Background/Introduction: Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML) is an uncommon MDS/MPN overlap syndrome that has historically been included under the umbrella of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) for clinical trial and treatment. As a result, DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) such as decitabine or azacitidine have been the established standard of care for the treatment of CMML. The oral bioavailability of these agents has been limited due to rapid degradation by cytidine deaminase (CDA) in the gut and liver so treatment has required intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injections daily for 5-7 days every month (m) adding significant burden to older cancer patients due to daily time commitment and travel to treatment centers. In the context of pandemic SARS-CoV-2, parenteral therapy also increases contact with medical settings with increased infection risk. Oral decitabine 35 mg/cedazuridine 100 mg (ASTX727) is an oral fixed dose combination of decitabine and the CDA inhibitor cedazuridine that produced equivalent exposure (99%; 90% CI 93% to 106%) to IV decitabine 20 mg/m in a randomized cross-over study (Garcia-Manero et al, ASH 2019), and Median overall survival (mOS) for the entire study population in the ASCERTAIN study was approximately 32 months (Savona, 2021). Here, we present outcome data for this study for the enrolled subpopulation of patients with CMML.
Methods: We used a randomized cross over design in which patients were randomized in the first 2 cycles 1:1 to either Sequence A: (decitabine 35 mg/ cedazuridine 100 mg in Cycle 1 followed by IV decitabine at 20 mg/m in Cycle 2), or Sequence B: (IV decitabine in Cycle 1 followed by oral decitabine/cedazuridine in Cycle 2). We conducted an intra-patient comparison of decitabine PK (primary PK endpoint: decitabine AUC equivalence over 5 days of dosing). Cycles were repeated every 28 days (unless delays were needed). All patients received oral decitabine/cedazuridine in Cycles 3 and above until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients were eligible per the FDA-approved label of IV decitabine (MDS patients by FAB classification including CMML, or MDS IPSS Intermediate-1, 2 or high-risk patients). Clinical endpoints were best response according to International Working Group (IWG) 2006 response criteria, transfusion independence for at least 8 or 16 consecutive weeks, overall survival, and safety. Adverse events (AEs) were graded by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v 4.03.
Results: Of the 133 patients enrolled and treated in ASCERTAIN, 16 (12%) had a diagnosis of CMML with demographics and as follows: median age 71.5 years, 69%Male/31%Female, median weight 87kg (range 65-124), 25%ECOG 0, 75% ECOG 1. Population disease characteristics were: 19% poor or intermediate risk cytogenetics, with median baseline hemoglobin 90 g/L, neutrophils 1.27 X 109/L, platelets 84 x 109/L, bone marrow blasts 5%, with 38% RBC transfusion dependent. Patients received a median of 7 cycles of therapy (range 3-24). Treatment-emergent adverse events of CTCAE Grade 3 or higher in > 10% of patients, independent of relationship to ASTX727, were cytopenias (neutropenia [69%], thrombocytopenia [63%], anemia [56%], leukopenia [19%]), febrile neutropenia (31%), fatigue (13%). Two patients (12.5%) had Complete responses (CR), 8 (50%) had marrow CR ([mCR], including 3 (19%) with hematologic improvement (HI); Overall response rate (ORR) [CR + PR+ mCR + HI] was 75%. Of six patients with baseline RBC transfusion dependence 3 (50%) became transfusion independent. Leukemia-free survival was 28.2 months and after a median follow up of more than 33 months, median overall survival had not been reached. Two patients (13%) went on to Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HCT).
Conclusions: In the overall study, oral decitabine/cedazuridine delivered equivalent PK exposure to 5 days of IV decitabine 20mg/m2 with a resultant clinical activity safety and efficacy profile in CMML patients consistent with the published literature (e.g. Zeidan, et al 2017) and the Phase 2 experience. The use of oral decitabine/cedazuridine is a reasonable approach in CMML patients.
Garcia-Manero, et al ASH 2019
Savona, et al, Int. MDS Symposium, 2021
Zeidan, et al, Cancer 2017: 3754-3762.