The use of nucleoside analog-based chemoimmunotherapeutic regimens over the last decade has significantly improved outcomes in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Nonetheless, virtually all patients with CLL relapse from chemoimmmunotherapy and current available therapies are not curative. Identifying therapies that effectively eliminate CLL cells and lack immunesuppression represent an exciting new therapeutic approach. IMiDs are a class of immunomodulating drugs that increase T-cell and NK-cell directed killing of tumor cells. The first generation molecule is thalidomide followed by a second generation molecule lenalidomide that lacks neurotoxicity and is being explored more extensively in clinical trials. Lenalidomide has been shown to benefit patients with multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, and lymphoma. Initial reports in patients with relapsed and refractory CLL have shown promising responses. In a subset of patients with CLL complete responses have been noted. Subsequent studies, however, have suggested that this class of drug can also have serious and potentially life-threatening side effects including myelosuppression, tumor flare reaction and in a small subset of patients tumor lysis syndrome. Tumor flare with both thalidomide and lenalidomide appear to be disease specific to CLL and may reflect clinical manifestation of CLL tumor cell activation. As a consequence of these disease specific effects, the optimal safe dose of lenalidomide in CLL remains to be determined but appears to be lower than that tolerated in other B-cell malignancies. To date, biomarkers for response remain poorly defined and the relationship of clinical benefit to tumor flare is uncertain. This review examines the existing literature on the use of IMiDs in patients with CLL and provides suggestions for future research in this area.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; thalidomide; lenalidomide; tumor flare reaction; tumor lysis syndrome
Autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is an effective treatment for multiple myeloma (MM). However the timing of ASCT in the era of novel agents (lenalidomide, thalidomide, bortezomib) is unknown. We retrospectively reviewed the outcome of MM patients who received novel agent based induction treatment and received first ASCT within 12 months of diagnosis (early ASCT, N = 102), or at a later date (late ASCT, N = 65). Median time to ASCT was 7.9 months vs. 17.7 months in the early vs. late ASCT. The 3 and 5 yr overall Survival (OS) from diagnosis was 90 and 63% versus 82 and 63% in early and late ASCT respectively (P=0.45). Forty-one and 36 patients in the early and late ASCT have relapsed or progressed with median time to relapse of 28 and 23 mos (p=0.055). On multivariable analysis, factors predictive of increased risk for progression were ISS stage III (p=0.007), and < VGPR post-ASCT (p<0.001). Factor predictive of worst outcomes for OS was being on hemodialysis (p=0.037). No superiority of one agent was seen. In summary, early or late ASCT is a viable option for MM patients receiving induction treatment with novel targeted therapies.
Multiple Myeloma; Transplantation; Bortezomib; Lenalidomide
Lenalidomide is a synthetic derivative of thalidomide exhibiting multiple immunomodulatory activities beneficial in the treatment of several hematological malignancies. Murine pharmacokinetic characterization necessary for translational and further preclinical investigations has not been published. Studies herein define mouse plasma pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution after intravenous (IV) bolus administration and bioavailability after oral and intraperitoneal delivery. Range finding studies used lenalidomide concentrations up to 15 mg/kg IV, 22.5 mg/kg intraperitoneal injections (IP), and 45 mg/kg oral gavage (PO). Pharmacokinetic studies evaluated doses of 0.5, 1.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg IV and 0.5 and 10 mg/kg doses for IP and oral routes. Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry was used to quantify lenalidomide in plasma, brain, lung, liver, heart, kidney, spleen, and muscle. Pharmacokinetic parameters were estimated using noncompartmental and compartmental methods. Doses of 15 mg/kg IV, 22.5 mg/kg IP, and 45 mg/kg PO lenalidomide caused no observable toxicity up to 24 h postdose. We observed dose-dependent kinetics over the evaluated dosing range. Administration of 0.5 and 10 mg/kg resulted in systemic bioavailability ranges of 90–105% and 60–75% via IP and oral routes, respectively. Lenalidomide was detectable in the brain only after IV dosing of 5 and 10 mg/kg. Dose-dependent distribution was also observed in some tissues. High oral bioavailability of lenalidomide in mice is consistent with oral bioavailability in humans. Atypical lenalidomide tissue distribution was observed in spleen and brain. The observed dose-dependent pharmacokinetics should be taken into consideration in translational and preclinical mouse studies.
