Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of parenteral decitabine and azacitidine, DNA methyltransferase inhibitors, otherwise referred to as DNA hypomethylating agents (HMAs), have been a mainstay in the treatment of higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes. The development of oral HMAs has been an area of active interest; however, oral bioavailability has been quite poor due to rapid metabolism by cytidine deaminase (CDA). This led to the development of the novel CDA inhibitor cedazuridine, which was combined with an oral formulation of decitabine. Preclinical work demonstrated a pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile approximate to parenteral decitabine, leading to early-phase clinical trials of oral cedazuridine-decitabine (C-DEC) in myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). A combination of oral decitabine 35 mg with oral cedazuridine 100 mg was established as the recommended phase 2 dose. Phase 2 data confirmed bioequivalence of C-DEC when compared with parenteral decitabine, and a larger phase 3 trial has demonstrated similar results, leading to the FDA approval of C-DEC for use in intermediate/high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and CMML. This review will focus upon the current role of HMA therapy in MDS/CMML, preclinical and clinical development of C-DEC, and potential roles of oral HMA therapy in myeloid malignancies moving forward.
© 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.