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.
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
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.
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.
Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) has been described in over 40% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treated with the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, flavopiridol. We conducted a retrospective analysis to determine predictive factors for TLS. In 116 patients, the incidence of TLS was 46% (95% CI: 36%-55%). In univariable analysis, female gender, greater number of prior therapies, Rai stages III-IV, adenopathy ≥ 10 cm, splenomegaly, del(11q), decreased albumin, and increased absolute lymphocyte count, white blood cell count (WBC), β2-microglobulin, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were associated (p<0.05) with TLS. In multivariable analysis, female gender, adenopathy ≥ 10 cm, elevated WBC, increased β2-microglobulin, and decreased albumin were associated with TLS (p<0.05). With respect to patient outcomes, 49% and 44% of patients with and without TLS, respectively, responded to flavopiridol (p=0.71). In a multivariable analysis controlling for number of prior therapies, cytogenetics, Rai stage, age, and gender, progression-free survival (PFS) was inferior in patients with TLS (p=0.01). Female patients and patients with elevated β2-microglobulin, increased WBC, adenopathy ≥ 10 cm, and decreased albumin were at highest risk and should be monitored for TLS with flavopiridol. TLS does not appear to be predictive of response or improved PFS in patients receiving flavopiridol.
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; flavopiridol; tumor lysis syndrome
Reproducible cytogenetic analysis in CLL has been limited by the inability to obtain reliable metaphase cells for analysis. CpG oligonucleotide and cytokine stimulation have been shown to improve metaphase analysis of CLL cytogenetic abnormalities, but is limited by variability in the cytokine receptor levels, stability and biological activity of the cytokine in culture conditions and high costs associated with these reagents. We report here use of a novel, stable CpG, GNKG168 along with pokeweed mitogen (PWM) and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) for conventional cytogenetic assessment in CLL. We demonstrate that the combined use of GNKG168+PWM/PMA increased the sensitivity of detection of chromosomal abnormalities compared to PWM/PMA (n=207, odds ratio=2.2, p=0.0002) and GNKG168 (n=219, odds ratio=1.5, p=0.0452). Further, a significant increase in sensitivity to detect complexity ≥3 with GNKG168+PWM/PMA compared to GNKG168 alone (odds ratio 8.0, p=0.0022) or PWM/PMA alone (odds ratio 9.6, p=0.0007) was observed. The trend toward detection of higher complexity was significantly greater with GNKG168+PWM/PMA compared to GNKG168 alone (p=0.0412). The increased sensitivity was mainly attributed to the addition of PWM/PMA with GNKG168 because GNKG168 alone showed no difference in sensitivity for detection of complex abnormalities (p=0.17). Comparison of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) results with karyotypic results showed a high degree of consistency, although some complex karyotypes were present in cases with no adverse FISH abnormality. These studies provide evidence for potential use of GNKG168 in combination with PWM and PMA in karyotypic analysis of CLL patient samples to better identify chromosomal abnormalities for risk stratification.
Cytogenetic abnormalities in CLL are important prognostic indicators. Historically, only interphase cytogenetics was clinically useful in CLL because traditional mitogens are not effective mitotic stimulants. Recently, CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) stimulation has shown effectiveness in CLL. The CLL Research Consortium (CRC) tested the effectiveness and reproducibility of CpG-ODN stimulation to detect chromosomally abnormal clones by five laboratories. More clonal abnormalities were observed after culture of CLL cells with CpG-ODN than with pokeweed mitogen (PWM)+12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorobol-13-acetate (TPA). All clonal abnormalities in PWM+TPA cultures were observed in CpG-ODN cultures, whereas CpG-ODN identified some clones not found by PWM+TPA. CpG-ODN stimulation of one normal control and 12 CLL samples showed that excepting clones of del(13q) in low frequencies and one translocation, results in all five laboratories were consistent, and all abnormalities were concordant with FISH. Thus, abnormal clones in CLL are more readily detected with CpG-ODN stimulation than with traditional B-cell mitogens. After CpG-ODN stimulation, abnormalities were reproducible among cytogenetic laboratories. CpG-ODN did not appear to induce aberrations in cell culture and enhanced detection of abnormalities and complexity in CLL. Since karyotypic complexity is prognostic and is not detectable by standard FISH analyses, stimulation with CpG-ODN is useful to identify this additional prognostic factor in CLL.
