Background: CXCR4 mediates the retention and survival of acute myelogenous leukemia blasts in bone marrow and contributes to their resistance to chemotherapy. The authors evaluated a combination of the high-affinity CXCR4 antagonist BL-8040 with high-dose cytarabine (HiDAC) chemotherapy in a phase 2a study of patients with relapsed and refractory AML. Methods: Forty-two patients received treatment with BL-8040 monotherapy for 2 days followed by a combination of BL-8040 with HiDAC for 5 days. Six escalating BL-8040 dose levels were investigated (0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, and 2.0 mg/kg), and 1.5 mg/kg was selected as the dose for the expansion phase (n = 23). Results: BL-8040 in combination with HiDAC was safe and well tolerated at all dose levels. Clinical response was observed with BL-8040 doses ≥1.0 mg/kg. The composite response rate (complete remissions plus complete remissions with incomplete hematologic recovery of platelets or neutrophils) was 29% (12 of 42) in all patients and 39% (9 of 23) in the 1.5-mg/kg phase. The median overall survival was 8.4 months for all patients, 10.8 months in the 1.5-mg/kg phase, and 21.8 months for responding patients in the 1.5-mg/kg cohort. Two days of BL-8040 monotherapy triggered the mobilization of blasts into peripheral blood, with significantly higher mean fold-changes in responders versus nonresponders. This was accompanied by a decrease in bone marrow blasts. Conclusions: The current results demonstrate the efficacy of CXCR4 targeting with BL-8040 and support continued clinical development in acute myelogenous leukemia.
- acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)