bioavailability; distribution; lenalidomide; mouse; pharmacokinetics
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors either alone or in combination with hypomethylating agents have limited clinical effect in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Previously we demonstrated that AML patients with higher miR-29b expression had better response to the hypomethylating agent decitabine. Therefore, an increase in miR-29b expression preceding decitabine treatment may provide a therapeutic advantage. We previously showed that miR-29b expression is suppressed by a repressor complex that includes HDACs. Thus, HDAC inhibition may increase miR-29b expression. We hypothesized that priming AML cells with the novel HDAC inhibitor (HDACI) AR-42 would result in increased response to decitabine treatment via upregulation of miR-29b. Here we show that AR-42 is a potent HDACI in AML, increasing miR-29b levels and leading to downregulation of known miR-29b targets (i.e., SP1, DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B). We then demonstrated that the sequential administration of AR-42 followed by decitabine resulted in a stronger anti-leukemic activity in vitro and in vivo than decitabine followed by AR-42 or either drug alone. These preclinical results with AR-42 priming before decitabine administration represents a promising, novel treatment approach and a paradigm shift with regard to the combination of epigenetic-targeting compounds in AML, where decitabine has been traditionally given before HDAC inhibitors.
acute myeloid leukemia; HDACI; AR-42; decitabine; miR-29b
Five laboratories in the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Research Consortium (CRC) investigated standardizing and pooling of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) results as a collaborative research project. This investigation used fixed bone marrow and blood cells available from previous conventional cytogenetic or FISH studies in two pilot studies, a one-day workshop, and proficiency test. Multiple FISH probe strategies were used to detect 6q-, 11q-, +12, 13q-, 17p-, and IGH rearrangements. Ten specimens were studied by participants who used their own probes (pilot study 1). Of 312 FISH interpretations, 224 (72%) were true-negative, 74 (24%) true-positive, 6 (2%) false-negative, and 8 (3%) false-positive. In pilot study no. 2, each participant studied two specimens using identical FISH probe sets to control for variation due to probe sets and probe strategies. Of 80 FISH interpretations, no false interpretations were identified. At a subsequent workshop, discussions produced agreement on scoring criteria. The proficiency test that followed produced no false-negative results and 4% (3/68) false-positive interpretations. Interpretation disagreements among laboratories were primarily attributable to inadequate normal cutoffs, inconsistent scoring criteria, and the use of different FISH probe strategies. Collaborative organizations that use pooled FISH results may wish to impose more conservative empiric normal cutoff values or use an equivocal range between the normal cutoff and the abnormal reference range to eliminate false-positive interpretations. False-negative results will still occur, and would be expected in low-percentage positive cases; these would likely have less clinical significance than false positive results. Individual laboratories can help by closely following rigorous quality assurance guidelines to ensure accurate and consistent FISH studies in their clinical practice and research.
The impact of mutation of the ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) gene in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatment outcome has not been examined. We studied ATM mutations in 73 patients treated with fludarabine and rituximab. ATM gene mutation analysis was performed using temperature gradient capillary electrophoresis. The impact of detected variants on overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was tested with proportional hazards models. None of the 73 patients demonstrated truncating ATM mutations; 17 (23%, 95% confidence interval 14 – 35%) had non-silent variants (ATM-NSVs), including 13 known ATM polymorphisms and four missense variants. ATM-NSVs were not significantly associated with any baseline characteristics including immunoglobulin heavy chain variable gene (IGVH) status. In multivariable models, no significant differences in complete response (p = 0.70), PFS (p = 0.59) or OS (p = 0.13) were observed. Our data indicate that truncating ATM mutations are rare in patients with CLL. Furthermore, in this dataset, these non-silent variants had limited impact on PFS and OS.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; ATM mutation; prognosis; chemoimmunotherapy
Lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory agent, and flavopiridol, a broad cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, are both active therapies for clinical use in genomic high risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A high-performance liquid chromatographic assay with tandem mass spectrometric detection has been developed to simultaneously quantify lenalidomide and flavopiridol in human and mouse plasma to facilitate their combined clinical development. Samples were prepared by liquid-liquid extraction with acetonitrile- (ACN) containing internal standard (IS), genistein, followed by evaporation of solvent and reconstitution in 95/5 H2O/ACN. Lenalidomide and IS were separated by reverse phase liquid chromatography on a C-18 column using a gradient of H2O and ACN, each with 0.1% formic acid. Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) in positive-ion mode with single reaction monitoring on a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer were applied to detect transitions of lenalidomide (260.06 > 149.10) and flavopiridol (402.09 > 341.02). Lower limits of quantification (LLOQ) of lenalidomide and flavopiridol were 1nM and 0.3nM respectively. Recoveries of lenalidomide and flavopiridol from human plasma ranged from 99% to 116% throughout their linear ranges. Within and between-run precision and accuracy of replicate samples were all less than 15%. This is the most sensitive analytical method reported to date for both lenalidomide and flavopiridol. This sensitivity will enable late terminal phase concentration measurements and accurate pharmacokinetic parameter estimation in a planned clinical trial with lenalidomide and flavopiridol in CLL patients.