Histone H1 is commonly used to assay kinase activity in vitro. As many promising targeted therapies affect kinase activity of specific enzymes involved in cancer transformation, H1 phosphorylation can serve as potential pharmacodynamic marker for drug activity within the cell. In this report we utilized a phosphoproteomic workflow to characterize histone H1 phosphorylation changes associated with two targeted therapies in the Kasumi-1 Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) cell line. The phosphoproteomic workflow was first validated with standard casein phosphoproteins and then applied to the direct analysis of histone H1 from Kasumi-1 nuclear lysates. Ten H1 phosphorylation sites were identified on the H1 variants, H1.2, H1.3, H1.4, H1.5 and H1.x. Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry profiling of intact H1s demonstrated global dephosphorylation of H1.5 associated with therapy by the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, flavopiridol, and the Hsp90 inhibitor, 17AAG (17-(Allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin). In contrast, independent treatments with a nucleotide analog, proteosome inhibitor and histone deacetylase inhibitor did not exhibit decreased H1.5 phosphorylation. The data presented herein demonstrate that potential of histones to assess the cellular response of reagents that have direct and indirect effects on kinase activity that alters histone phosphorylation. As such, this approach may be a highly informative marker for response to targeted therapies influencing histone phosphorylation.
Histone; Acute Myeloid Leukemia; Chemotherapy; Phosphorylation
To better understand the implications of genomic instability and outcome in B-cell CLL, we sought to address genomic complexity as a predictor of chemosensitivity and ultimately clinical outcome in this disease. We employed array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), using a one-million probe array and identified gains and losses of genetic material in 48 patients treated on a chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) clinical trial. We identified chromosomal gain or loss in ≥6% of the patients on chromosomes 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 17. Higher genomic complexity, as a mechanism favoring clonal selection, was associated with shorter progression-free survival and predicted a poor response to treatment. Of interest, CLL cases with loss of p53 surveillance showed more complex genomic features and were found both in patients with a 17p13.1 deletion and in the more favorable genetic subtype characterized by the presence of 13q14.1 deletion. This aCGH study adds information on the association between inferior trial response and increasing genetic complexity as CLL progresses.
CLL; aCGH; genotype; prognosis
Lenalidomide is effective in myeloma and low-risk myelodysplastic syndromes with deletion 5q. We report results of a phase I dose-escalation trial of lenalidomide in relapsed or refractory acute leukemia.
Patients and Methods
Thirty-one adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and four adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were enrolled. Lenalidomide was given orally at escalating doses of 25 to 75 mg daily on days 1 through 21 of 28-day cycles to determine the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), as well as to provide pharmacokinetic and preliminary efficacy data.
Patients had a median age of 63 years (range, 22 to 79 years) and a median of two prior therapies (range, one to four therapies). The DLT was fatigue; 50 mg/d was the MTD. Infectious complications were frequent. Plasma lenalidomide concentration increased proportionally with dose. In AML, five (16%) of 31 patients achieved complete remission (CR); three of three patients with cytogenetic abnormalities achieved cytogenetic CR (none with deletion 5q). Response duration ranged from 5.6 to 14 months. All responses occurred in AML with low presenting WBC count. No patient with ALL responded. Two of four patients who received lenalidomide as initial therapy for AML relapse after allogeneic transplantation achieved durable CR after development of cutaneous graft-versus-host disease, without donor leukocyte infusion.
Lenalidomide was safely escalated to 50 mg daily for 21 days, every 4 weeks, and was active with relatively low toxicity in patients with relapsed/refractory AML. Remissions achieved after transplantation suggest a possible immunomodulatory effect of lenalidomide, and results provide enthusiasm for further studies in AML, either alone or in combination with conventional agents or other immunotherapies.
