Abstract

Background: Immunomodulatory therapy has been shown to be of benefit for the improvement of anemia, thrombocytopenia and splenomegaly in patients with myelofibrosis (MF) initially with thalidomide (

Blood
2000
;
96
:
4007
), and further enhanced by combination therapy with corticosteroids (
Blood
2003
;
101
:
2534
). We sought to further enhance our previously reported efficacy of single agent lenalidomide for MF patients (
Blood
2006
;
108
:
1158
) by combination therapy with prednisone.

Methods: Symptomatic patients with MF (all with baseline anemia, hemoglobin <10g/dL or transfusion dependent) were enrolled in the single arm Phase II trial. Adequate neutrophils (>1 x 109/L) and platelets (>100 x 109/L) were required for trial entry. Lenalidomide was administered at 10 mg daily with a 3 month prednisone taper (30mg/daily, 15 mg daily, 15 mg every other day months 1,2, and 3, respectively). Patients with at least stable disease remained on single agent lenalidomide for an additional 3 months. Responses were assessed by the International Working Group for Myelofibrosis Research and Treatment (IWG-MRT) Response Criteria (

Blood
2006
;
108
:
1498
).

Results:Patients 28 patients were enrolled in the first step of the trial, and a total of 48 patients were enrolled (3 were ineligible because of proximity of prior therapy with 43 deemed evaluable). The enrolled eligible patients (56 % males) had a median age of 64 (range 18–83). At baseline, 52% were red cell transfusion dependent, and the median hemoglobin amongst those non transfusion dependent patients was 8.8 g/dL (range 5.9–12.4). By entry criteria neutrophils (median 5.1 x 109/L (range 1.0–79.4)) and platelets (median 234 x 109/L (range 40–1253)) were adequate.

Therapy and Toxicity: A median of 6 cycles of therapy was administered, 10 patients received 3 months, and 25 patients the full 6 months of therapy. Premature discontinuation of therapy occurred in 19 patients; progressive disease (3), toxicity (7), patient withdrawal (5), death from disease (1), comorbidities (2), or seeking alternative therapy other (1). Myelosuppression was the main toxicity with 45% experiencing ≥ grade 3 hematologic toxicity (16%/2% and 23%/26%, grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia and/or neutropenia, respectively) and with 34% of patients having ≥ grade 3 non-hematologic toxicity. Less severe toxicities (< grade 3) were again mainly secondary to myelosuppression (34%) or gastrointestinal (i.e. diarrhea). No significant steroid induced toxicities were observed.

Response: Among 43 patients eligible for response assessment the best confirmed response observed was a partial response in 11 (26%), stable disease (54%), and progression during trial in 8 (18%), 1 was not evaluable because no medication was taken. Among the latter responses improvement in anemia was seen in 9 (21%) (IWG-MRT clinical improvement (CI)-sustained normalization of hemoglobin, >2 g/dL increase, or transfusion independence for >2 months), and major reductions in spleen size in 4 (9%) (IWG-MRT CI - sustained >50% decrease). Serial marrow analysis was available in a subset which did not show any significant resolution of disease related fibrosis, hypercellularity or increased angiogenesis typical of MF.

Conclusions: 1) Lenalidomide plus a corticosteroid taper was active in patients with MF primarily in those who suffer from anemia, but myelosuppression (particularly neutropenia is common) 2) Response rates observed with combination therapy are almost identical to our previously reported response rate seen with single agent lenalidomide (22% single agent, 21% in this trial), 3) Current results would suggest that given the myelosuppression observed, and rates of efficacy, thalidomide and prednisone would be first line for treating MF associated cytopenias with lenalidomide being considered second line (first line if a del(5q) present).

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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