Background: Myelofibrosis (MF) is a myeloproliferative neoplasm associated with splenomegaly, debilitating symptoms, progressive bone marrow fibrosis and shortened survival. Inflammatory cytokines are associated with the disease and monitoring cytokine levels provides information about response to therapy. Momelotinib (MMB) is a JAK1/2 inhibitor under investigation for the treatment of MF that has been shown to be safe and efficacious while providing an anemia benefit to MF patients in the phase I/II studies: CCL09101 (ASH 2013) and YM387-II (EHA 2014).
AIMS: To perform an exploratory analysis of the association between cytokines and anemia-related laboratories, 8 week transfusion response, spleen response by MRI at 24 weeks and total symptom score (TSS) reduction (≥50% decrease at week 24) and JAK2 mutation status, in the phase I/II, open-label YM387II trial.
METHODS: 61 patients were enrolled and received MMB treatment. Whole blood samples were collected at baseline, 6 and 24 hours post-dose on day 1, and weeks 8 and 20. Plasma levels of 25 cytokines were analyzed by ELISA or MSD. Comparison of post-treatment data with baseline was carried out using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Significant change from baseline was declared when ≥ 20% change from baseline was observed with Bonferroni adjusted p < 0.05. As this was an exploratory evaluation, comparison between treatment responders and non-responders was carried out using Wilcoxon rank sum test with no multiple testing corrections. Correlations between the cytokines and main biological parameters were investigated using Spearman correlation coefficients.
JAK2V617F allele burden. The prevalence of JAK2V617F-positive patients was 68%. A statistically significant decline in JAK2V617F allele burden from baseline in this subgroup was observed at week 12 (median decrease 16.6%; p = 0.0063; n=21) and week 24 (median decrease 21.1%; p = 0.0019; n=18). Higher baseline IGFBP1 was associated with JAK2V617 mutation (48.2% higher in JAK2 mutated patients than in wildtype patients; p = 0.027).
Cytokines and iron metabolism markers at baseline At baseline, hepcidin and IL-8 were anti-correlated with anemia-related markers such as transferrin and hemoglobin (Hb) (Spearman correlation coefficients < -0.5). IL-6, CRP and IL-10 showed strong, positive correlation (Spearman correlation coefficients > 0.5). Lower baseline IL-6 was associated with 24 week spleen response (42.3% lower in responders, p = 0.005); higher baseline thrombopoeitin (TPO) was associated with transfusion response at 8 week (3-fold higher in responders, p = 0.002). Baseline ferritin was 63.7% lower in TSS responders compared to non-responders (p = 0.015).
On-treatment changes of cytokines and iron markers A significant decrease was observed in CRP, EPO, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, TNFRII and TNFα following MMB treatment. IL-6 was reduced 30.3% as early as 6 hrs after first dose of MMB and CRP levels were reduced 27.3% after 24 hrs after treatment and continued to decline to 75% by week 4. A peak of IGFBP1 at 24h and increased TPO were observed. Decreased IL-12 and increased IL-8 at week 8 was significantly associated with 24 week spleen response (p < 0.05). Decline of CRP at week 8 was associated with TSS response (p = 0.045). Hb stayed at or above baseline for 6 months. An early peak of Hb was observed at Day 15 which was correlated with a significant increase in red blood cells and decrease in reticulocytes.
CONCLUSIONS: In this exploratory analysis, a rapid and sustained reduction in inflammatory cytokines was observed with MMB treatment as expected based on the mechanism of action of MMB through JAK1/2 inhibition. Data from this study suggest an association between IGFBP1 and JAK/STAT signaling in myelofibrosis that will need to be explored in future studies with larger sample sets. Individual baseline biomarkers were correlated with MMB response, but no single biomarker was associated with all responses. Changes in IL-12 and IL-8 were significantly correlated with 24 week spleen response. The Day 15 data suggest that MMB treatment facilitates erythrocyte maturation. These observations, as well as a panel of iron metabolism markers and cellular signaling pathways, will be investigated in a planned Phase 2 translational biology study of MMB in transfusion-dependent subjects with MF (Gilead Sci: GS-US-352-1672).
Gupta:Incyte: Honoraria, Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Mesa:Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation: Consultancy; NS Pharma: Research Funding; Gilead: Research Funding; Promedior: Research Funding; CTI Biopharma: Research Funding; Incyte Corporation: Research Funding; Genentech: Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding. Deininger:Ariad: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Pfizer: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Gilead: Research Funding; Incyte: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Zhang:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Xiao:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Collins:Gilead Science: Employment. Kwei:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Joshi:Gilead Sciences: Employment. Brachmann:Gilead Sciences: Employment.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.