To determine if alemtuzumab consolidation improves response rate and progression-free survival (PFS) after induction chemoimmunotherapy in previously untreated symptomatic patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Patients and Methods
Patients (n = 102) received fludarabine 25 mg/m2 intravenously days 1 to 5 and rituximab 50 mg/m2 day 1, 325 mg/m2 day 3, and 375 mg/m2 day 5 of cycle 1 and then 375 mg/m2 day 1 of cycles 2 to 6; fludarabine plus rituximab (FR) administration was repeated every 28 days for six cycles. Three months after completion of FR, patients with stable disease or better response received subcutaneous alemtuzumab 3 mg day 1, 10 mg day 3, and 30 mg day 5 and then 30 mg three times per week for 5 weeks.
Overall response (OR), complete response (CR), and partial response (PR) rates were 90%, 29%, and 61% after FR, respectively; 15% of patients were minimal residual disease (MRD) negative. Of 102 patients, 58 received alemtuzumab; 28 (61%) of 46 patients achieving PR after FR attained CR after alemtuzumab. By intent to treat (n = 102), OR and CR rates were 90% and 57% after alemtuzumab, respectively; 42% of patients became MRD negative. With median follow-up of 36 months, median PFS was 36 months, 2-year PFS was 72%, and 2-year OS was 86%. In patients achieving CR after FR, alemtuzumab was associated with five deaths resulting from infection (viral and Listeria meningitis and Legionella, cytomegalovirus, and Pneumocystis pneumonias), which occurred up to 7 months after last therapy. The study was amended to exclude CR patients from receiving alemtuzumab.
Alemtuzumab consolidation improved CR and MRD-negative rates after FR induction but caused serious infections in patients who had already achieved CR after induction and did not improve 2-year PFS or survival.
We previously reported a rare germline variant (c.1-6531) that resulted in allele–specific expression (ASE) of death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) and predisposition to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We investigated a cohort of CLL patients lacking this mutation for the presence of ASE of DAPK1. We developed a novel strategy that combines single-nucleotide primer extension (SNuPE) with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, and detected germline DAPK1 ASE in 17 out of 120 (14.2%) CLL patients associated with a trend towards younger age at diagnosis. ASE was absent in 63 healthy controls. Germline cells of CLL patients with ASE showed increased levels of DNA methylation in the promoter region, however, neither genetic nor further epigenetic aberrations could be identified in the DAPK1 5′ upstream regulatory region, within distinct exons or in the 3′-UTR. We identified B-lymphoid malignancy related cell line models harboring allelic imbalance and found that allele-specific methylation in DAPK1 is associated with ASE. Our data indicate that ASE at the DAPK1 gene locus is a recurrent event, mediated by epigenetic mechanisms and potentially predisposing to CLL.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small non-coding RNAs that bind to target mRNAs and regulate their expression. Recent evidence has indicated the involvement of miRNAs in human malignancies. It has been suggested that aberrantly down-regulated or up-regulated miRNAs may be replaced with synthetic miRNAs or antagomiRNAs, respectively, and restore normal cell functions. As therapeutic development requires analytical support, we developed and validated an ultrasensitive and selective assay for quantification of synthetic 2′-methoxyphosphorothiolate-miRNA in mouse plasma and cell lysate for the first time. The method is based on a hybridization-ligation fluorescence enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and has provided a linear dynamic range of 10-1,000,000 pM for three synthetic miRNAs both singly and in a mixture. The intra- and inter-day coefficients of variation were <20% and the accuracy values nearly 100%. Using this assay, we performed pharmacokinetic studies of three synthetic miRNAs in mice treated with a single i.v. bolus dose of 7.5 mg kg−1. The 2-methoxyphosphorothiolate-miRNAs reached peak concentrations in the μM and nM ranges in plasma and bone marrow, respectively, and remained measurable at 24 h. These concentrations are in a range that shows biological activities. We conclude that this method provides a general and valuable tool for the pharmacologic study and clinical development of synthetic miRNAs.