Lenalidomide; Pharmacokinetics; Flavopiridol; LCMS
Complex karyotype (CK) on metaphase cytogenetics discriminates poor outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients undergoing salvage treatment; we hypothesized that it might provide prognostic information for patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplant. Fifty-one CLL patients were analysed following transplant; 18-month overall survival (OS), event-free survival (EFS) and cumulative incidence of progression estimates were 35%, 14% and 63%, respectively, in patients with CK (n = 19) versus 83%, 68% and 29% in patients without (n = 32) (P ≤ 0.0001, P ≤ 0.0001, and P = 0.02). In patients with high-risk interphase cytogenetics, CK remained predictive of worse OS (P = 0.02) and EFS (P = 0.009). These findings support further evaluation of metaphase karyotype in transplant risk assessment.
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; transplant; fluorescent insitu hybridization; metaphase cytogenetics; conditioning
Aberrant DNA methylation and concomitant transcriptional silencing of death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) have been demonstrated to be key pathogenic events in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), however, the presence of elevated DNA methylation levels has been a matter of continued controversy. Several studies demonstrated highly variable frequencies of DAPK1 promoter methylation by the use of methylation-specific PCR (MSP). By quantitative high resolution assessment, we demonstrate that aberrant DNA methylation is an extremely rare event in this region. We observed elevated levels just in one out of 246 (0.4%) AML patients, all 42 MDS patients were unmethylated. In conclusion, we present a refined DAPK1 methylation analysis in a large representative patient cohort of AML and MDS patients proofing almost complete absence of elevated DNA methylation. Our results highlight the importance of quantitative measurements particularly for translational research questions on primary patient specimens.
Drug resistance and associated immune deregulation limit use of current therapies in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), thus warranting alternative therapy development. Herein we demonstrate that OSU-DY7, a novel D-tyrosinol derivative targeting p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), mediates cytotoxicity in lymphocytic cell lines representing CLL (MEC-1), acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (697 cells), Burkitt lymphoma (Raji and Ramos) and primary B cells from CLL patients in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The OSU-DY7-induced cytotoxicity is dependent on caspase activation, as evidenced by induction of caspase-3 activation and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage and rescue of cytotoxicity by Z-VAD-FMK. Interestingly, OSU-DY7-induced cytotoxicity is mediated through activation of p38 MAPK, as evidenced by increased phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and downstream target protein MAPKAPK2. Pretreatment of B-CLL cells with SB202190, a specific p38 MAPK inhibitor, results in decreased MAPKAPK2 protein level with concomitant rescue of the cells from OSU-DY7-mediated cytotoxicity. Furthermore, OSU-DY7-induced cytotoxicity is associated with down regulation of p38 MAPK target BIRC5, that is rescued at protein and mRNA levels by SB202190. This study provides evidence for a role of OSU-DY7 in p38 MAPK activation and BIRC5 down regulation associated with apoptosis in B lymphocytic cells, thus warranting development of this alternative therapy for lymphoid malignancies.
