Haematologica 2018 03 22() pii 10.3324/haematol.2017.186890
KMT2A partial tandem duplication occurs in approximately 5-10% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia and is associated with adverse prognosis. KMT2A wild type is epigenetically silenced in KMT2A partial tandem duplication; re-expression can be induced with DNA methyltransferase and/or histone deacetylase inhibitors in vitro, sensitizing myeloid blasts to chemotherapy. We hypothesized that epigenetic silencing of KMT2A wildtype contributes to KMT2A partial tandem duplication-associated leukemogenesis and pharmacologic re-expression activates apoptotic mechanisms important for chemo-response. We developed a regimen for this unique molecular subset but due to relatively low frequency of KMT2A partial tandem duplication, this dose finding study was conducted in relapsed/refractory disease regardless of molecular subtype. Seventeen adults (< age 60) with relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia were treated on study. Patients received decitabine 20 milligrams/meter2 daily on days 1-10 and vorinostat 400 milligrams daily on days 5-10. Cytarabine was dose-escalated from 1.5 gram/meter2 every 12 hours to 3 gram/meter2 every 12 hours on days 12, 14 and 16. Two patients experienced dose limiting toxicities at dose level 1 due to prolonged myelosuppression. However, as both patients achieved complete remission after Day 42, the protocol was amended to adjust the definition of hematologic dose limiting toxicity. No further dose limiting toxicities were found. Six of 17 patients achieved complete remission including 2 of 4 patients with KMT2A partial tandem duplication. Combination therapy with decitabine, vorinostat and cytarabine was tolerated in younger relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia and should be explored further focusing on the KMT2A partial tandem duplication subset. (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: 01130506).