Aurora A kinase (AAK) is overexpressed in aggressive lymphomas and can correlate with more histologically aggressive forms of disease. We therefore designed a phase II study of alisertib, a selective AAK inhibitor, in patients with relapsed and refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Patients and Methods
Patients age ≥ 18 years were eligible if they had relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), mantle-cell lymphoma (MCL), transformed follicular lymphoma, Burkitt's lymphoma, or noncutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Alisertib was administered orally at 50 mg twice daily for 7 days in 21-day cycles.
We enrolled 48 patients. Histologies included DLBCL (n = 21), MCL (n = 13), peripheral T-cell lymphoma (n = 8), transformed follicular lymphoma (n = 5), and Burkitt's (n = 1). Most common grade 3 to 4 adverse events were neutropenia (63%), leukopenia (54%), anemia (35%), thrombocytopenia (33%), stomatitis (15%), febrile neutropenia (13%), and fatigue (6%). Four deaths during the study were attributed to progressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 2), treatment-related sepsis (n = 1), and unknown cause (n = 1). The overall response rate was 27%, including responses in three of 21 patients with DLBCL, three of 13 with MCL, one of one with Burkitt's lymphoma, two of five with transformed follicular lymphoma, and four of eight with noncutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The alisertib steady-state trough concentration (n = 25) revealed the expected pharmacokinetic variability, with a trend for higher incidence of adverse event–related dose reductions at higher trough concentrations. Analysis for AAK gene amplification and total AAK protein revealed no differences between histologies or correlation with clinical response.
The novel AAK inhibitor alisertib seems clinically active in both B- and T-cell aggressive lymphomas. On the basis of these results, confirmatory single-agent and combination studies have been initiated.