ELISA; 2′-MeOPSmiRNAs; quantification; pharmacokinetics
The in vitro evaluation of histones and their post-translational modifications has drawn substantial interest in the development of epigenetic therapies. The differential expression of histone isoforms may serve as a potential marker in the classification of diseases affected by chromatin abnormalities. In this study, protein profiling by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry was used to explore differences in histone composition in primary CLL cells. Extensive method validations were performed to determine the experimental variances that would impact histone relative abundance. The resulting data demonstrated that the proposed methodology was suitable for the analysis of histone profiles. In 4 normal individuals and 40 CLL patients, a significant decrease in the relative abundance of histone H2A variants (H2AFL and H2AFA/M*) was observed in primary CLL cells as compared to normal B cells. Protein identities were determined using high mass accuracy mass spectrometry and shotgun proteomics.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; histone; variant; RPLC-MS
We have shown that the combination of pentostatin (P), cyclophosphamide (C) and rituximab (R) achieves an overall response (OR) rate >90% with more than 40% complete responses (CR) in patients with untreated CLL. To evaluate if the tolerability of this regimen could be enhanced without sacrificing efficacy, we conducted a phase II trial of P and R without cyclophosphamide, using a higher P dose (4 mg/m2). Among the 33 patients enrolled, 82% were male, median age was 65 (9 patients ≥70 years) and 64% were Rai stage III-IV. The OR rate was 76% with 9 CR (27%), 5 nPR, and 11 PRs. At the time of this analysis, 29/33 patients are still alive and the median follow up for patients still alive is 14 months (range: 1-34.8 months). Four (12%) patients experienced grade 3 or higher hematologic toxicity and 5 (15%) experienced grade 3 or higher non-hematologic toxicity. Comparison of this trial to our previous PCR trial showed that patients treated with PCR had a higher OR rate (91% vs. 76%) and CR rate (41% vs. 27%) compared to patients treated with PR. Median treatment-free survival for all accrued patients was notably longer in PCR treated patients compared to PR (30 vs. 16 months). These findings suggest that increasing the dose of the purine nucleoside analogue does not eliminate the need for cyclophosphamide in chemoimmunotherapy for treatment of CLL.
pentostatin; rituximab; cyclophosphamide; chemoimmunotherapy; response rates; B-CLL
Previous studies in our laboratory have shown the progressive methylation and suppression of the gene encoding protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTPRO, in the livers of rats fed a methyl-deficient diet that induces hepatocarcinogenesis. Subsequently, we observed the methylation of PTPRO in primary human lung tumors and also showed its potential tumor suppressor characteristics. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether the truncated form of PTPRO (PTPROt), specifically expressed in naïve B lymphocytes, was also methylated and suppressed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a disease generally affecting B lymphocytes.
Experimental Design and Results
Initial screening showed that 60% of the 52 CLL samples analyzed using methylation-specific PCR assay were methylated compared with B lymphocytes from normal individuals, which were not methylated. The expression of PTPROt, as measured by semiquantitative reverse transcription-PCR, inversely correlated with methylation in the few samples tested. Analysis of additional samples (n = 50) by combined bisulfite restriction analysis showed that the PTPRO CpG island was methylated in 82% of patients with CLL compared with B lymphocytes from normal individuals. Furthermore, overall expression of PTPRO was reduced in CLL relative to normal lymphocytes. The PTPRO gene was also suppressed by methylation in the CLL cell lineWaC3CD5, where it could be reactivated upon treatment with the DNA hypome-thylating agent 5-AzaC. Ectopic expression of PTPROt in a nonexpressing cell line increased growth inhibition with fludarabine treatment, a therapy commonly used for CLL.
This study reveals the potential role of PTPRO methylation and silencing in CLL tumorigenesis and also provides a novel molecular target in the epigenetic therapy.
Activation of Toll-like Receptors (TLR) 7 and 8 by engineered agonists has been shown to aid in combating viruses and tumors. Here, we wished to test the effect of TLR7/8 activation on monocyte Fcγ receptor (FcγR) function, as they are critical mediators of antibody therapy.
The effect of the TLR7/8 agonist R-848 on cytokine production and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) by human peripheral blood monocytes (PBM) was tested. Affymetrix microarrays were done to examine genomewide transcriptional responses of monocytes to R-848, and Western blots were done to measure protein levels of FcγR. Murine bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMM) from wild-type and knockout mice were examined to determine the downstream pathway involved with regulating FcγR expression. The efficacy of R-848 as an adjuvant for antibody therapy was tested using a CT26-HER2/neu solid tumor model.