D-tyrosinol; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK); apoptosis; BIRC5
We evaluated the safety and efficacy of the purine nucleoside analogue, clofarabine, in patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Six patients with DLBCL (n = 5) or MCL (n = 1) and a median age of 68 years were treated with 40 mg/m2 clofarabine IV over 2 h for 5 days, repeated every 28 days, for 1–2 cycles. The overall response rate was 50% (complete response = 1, complete response unconfirmed = 1, partial response = 1). Median progression-free survival was 3.5 months (range 1.5–10 months) and the median overall survival was 7.8 months (range 3–31 months). Grade 3–4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia was universal, with a median of 34 (range 19–55) and 77 (range 0–275) days required for neutrophil and platelet recovery. Grade 3 non-hematologic toxicities included transaminitis, febrile neutropenia, non-neutropenic infections and orthostatic hypotension. Further accrual to the study was terminated due to prolonged Grade 3–4 myelosuppression and orthostatic hypotension in five of six patients. Clofarabine exhibits evidence of single agent activity in relapsed or refractory DLBCL. However, further study with novel administration schedules that maintain this efficacy and limit toxicity is warranted.
Clofarabine; diffuse large B cell lymphoma; mantle cell lymphoma; nucleoside analogues; myelosuppression
The cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor flavopiridol has demonstrated promising clinical results in relapsed CLL patients leading to efforts to develop improved CDK inhibitors. Dinaciclib (SCH727965) is a pan-CDK inhibitor, derived from a detailed screen in ovarian xenograft mouse models for therapeutic index, whose toxicity in solid tumor phase I studies appears favorable. Dinaciclib in CLL cells demonstrates concentration dependent apoptosis that is superior to flavopiridol following a clinically relevant 2-hour exposure. Dinaciclib potently down-regulates expression of Mcl-1 in CLL cells and antagonizes protection mediated by multiple soluble proteins important in the microenvironment of CLL including TNF-α IL-4, BAFF, and CD40-ligand. In contrast, contact with stromal cells or fibronectin abrogates the cytotoxicity of dinaciclib that is antagonized by a pan inhibitor and p110 alpha isoform specific inhibitor of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway suggesting potential for combination strategies. These data justify clinical development of dinaciclib in CLL.
Dinaciclib; CDK; chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Based on the promising activity and tolerability of flavopiridol administered with a pharmacokinetically-derived dosing schedule in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we conducted a phase I study using this schedule in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Flavopiridol was given IV as a 30-min loading dose followed by a 4-hr infusion weekly for 4 weeks repeated every 6 weeks. Dose-escalation was in cohorts of three patients using the standard 3+3 phase I study design. Blood samples were obtained for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies.
Thirty-four eligible patients with advanced solid tumors received a total of 208 doses (median 7, range 1–24). Total doses ranged from 40 – 105 mg/m2. The primary dose limiting toxicity was cytokine release syndrome (CKRS). No antitumor responses were observed. The mean peak plasma concentration across all doses was 1.65 ± 0.86 µM. Area under the concentration-versus-time curve (AUC0–∞) ranged from 4.31 to 32.2 µM·hr with an overall mean of 13.6 ± 7.0 µM·hr. Plasma flavopiridol concentrations and AUC increased proportionally with dose. There was no correlation between cytokine levels and clinical outcomes.
The maximum-tolerated dose of flavopiridol is 20 mg/m2 bolus followed by 20 mg/m2 infusion over 4 hours given weekly for 4 weeks on a 6-week cycle in patients with advanced solid tumors. Flavopiridol PK was notably different, and there was a higher frequency of CKRS, despite prophylactic steroids, seen in this patient group compared to previous studies with CLL using a similar dosing schedule.
Flavopiridol; CDK inhibitor; Phase I trial; Solid tumors
Antisense oligonucleotide G3139-mediated down-regulation of Bcl-2 is a potential strategy for overcoming chemoresistance in leukemia. However, the limited efficacy shown in recent clinical trials calls attention to the need for further development of novel and more efficient delivery systems. In order to address this issue, transferrin receptor (TfR)-targeted, protamine-containing lipid nanoparticles (Tf-LNs) were synthesized as delivery vehicles for G3139. The LNs were produced by an ethanol dilution method and lipid-conjugated Tf ligand was then incorporated by a post-insertion method. The resulting Tf-LNs had a mean particle diameter of ~ 90 nm and G3139 loading efficiency of 90.4%. Antisense delivery efficiency of Tf-LNs was evaluated in K562, MV4-11 and Raji leukemia cell lines. The results showed that Tf-LNs were more effective than non-targeted LNs and free G3139 (p <0.05) in decreasing Bcl-2 expression (by up to 62% at the mRNA level in K562 cells) and in inducing caspase-dependent apoptosis. In addition, Bcl-2 down-regulation and apoptosis induced by Tf-LN G3139 were shown to be blocked by excess free Tf and thus were TfR-dependent. Cell lines with higher TfR expression also showed greater Bcl-2 down-regulation. Furthermore, upregulation of TfR expression in leukemia cells by iron chelator deferoxamine resulted in a further increase in antisense effect (up to 79% Bcl-2 reduction in K562 at the mRNA level) and in caspase-dependent apoptosis (by ~ 3-fold) by Tf-LN. Tf-LN mediated delivery combined with TfR up-regulation by deferoxamine appears to be a potentially promising strategy for enhancing the delivery efficiency and therapeutic efficacy of antisense oligonucleotides.
