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Gemtuzumab (Mylotarg)

Web Resources: Gemtuzumab (Mylotarg)
Latest Research Publications

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Latest Research Publications

Tamamyan G, Kadia T, Ravandi F, et al.
Frontline treatment of acute myeloid leukemia in adults.
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2017; 110:20-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recent years have highlighted significant progress in understanding the underlying genetic and epigenetic signatures of acute myeloid leukemia(AML). Most importantly, novel chemotherapy and targeted strategies have led to improved outcomes in selected genetic subsets. AML is a remarkably heterogeneous disease, and individualized therapies for disease-specific characteristics (considering patients' age, cytogenetics, and mutations) could yield better outcomes. Compared with the historical 5-to 10-year survival rate of 10%, the survival of patients who undergo modern treatment approaches reaches up to 40-50%, and for specific subsets, the improvements are even more dramatic; for example, in acute promyelocytic leukemia, the use of all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide improved survival from 30 to 40% up to 80 to 90%. Similar progress has been documented in core-binding-factor-AML, with an increase in survival from 30% to 80% upon the use of high-dose cytarabine/fludarabine/granulocyte colony-stimulating factor combination regimens. AML treatment was also recently influenced by the discovery of the superiority of regimens with higher dose Ara-C and nucleoside analogues compared with the "7+3"regimen, with about a 20% improvement in overall survival. Despite these significant differences, most centers continue to use the "7+3" regimen, and greater awareness will improve the outcome. The discovery of targetable molecular abnormalities and recent studies of targeted therapies (gemtuzumab ozagomycin, FLT3 inhibitors, isocitrate dehydrogenase inhibitors, and epigenetic therapies), future use of checkpoint inhibitors and other immune therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, and maintenance strategies based on the minimal residual disease evaluation represent novel, exciting clinical leads aimed to improve AML outcomes in the near future.

Paubelle E, Ducastelle-Leprêtre S, Labussière-Wallet H, et al.
Fractionated gemtuzumab ozogamicin combined with intermediate-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin as salvage therapy in very high-risk AML patients: a bridge to reduced intensity conditioning transplant?
Ann Hematol. 2017; 96(3):363-371 [PubMed] Related Publications
Outcome of patients with primary refractory/relapsed (R/R) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains dismal. Herein, we present a retrospective monocentric study of 24 very high-risk AML patients who received a combination of fractionated gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) with intermediate-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin as salvage therapy. Median age was 55.3 years. Diagnostic was secondary AML for 33% of them. Seven patients had favorable risk, 8 had intermediate-1 or intermediate-2, and 6 had unfavorable risk of AML according to the European LeukemiaNet prognostic index. Complete remission was achieved in 50% of cases (46% in refractory and 55% in relapsed AML) without excessive toxicity. Thirteen patients could be referred for transplant. Only allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation provided a benefit in this patient cohort with a 1-year overall survival of 50.7 versus 18.1% in the absence of transplantation. Patients treated with reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) showed a longer survival as compared to those undergoing myeloablative conditioning regimen mainly because of decreased toxicity.Our data suggest that salvage therapy with fractionated GO combined with intermediate-dose cytarabine and daunorubicin in very high-risk patients may serve as a potential bridge therapy to RIC transplant.

Higuchi Y, Tokunaga K, Watanabe Y, et al.
Lineage switch with t(6;11)(q27;q23) from T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma to acute monoblastic leukemia at relapse.
Cancer Genet. 2016; 209(6):267-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
We present a patient with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) harboring t(6;11)(q27;q23) that converted to acute monoblastic leukemia at relapse. A 27-year-old man developed T-LBL with a mediastinal mass. He exhibited several recurrences in the central nervous system and marrow. A fifth relapse occurred in the marrow, with 42.8% blasts with CD4, CD5, CD7, CD10, CD33, CD34, HLA-DR and cytoplasmic (cy) CD3. While achieving complete remission with nelarabine, sixth relapse occurred in the marrow with 6.8% blasts, which had characteristics of monoblastic features, 2 months later. Marrow blasts were positive for myeloperoxidase, CD4, CD33, CD56, CD64, and HLA-DR, but were negative for cyCD3, CD5, CD7, CD10, and CD34. Marrow cells at both the 5th lymphoid and 6th myeloid relapses had t(6;11)(q27;q23) and the same MLL-MLLT4 fusion transcript. In addition, the MLL-MLLT4 fusion sequences documented in the initial mediastinal cells were the same as seen in peripheral blood cells at the 6th relapse. The patient continues 7th remission after one course of gemtuzumab ozogamicin therapy followed by cord blood transplantation for more than 3 years. Sequential phenotypic and cytogenetic studies may yield valuable insights into the mechanism of leukemic recurrence and possible implications for treatment selection.

Shimomura Y, Mitsui H, Yamashita Y, et al.
New variant of acute promyelocytic leukemia with IRF2BP2-RARA fusion.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(8):1165-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We present an acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) patient with two subtypes of IRF2BP2-RARA, in which the IRF2BP2 gene showed completely new breakpoints. Bone marrow examination revealed morphologic features indicative of APL. However, promyelocytic leukemia-RARA fusion was not detected. A paired-end mRNA sequencing followed by RT-PCR and direct sequencing revealed two types of fusion transcripts between exon 1B of IRF2BP2 and exon 3 of RARA. The patient received all-trans retinoic acid and conventional chemotherapy, but showed resistance. This is the second report of IRF2BP2 involvement in APL, and we describe various breakpoints for the IRF2BP2-RARA fusion gene.

