A phase 1 study of the CXCR4 antagonist plerixafor in combination with high-dose cytarabine and etoposide in children with relapsed or refractory acute leukemias or myelodysplastic syndrome: A Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigators' Consortium study (POE 10-03).
ABSTRACT: Plerixafor, a reversible CXCR4 antagonist, inhibits interactions between leukemic blasts and the bone marrow stromal microenvironment and may enhance chemosensitivity. A phase 1 trial of plerixafor in combination with intensive chemotherapy in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) was performed to determine a tolerable and biologically active dose.Plerixafor was administered daily for 5 days at four dose levels (6, 9, 12, and 15 mg/m2 /dose) followed 4 hr later by high-dose cytarabine (every 12 hr) and etoposide (daily).Nineteen patients (13 with AML, 5 with ALL, 1 with MDS) were treated. The most common grade 3 or greater nonhematologic toxicities attributable to plerixafor were febrile neutropenia and hypokalemia. There were no dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs). Plerixafor exposure increased with increasing dose levels and clearance was similar on days 1 and 5. Eighteen patients were evaluable for response. Two patients achieved complete remission (CR) and one patient achieved CR with incomplete hematologic recovery (CRi): all three had AML. No responses were seen in patients with ALL or MDS. Plerixafor mobilized leukemic blasts into the peripheral blood in 14 of 16 evaluable patients (median 3.4-fold increase), and the degree of mobilization correlated with surface CXCR4 expression.Plerixafor, in combination with high-dose cytarabine and etoposide, was well tolerated in children and young adults with relapsed/refractory acute leukemias and MDS. While biologic responses were observed, clinical responses in this heavily pretreated cohort were modest.
Project description:The interaction of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts with the leukemic microenvironment is postulated to be an important mediator of resistance to chemotherapy and disease relapse. We hypothesized that inhibition of the CXCR4/CXCL12 axis by the small molecule inhibitor, plerixafor, would disrupt the interaction of leukemic blasts with the environment and increase the sensitivity of AML blasts to chemotherapy. In this phase 1/2 study, 52 patients with relapsed or refractory AML were treated with plerixafor in combination with mitoxantrone, etoposide, and cytarabine. In phase 1, plerixafor was escalated to a maximum of 0.24 mg/kg/d without any dose-limiting toxicities. In phase 2, 46 patients were treated with plerixafor 0.24 mg/kg/d in combination with chemotherapy with an overall complete remission and complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery rate (CR + CRi) of 46%. Correlative studies demonstrated a 2-fold mobilization in leukemic blasts into the peripheral circulation. No evidence of symptomatic hyperleukocytosis or delayed count recovery was observed with the addition of plerixafor. We conclude that the addition of plerixafor to cytotoxic chemotherapy is feasible in AML, and results in encouraging rates of remission with correlative studies demonstrating in vivo evidence of disruption of the CXCR4/CXCL12 axis.
Project description:We hypothesized that during conditioning chemotherapy for allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT), the disruption of stromal-leukemia interactions using G-CSF in combination with the CXCR4-specific inhibitor, plerixafor, may promote the release of leukemic cells from the niche and increase tumor elimination. In a phase 1/2 investigation, we treated 45 AML/myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/CML patients (34 AML, 7 MDS and 4 CML) with G-CSF (10 ?g/kg daily for 6 days starting on day -9) plus plerixafor (doses of 0, 80, 160 or 240 ?g/kg daily for 4 days starting on day -7) along with the busulfan-fludarabine (Bu-Flu) conditioning regimen. In the phase 1 part, we determined that G-CSF plus plerixafor is safe in this setting. We compared the clinical effects and outcomes of AML/MDS study patients (n=40) with 164 patients from a historical data set who received Bu-Flu alone before allo-SCT by stratifying on cytogenetics and disease status to correct for bias. Study patients had increased myeloid chimerism and lower rates of GvHD. There was no significant difference in relapse-free survival or overall survival. The G-CSF plus plerixafor combination increased circulating WBCs, CD34+ cells and CXCR4+ cells, and preferentially mobilized FISH+ leukemic cells.
