Introduction: Aspacytarabine (BST-236) is a prodrug of cytarabine, a backbone of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapy. Due to its unique pharmacokinetics and metabolism, treatment with aspacytarabine evades peak exposure to free cytarabine, which reduces non-hematological toxicity and enables delivery of high-dose cytarabine also to patients unfit for standard therapy. Data from a completed phase 1/2a and an ongoing phase 2b studies in AML patients unfit for standard therapy, including patients with AML secondary to therapy and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) with prior exposure to hypomethylating agents (HMA), demonstrate promising single-agent efficacy and safety of aspacytarabine as a potential first-line AML treatment for this challenging population.
Aims: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of aspacytarabine in AML patients unfit for standard induction therapy.
Methods: A completed phase 1/2a study and an ongoing phase 2b study evaluate the efficacy and safety of aspacytarabine as a single-agent therapeutic for AML. The phase 1/2a, dose-escalation study enrolled newly-diagnosed patients unfit for standard therapy and patients with relapsed/refractory AML. Patients were treated with 0.3-6 g/m2/d aspacytarabine in 6 dose-escalating cohorts. The ongoing multi-center phase 2b study expands the subgroup of newly-diagnosed AML patients unfit for standard therapy, to evaluate the efficacy and safety of aspacytarabine as a first-line therapy for this population. Secondary AML patients, treated with HMA, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy for a prior condition, are allowed. Patients in the phase 2b study are treated with the selected aspacytarabine dose of 4.5 g/m2/d, containing approximately 3 g/m2/d of cytarabine. Each aspacytarabine treatment course (induction and consolidation) consists of 6 1-hour daily intravenous infusions.
Results: To date, 34 AML patients, median age 76 years, received at least 1 dose of aspacytarabine, including 30 patients unfit for standard induction therapy due to age or comorbidities.
Overall, 25 patients completed 1 course of aspacytarabine, 4 patients completed 2 courses, 1 patient completed 3 courses, and 1 patient completed 4 courses of aspacytarabine. Three patients (in the phase 1/2a study) did not complete the first course.
Aspacytarabine was safe and well-tolerated in repeated-course administration, including in older and unfit patients. Adverse events included mainly hematological "on-target" events with no drug-related mucositis or cerebellar toxicity.
Twenty-one patients were newly-diagnosed with AML, either de novo or secondary to MDS or therapy. The patient population was characterized by older age (median 76 years, range 67-88 years), and the majority (67%) of patients had secondary AML, including 10 patients (48%) who were previously treated with HMA (median of 10 courses) or radiotherapy. The median baseline bone marrow blast percentage of this population was 75, and 43% and 48% had intermediate or adverse European LeukemiaNet (ELN) cytogenetic score, respectively.
Despite these poor-prognostic characteristics, the 30-day mortality rate in the group of patients receiving ≥4.5 g/m2/d aspacytarabine was 7%. The combined complete remission (CR) rate of all doses was 33%, including 1 patient reaching a CR with partial platelet recovery (CRp). The CR rate in patients treated with at least 4.5 g/m2/d aspacytarabine is 36%, with median time for complete hematological recovery of 27 days (range 21-30) following induction and consolidation. Notably, among the 7 patients who reached a CR/CRp (median age 77), 3 secondary AML patients reached a CR, including 2 patients with prior exposure to HMA (5 and 10 courses) and 1 with prior exposure to radiotherapy (Table 1).
Duration of response and overall survival follow up is ongoing and will be presented at the meeting.
Conclusions: The accumulating clinical data suggest that aspacytarabine is safe and efficacious for the treatment of AML patients who are unfit for standard induction therapy, including patients with prior exposure to HMA, which may establish aspacytarabine as a new therapeutic backbone for AML, either as a single agent or in combination with targeted therapy.
Altman:Abbvie: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Glycomimetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Data Safety and Monitoring Committee; Daiichi Sankyo: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Biosight: Other: US Lead; Novartis: Consultancy; Agios: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Cancer Expert Now: Consultancy; France Foundation: Speakers Bureau; prIME Oncology: Speakers Bureau; PeerView: Speakers Bureau; Theradex: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Luger:Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; Pfizer: Honoraria; Onconova: Research Funding; Kura: Research Funding; Jazz: Honoraria; Genetech: Research Funding; Daichi Sankyo: Honoraria; Cyslacel: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Biosight: Research Funding; Ariad: Research Funding; Agios: Honoraria. Kota:Takeda: Honoraria; Xcenda: Honoraria; Novartis: Honoraria; Amgen: Honoraria; Pfizer: Honoraria. Flaishon:BioSight Ltd.: Employment. Tessler:BioSight Ltd.: Employment. Gengrinovitch:BioSight Ltd.: Employment. Ben Yakar:BioSight Ltd.: Employment. Rowe:BioSight: Consultancy.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.
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