Magwood-Golston JS, Kessler S, Bennett CL
Evaluation of gemtuzumab ozogamycin associated sinusoidal obstructive syndrome: Findings from an academic pharmacovigilance program review and a pharmaceutical sponsored registry.
Leuk Res. 2016; 44:61-4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved gemtuzumab ozogamycin for monotherapy for older patients with relapsed AML. A 0.9% rate of hepatic sinusoidal obstructive syndrome (SOS) was noted in licensing trials. In 2001, FDA received reports of 14 GO-associated SOS cases from MD Anderson Cancer Center. A State of South Carolina/National Cancer Institute funded pharmacovigilance program and a manufacturer sponsored registry independently evaluated this concern.
METHODS: The manufacturer's registry and the academic program focused on risk factors and incidence of GO-associated SOS in routine clinical practice and clinical trial settings, respectively. Comparisons were made of findings and dissemination efforts from the two studies.
RESULTS: Retrospective analysis of clinical trials by the academic initiative identified 99 cases of SOS among 221 GO-treated stem cell patients and 649 patients who did not undergo HSCTs. SOS rates were 3% when GO was administered at doses ≤6 mg/m(2) as monotherapy or with non-hepatotoxic agents; 28% when administered with 6-thioguanine, a hepatotoxic agent; 15% when administered as monotherapy at doses at a dose of 9 mg/m(2), and between 15% and 40% if a stem cell transplant (SCT) was performed within 3 months of GO administration. Death from SOS occurred in 33% of the cases. The manufacturer's registry prospectively evaluated 482 GO-treated patients who received a mean dose of 7.8 mg/m(2). Overall, 41% received concomitant chemotherapy, 18% had undergone prior SCT, 9.1% developed SOS, and death from SOS occurred in 60% of the SOS cases. Findings from each initiative were disseminated at national conferences and in peer-reviewed manuscripts beginning in 2003.
CONCLUSION: Retrospective review of clinical trials, case series, and FDA reports and prospective registries can provide important information on safety signals initially identified in licensing trials.

Kell J
The addition of gemtuzumab ozogamicin to chemotherapy in adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2016; 16(4):377-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
The treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia has remained largely unchanged for the last 30 years since the advent of combination chemotherapy with cytarabine arabinoside and daunorubicin with remission rates around 70% but with long term survival still only around 40% in young adults. Doses of chemotherapy have been pushed to the limit of toxicity. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin allows additional chemotherapy to be delivered to the leukaemic cells without significantly adding to toxicity since the active agent is coupled to a monoclonal anti-CD33 antibody. It was approved by the FDA in 2000 for the treatment of elderly patients with relapsed CD33 positive AML at a dose of 9mg/m(2) on two days two weeks apart. Almost at once, questions were raised about its safety, with a particular liver signal, and it was voluntarily withdrawn from practice in 2010. Many groups have been examining the role of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in combination with chemotherapy, usually at lower doses than originally recommended, with varying degrees of success and toxicity and gemtuzumab ozogamicin is now entering a period of rehabilitation. Currently it is only commercially available in Japan although it is currently also available in the UK Bloodwise AML18 study.

Norsworthy KJ, Altman JK
Optimal treatment strategies for high-risk acute promyelocytic leukemia.
Curr Opin Hematol. 2016; 23(2):127-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite major advances in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), high-risk APL still poses unique challenges. The purpose of this review is to outline current evidence for evaluation and management of high-risk APL and discuss areas of ongoing and future investigation.
RECENT FINDINGS: With the changing treatment paradigm in APL and increasing use of arsenic trioxide (ATO), reports have questioned the relevance of classic prognostic factors. Despite advancements in therapy, early death remains a primary reason for treatment failure. A randomized, phase III trial demonstrated that all-trans retinoic acid + ATO is at least noninferior and may be superior to all-trans retinoic acid + chemotherapy in low/intermediate-risk APL. One phase III and multiple phase II trials have suggested a benefit of adding ATO to therapy of high-risk patients. Attempts at minimizing chemotherapy in high-risk disease have proven feasible with the use of gemtuzumab ozogamicin, but it is unlikely that cytotoxic chemotherapy will be completely eliminated in this patient population.
SUMMARY: Treatment of high-risk APL has evolved significantly over the past 10 years and current scoring systems, management, and treatment regimens have been reviewed. There are as yet unresolved questions, including how to minimize early deaths and optimal therapy in an ATO era.

Achille NJ, Othus M, Phelan K, et al.
Association between early promoter-specific DNA methylation changes and outcome in older acute myeloid leukemia patients.
Leuk Res. 2016; 42:68-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Treatment options for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) range from supportive care alone to full-dose chemotherapy. Identifying factors that predict response to therapy may help increase efficacy and avoid toxicity. The phase II SWOG S0703 study investigated the use of hydroxyurea and azacitidine with gemtuzumab ozogamicin in the elderly AML population and found survival rates similar to those expected with standard AML regimens, with less toxicity. As part of this study, global DNA methylation along with promoter DNA methylation and expression analysis of six candidate genes (CDKN2A, CDKN2B, HIC1, RARB, CDH1 and APAF1) were determined before and during therapy to investigate whether very early changes are prognostic for clinical response. Global DNA methylation was not associated with a clinical response. Samples after 3 or 4 days of treatment with azacitidine showed significantly decreased CDKN2A promoter DNA methylation in patients achieving complete remission (CR) compared to those who did not. Samples from day 7 of treatment showed significantly decreased RARB, CDKN2B and CDH1 promoter DNA methylation in responders compared to nonresponders. Gene-specific DNA methylation analysis of peripheral blood samples may help early identification of those older AML patients most likely to benefit from demethylating agent therapy.

