The CD23 antigen is expressed at high density on the cell surface of certain B-cell malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Lumiliximab (L-mab), a macaque-human chimeric anti-CD23 monoclonal antibody, has been reported to have antitumor activity against CLL in preclinical studies. In this Phase I multicenter study, the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of single-agent L-mab were evaluated in 46 patients with relapsed or refractory CLL. Therapy consisted of intravenous L-mab given as 6 regimens: (1) 125 mg/m2/wk for 4 weeks; (2) 250 mg/m2/wk for 4 weeks; (3) 375 mg/m2/wk for 4 weeks; (4) 500 mg/m2/wk for 4 weeks; (5) 500 mg/m2 for 3 doses during Week 1, then 500 mg/m2/wk during Weeks 2 to 4; and (6) 500 mg/m2 three times a week for 4 weeks. Patient characteristics were as follows: median age of 62 years (range 47 to 80 years), 93% Caucasian, 72% male, 54% fludarabine-refractory, 48% Rai stage III/IV, and 78% WHO Performance Status 1. At study entry, patients had progressive CLL after 1 to 13 prior treatment regimens (median = 4 prior regimens). Antibody infusions, administered over 2 hours in an outpatient setting, were well tolerated. Study-related adverse events (probable, possible, or unknown relationship to study treatment) were reported in 40 of 46 patients (87%). The majority of events were Grade 1 or 2; the most common were headache, constipation, nausea, and cough. Grade 3 or 4 study-related adverse events were reported in 7 of 46 patients (15%) and included neutropenia and dyspnea. Evidence of clinical activity consisted of reductions in absolute lymphocyte counts (ALC) and lymphadenopathy. Decreases in ALC were observed in 42 of 46 (91%) patients, and decreases ≥ 50% were observed in 11 of 40 (28%) patients enrolled at 375 mg/m2/week or higher. Of 37 patients evaluated for change in lymphadenopathy, reductions were observed in 22 (59%). Flow cytometry revealed that L-mab saturated CD23 sites on CLL cells at doses above 375 mg/m2/week without down regulating CD23 expression. These results suggest that single-agent L-mab can be administered safely with evidence of clinical activity in patients with heavily pretreated CLL. Ongoing clinical studies are assessing the potential of L-mab in combination with rituximab and fludarabine-based chemotherapy.

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