Resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-positive ALL) is frequently caused by mutations in the BCR-ABL kinase domain. Ponatinib (AP24534) is a potent oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks native and mutated BCR-ABL, including the gatekeeper mutant T315I, which is uniformly resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
In this phase 1 dose-escalation study, we enrolled 81 patients with resistant hematologic cancers, including 60 with CML and 5 with Ph-positive ALL. Ponatinib was administered once daily at doses ranging from 2 to 60 mg. Median follow-up was 56 weeks (range, 2 to 140).
Dose-limiting toxic effects included elevated lipase or amylase levels and pancreatitis. Common adverse events were rash, myelosuppression, and constitutional symptoms. Among Ph-positive patients, 91% had received two or more approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and 51% had received all three approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Of 43 patients with chronic-phase CML, 98% had a complete hematologic response, 72% had a major cytogenetic response, and 44% had a major molecular response. Of 12 patients who had chronic-phase CML with the T315I mutation, 100% had a complete hematologic response and 92% had a major cytogenetic response. Of 13 patients with chronic-phase CML without detectable mutations, 100% had a complete hematologic response and 62% had a major cytogenetic response. Responses among patients with chronic-phase CML were durable. Of 22 patients with accelerated-phase or blast-phase CML or Ph-positive ALL, 36% had a major hematologic response and 32% had a major cytogenetic response.
Ponatinib was highly active in heavily pretreated patients with Ph-positive leukemias with resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including patients with the BCR-ABL T315I mutation, other mutations, or no mutations. (Funded by Ariad Pharmaceuticals and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00660920.)