Amadori S, Suciu S, Selleslag D, et al.
Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Versus Best Supportive Care in Older Patients With Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia Unsuitable for Intensive Chemotherapy: Results of the Randomized Phase III EORTC-GIMEMA AML-19 Trial.
J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34(9):972-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To compare single-agent gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) with best supportive care (BSC) including hydroxyurea as first-line therapy in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia unsuitable for intensive chemotherapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this trial, patients at least 61 years old were centrally randomized (1:1) to receive either a single induction course of GO (6 mg/m(2) on day 1 and 3 mg/m(2) on day 8) or BSC. Patients who did not progress after GO induction could receive up to eight monthly infusions of the immunoconjugate at 2 mg/m(2). Randomization was stratified by age, WHO performance score, CD33 expression status, and center. The primary end point was overall survival (OS) by intention-to-treat analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 237 patients were randomly assigned (118 to GO and 119 to BSC). The median OS was 4.9 months (95% CI, 4.2 to 6.8 months) in the GO group and 3.6 months (95% CI, 2.6 to 4.2 months) in the BSC group (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.90; P = .005); the 1-year OS rate was 24.3% with GO and 9.7% with BSC. The OS benefit with GO was consistent across most subgroups, and was especially apparent in patients with high CD33 expression status, in those with favorable/intermediate cytogenetic risk profile, and in women. Overall, complete remission (CR [complete remission] + CRi [CR with incomplete recovery of peripheral blood counts]) occurred in 30 of 111 (27%) GO recipients. The rates of serious adverse events (AEs) were similar in the two groups, and no excess mortality from AEs was observed with GO.
CONCLUSION: First-line monotherapy with low-dose GO, as compared with BSC, significantly improved OS in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia who were ineligible for intensive chemotherapy. No unexpected AEs were identified and toxicity was manageable.

Jerjian TV, Glode AE, Thompson LA, O'Bryant CL
Antibody-Drug Conjugates: A Clinical Pharmacy Perspective on an Emerging Cancer Therapy.
Pharmacotherapy. 2016; 36(1):99-116 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) combine highly specific monoclonal antibodies with potent cytotoxic drugs. Their synergy allows for targeted delivery of toxic drugs to cancer cells while sparing systemic exposure. In this review, we focus on the history and clinical applications of ADCs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cancer and highlight new ADCs in the drug development pipeline. Three ADCs have received FDA approval thus far. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, although withdrawn from the U.S. market, may still be an effective treatment modality in subsets of patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Brentuximab vedotin and ado-trastuzumab emtansine have shown improved efficacy and safety data compared with standard chemotherapy for the treatment of advanced lymphoma and breast cancer, respectively. With a number of ADCs with promising preliminary data in the clinical trial pipeline, cancer therapy is moving forward from traditional chemotherapy to targeted treatment modalities driven by the specificity of monoclonal antibodies and advancing biotechnology.

Pollard JA, Loken M, Gerbing RB, et al.
CD33 Expression and Its Association With Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Response: Results From the Randomized Phase III Children's Oncology Group Trial AAML0531.
J Clin Oncol. 2016; 34(7):747-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: CD33 is variably expressed on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts and is targeted by gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO). GO has shown benefit in both adult and pediatric AML trials, yet limited data exist about whether GO response correlates with CD33 expression level.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: CD33 expression levels were prospectively quantified by multidimensional flow cytometry in 825 patients enrolled in Children's Oncology Group AAML0531 and correlated with response to GO.
RESULTS: Patients with low CD33 expression (lowest quartile of expression [Q1]) had no benefit with the addition of GO to conventional chemotherapy (relapse risk [RR]: GO 36% v No-GO 34%, P = .731; event-free survival [EFS]: GO 53% v No-GO 58%, P = .456). However, patients with higher CD33 expression (Q2 to Q4) had significantly reduced RR (GO 32% v No-GO 49%, P < .001) and improved EFS (GO 53% v No-GO 41%, P = .005). This differential effect was observed in all risk groups. Specifically, low-risk (LR), intermediate-risk (IR), and high-risk (HR) patients with low CD33 expression had similar outcomes regardless of GO exposure, whereas the addition of GO to conventional chemotherapy resulted in a significant decrease in RR and disease-free survival (DFS) for patients with higher CD33 expression (LR RR, GO 13% v No-GO 35%, P = .001; LR DFS, GO 79% v No-GO 59%, P = .007; IR RR, GO 44% v No-GO 57%, P = .044; IR DFS, GO 51% v No-GO 40%, P = .078; HR RR, GO 40% v No-GO 73%, P = .016; HR DFS, GO 47% v No-GO 28%, P = .135).
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that GO lacks clinical benefit in patients with low CD33 expression but significantly reduces RR and improves EFS in patients with high CD33 expression, which suggests a role for CD33-targeted therapeutics in subsets of pediatric AML.

