The 2nd-generation bcr-abl inhibitor nilotinib is more potent than imatinib (IC50 <30 nM) against unmutated bcr-abl and active against 32/33 imatinib-resistant BCR-ABL mutants in vitro. We investigated the in vivo activity of nilotinib stratified by the baseline BCR-ABL mutation status in 127 imatinib-resistant or -intolerant CML-AP patients (pts) enrolled in an open-label phase II trial of nilotinib. Eighty-five pts (85/127, 67%) were screened prior to nilotinib therapy for BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations by direct sequencing. Of the 85 pts, 75 (88%) were resistant to imatinib and 10 (12%) were intolerant using standard published criteria. Twenty-two different baseline mutations involving 19 amino acids were identified in 50 (59%) pts analyzed. Other 35 (41%) pts did not have a baseline mutation. The most frequent mutation types identified included M351T (8 pts), G250E (7 pts), Y253H (6 pts), M244V (5 pts), F359V (5 pts) and T315I (5 pts). Twenty-two percent of pts with baseline mutations (11/50) showed more than one mutation (9 with two, 1 with three, and 1 with four mutations). All baseline mutations occurred in imatinib-resistant pts but none in intolerant pts. After 12 months of therapy, confirmed (confirmed in two consecutive analyses 4 week apart) hematologic response (HR) was achieved in 48% (21/50), major cytogenetic response (MCR) in 20% (10/50), and complete cytogenetic response (CCR) in 16% (8/50) of imatinib-resistant pts with baseline mutation versus 44% (12/25), 40% (10/25), and 20% (2/25) of imatinib-resistant pts without baseline mutation, respectively. Responses appeared to be affected by the in vitro sensitivity of the mutant clone against nilotinib. Pts with less sensitive mutation (cellular IC50 of >200nM: Y253H, E255K, E255V, F359C) representing 13% (11/85) of all patients assessed for baseline mutation, showed 13% (1/11) HR and 13% (1/11) MCyR compared to 74% (17/28) and 18% (5/28) respectively in the mutant group with IC50 of ≤200 nM. The nilotinib resistant T315I mutation occurred in 5 pts. Only one of these 5 pts who had T315I and G250E dual mutation achieved HR conceivably reflecting the sensitivity of G250E or non-mutant clone to nilotinib. At the time of data analyses, 50% of pts with baseline mutation were free of disease progression versus 62% of pts without baseline mutation. Rate of progression was 64% (7/11) in the group with less sensitive mutations and 60% (3/5) in pts. with T315I. However, the mutants most frequently associated with progression were F359V and M244V both having 4/5 pts (80%) progressed. In summary, BCR-ABL kinase domain mutations were identified at baseline in 59% of all pts in this cohort and in 67% of pts with imatinib resistance. Responses were observed across a broad spectrum of mutant genotypes. The rate of responses and disease progression may be affected by the baseline mutation types, although a larger data set with longer follow up is needed to further establish the correlation.

Author notes

Disclosure:Employment: Haque, Gallagher, Shou--Novartis. Consultancy: Kim, Martinelli - Novartis, BMS; Hochhaus - Novartis. Research Funding: Kim - Novartis, BMS; Hochhaus - Novartis, BMS, INNOVIVE, Wyeth, Merck; Martinelli - Wyeth, BMS, Novartis. Honoraria Information: Kim - Novartis, BMS; Hochhaus - Novartis, BMS. Off Label Use: At the time of submission, nilotinib is not FDA approved for use in the United States.