BACKGROUND: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer diagnosed in childhood. Survival for patients following relapse remains poor, and achieving complete remission (CR) after relapse is the first critical step to cure. Carfilzomib is a proteasome inhibitor with an acceptable safety profile and clinical activity in adults with multiple myeloma but has not been assessed in children. The primary objective of this phase 1b study was to assess the safety and tolerability of carfilzomib combined with vincristine, dexamethasone, asparaginase, and daunorubicin (VXLD) in children with relapsed and/or refractory ALL.
METHODS: Patients aged 1-21 years (n = 24) received 4-week induction therapy with carfilzomib at dose levels of 27 mg/m2 (n = 3), 36 mg/m2 (n = 7), 45 mg/m2 (n = 4), and 56 mg/m2 (n = 10) in combination with VXLD. Patients achieving stable disease were offered further consolidation chemotherapy. Analyses were based on the safety evaluable population.
RESULTS: Following dose escalation of carfilzomib, the recommended phase 2 carfilzomib dose was identified as 56 mg/m2 . Grade ≥3 hematological adverse events were common (83%, 20/24 patients), and serious treatment-emergent adverse events occurred in 58% (14/24) of patients. At the end of induction, CR/CR with incomplete platelet recovery (CRp)/CR with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi) was identified in 50% of patients (n = 12/24). By the end of consolidation, cumulative CR/CRp/CRi was identified in 58% of patients (n = 14/24).
CONCLUSION: These data support the use of carfilzomib in pediatric patients with relapsed and/or refractory ALL.