Zahler S, Bhatia M, Ricci A, et al.
A Phase I Study of Reduced-Intensity Conditioning and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Followed by Dose Escalation of Targeted Consolidation Immunotherapy with Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin in Children and Adolescents with CD33+ Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2016; 22(4):698-704 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myeloablative conditioning and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (alloHSCT) in children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first complete remission (CR1) may be associated with significant acute toxicity and late effects. Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) and alloHSCT in children is safe, feasible, and may be associated with less adverse effects. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) induces a response in 30% of patients with CD33+ relapsed/refractory AML. The dose of GO is significantly lower when combined with chemotherapy. We examined the feasibility and toxicity of RIC alloHSCT followed by GO targeted immunotherapy in children with CD33+ AML in CR1/CR2. Conditioning consisted of fludarabine 30 mg/m2 × 6 days, busulfan 3.2 to 4 mg/kg × 2 days ± rabbit antithymocyte globulin 2 mg/kg × 4 days followed by alloHSCT from matched related/unrelated donors. GO was administered ≥60 days after alloHSCT in 2 doses (8 weeks apart), following a dose-escalation design (4.5, 6, 7.5, and 9 mg/m2). Fourteen patients with average risk AML received RIC alloHSCT and post-GO consolidation: median age 13.5 years at transplant (range, 1 to 21), male-to-female 8:6, and disease status at alloHSCT 11 CR1 and 3 CR2. Eleven patients received alloHSCT from 5-6/6 HLA-matched family donors: 8 received peripheral blood stem cells, 2 received bone marrow, and 1 received related cord blood transplantation. Three patients received an unrelated allograft (two 4-5/6 and one 9/10) from unrelated cord blood unit and bone marrow, respectively. Neutrophil and platelet engraftment was observed in all assessable patients (100%), achieved at median 15.5 days (range, 7 to 31) and 21 days (range, 10 to 52), respectively. Three patients received GO at dose level 1 (4.5 mg/m2 per dose), 5 at dose level 2 (6 mg/m2 per dose), 3 at dose level 3 (7.5 mg/m2 per dose), and 3 at dose level 4 (9 mg/m2 per dose). Three of 14 patients received only 1 dose of GO after alloHSCT. One patient experienced grade III transaminitis, which resolved; no grade IV transaminitis, no grade III/IV hyperbilirubinemia, or sinusoidal obstructive syndrome were observed. The second dose of GO was given at median of 143 days (range, 120 to 209) after alloHSCT. Probability of grades II to IV acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease were 21% and 33.5%, respectively. Probability of overall survival after RIC alloHSCT and GO consolidation at 1 and 5 years was 78% and 61%, respectively. Probability of 5-year event-free survival after RIC alloHSCT and GO consolidation in patients in CR1 was 78%. No dose-limiting toxicities probably or directly related to GO were observed in this cohort. This preliminary data demonstrate that RIC followed by alloHSCT and consolidation with GO appears to be safe in children and adolescents with CD33+ AML in CR1/CR2. A phase II trial is currently underway investigating this approach with a GO dose of 9 mg/m2 per dose.

Rashidi A, Walter RB
Antigen-specific immunotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia: where are we now, and where do we go from here?
Expert Rev Hematol. 2016; 9(4):335-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antigen-specific immunotherapies have long been pursued as a means to improve the outcomes of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Success thus far has been limited, and many therapeutics have either been ineffective in the clinic or have an uncertain impact on patient outcomes. Only the CD33 antibody-drug conjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin provided benefit in randomized studies. Here, we briefly review where we currently are with antigen-specific AML immunotherapy and where we might go from here. Besides the exploration of novel target antigens, ongoing preclinical and clinical efforts aim to improve existing immunotherapy modalities and focus on developing novel therapeutics such as bispecific antibodies and gene-modified immune effector cells. Ultimately, clinical studies need to address the question of ideal target(s) in AML, a disease of great antigenic diversity, and clarify how the upcoming immunotherapeutics should be best used and what level of supportive care is required for their safe administration.

Dombret H, Gardin C
An update of current treatments for adult acute myeloid leukemia.
Blood. 2016; 127(1):53-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent advances in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) biology and its genetic landscape should ultimately lead to more subset-specific AML therapies, ideally tailored to each patient's disease. Although a growing number of distinct AML subsets have been increasingly characterized, patient management has remained disappointingly uniform. If one excludes acute promyelocytic leukemia, current AML management still relies largely on intensive chemotherapy and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), at least in younger patients who can tolerate such intensive treatments. Nevertheless, progress has been made, notably in terms of standard drug dose intensification and safer allogeneic HSCT procedures, allowing a larger proportion of patients to achieve durable remission. In addition, improved identification of patients at relatively low risk of relapse should limit their undue exposure to the risks of HSCT in first remission. The role of new effective agents, such as purine analogs or gemtuzumab ozogamicin, is still under investigation, whereas promising new targeted agents are under clinical development. In contrast, minimal advances have been made for patients unable to tolerate intensive treatment, mostly representing older patients. The availability of hypomethylating agents likely represents an encouraging first step for this latter population, and it is hoped will allow for more efficient combinations with novel agents.

Parigger J, Zwaan CM, Reinhardt D, Kaspers GJ
Dose-related efficacy and toxicity of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia.
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2016; 16(2):137-46 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, an anti-tumour antibiotic linked to an anti-CD33 antibody (Mylotarg®), has been well studied in AML in adults but to a lesser extent in children. No review has yet been published on the dose-related toxicity and efficacy of gemtuzumab ozogamicin in pediatric AML patients. Here we looked at 14 studies then scatterplots and linear regressions were used to estimate the relationship between the dose of gemtuzumab and its toxicity and efficacy. A non-significant increase in bilirubin level and in incidence of veno-occlusive disease was seen with higher doses of gemtuzumab ozogamicin when used as single-agent. In terms of efficacy, even a low dose of 3 mg/m(2) of gemtuzumab ozogamicin can have antileukemic effect, but available data do not allow conclusions on its dose-dependency. Data indicate that higher doses of gemtuzumab ozogamicin account for more adverse events. The data do not show that a high dose is required for anti-leukemic efficacy of gemtuzumab ozogamicin. This study also indicates that there seems to be a role for gemtuzumab ozogamicin in the treatment of pediatric AML and further studies are required to assess its optimal dose, schedule and balance between efficacy and side-effects.

