Poster Board I-927
Pomalidomide is an IMiDsó immunomodulatory drug that was created by chemical modification of thalidomide with the intent to reduce toxicity and enhance therapeutic activity. In a phase-2 randomized study of patients with myelofibrosis (MF), treatment with pomalidomide alone or in combination with a short course of prednisone was shown to be well tolerated and active in alleviating anemia ( JCO 2009). Herein, we report observations during the longer-term follow-up of those patients who had responded to a pomalidomide-containing treatment regimen.
Both primary and post polycythemia vera/essential thrombocythemia MF were included in the current study. Protocol eligibility criteria included absolute neutrophil count of × 109/L, platelet count of 50 × 109/L and hemoglobin level of < 10 g/dL. Patients with prior thalidomide or lenalidomide therapy were excluded from study participation. Response was assessed by the International Working Group for Myelofibrosis Research and Treatment criteria (IWG-MRT) (Blood. 2006). Pomalidomide was administered daily and continued indefinitely in responding patients. Prednisone was given for the first 3 months only, in a tapering dose schedule, starting at 30 mg/day.
A total of 84 patients were enrolled from April 2007 through May 2008 and received treatment with pomalidomide alone 2 mg/day (n=22), pomalidomide 2 mg/day + prednisone (n=19), pomalidomide 0.5 mg/day + prednisone (n=22) or prednisone alone (n=21). Short-term toxicity details have previously been published (Tefferi et al. JCO 2009) and were remarkable for the lack of neuropathy and low prevalence of grade 3 or 4 myelosuppression (5–16%).
Based on an intent-to-treat analysis, 16 (25%) of the 63 patients receiving pomalidomide alone or with a 3-month course of prednisone responded at a median of 1.8 months (range 0.9–6.9) from treatment initiation; all responses represented improvement in anemia with little or no effect on splenomegaly. Specifically, 12 of the 16 treatment responders became transfusion independent and the remaining 4 had a hemoglobin increase of > 2 g/dL (median best hemoglobin response = 11.9 g/dL; range 8.5–15.9). Responding patients usually displayed increases in platelet count but there was no consistent change in serum lactate dehydrogenase level.
As of August 2009, ten (63%) of the 16 treatment responders were still in anemia remission and receiving pomalidomide therapy; median time on treatment was 19 months (range, 14–26) and median response duration was 17 months (range, 13-24). No new side effects emerged during this period. Six patients discontinued treatment because of either loss of response (n=5) or progressive splenomegaly/leukocytosis (n=1); 3 patients with continued anemia remission have had substantial increases in their spleen size, which qualifies as spleen progression per IWG-MRT. Among 9 patients with available cytogenetic information, all 3 with unfavorable karyotype relapsed while none of the 6 with favorable karyotype did.
A small number of patients (n=7) had follow-up bone marrow examination at 1 to 2 years, at the discretion of their treating physician; none of these patients displayed any change in bone marrow fibrosis or JAK2V617F mutational status. Suppression of a monosomy 7 clone was documented in two patients. In one, the percentage of abnormal metaphases decreased from 90% to 15% after 11 months of treatment with pomalidomide but increased back to 100% four months later, when the patient relapsed while still on treatment. In the second patient, the percentage of abnormal metaphases was 65% at baseline, remained at 75% after 10 months of pomalidomide therapy, but decreased to 7% after one month of treatment discontinuation for relapse; a repeat examination in this patient after another 3 months (still off therapy) showed monosomy 7 and new additional abnormalities (including 4q21q25 deletion) in 65% of metaphases evaluated.
Longer-term follow-up of pomalidomide-treated patients with myelofibrosis confirm the drug's favorable side effect profile. Also, the majority of treatment responders maintain their remission, which is exclusively anemia remission, for at least one year and several remain in remission after 2 years of therapy. The drug has limited effect on splenomegaly and progressive splenomegaly might occur in some patients despite continued remission in anemia. The presence of unfavorable cytogenetic abnormalities predicts relapse.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.