Flotetuzumab is associated with acceptable safety and evidence of activity in AML patients with primary induction failure/early relapse.
A 10-gene immune signature predicts response to flotetuzumab with greater accuracy than the ELN risk classifier.
Despite recent advancements, approximately 50% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) do not respond to induction therapy (primary induction failure, PIF) or relapse after <6 months (early relapse, ER). We have recently shown an association between an immune-infiltrated tumor microenvironment (TME) and resistance to cytarabine-based chemotherapy but responsiveness to flotetuzumab, a bispecific DART® antibody-based molecule to CD3ε and CD123. This study reports the results of a multicenter, open-label, phase 1/2 study of flotetuzumab in adults with relapsed/refractory AML. Eighty-eight AML patients were enrolled, 42 in dose-finding and 46 at the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) of 500ng/kg/day. Consistent with flotetuzumab's mode of action, the most frequent adverse events were infusion-related reactions (IRR)/cytokine release syndrome (CRS), the majority as grade 1-2. Stepwise dosing during week 1, pre-treatment dexamethasone, prompt use of tocilizumab and temporary dose reductions/interruptions successfully prevented severe IRR/CRS, resulting in acceptable tolerability. Clinical benefit accrued to PIF/ER AML patients, who showed an immune-infiltrated TME. Among 30 PIF/ER patients treated at the RP2D, the CR/CRh rate was 26.7%, with an overall response rate (CR/CRh/CRi) of 30.0%. In PIF/ER patients who achieved CR/CRh, median OS was 10.2 months (range 1.87-27.27), with 6- and 12-month survival rates of 75% (95%CI, 0.450-1.05) and 50% (95%CI, 0.154-0.846). Bone marrow transcriptomic analysis showed that a parsimonious 10-gene signature predicted complete responses to flotetuzumab (AUROC=0.904 versus 0.672 for the ELN risk classifier). Flotetuzumab represents an innovative experimental approach associated with acceptable safety and encouraging evidence of activity in PIF/ER AML patients. Trial registration number: NCT02152956.