Tarlock K, Alonzo TA, Gerbing RB, et al.
Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin Reduces Relapse Risk in FLT3/ITD Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Report from the Children's Oncology Group.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(8):1951-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO), a calicheamicin-conjugated mAb against CD33, has been used in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated the impact of the addition of GO to standard chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) in patients withFLT3/ITD.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We analyzed children withFLT3/ITD-positive AML (n= 183) treated on two consecutive Children's Oncology Group AML trials (NCT00070174andNCT00372593). Outcomes were assessed forFLT3/ITD patients receiving standard chemotherapy with or without GO (GO vs. No-GO, respectively), and the impact of consolidation HCT for high-riskFLT3/ITD patients [highFLT3/ITD allelic ratio (ITD-AR)].
RESULTS: For allFLT3/ITD patients, complete remission (CR) rates for the GO versus No-GO cohorts were identical (64% vs. 64%;P= 0.98). Relapse rate (RR) after initial CR was 37% for GO recipients versus 59% for No-GO recipients (P= 0.02), disease-free survival (DFS) was similar (47% vs. 41%;P= 0.45), with higher treatment-related mortality (TRM) in GO recipients (16% vs. 0%;P= 0.008). Among high-riskFLT3/ITD patients with high ITD-AR, those who received HCT in first CR with prior exposure to GO had a significant reduction in RR (15% vs. 53%;P= 0.007), with a corresponding DFS of 65% versus 40% (P= 0.08), and higher TRM (19% vs. 7%;P= 0.08).
CONCLUSIONS: CD33 targeting with HCT consolidation may be an important therapeutic strategy in high-riskFLT3/ITD AML and its efficacy and associated toxicity warrant further investigation.

Buckley SA, Walter RB
Antigen-specific immunotherapies for acute myeloid leukemia.
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2015; 2015:584-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Antigen-specific immunotherapies have emerged as important components of curative treatment algorithms for many cancers. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), success has been less obvious. Nonetheless, among the few drugs shown to improve survival in recent randomized trials is the CD33 antibody-drug conjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin. Significant antileukemic activity is also well documented for radioimmunoconjugates targeting CD33, CD45, or CD66. These therapeutics can intensify conditioning before hematopoietic cell transplantation, but their effect on patient outcomes needs clarification. Emerging data now suggest clinical antileukemic activity of several novel antibodies and perhaps some adoptive T-cell immunotherapies and vaccines. In parallel, numerous other agents targeting a wider variety of antigens are currently being explored. However, the antigenic heterogeneity characteristic of AML is a considerable limitation for all these therapeutics, and many important questions related to the ideal target antigen(s), disease situation in which to use these therapies, most suitable patient populations, exact treatment modalities, and details of supportive care needs remain open. Addressing such questions in upcoming studies will be required to ensure that antigen-directed therapies become an effective tool in AML, a disease for which outcomes with standard "3 + 7"-based chemotherapy have remained unsatisfactory in many patients.

Laszlo GS, Alonzo TA, Gudgeon CJ, et al.
High expression of myocyte enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C) is associated with adverse-risk features and poor outcome in pediatric acute myeloid leukemia: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:115 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Recent studies have identified myocyte enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C) as cooperating oncogene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and suggested a contribution to the aggressive nature of at least some subtypes of AML, raising the possibility that MEF2C could serve as marker of poor-risk AML and, therefore, have prognostic significance.
METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we retrospectively quantified MEF2C expression in pretreatment bone marrow specimens in participants of the AAML0531 trial by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and correlated expression levels with disease characteristics and clinical outcome.
RESULTS: In all 751 available patient specimens, MEF2C messenger RNA (mRNA) was detectable and varied >3000-fold relative to β-glucuronidase. Patients with the highest relative MEF2C expression (4th quartile) less likely achieved a complete remission after one course of chemotherapy than the other patients (67 vs. 78 %, P = 0.005). They also had an inferior overall survival (P = 0.014; at 5 years 55 ± 8 vs. 67 ± 4 %), inferior event-free survival (P < 0.001; at 5 years 38 ± 7 vs. 54 ± 4 %), and higher relapse risk than patients within the lower 3 quartiles of MEF2C expression (P < 0.001; at 5 years 53 ± 9 vs. 35 ± 5 %). These differences were accounted for by lower prevalence of cytogenetically/molecularly defined low-risk disease (16 vs. 46 %, P < 0.001) and higher prevalence of standard-risk disease (68 vs. 42 %, P < 0.001) in patients with high MEF2C expression, suggesting that MEF2C cooperates with additional pathogenic abnormalities.
CONCLUSIONS: High MEF2C expression identifies a subset of AML patients with adverse-risk disease features and poor outcome. With confirmation that high MEF2C mRNA expression leads to overexpression of MEF2C protein, these findings provide the rationale for therapeutic targeting of MEF2C transcriptional activation in AML.

de Witte T, Suciu S, Meert L, et al.
Idarubicin and cytarabine in combination with gemtuzumab ozogamicin (IAGO) for untreated patients with high-risk MDS or AML evolved from MDS: a phase II study from the EORTC and GIMEMA Leukemia Groups (protocol 06013).
Ann Hematol. 2015; 94(12):1981-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
The primary objective of this trial was to assess the feasibility, toxicity profile, and antitumor activity of gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) combined with a chemotherapy remission-induction regimen in adults with untreated high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (HR-MDS) or secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML). In this phase II trial, 30 patients with median age of 58 years received 1 day of GO as a 1-h infusion at the dose level of 5 mg/m(2) on day 7 of the remission-induction course further consisting of a continuous infusion of cytarabine 100 mg/m(2)/day for 10 days and idarubicin 12 mg/m(2)/day on days 1, 3, and 5. A consolidation course, consisting of intermediate-dose cytarabine (A) and idarubicin (I) followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was planned for patients in complete remission (CR). The primary endpoints were response rate (CR/CRi) and severe toxicity rate. The secondary endpoint(s) were survival and progression-free survival (PFS) from start of treatment. Thirteen patients (43 %) achieved CR (eight patients) or CR with incomplete hematopoietic recovery (CRi) (five patients). In patients who achieved CR or CRi, the median time to recovery of neutrophils to 0.5 × 10(9)/l and of platelets to >50 × 10(9)/l was 29 and 30 days, respectively. Grade 3 to 4 severe toxicities occurred in nine patients. The most prominent was liver toxicity, as shown by elevated bilirubin levels in 16 patients and one case of nonfatal veno-occlusive disease (VOD). All 13 patients with CR/CRi received consolidation therapy, which was followed by allogeneic HSCT in five patients and autologous HSCT in three patients. According to the statistical design of the study, the idarubicin and cytarabine in combination with gemtuzumab ozogamicin (IAGO) regimen did not show sufficient activity to warrant further exploration of this regimen in adult patients with HR-MDS or sAML.