Transferrin receptor; lipid nanoparticles; protamine; antisense; oligonucleotide; G3139
A phase I study to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of bortezomib (B) when combined with weekly paclitaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors.
Patients and methods
Eligible patients received escalating doses of intravenous (IV) bortezomib (0.6–2 mg/m2) on days 2 and 9 and IV paclitaxel at 100 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Dose escalation was based on two end-points: not exceeding 80% 20S-proteasome inhibition (20-S PI) and the development of dose-limiting toxicity defined as grade 3 or greater non-hematologic or grade 4 hematologic toxicities.
Forty-five patients with advanced solid tumors and a median of 3 prior chemotherapy regimens (range 0– 9), received 318 doses (median 5, range 1–34) of bortezomib and paclitaxel. Dose-related inhibition of 20-S PI was observed with a maximum inhibition of 70–80% at the MTD of 1.8 mg/m2 of bortezomib. At the MTD (N = 9) the following toxicities were observed: grade 4 neutropenia without fever (n = 2) and cerebrovascular ischemia (n = 1); grade 3 neutropenia (n = 3), diarrhea (n = 2), nausea (n = 1), and fatigue (n = 1); grade 2 fatigue (n = 5), diarrhea (n = 4), and dyspnea (n = 2). There was one partial response in a patient with an eccrine porocarcinoma. Stabilization of disease was observed in 7 (16%) patients, 3 of whom had advanced pancreatic cancer.
Sequential paclitaxel and bortezomib in previously treated patients with advanced solid tumors resulted in acceptable toxicity and no evidence of interaction. The recommended phase II dose of bortezomib in combination with weekly paclitaxel was 1.8 mg/m2.
Bortezomib; Phase I; Solid tumors; Paclitaxel
The analysis of proteins by reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) commonly involves the use of TFA as an ion-pairing agent, even though it forms adducts and suppresses sensitivity. The presence of adducts can complicate protein molecular weight assignment especially when protein isoforms coelute as in the case of histones. To mitigate the complicating effects of TFA adducts in protein LC-MS, we have optimized TFA-free methods for protein separation. Protein standards and histones were used to evaluate TFA-free separations using capillary (0.3 mm id) and nanoscale (0.1 mm id) C8 columns with the ion-pairing agents, formic acid or acetic acid. The optimized method was then used to examine the applicability of the approach for histone characterization in human cancer cell lines and primary tumor cells from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.
Histone; RPLC-MS; TFA-free; capillary/nanoscale separation
Central nervous system (CNS) involvement by chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can present with dramatic neurologic findings or can be quite subtle, discovered only at the time of autopsy. We describe a case of CLL in a patient who presented initially with hearing loss and was ultimately found to have involvement of the tympanic membrane. She noted improvement of her hearing after induction therapy but was not aware at the time of the involvement of her CNS with CLL. Upon worsening of hearing at the time of relapse, she was evaluated by imaging and CSF analysis as well as biopsy of the tympanic membrane, and involvement of the CNS was confirmed. She has received CNS-directed therapy with intrathecal liposomal cytarabine and intravenous CNS-directed therapy and has noted improved hearing and resolution of her imaging and CSF findings. This is the first reported case of tympanic membrane involvement with CLL and describes potentially effective methods for managing this challenging complication.