Overnight incubation with R-848 increased FcγR-mediated cytokine production and ADCC in human PBM. Expression of FcγRI, FcγRIIa and the common γ-subunit was increased. Surprisingly, expression of the inhibitory FcγRIIb was almost completely abolished. In BMM, this required TLR7 and MyD88, as R-848 did not increase expression of the γ-subunit in TLR7−/− nor MyD88−/− cells. In a mouse solid tumor model, R-848 treatment superadditively enhanced the effects of antitumor antibody.
These results demonstrate an as-yet undiscovered regulatory and functional link between the TLR7/8 and FcγR pathways. This suggests that TLR7/8 agonists may be especially beneficial during antibody therapy.
Toll-like receptor; Fc-gamma receptor; immunotherapy; antibody; tumor
Flavopiridol has shown promising activities in hematologic and solid tumor models, as well as in clinical trials in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Flavopiridol has relatively low solubility and high plasma protein-binding. To address these issues and to provide an alternative strategy to achieve clinical efficacy, we encapsulated flavopiridol into a liposomal carrier and characterized its physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties. The liposomes, comprising hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC), cholesterol and poly (ethylene glycol) 2000-distearoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (PEG-DSPE), were prepared by polycarbonate membrane extrusion and then loaded with flavopiridol by a pH-gradient driven remote loading procedure. The liposomes had a mean diameter of 120.7 nm and a flavopiridol entrapment efficiency of 70.4%. Pharmacokinetic study in mice after i.v. bolus injection showed that the liposomal flavopiridol had an increased elimination phase half-life (T1/2β, 339.7 min vs. 57.0 min), decreased clearance (CL, 0.012 L/min vs. 0.036 L/min), and increased area under the plasma concentration–time curve (AUC, 10.8 min μmol/L vs. 3.4 min μmol/L) compared to the free drug. This indicates a significant and potentially beneficial change in flavopiridol pharmacokinetics for the liposomal formulation. Further preclinical studies are warranted to define the toxicity and therapeutic efficacy of this novel formulation.
Liposomes; Flavopiridol; Physicochemical properties; Pharmacokinetics; Nanotechnology
CD4+ CD25+ regulatory Tt cells are expanded in solid and hematological malignancies including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Several cytokines and co-stimulatory molecules are required for generation, survival and maintenance of their suppressive effect. We and others have shown direct cytotoxic effect of the novel common gamma chain cytokine interleukin (IL)-21 on primary B cells from CLL patients. Since members of this family of cytokines are known to exhibit their effects on diverse immune cells, we have examined the effects of IL-21 on CLL patient derived regulatory cell (Treg) induction, expansion and the inhibitory effect on natural killer cells in vitro. We demonstrate here the expression of IL-21 receptor in CD4+CD25High regulatory cells from CLL patients. In contrast to IL-2, the IL-21 cytokine failed to mediate expansion of regulatory cells or induced expression of Foxp3 in CD4+CD25Intermediate or CD4+CD25Dim/− cells in whole blood derived from CLL pat ients. Interestingly, in contrast to their differential effects on expansion of the CD4+CD25+Foxp3+T cells, IL-2 and IL-21 exhibited a redundant role in Ttreg mediated suppression of NK cell mediated antibody dependent cytotoxicity function. Given the infusion related toxicities and pro-survival effect of IL-2 in CLL, these studies provide a rationale to explore IL-21 as an alternate gamma chain cytokine in CLL therapy.
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; IL-21; IL-2; immunosuppression; antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity
Mantle-cell lymphoma (MCL) is an aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with a poor prognosis. We explored the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of an aggressive immunochemotherapy treatment program that included autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) for patients up to age 69 years with newly diagnosed MCL.
Patients and Methods
The primary end point was 2-year progression-free survival (PFS). A successful trial would yield a 2-year PFS of at least 50% and an event rate (early progression plus nonrelapse mortality) less than 20% at day +100 following ASCT. Seventy-eight patients were treated with two or three cycles of rituximab combined with methotrexate and augmented CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone). This treatment was followed by intensification with high doses of cytarabine and etoposide combined with rituximab and filgrastim to mobilize autologous peripheral-blood stem cells. Patients then received high doses of carmustine, etoposide, and cyclophosphamide followed by ASCT and two doses of rituximab.