Burnett AK, Russell NH, Hills RK, et al.
Arsenic trioxide and all-trans retinoic acid treatment for acute promyelocytic leukaemia in all risk groups (AML17): results of a randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(13):1295-305 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute promyelocytic leukaemia is a chemotherapy-sensitive subgroup of acute myeloid leukaemia characterised by the presence of the PML-RARA fusion transcript. The present standard of care, chemotherapy and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), results in a high proportion of patients being cured. In this study, we compare a chemotherapy-free ATRA and arsenic trioxide treatment regimen with the standard chemotherapy-based regimen (ATRA and idarubicin) in both high-risk and low-risk patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia.
METHODS: In the randomised, controlled, multicentre, AML17 trial, eligible patients (aged ≥16 years) with acute promyelocytic leukaemia, confirmed by the presence of the PML-RARA transcript and without significant cardiac or pulmonary comorbidities or active malignancy, and who were not pregnant or breastfeeding, were enrolled from 81 UK hospitals and randomised 1:1 to receive treatment with ATRA and arsenic trioxide or ATRA and idarubicin. ATRA was given to participants in both groups in a daily divided oral dose of 45 mg/m(2) until remission, or until day 60, and then in a 2 weeks on-2 weeks off schedule. In the ATRA and idarubicin group, idarubicin was given intravenously at 12 mg/m(2) on days 2, 4, 6, and 8 of course 1, and then at 5 mg/m(2) on days 1-4 of course 2; mitoxantrone at 10 mg/m(2) on days 1-4 of course 3, and idarubicin at 12 mg/m(2) on day 1 of the final (fourth) course. In the ATRA and arsenic trioxide group, arsenic trioxide was given intravenously at 0·3 mg/kg on days 1-5 of each course, and at 0·25 mg/kg twice weekly in weeks 2-8 of course 1 and weeks 2-4 of courses 2-5. High-risk patients (those presenting with a white blood cell count >10 × 10(9) cells per L) could receive an initial dose of the immunoconjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin (6 mg/m(2) intravenously). Neither maintenance treatment nor CNS prophylaxis was given to patients in either group. All patients were monitored by real-time quantitative PCR. Allocation was by central computer minimisation, stratified by age, performance status, and de-novo versus secondary disease. The primary endpoint was quality of life on the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 global health status. All analyses are by intention to treat. This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, number ISRCTN55675535.
FINDINGS: Between May 8, 2009, and Oct 3, 2013, 235 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to ATRA and idarubicin (n=119) or ATRA and arsenic trioxide (n=116). Participants had a median age of 47 years (range 16-77; IQR 33-58) and included 57 high-risk patients. Quality of life did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (EORTC QLQ-C30 global functioning effect size 2·17 [95% CI -2·79 to 7·12; p=0·39]). Overall, 57 patients in the ATRA and idarubicin group and 40 patients in the ATRA and arsenic trioxide group reported grade 3-4 toxicities. After course 1 of treatment, grade 3-4 alopecia was reported in 23 (23%) of 98 patients in the ATRA and idarubicin group versus 5 (5%) of 95 in the ATRA and arsenic trioxide group, raised liver alanine transaminase in 11 (10%) of 108 versus 27 (25%) of 109, oral toxicity in 22 (19%) of 115 versus one (1%) of 109. After course 2 of treatment, grade 3-4 alopecia was reported in 25 (28%) of 89 patients in the ATRA and idarubicin group versus 2 (3%) of 77 in the ATRA and arsenic trioxide group; no other toxicities reached the 10% level. Patients in the ATRA and arsenic trioxide group had significantly less requirement for most aspects of supportive care than did those in the ATRA and idarubicin group.
INTERPRETATION: ATRA and arsenic trioxide is a feasible treatment in low-risk and high-risk patients with acute promyelocytic leukaemia, with a high cure rate and less relapse than, and survival not different to, ATRA and idarubicin, with a low incidence of liver toxicity. However, no improvement in quality of life was seen.

Daver N, Kantarjian H, Ravandi F, et al.
A phase II study of decitabine and gemtuzumab ozogamicin in newly diagnosed and relapsed acute myeloid leukemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome.
Leukemia. 2016; 30(2):268-73 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Decitabine may open the chromatin structure of leukemia cells making them accessible to the calicheamicin epitope of gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO). A total of 110 patients (median age 70 years; range 27-89 years) were treated with decitabine and GO in a trial designed on model-based futility to accommodate subject heterogeneity: group 1: relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with complete remission duration (CRD) <1 year (N=28, 25%); group 2: relapsed/refractory AML with CRD ⩾1 year (N=5, 5%); group 3: untreated AML unfit for intensive chemotherapy or untreated myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or untreated myelofibrosis (MF; N=57, 52%); and group 4: AML evolving from MDS or relapsed/refractory MDS or MF (N=20, 18%). Treatment consisted of decitabine 20 mg/m(2) daily for 5 days and GO 3 mg/m(2) on day 5. Post-induction therapy included five cycles of decitabine+GO followed by decitabine alone. Complete remission (CR)/CR with incomplete count recovery was achieved in 39 (35%) patients; group 1= 5/28 (17%), group 2=3/5 (60%), group 3=24/57 (42%) and group 4=7/20 (35%). The 8-week mortality in groups 3 and 4 was 16% and 10%, respectively. Common drug-related adverse events included nausea, mucositis and hemorrhage. Decitabine and GO improved the response rate but not overall survival compared with historical outcomes in untreated AML ⩾60 years.

