Hypomethylating agents (HMAs) or DNA methyltransferase inhibitors (DNMTi) such as decitabine or azacitidine are established standard of care for the treatment of MDS and CMML. The oral bioavailability of these agents has been limited due to rapid degradation by cytidine deaminase (CDA) in the gut and liver, hence requiring intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injections daily for 5-7 days every month (m). This parenteral administration requirement adds significant burden to older cancer patients due to daily time commitment and travel to treatment centers. It also increases exposure to and infection risk with SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oral decitabine 35 mg/cedazuridine 100 mg (ASTX727) is an oral fixed dose combination drug of decitabine and the CDA inhibitor cedazuridine that have shown 99% (90% CI 93% to 106%) equivalent exposure to standard dose IV decitabine 20 mg/m2 in a randomized cross-over study (Garcia-Manero et al, ASH 2019). Here, we present the clinical efficacy and safety results of oral decitabine/cedazuridine from 133 patient study in MDS and CMML (ASTX727-02 ASCERTAIN study).
We used a randomized cross over design where 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/m2 in Cycle 2, or Sequence B: IV decitabine in Cycle 1 followed by oral decitabine/cedazuridine in Cycle 2 to do an intra-patient comparison of decitabine PK (primary PK endpoint: decitabine AUC equivalence over 5 days of dosing). Cycles were repeated every 28 days. All patients received oral decitabine/cedazuridine in all subsequent cycles from Cycle 3 onwards until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients were eligible as 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 as assessed by an independent expert panel 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.
138 subjects were randomized, of whom 133 were treated on study. The median age was 71.0 years (range 44-88), 65% were male, 88% MDS and 12% CMML, 43% were either red blood cells (RBCs) or platelets transfusion-dependent at baseline, 25% had poor-risk cytogenetics, and 42% had baseline bone marrow blasts >5%. At the data cutoff for the response analysis, the median duration of follow up was 12.6 m (range 9.3 to 20.5 m) with median number of treatment cycles of 8 (range 1 to 18). Of the 133 treated patients the best response was complete response (CR) in 28 patients (21%; 95% CI 15-29%), marrow (m)CR with hematological improvement (HI) in 20 patients (15%), mCR without HI in 23 patients (17.3%), and HI in 10 patients (7.5%) for an overall objective response (CR+mCR+HI) in 81 patients (61%; 95% CI 52-69%). Median duration of CR was 7.5 m (range 1.6 to 17.5 m), and median time to CR was 4.3 m (range 2.1 to 15.2 m). Of the 133 treated patients 27 (20%) went on to receive allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. Of the 57 patients who were either RBCs or platelets transfusion-dependent at baseline, 30 (53%) became transfusion independent for both RBCs and platelets for at least 8 consecutive weeks, and 19 (33%) were both RBCs and platelets transfusion independent for at least 16 consecutive weeks. Median survival has not been reached. Most common Treatment-Emergent AEs of Grade ≥3 regardless of causality were neutropenia in 51.5%, thrombocytopenia in 50%, anemia in 40%, febrile neutropenia in 26%, leukopenia in 21%, pneumonia in 12%, and sepsis in 7% of patients treated with oral decitabine/cedazuridine (excluding the IV decitabine cycle).
Summary/Conclusions: Efficacy and safety from oral decitabine 35 mg/ cedazuridine 100 mg daily for 5 days every 28 days are consistent with clinical data from standard IV decitabine 20 mg/m2 daily for 5 days. Oral decitabine/cedazuridine is the only oral HMA with systemic exposure equivalent to its injectable drug. Further investigation of oral decitabine/cedazuridine in all-oral combination studies is warranted and underway.