Project description:In spite of advances in the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a significant number of children with ALL are not cured of their disease. We and others have shown that signaling from the bone marrow microenvironment confers therapeutic resistance, and that the interaction between CXCR4 and stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1 or CXCL12) is a key mediator of this effect. We demonstrate that ALL cells that upregulate surface CXCR4 in response to chemotherapy treatment are protected from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis when co-cultured with bone marrow stroma. Treatment with the CXCR4 inhibitor plerixafor diminishes stromal protection and confers chemosensitivity. Using xenograft models of high-risk pediatric ALL, plerixafor plus chemotherapy induces significantly decreased leukemic burden, compared to chemotherapy alone. Further, treatment with plerixafor and chemotherapy influences surface expression of CXCR4, VLA-4, and CXCR7 in surviving ALL blasts. Finally, prolonged exposure of ALL blasts to plerixafor leads to a persistent increase in surface CXCR4 expression, along with modulation of surface expression of additional adhesion molecules, and enhanced SDF-1?-induced chemotaxis, findings that may have implications for therapeutic resistance. Our results suggest that while CXCR4 inhibition may prove useful in ALL, further study is needed to understand the full effects of targeting the leukemic microenvironment.
Project description:To characterize intracellular signaling in peripheral blood (PB) cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients undergoing pretransplant conditioning with CXCR4 inhibitor plerixafor, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and busulfan plus fludarabine (Bu+Flu) chemotherapy, we profiled 153 proteins in 33 functional groups using reverse phase protein array. CXCR4 inhibition mobilized AML progenitors and clonal AML cells, and this was associated with molecular markers of cell cycle progression. G-CSF/plerixafor and G-CSF/plerixafor/Bu+Flu modulated distinct signaling networks in AML blasts of patients undergoing conditioning with active disease compared to nonleukemic PB cells of patients in remission. We identified AML-specific proteins that remained aberrantly expressed after chemotherapy, representing putative chemoresistance markers in AML.
Project description:Hypoxia and interactions with bone marrow (BM) stromal cells have emerged as essential components of the leukemic BM microenvironment in promoting leukemia cell survival and chemoresistance. High levels of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF?1) produced by BM stromal cells in the BM niche regulate cell proliferation, survival, and apoptosis, depending on the cellular context. Exogenous TGF?1 induced accumulation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells in a quiescent G0 state, which was further facilitated by the co-culture with BM-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In turn, TGF?-neutralizing antibody 1D11 abrogated rhTGF?1 induced cell cycle arrest. Blocking TGF? with 1D11 further enhanced cytarabine (Ara-C)-induced apoptosis of AML cells in hypoxic and in normoxic conditions. Additional constituents of BM niche, the stroma-secreted chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 play crucial roles in cell migration and stroma/leukemia cell interactions. Treatment with 1D11 combined with CXCR4 antagonist plerixafor and Ara-C decreased leukemia burden and prolonged survival in an in vivo leukemia model. These results indicate that blockade of TGF? by 1D11 and abrogation of CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy against AML cells in the hypoxic BM microenvironment.
Project description:Resistance to cytarabine remains a major challenge in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Based on previous studies implicating ABCC4/MRP4 in the transport of nucleosides, we hypothesized that cytarabine is sensitive to ABCC4-mediated efflux, thereby decreasing its cytotoxic response against AML blasts. The uptake of cytarabine and its monophosphate metabolite was found to be facilitated in ABCC4-expressing vesicles and intracellular retention was significantly impaired by overexpression of human ABCC4 or mouse Abcc4 (P < 0.05). ABCC4 was expressed highly in AML primary blasts and cell lines, and cytotoxicity of cytarabine in cells was increased in the presence of the ABCC4 inhibitors MK571 or sorafenib, as well as after ABCC4 siRNA. In Abcc4-null mice, cytarabine-induced hematological toxicity was enhanced and ex vivo colony-forming assays showed that Abcc4-deficiency sensitized myeloid progenitors to cytarabine. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that ABCC4 plays a protective role against cytarabine-mediated insults in leukemic and host myeloid cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Current acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapy fails to eliminate quiescent leukemic blasts in the bone marrow, leading to about 50% of patient relapse by increasing AML burden in the bone marrow, blood, and extramedullar sites. We developed a protein-based nanoparticle conjugated to the potent antimitotic agent Auristatin E that selectively targets AML blasts because of their CXCR4 receptor overexpression (CXCR4+) as compared to normal cells. The therapeutic rationale is based on the involvement of CXCR4 overexpression in leukemic blast homing and quiescence in the bone marrow, and the association of these leukemic stem cells with minimal residual disease, dissemination, chemotherapy resistance, and lower patient survival. METHODS:Monomethyl Auristatin E (MMAE) was conjugated with the CXCR4 targeted protein nanoparticle T22-GFP-H6 produced in E. coli. Nanoconjugate internalization and in vitro cell viability assays were performed in CXCR4+ AML cell lines to analyze the specific antineoplastic activity through the CXCR4 receptor. In addition, a disseminated AML animal model was used to evaluate the anticancer effect of T22-GFP-H6-Auristatin in immunosuppressed NSG mice (n = 10/group). U of Mann-Whitney test was used to consider if differences were significant between groups. RESULTS:T22-GFP-H6-Auristatin was capable to internalize and exert antineoplastic effects through the CXCR4 receptor in THP-1 and SKM-1 CXCR4+ AML cell lines. In addition, repeated administration of the T22-GFP-H6-Auristatin nanoconjugate (9 doses daily) achieves a potent antineoplastic activity by internalizing specifically in the leukemic cells (luminescent THP-1) to selectively eliminate them. This leads to reduced involvement of leukemic cells in the bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, and spleen, while avoiding toxicity in normal tissues in a luminescent disseminated AML mouse model. CONCLUSIONS:A novel nanoconjugate for targeted drug delivery of Auristatin reduces significantly the acute myeloid leukemic cell burden in the bone marrow and blood and blocks its dissemination to extramedullar organs in a CXCR4+ AML model. This selective drug delivery approach validates CXCR4+ AML cells as a target for clinical therapy, not only promising to improve the control of leukemic dissemination but also dramatically reducing the severe toxicity of classical AML therapy.