Lynch RC, Medeiros BC
Chemotherapy options for previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia.
Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2015; 16(14):2149-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Intensive chemotherapy with cytarabine and an anthracycline for untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has remained largely unchanged over the past 40 years, despite many large trials examining the choice and dosing of these agents.
AREAS COVERED: We will review the major published clinical trials for untreated AML that have established the dosing choice and schedule for intensive therapy, as well as trials for patients not eligible for more intensive therapy. We will also discuss treatment considerations for subgroups of patients.
EXPERT OPINION: While one or two cycles of anthracycline and cytarabine-based combination regimens remain the standard of care for younger and older patients with AML deemed fit to receive induction chemotherapy, controversy remains regarding the optimal selection and dosing schedule for anthracyclines. Low-intensity regimens, such as low-dose cytarabine and hypomethylating agents, can achieve a complete response even with adverse risk features, and can be used in a fit subset of older patients not eligible for clinical trial or transplant. Incorporation of new targeted agents, such as tyrosine kinase and small-molecule inhibitors, combined with better selection of drugs for unique patient cohorts, will likely be necessary to substantially improve outcomes in AML.

Mehta A, Forero-Torres A
Development and Integration of Antibody-Drug Conjugate in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Curr Oncol Rep. 2015; 17(9):41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody (MAb) against CD20, was the first MAb approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). Conjugating toxins to MAb was a technical challenge; however, with improvements in linker technology, immunoconjugates were constructed and revolutionized cancer treatment. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin was the first antibody drug conjugate (ADC) approved by the FDA. Because of the success of brentuximab vedotin and ado-trastuzumab emtansine in treating Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and HER2-positive breast cancer, respectively, newer ADCs are being investigated. Brentuximab vedotin is approved for both HL and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Newer ADCs, such as polatuzumab vedotin (targeting CD79b), pinatuzumab vedotin (targeting CD22), inotuzumab ozogamicin (targeting CD19), SAR3419 (targeting CD19), IMGN529 (targeting CD37), and SGN-CD19A (targeting CD19), have shown promising preclinical and early clinical activity. These findings will change the landscape of B-NHL treatment away from age-old "CHOP"-based chemotherapies.

Getz KD, Li Y, Alonzo TA, et al.
Comparison of in-patient costs for children treated on the AAML0531 clinical trial: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015; 62(10):1775-81 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A better understanding of drivers of treatment costs may help identify effective cost containment strategies and prioritize resources. We aimed to develop a method for estimating inpatient costs for pediatric patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) enrolled on NCI-funded Phase III trials, compare costs between AAML0531 treatment arms (standard chemotherapy ± gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GMTZ)), and evaluate primary drivers of costs for newly diagnosed pediatric AML.
PROCEDURE: Patients from the AAML0531 trial were matched on hospital, sex, and dates of birth and diagnosis to the Pediatric Health Information Systems (PHIS) database to obtain daily billing data. Inpatient treatment costs were calculated as adjusted charges multiplied by hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratios. Generalized linear models were used to compare costs between treatment arms and courses, and by patient characteristics.
RESULTS: Inpatient costs did not differ by randomized treatment arm. Costs varied by course with stem cell transplant being most expensive, followed by Intensification II (cytarabine/mitoxantrone) and Induction I (cytarabine/daunorubicin/etoposide). Room/board and pharmacy were the largest contributors to inpatient treatment cost, representing 74% of the total cost. Higher AML risk group (P = 0.0003) and older age (P < 0.0001) were associated with significantly higher daily inpatient cost.
CONCLUSIONS: Costs from external data sources can be successfully integrated into NCI-funded Phase III clinical trials. Inpatient treatment costs did not differ by GMTZ exposure but varied by chemotherapy course. Variation in cost by course was driven by differences in duration of hospitalization through room/board charges as well as increased clinical and pharmacy charges in specific courses.

Buckley SA, Walter RB
Update on antigen-specific immunotherapy of acute myeloid leukemia.
Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2015; 10(2):65-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Among the few drugs that have shown a benefit for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in randomized clinical trials over the last several decades is the CD33 antibody-drug conjugate, gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO). Undoubtedly, this experience has highlighted the value of antigen-specific immunotherapy in AML. A wide variety of therapeutics directed against several different antigens on AML cells are currently explored in preclinical and early clinical studies. On the one hand, these include passive strategies such as unconjugated antibodies targeting one or more antigens, antibodies armed with drugs, toxic proteins, or radionuclides, or adoptive immunotherapies, in particular utilizing T cells engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or modified T cell receptor (TCR) genes; on the other hand, these include active strategies such as vaccinations. With the documented benefit for GO and the emerging data with several classes of therapeutics in other leukemias, in particular small bispecific antibodies and CAR T cells, the future is bright. Nevertheless, a number of important questions related to the choice of target antigen(s), patient population, exact treatment modality, and supportive care needs remain open. Addressing such questions in upcoming studies will ultimately be required to optimize the clinical use of antigen-specific immunotherapies in AML and ensure that such treatments become an effective, versatile tool for this disease for which the outcomes have remained unsatisfactory in many patients.

