Background: Induction chemotherapy for older adults with poor-risk AML has remained largely unchanged over the past 40 years, with complete remission (CR) rates ranging from 20-50%. Five-year overall survival (OS) ranges from 2-15%, illustrating the need for novel treatment strategies. Selinexor is an oral selective inhibitor of nuclear export (SINE) that has shown promising single agent activity in AML (NCT01607892). By inhibiting the primary export protein, XPO1, selinexor localizes tumor suppressor proteins to the nucleus leading to their activation. Furthermore, selinexor inhibits DNA damage repair, rationalizing its use in combination with DNA damaging agents. Preclinical data from our institution suggest Selinexor synergizes with daunorubicin when used in CD34+ AML cells. Here we report early results from a phase I clinical trial with selinexor plus cytarabine and daunorubicin in patients (pts) with newly diagnosed, poor-risk AML.

Methods: This is a single institution phase I clinical trial with a 3+3 design and an expansion phase at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD)/recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D). The primary endpoint was to determine the MTD/RP2D of selinexor. Secondary endpoints included rate of CR/CRi, overall survival (OS), relapse free survival (RFS) and toxicity assessment. Eligible pts had a diagnosis of previously untreated AML (non-M3), with poor-risk features based on karyotype, mutational profile, secondary AML (sAML) arising from an antecedent hematologic disorder (AHD) or prior chemotherapy, or age ≥60 years. Prior treatment for an AHD was allowed. Induction included daunorubicin 60 mg/m2/day on days 1-3 and cytarabine 100 mg/m2/day CIVI days 1-7 (7+3) with two dose cohorts of selinexor: 60 mg and 80 mg PO. Selinexor was given on days 1, 3, 8, 10, 15 and 17. Re-induction with 5+2 plus selinexor was allowed if indicated. Once in CR, pts received 1-2 cycles of consolidation with 5+2 plus selinexor followed by maintenance selinexor on days 1 and 8 of a 21 day cycle for up 12 months. Selinexor was given at the same dose for all phases of the study. Pts could proceed to hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) at any time after achieving CR.

Results: 21 pts (14 (67%) M / 7 (33%) F) were enrolled from June 2015 to June 2016. Median age was 68 years (range 37-77); 18 (86%) were age ≥60 and 9 (43%) were age ≥70. Nineteen (90%) pts were considered poor-risk (unrelated to age), and two (10%) were eligible due to age ≥60 only. Each cohort enrolled 4 pts, and 13 pts were enrolled in the expansion. One pt in each cohort was replaced before completing the 28-day DLT period; one withdrew consent and the second died on day 23 from acute renal failure related to antibiotics.

At data cutoff, 18 pts were included in the safety and efficacy assessment. Three additional patients have not completed induction. The early death rate (≤60 days) was 4.8%. No DLTs occurred in the dose-escalation cohorts. The MTD of selinexor was not reached and the RP2D was 80 mg twice weekly. The most common grade 3/4 non-hematologic, treatment emergent AEs in all pts were febrile neutropenia (56%), diarrhea (22%), hyponatremia (22%) and sepsis (17%).

Nine patients (50%) achieved CR/CRi. Of the 14 pts treated at the RP2D (selinexor 80 mg), 6 (43%) achieved CR/CRi. In the entire cohort, the median age of the responders was 69 (61-77) and 4 (44%) were age ≥70. Seven (78%) were considered high-risk. Four (44%) had sAML. Two (22%) required a second induction. The median time to response was 47 days (range 28-77) At a median follow up of 8.7 months in the 9 responding pts, 7 (78%) remain in remission. Overall, 4 pts (44%) underwent HCT, and 1 (11%) relapsed just prior to HCT.

Conclusion: Results from this phase I trial suggest that selinexor 80mg PO twice weekly can be safely administered in combination with induction chemotherapy using cytarabine and daunorubicin to pts with poor-risk AML, including older pts. The most prominent AEs were febrile neutropenia, diarrhea and hyponatremia. Response rates are encouraging and many elderly pts proceeded to transplant, suggesting this regimen warrants further investigation in this challenging population.


Sweet:Karyopharm: Honoraria, Research Funding; Incyte Corporation: Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Ariad: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Pfizer: Speakers Bureau. Komrokji:Novartis: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Sullivan:Karyopharm: Research Funding. Shah:Incyte: Research Funding; Rosetta Genomics: Research Funding; Celgene: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Baxalta: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Bayer: Honoraria; Pfizer: Honoraria.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.