There were two nonrelapse mortalities, neither during ASCT. With a median follow-up of 4.7 years, the 2-year PFS was 76% (95% CI, 64% to 85%), and the 5-year PFS was 56% (95% CI, 43% to 68%). The 5-year overall survival was 64% (95% CI, 50% to 75%). The event rate by day +100 of ASCT was 5.1%.
The Cancer and Leukemia Group B 59909 regimen is feasible, safe, and effective in patients with newly diagnosed MCL. The incorporation of rituximab with aggressive chemotherapy and ASCT may be responsible for the encouraging outcomes demonstrated in this study, which produced results comparable to similar treatment regimens.
Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with high-risk genomic features achieve poor outcomes with traditional therapies. A phase I study of a pharmacokinetically derived schedule of flavopiridol suggested promising activity in CLL, irrespective of high-risk features. Given the relevance of these findings to treating genetically high-risk CLL, a prospective confirmatory study was initiated.
Patients and Methods
Patients with relapsed CLL were treated with single-agent flavopiridol, with subsequent addition of dexamethasone to suppress cytokine release syndrome (CRS). High-risk genomic features were prospectively assessed for response to therapy.
Sixty-four patients were enrolled. Median age was 60 years, median number of prior therapies was four, and all patients had received prior purine analog therapy. If patients tolerated treatment during week 1, dose escalation occurred during week 2. Dose escalation did not occur in four patients, as a result of severe tumor lysis syndrome; three of these patients required hemodialysis. Thirty-four patients (53%) achieved response, including 30 partial responses (PRs; 47%), three nodular PRs (5%), and one complete response (1.6%). A majority of high-risk patients responded; 12 (57%) of 21 patients with del(17p13.1) and 14 (50%) of 28 patients with del(11q22.3) responded irrespective of lymph node size. Median progression-free survival among responders was 10 to 12 months across all cytogenetic risk groups. Reducing the number of weekly treatments per cycle from four to three and adding prophylactic dexamethasone, which abrogated interleukin-6 release and CRS (P ≤ .01), resulted in improved tolerability and treatment delivery.
Flavopiridol achieves significant clinical activity in patients with relapsed CLL, including those with high-risk genomic features and bulky lymphadenopathy. Subsequent clinical trials should use the amended treatment schedule developed herein and prophylactic corticosteroids.
Inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase reduces the availability of the endogenous pool of deoxycytidine and may increase cytarabine (AraC) cytotoxicity. We performed a phase I dose escalation trial of AraC combined with GTI-2040, a 20-mer antisense oligonucleotide shown in preclinical studies to decrease levels of the R2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase, to determine the maximum tolerated dose in adults with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia.
Twenty-three adults (ages 18–59 years) were enrolled in this dose escalation phase I trial, receiving high-dose AraC twice daily combined with infusional GTI-2040. An ELISA-based assay measured plasma and intracellular concentrations of GTI-2040. R2 protein changes were evaluated by immunoblotting in pretreatment and post-treatment bone marrow samples.
The maximum tolerated dose was 5 mg/kg/d GTI-2040 (days 1–6) and 3 g/m2/dose AraC every 12 hours for 8 doses. Neurotoxicity was dose limiting. Eight patients (35%) achieved complete remission. Mean bone marrow intracellular concentration of GTI-2040 were higher at 120 hours than at 24 hours from the start of GTI-2040 (P = 0.002), suggesting intracellular drug accumulation over time. Reductions in bone marrow levels of R2 protein (>50%) were observed at 24 and 120 hours. Higher baseline R2 protein expression (P = 0.03) and reductions after 24 hours of GTI-2040 (P = 0.04) were associated with complete remission.
GTI-2040 and high-dose AraC were coadministered safely with successful reduction of the intended R2 target and encouraging clinical results. The clinical efficacy of this combination will be tested in an upcoming phase II study.