Studies of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have yielded substantial progress, however a lack of immortalized cell lines representative of the primary disease has hampered a full understanding of disease pathogenesis and development of new treatments. Here we describe a novel CLL cell line (OSU-CLL) generated by EBV transformation, which displays a similar cytogenetic and immunophenotype observed in the patient’s CLL (CD5 positive with trisomy 12 and 19). A companion cell line was also generated from the same patient (OSU-NB). This cell line lacked typical CLL characteristics, and is likely derived from the patient’s normal B cells. In vitro migration assays demonstrated that OSU-CLL exhibits migratory properties similar to primary CLL cells whereas OSU-NB has significantly reduced ability to migrate spontaneously or towards chemokine. Microarray analysis demonstrated distinct gene expression patterns in the two cell lines, including genes on chromosomes 12 and 19, which is consistent with the cytogenetic profile in this cell line. Finally, OSU-CLL was readily transplantable into NOG mice, producing uniform engraftment by three weeks with leukemic cells detectable in the peripheral blood spleen and bone marrow. These studies describe a new CLL cell line that extends currently available models to study gene function in this disease.
Flavopiridol downmodulates antiapoptotic proteins associated with resistance to fludarabine and rituximab and is effective against p53-mutated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We conducted a phase I study of flavopiridol, fludarabine, and rituximab (FFR) in patients with mantle-cell lymphoma (MCL), indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (B-NHL), and CLL to determine the activity of FFR.
Patients and Methods
Therapy included fludarabine 25 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) days 1 to 5 and rituximab 375 mg/m2 day 1 every 28 days for 6 cycles. We administered flavopiridol 50 mg/m2 by 1-hour IV bolus (IVB) day 1 (n = 15); day 1 to 2 (n = 6); 20 mg/m2 30-minute IVB + 20 mg/m2 4-hour IV infusion (n = 3); or 30 mg/m2 + 30 mg/m2 (n = 14).
Thirty-eight patients (median age, 62 years) with MCL (n = 10); indolent B-NHL including follicular (n = 9), marginal zone (n = 4), lymphoplasmacytic (n = 1), or small lymphocytic lymphoma (n = 3); and CLL (n = 11), were enrolled. Twenty-two patients were previously untreated; 16 had received one to two prior therapies. Two patients in cohort 2 developed grade 3 dose-limiting toxicity (seizures, renal insufficiency). The median number of treatment cycles was 4, with cytopenias (n = 10) and fatigue (n = 3) the most common reasons for early discontinuation. Overall response rate was 82% (complete response, 50%; unconfirmed complete response, 5%; partial response, 26%), including 80% of patients with MCL (median age, 68; seven complete responses, one partial response). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 25.6 months. Median PFS of patients with nonblastoid variant MCL (n = 8) was 35.9 months.
FFR was active in MCL, indolent B-NHL, and CLL and should be studied for older patients with MCL who are not candidates for aggressive chemotherapy.
In vitro studies in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cell lines and patient-derived cells have demonstrated synergistic apoptosis with combined rituximab and bortezomib (R-bortezomib), compared to single agent bortezomib. Therefore, we evaluated R-bortezomib in a preclinical model and in a phase II clinical trial.
A Hu-MCL-SCID model engrafted with the Jeko cell line was treated with R-bortezomib, bortezomib, or rituximab. Twenty-five patients with relapsed follicular (n=11) and MCL (n=14) received 375 mg/m2 rituximab days 1 and 8 and 1.3-1.5 mg/m2 bortezomib days 1, 4, 8, and 11 every 21 days for a median of 3 cycles (range, 1-5).
R-bortezomib resulted in a statistically significant improvement in overall survival in Hu-MCL-SCID mice. In the clinical trial, the overall response rate (ORR) in 25 patients was 40%, with an ORR of 55% and 29% in patients with follicular and MCL, respectively. The estimated 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 24% (95% CI 10%, 53%) in all patients and 60% (95% CI 20%, 85%) in responding patients. Thirteen patients (52%) developed grade 3 neurotoxicity consisting of constipation/ileus, sensory or motor neuropathy, or orthostatic hypotension. Patients heterozygous for the CD32a (Fcγ receptor IIa) 131 histidine (H) to arginine (R) polymorphism had a significantly decreased PFS (p=0.009) after R-bortezomib compared to HH and RR homozygotes.
