400 mg bid dose level. Pharmacokinetic studies performed at doses of 1400 mg bid showed linear behavior with minimal accumulation between days 1–5. Tipifarnib administered on a week-on week-off schedule shows activity at higher doses, and represents an option for future clinical trials in AML.
farnesyltransferase; tipifarnib; Zarnestra®; AML; acute myelogenous leukemia; phase 1 trial
Acquired resistance to selective FLT3 inhibitors, is an emerging clinical problem in the treatment of FLT3-ITD+ acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The paucity of valid pre-clinical models has limited investigations to determine the mechanism of acquired therapeutic resistance, thereby limiting the development of effective treatments. We generated selective FLT3 inhibitor-resistant cells by treating the FLT3-ITD+ human AML cell line MOLM-13 in vitro with the FLT3-selective inhibitor MLN518, and validated the resistant phenotype in vivo and in vitro. The resistant cells, MOLM-13-RES, harboured a new D835Y tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) mutation on the FLT3-ITD+ allele. Acquired TKD mutations, including D835Y, have recently been identified in FLT3-ITD+ patients relapsing after treatment with the novel FLT3 inhibitor, AC220. Consistent with this clinical pattern of resistance, MOLM-13- RES cells displayed high relative resistance to AC220 and Sorafenib. Furthermore, treatment of MOLM-13-RES cells with AC220 lead to loss of the FLT3 wild type allele and duplication of the FLT3-ITD-D835Y allele. Our FLT3-Aurora kinase inhibitor, CCT137690, successfully inhibited growth of FLT3-ITD-D835Y cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that dual FLT3-Aurora inhibition may overcome selective FLT3 inhibitor resistance, in part due to inhibition of Aurora kinase, and may benefit patients with FLT3-mutated AML.
FLT3; Aurora; Kinase; AML; Resistance; Inhibitor