BACKGROUND: CMML is a myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm with a median survival of 32 months and no therapies that improve its natural history. We have previously demonstrated that CMML bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMNCs) are hypersensitive to GM-CSF and that the GM-CSF axis is a viable therapeutic target (Padron et al., Blood 2013). Lenzilumab is a novel, humaneered IgG1κ monoclonal antibody, with high affinity for human GM-CSF that has activity in preclinical models of CMML. We report a Phase 1 clinical trial testing the safety and preliminary efficacy of this agent in CMML.

METHODS: The study was approved by scientific and ethical review boards. This was a multicenter Phase 1 study designed to evaluate the safety and determine the recommended phase 2 dose of lenzilumab in subjects with CMML. Dose escalation proceeded using a standard 3+3 study design to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Three dose cohorts included 200 mg, 400 mg, and 600 mg, were given IV on day 1 and 15 of cycle 1 and then only on day 1 of subsequent 28-day cycles. Key inclusion criteria included a WHO-defined diagnosis of CMML and a platelet count greater than 20 x103 cells/dL. Response was evaluated utilizing the MDS/MPN International Working Group Criteria (Savona Blood 2015). Pharmacokinetic analysis and pharmacodynamics were evaluated by pSTAT5 by flow cytometry.

RESULTS: Between July 2016 and June 2018, a total of 15 patients were enrolled. The median age at study entry was 74 years (range 52-85) and 80% were male. Nine patients were classified as CMML-0, 3 as CMML-1, and 3 as CMML-2. Seventy three percent of patients had normal cytogenetics or -Y. The most commonly mutated genes at screening included TET2 60%, ASXL1 53%, SRSF2 47%, and RAS pathway (i.e. NRAS or CBL) mutations 40%. Nine patients were previously treated with hypomethylating agents and/or experimental therapies, 3 were treated with hydroxyurea only, and 3 were untreated. The mean Hgb was 9.7g/dL (7.6-14g/dL), the mean platelet count was 147 x103 cells/dL (16-942 x103 cells/dL), and 66% of cases were MPN-CMML by the French-American-British classification at study entry. Three patients were enrolled at each dose level and an additional 6 patients were enrolled at 600mg as planned. Consistent with prior studies of lenzilumab, no dose limiting toxicities were identified and no treatment emergent grade 3 or 4 toxicities were reported. The mean duration on therapy was 221.8 days (14-787 days) and the majority of patients discontinued study drug because of disease progression or lack of response (69%). Five of 15 (33%) patients enrolled achieved clinical benefit by MDS/MPN IWG criteria with 3 platelet responses, 1 neutrophil response, and 1 spleen response. An additional patient had bone marrow myeloblast reduction from 6% to 1% which allowed that patient to undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Clinical response was not statistically associated with somatic mutations or changes in pSTAT5 between screening and cycle 3. However, 3 of 4 patients with NRAS mutation achieved clinical benefit or had clinical meaningful bone marrow myeloblast reductions.

CONCLUSION: Lenzilumab is well tolerated in patients with CMML, with no grade 3 or 4 treatment emergent adverse events or DLTs reported. Durable clinical benefit was achieved in 33% of patients and one patient was bridged to allogenic transplant, providing proof of concept that GM-CSF inhibition has activity in CMML. The favorable safety and activity profile of lenzilumab warrants future evaluation as part of a combination regimen targeted to specific subtypes more likely to respond, including patients with NRAS mutations.


Patnaik:Stem Line Pharmaceuticals.: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Sallman:Celgene: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Celyad: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Incyte: Speakers Bureau; Abbvie: Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Speakers Bureau; Jazz: Research Funding. Al-Kali:Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Research Funding. Komrokji:celgene: Consultancy; Agios: Consultancy; JAZZ: Consultancy; Novartis: Speakers Bureau; JAZZ: Speakers Bureau; pfizer: Consultancy; DSI: Consultancy; Incyte: Consultancy. Lo:Humanigen: Employment. Durrant:Humanigen: Employment. Chappell:Humanigen: Employment. Ahmed:Humanigen: Employment. List:Celgene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.