Purpose: The serine/threonine kinase inhibitor flavopiridol targets multiple cyclin-dependent kinases, induces checkpoint arrest, and interrupts transcriptional elongation. We designed a phase I clinical trial using a timed sequential therapy approach where flavopiridol was given for the dual purpose of initial cytoreduction and enhancing cell cycle progression of the remaining leukemia cell cohort followed by cycle-dependent drugs 1-β-D- arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) and mitoxantrone. Experimental Design: Flavopiridol was given by 1-hour infusion daily for 3 days beginning day 1 followed by 2 g/m 2/72 h ara-C beginning day 6 and 40 mg/m 2 mitoxantrone beginning day 9. In vivo correlates included pharmacokinetics, modulation of blast cycle regulators, and serum and marrow supernatant vascular endothelial growth factor levels. Results: Of 34 adults receiving induction therapy, 16 (47%) evinced direct leukemia cytotoxicity with ≥50% drop in peripheral blast counts and tumor lysis in 9 (26%). Four (12%) died during therapy (two fungal infections and two sudden death). Dose-limiting toxicity occurred at 60 mg/m 2/d with profound neutropenia >40 days duration, and maximal tolerated dose was 50 mg/m 2/d. Overall response rate was 31% in 26 acute myelogenous leukemia and 12.5% in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Pharmacokinetics showed that a linear two-compartment model with first-order elimination provided the best fit of the observed concentration versus time data. Flavopiridol down-regulated one or more target proteins in marrow blasts in vivo. Vascular endothelial growth factor was detected in sera and marrow supernatant pretreatment, and sera obtained on day 3 inhibited bovine aortic endothelial cell proliferation by a mean of 32% (range, 10-80%). Conclusions: Our data suggest that flavopiridol is cytotoxic to leukemic cells and, when followed by ara-C and mitoxantrone, exerts biological and clinical effects in patients with relapsed and refractory acute leukemias. These findings warrant continuing development of flavopiridol at 50 mg/m 2/d × days in combination with cytotoxic and biological agents for acute leukemias.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research