Background: CXCR4 is a chemokine receptor over-expressed on > 75% of cancers, including myeloid leukemia blasts. Ulocuplumab (BMS- 936564) is a first in class, fully human IgG4 monoclonal antibody which inhibits the binding of CXCR4 to CXCL12, resulting in the mobilization of leukocytes from the bone marrow to the peripheral blood. Ulocuplumab also induces apoptosis of CXCR4+ cells in clinicial samples (i.e., leukemia blasts) and in in vitro experiments (e.g. in Tregs). It is thus hypothesized that Ulocuplumab may induce the mobilization and apoptosis of myeloid blasts & immunosuppressive cells which could improve the overall response rate to chemotherapy

Objective: To conduct a first-in-man phase I dose escalation/ expansion trial to determine the safety, pharmacology, and clinical benefit of Ulocuplumab in relapsed/refractory AML

Results: Seventy three subjects (median age, 58 yrs; range, 21-79 y) with relapsed/refractory AML were treated with Ulocuplumab and MEC [mitoxantrone, 8 mg/m2; etoposide , 100 mg/m2; and cytarabine, 1 g/ m2; i.v. d 1-5]. Thirty subjects in escalation received a single infusion of Ulocuplumab (doses of 0.3, 1, 3, or 10 mg/kg) one week prior to starting MEC and 3 additional weekly doses per MEC cycle thereafter (starting on Day 1). Ulocuplumab was escalated to a maximum of 10 mg/kg without any dose-limiting toxicity during monotherapy or in combination with MEC in the 1st cycle. In expansion phase, 43 patients were similarly treated with10 mg/kg Ulocuplumab and MEC. The overall complete remission and complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery rate (CR/CRi) was 51%. Subjects with first CR > 6 months had better ORR (16/23, 70%) than those with CR1 ≤6 months or primary induction failure (6/20, 30%). Of note, four subjects had CR/CRi after a single dose of Ulocuplumab monotherapy. Transient, mild/moderate thrombocytopenia was the only treatment-related AE documented with Ulocuplumab monotherapy. Only one subject presented a mild infusion reaction on Cycle 1 Day 1. The safety profile in combination with MEC was similar to MEC alone as was the 60 day all-cause mortality (16.3%). A median 2- and 5-fold mobilization of leukocytes and leukemic blasts into the peripheral circulation was reported at day 8, respectively. There was a trend demonstrating that higher CXCR4 expression on AML blasts correlated with a positive clinical response. Reversible and manageable hyperleukoctosis occurred in one subject.

Conclusions: This study shows that the blockade of the CXCR4-CXCL12 axis with Ulocuplumab has antileukemic activity and safely improves the historic response rate achieved with MEC alone (i.e.,24-28%).


Becker:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Off Label Use: Etoposide is indicated in the management of refractory testicular tumors and small cell lung cancer. . Foran:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Altman:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Yacoub:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Castro:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding. Sabbatini:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Dilea:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Wade:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Xing:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Gutierrez:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Cohen:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Employment. Smith:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.