R-bortezomib has significant activity in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular and MCL, although an unexpectedly high incidence of grade 3 neurologic toxicity is a potential limiting factor with this combination.
rituximab; bortezomib; neuropathy; mantle cell lymphoma; follicular lymphoma
The success of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in treating chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) depends on the requirement for BCR-ABL1 kinase activity in CML progenitors. However, CML quiescent HSCs are TKI resistant and represent a BCR-ABL1 kinase–independent disease reservoir. Here we have shown that persistence of leukemic HSCs in BM requires inhibition of the tumor suppressor protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and expression — but not activity — of the BCR-ABL1 oncogene. Examination of HSCs from CML patients and healthy individuals revealed that PP2A activity was suppressed in CML compared with normal HSCs. TKI-resistant CML quiescent HSCs showed increased levels of BCR-ABL1, but very low kinase activity. BCR-ABL1 expression, but not kinase function, was required for recruitment of JAK2, activation of a JAK2/β-catenin survival/self-renewal pathway, and inhibition of PP2A. PP2A-activating drugs (PADs) markedly reduced survival and self-renewal of CML quiescent HSCs, but not normal quiescent HSCs, through BCR-ABL1 kinase–independent and PP2A-mediated inhibition of JAK2 and β-catenin. This led to suppression of human leukemic, but not normal, HSC/progenitor survival in BM xenografts and interference with long-term maintenance of BCR-ABL1–positive HSCs in serial transplantation assays. Targeting the JAK2/PP2A/β-catenin network in quiescent HSCs with PADs (e.g., FTY720) has the potential to treat TKI-refractory CML and relieve lifelong patient dependence on TKIs.
Protein synthesis is a powerful therapeutic target in leukemias and other cancers, but few pharmacologically viable agents are available that affect this process directly. The plant-derived agent silvestrol specifically inhibits translation initiation by interfering with eIF4A/mRNA assembly with eIF4F. Silvestrol has potent in vitro and in vivo activity in multiple cancer models including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and is under pre-clinical development by the US National Cancer Institute, but no information is available about potential mechanisms of resistance. In a separate report, we showed that intraperitoneal silvestrol is approximately 100% bioavailable systemically, although oral doses were only 1% bioavailable despite an apparent lack of metabolism. To explore mechanisms of silvestrol resistance and the possible role of efflux transporters in silvestrol disposition, we characterized multi-drug resistance transporter expression and function in a silvestrol-resistant ALL cell line generated via culture of the 697 ALL cell line in gradually increasing silvestrol concentrations. This resistant cell line, 697-R, shows significant upregulation of ABCB1 mRNA and P-glycoprotein (Pgp) as well as cross-resistance to known Pgp substrates vincristine and romidepsin. Furthermore, 697-R cells readily efflux the fluorescent Pgp substrate rhodamine 123. This effect is prevented by Pgp inhibitors verapamil and cyclosporin A, as well as siRNA to ABCB1, with concomitant re-sensitization to silvestrol. Together, these data indicate that silvestrol is a substrate of Pgp, a potential obstacle that must be considered in the development of silvestrol for oral delivery or targeting to tumors protected by Pgp overexpression.
ABCB1; leukemia; multi-drug resistance; P-glycoprotein; silvestrol
The addition of rituximab to fludarabine-based regimens in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been shown to produce high response rates with extended remissions. The long-term follow-up of these regimens with respect to progression, survival, risk of secondary leukemia, and impact of genomic risk factors has been limited.
We report the long-term follow-up of the chemoimmunotherapy trial CALGB 9712 from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, for which treatment regimen was previously reported, to examine end points of progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), impact of genomic features, and risk of therapy-related myeloid neoplasm (t-MN).
A total of 104 patients were enrolled on this study and now have a median follow-up of 117 months (range, 66 to 131 months). The median OS was 85 months, and 71% of patients were alive at 5 years. The median PFS was 42 months, and 27% were progression free at 5 years. An estimated 13% remained free of progression at almost 10 years of follow-up. Multivariable models of PFS and OS showed that immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region mutational status was significant for both, whereas cytogenetic abnormalities were significant only for OS. No patient developed t-MN before relapse.
Long-term follow-up of CALGB 9712 demonstrates extended OS and PFS with fludarabine plus rituximab. Patients treated with fludarabine plus rituximab administered concurrently or sequentially have a low risk of t-MN. These long-term data support fludarabine plus rituximab as one acceptable first-line treatment for symptomatic patients with CLL.