The mTOR inhibitor everolimus in combination with azacitidine in patients with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia: a phase Ib/II study
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Therapeutic options are limited in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and preliminary efficacy of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, everolimus (days 5–21) in combination with azacitidine 75 mg/m2 subcutaneously (days 1–5 and 8–9 every 28 days) in 40 patients with relapsed (n = 27), primary refractory (n = 11) or elderly patients unfit for intensive chemotherapy (n = 2). MTD was not reached following everolimus dose escalation (2.5, 5 or 10 mg; n = 19) to the 10 mg dose level which was expanded (n = 21). Major adverse events (grade > 2) were mostly disease-related: neutropenia (73%), thrombocytopenia (67%), mucositis (24%) and febrile neutropenia (19%). Overall survival (OS) of the entire cohort was 8.5 months, and overall response rate (ORR; including CR/CRi/PR/MLFS) was 22.5%. Furthermore, a landmark analysis beyond cycle 1 revealed superior OS and ORR in patients receiving 2.5 mg everolimus with azoles, compared to those without azoles (median OS 12.8 vs. 6.0 months, P = 0.049, and ORR 50% vs. 16%, P = 0.056), potentially due to achievement of higher everolimus blood levels. This study demonstrates that everolimus in combination with azacitidine is tolerable, with promising clinical activity in advanced AML.