Kenderian SS, Ruella M, Shestova O, et al.
CD33-specific chimeric antigen receptor T cells exhibit potent preclinical activity against human acute myeloid leukemia.
Leukemia. 2015; 29(8):1637-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Patients with chemo-refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a dismal prognosis. Chimeric antigen receptor T (CART) cell therapy has produced exciting results in CD19+ malignancies and may overcome many of the limitations of conventional leukemia therapies. We developed CART cells to target CD33 (CART33) using the anti-CD33 single chain variable fragment used in gemtuzumab ozogamicin (clone My96) and tested the activity and toxicity of these cells. CART33 exhibited significant effector functions in vitro and resulted in eradication of leukemia and prolonged survival in AML xenografts. CART33 also resulted in human lineage cytopenias and reduction of myeloid progenitors in xenograft models of hematopoietic toxicity, suggesting that permanently expressed CD33-specific CART cells would have unacceptable toxicity. To enhance the viability of CART33 as an option for AML, we designed a transiently expressed mRNA anti-CD33 CAR. Gene transfer was carried out by electroporation into T cells and resulted in high-level expression with potent but self-limited activity against AML. Thus our preclinical studies show potent activity of CART33 and indicate that transient expression of anti-CD33 CAR by RNA modification could be used in patients to avoid long-term myelosuppression. CART33 therapy could be used alone or as part of a preparative regimen prior to allogeneic transplantation in refractory AML.

Döhner K, Paschka P
Intermediate-risk acute myeloid leukemia therapy: current and future.
Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2014; 2014(1):34-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
In recent years, research in molecular genetics has been instrumental in deciphering the molecular heterogeneity of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), in particular the subset of patients with "intermediate-risk" cytogenetics. However, at present, only the markers NPM1, CEBPA, and FLT3 have entered clinical practice. Treatment of intermediate-risk AML patients eligible for intensive therapy has not changed substantially. The "3 + 7" induction therapy still represents the standard of care. The addition of the immunoconjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin to therapy has been shown to improve outcome; however, the drug is not approved for this use. A common standard for postremission therapy is the administration of repeated cycles of intermediate- to high-dose cytarabine. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation may offer a survival benefit for many patients with intermediate-risk AML. Patients are best selected based on the genetic profile of the leukemia cells and the risk associated with the transplantation itself. A myriad of novel agents targeting mutant leukemia drivers or deregulated pathways are in clinical development. In the past, many novel compounds have not met expectations; nonetheless, with the rapid developments in comprehensive molecular profiling and new drug design, there is the prospect of personalizing therapy and improving patient outcome.

Ustun C, Marcucci G
Emerging diagnostic and therapeutic approaches in core binding factor acute myeloid leukaemia.
Curr Opin Hematol. 2015; 22(2):85-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), the presence of t(8;21)(q22;q22) and inv(16)(p13q22)/t(16;16)(p13;q22) and/or the corresponding molecular rearrangements RUNX1/RUNX1T1 and CBFB/MYH11 [collectively referred to as core binding factor (CBF) AML] predict for a more favourable outcome in patients receiving cytarabine-anthracycline based induction and upon achievement of complete remission, high-dose cytarabine consolidation chemotherapy. However, 40-45% of these patients eventually relapse and die of their disease. Here, we review emerging molecular and therapeutic results that may be used to guide the clinical management of this subset of patients.
RECENT FINDINGS: Integration of cytogenetic results with molecular genetic and epigenetic data refines the diagnosis, classification and risk-stratification of CBF AML. Clinical studies with targeting compounds (e.g. gemtuzumab ozogamicin, dasatinib) added to intensive chemotherapy appear beneficial both in younger and older patients, albeit the latter continue to have a significantly worse outcome than the former. Regularly molecular monitoring of disease during remission may provide a strategy for early therapeutic intervention before overt relapse.
SUMMARY: Emerging evidence supports that novel diagnostic, treatment and molecular disease monitoring approaches may improve the prognosis of CBF AML.

Yin CC, Jain N, Mehrotra M, et al.
Identification of a novel fusion gene, IRF2BP2-RARA, in acute promyelocytic leukemia.
J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2015; 13(1):19-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is characterized by the fusion of retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARA) with promyelocytic leukemia (PML) or, rarely, other gene partners. This report presents a patient with APL with a novel fusion between RARA and the interferon regulatory factor 2 binding protein 2 (IRF2BP2) genes. A bone marrow examination in a 19-year-old woman who presented with ecchymoses and epistaxis showed morphologic and immunophenotypic features consistent with APL. PML oncogenic domain antibody was positive. Results of fluorescence in situ hybridization, conventional cytogenetics, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and oligonucleotide microarray for PML-RARA and common APL variant translocations were negative. Next-generation RNA-sequencing analysis followed by RT-PCR and direct sequencing revealed distinct breakpoints within IRF2BP2 exon 2 and RARA intron 2. The patient received all-trans retinoic acid, arsenic, and gemtuzumab ozogamicin, and achieved complete remission. However, the disease relapsed 10 months later, 2 months after consolidation therapy. This is the first report showing involvement of IRF2BP2 in APL, and it expands the list of novel RARA partners identified in APL.

Erba HP
Finding the optimal combination therapy for the treatment of newly diagnosed AML in older patients unfit for intensive therapy.
Leuk Res. 2015; 39(2):183-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
There is no standard of care for older patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) unfit for intensive therapy, and prognosis with currently recommended low-intensity therapies (decitabine, azacitidine, and low-dose cytarabine [LDAC]) remains poor. One promising strategy is to combine low-intensity treatments with novel agents. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin, tipifarnib, and barasertib have been investigated in phase 2/3 or 3 trials combined with LDAC, and phase 3 trials are currently investigating sapacitabine plus decitabine, and volasertib plus LDAC in AML. This review discusses current treatment recommendations and the development of combination therapies for older patients unfit for intensive therapy.

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