FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with FLT3 internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations, but efficacy is limited by resistance-conferring kinase domain mutations. This phase 1/2 study evaluated the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the oral FLT3 inhibitor PLX3397 (pexidartinib), which has activity against the FLT3 TKI–resistant F691L gatekeeper mutation in relapsed/refractory FLT3-ITD–mutant AML. Ninety patients were treated: 34 in dose escalation (part 1) and 56 in dose expansion (part 2). Doses of 800 to 5000 mg per day in divided doses were tested. No maximally tolerated dose was reached. Plasma inhibitory assay demonstrated that patients dosed with $3000 mg had sufficient levels of active drug in their trough plasma samples to achieve 95% inhibition of FLT3 phosphorylation in an FLT3-ITD AML cell line. Based on a plateau in drug exposure, the 3000-mg dose was chosen as the recommended phase 2 dose. The most frequently reported treatment-emergent adverse events were diarrhea (50%), fatigue (47%), and nausea (46%). Based on modified response criteria, the overall response rate to pexidartinib among all patients was 21%. Twenty-three percent of patients treated at $2000 mg responded. The overall composite complete response rate for the study was 11%. Six patients were successfully bridged to transplantation. Median overall survival (OS) of patients treated in dose expansion was 112 days (90% confidence interval [CI], 77-150 days), and median OS of responders with complete remission with or without recovery of blood counts was 265 days (90% CI, 170-422 days). This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01349049.
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