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Decitabine and Vorinostat with Chemotherapy in Relapsed Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A TACL Pilot Study. Clin Cancer Res 2020 May 15;26(10):2297-2307



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PURPOSE: Treatment failure from drug resistance is the primary reason for relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Improving outcomes by targeting mechanisms of drug resistance is a potential solution.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We report results investigating the epigenetic modulators decitabine and vorinostat with vincristine, dexamethasone, mitoxantrone, and PEG-asparaginase for pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell ALL (B-ALL). Twenty-three patients, median age 12 years (range, 1-21) were treated in this trial.

RESULTS: The most common grade 3-4 toxicities included hypokalemia (65%), anemia (78%), febrile neutropenia (57%), hypophosphatemia (43%), leukopenia (61%), hyperbilirubinemia (39%), thrombocytopenia (87%), neutropenia (91%), and hypocalcemia (39%). Three subjects experienced dose-limiting toxicities, which included cholestasis, steatosis, and hyperbilirubinemia (n = 1); seizure, somnolence, and delirium (n = 1); and pneumonitis, hypoxia, and hyperbilirubinemia (n = 1). Infectious complications were common with 17 of 23 (74%) subjects experiencing grade ≥3 infections including invasive fungal infections in 35% (8/23). Nine subjects (39%) achieved a complete response (CR + CR without platelet recovery + CR without neutrophil recovery) and five had stable disease (22%). Nine (39%) subjects were not evaluable for response, primarily due to treatment-related toxicities. Correlative pharmacodynamics demonstrated potent in vivo modulation of epigenetic marks, and modulation of biologic pathways associated with functional antileukemic effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite encouraging response rates and pharmacodynamics, the combination of decitabine and vorinostat on this intensive chemotherapy backbone was determined not feasible in B-ALL due to the high incidence of significant infectious toxicities. This study is registered at as NCT01483690.

Author List

Burke MJ, Kostadinov R, Sposto R, Gore L, Kelley SM, Rabik C, Trepel JB, Lee MJ, Yuno A, Lee S, Bhojwani D, Jeha S, Chang BH, Sulis ML, Hermiston ML, Gaynon P, Huynh V, Verma A, Gardner R, Heym KM, Dennis RM, Ziegler DS, Laetsch TW, Oesterheld JE, Dubois SG, Pollard JA, Glade-Bender J, Cooper TM, Kaplan JA, Farooqi MS, Yoo B, Guest E, Wayne AS, Brown PA


Michael James Burke MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a