Project description:RAS mutations are frequently found among acute myeloid leukemia patients (AML), generating a constitutively active signaling protein changing cellular proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. We have previously shown that treatment of AML patients with high-dose cytarabine is preferentially beneficial for those harboring oncogenic RAS. On the basis of a murine AML cell culture model, we ascribed this effect to a RAS-driven, p53-dependent induction of differentiation. Hence, in this study we sought to confirm the correlation between RAS status and differentiation of primary blasts obtained from AML patients. The gene expression signature of AML blasts with oncogenic NRAS indeed corresponded to a more mature profile compared to blasts with wildtype RAS, as demonstrated by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and real-time PCR analysis of myeloid ecotropic viral integration site 1 homolog (MEIS1) in a unique cohort of AML patients. In addition, in vitro cell culture experiments with established cell lines and a second set of primary AML cells showed that oncogenic NRAS mutations predisposed cells to cytarabine (AraC) driven differentiation. Taken together, our findings show that AML with inv(16) and NRAS mutation have a differentiation gene signature, supporting the notion that NRAS mutation may predispose leukemic cells to AraC induced differentiation. We therefore suggest that promotion of differentiation pathways by specific genetic alterations could explain the superior treatment outcome after therapy in some AML patient subgroups. Whether a differentiation gene expression status may generally predict for a superior treatment outcome in AML needs to be addressed in future studies.
Project description:The outcome of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) therapy depends on the propensity of leukemic blasts to accumulate ara-CTP, the active triphosphate of cytarabine (ara-C). We identified sterile ? motif and HD domain-containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) as an ara-CTPase that protects cancer cells from cytarabine-induced toxicity. Therefore, we propose targeting SAMHD1 as a strategy to potentiate cytarabine and possibly other antimetabolite-based therapies.
Project description:To determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) of the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat combined with fixed doses of cytarabine (ara-C or cytosine arabinoside) and etoposide in patients with poor-risk or advanced acute leukemia, to obtain preliminary efficacy data, describe pharmacokinetics, and in vivo pharmacodynamic effects of vorinostat in leukemia blasts.In this open-label phase I study, vorinostat was given orally on days one to seven at three escalating dose levels: 200 mg twice a day, 200 mg three times a day, and 300 mg twice a day. On days 11 to 14, etoposide (100 mg/m(2)) and cytarabine (1 or 2 g/m(2) twice a day if ?65 or <65 years old, respectively) were given. The study used a standard 3+3 dose escalation design.Eighteen of 21 patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) treated on study completed planned therapy. Dose-limiting toxicities [hyperbilirubinemia/septic death (1) and anorexia/fatigue (1)] were encountered at the 200 mg three times a day level; thus, the MTD was established to be vorinostat 200 mg twice a day. Of 21 patients enrolled, seven attained a complete remission (CR) or CR with incomplete platelet recovery, including six of 13 patients treated at the MTD. The median remission duration was seven months. No differences in percentage S-phase cells or multidrug resistance transporter (MDR1 or BCRP) expression or function were observed in vivo in leukemia blasts upon vorinostat treatment.Vorinostat 200 mg twice a day can be given safely for seven days before treatment with cytarabine and etoposide. The relatively high CR rate seen at the MTD in this poor-risk group of patients with AML warrants further studies to confirm these findings.