Low Dose Dasatinib as Frontline Therapy in Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

SUMMARY: Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) constitutes approximately 10% of all new cases of leukemia. The American Cancer Society estimates that 6,660 new CML cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015 and about 1,140 people will die of the disease. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in Chronic Phase (CML-CP) is a clonal myeloproliferative disorder and the hallmark of CML, the Philadelphia Chromosome (Chromosome 22), is a result of a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22, wherein the ABL gene from chromosome 9, fuses with the BCR gene on chromosome 22. As a result, the auto inhibitory function of the ABL gene is lost and the BCR-ABL fusion gene is activated resulting in cell proliferation and leukemic transformation of hematopoietic stem cells. With the development of small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting BCR-ABL1, the 10-year survival rate in CML in Chronic phase is 80-90%. There are presently four TKIs (First Generation-Imatinib; Second Generation- Nilotinib, Dasatinib and Bosutinib) approved by the FDA for frontline therapy of patients with newly diagnosed CML-CP. Treatment with second generation TKIs has demonstrated significantly deeper and faster cytogenetic and Major MolecularResponses, but without any impact on long-term survival.

Dasatinib (SPRYCEL®) is an oral second generation TKI and is 325 times more potent than imatinib in inhibiting unmutated BCR-ABL1 kinase in vitro. It additionally inhibits the Src family of kinases, which are key regulators of signal transduction. Dasatinib 100mg once daily was approved by the FDA in 2010 for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in chronic phase, based on the Pivotal DASISION Study. In this trial, Dasatinib demonstrated Superior Efficacy with Higher and Faster Molecular and Confirmed Complete Cytogenetic Response Rates, compared to Imatinib by 12 months. In this trial drug-related pleural effusions occurred more frequently with Dasatinib than with Imatinib (28% versus <1%), as well as myelosuppression (20%), and, occasionally, pulmonary hypertension (5%).

Dasatinib in early clinical trials demonstrated activity at lower doses with better safety profile. Further in the DASISION trial, the efficacy of Dasatinib was maintained among patients who had their dose reduced, while improving its safety profile. Low-dose Dasatinib appears to be safe and effective in patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in Chronic Phase (CML-CP). However there are no randomized trials comparing the outcome with standard-dose Dasatinib.

This present study was conducted to compare the outcome of patients with newly diagnosed CML-CP treated with Dasatinib 50 versus 100 mg/day. The researchers analyzed 233 patients with newly diagnosed CML-CP treated with low-dose Dasatinib (N = 83) or standard-dose Dasatinib (N = 150). Using Propensity score analysis with 1:1 matching, 77 patients in each cohort were identified without significant baseline differences.

Response rates were reported as the cumulative incidences of Complete Cytogenetic Response (CCyR), Major Molecular Response (MMR), Molecular Response with 4.0 (MR4.0) and 4.5 (MR4.5) log reduction. MMR was defined as BCR-ABL1/ABL1 (IS) ≤0.1%, MR4.0 defined as BCR-ABL1/ABL1 (IS) ≤0.01% and MR4.5 defined as BCR-ABL1/ABL1 (IS) ≤0.0032%. Additional comparisons between the two groups included Overall Survival (OS) calculated from the start date of the therapy to the date of death from any cause at any time or date of last follow-up, Event-Free Survival (EFS) to the date of any of the events while on study as defined in the IRIS study, Failure-Free Survival (FFS) was calculated from the start date of therapy to the dates of treatment discontinuation for any reason except of treatment-free remission, Transformation-Free Survival (TFS), to the date of transformation to accelerated or blast phases during study. Patients on low-dose Dasatinib with suboptimal response by European LeukemiaNet (ELN) 2013 criteria had the option to increase the dose to 100 mg/day. The median age was 47 years. By Sokal risk score, 66% patients had low-risk, 25% had intermediate-risk, and 9% had high-risk disease. The median follow-up time was 60 months.

The 3-year MMR rates were 92% and 84% for low-dose and standard-dose Dasatinib, respectively (P=0.23). Dasatinib 50 mg/day induced higher cumulative incidence of MR4.0 (77% versus 66%; P=0.04) and MR4.5 (77% vs. 62%; P=0.02) at 3 years. The 4-year FFS, EFS and OS rates were 89% versus 77% (P=0.04), 95% versus 92% (P=0.06), and 97% versus 96% (P=0.78) with low-dose and standard-dose Dasatinib, respectively. The incidence of any grade pleural effusion was 5% with Dasatinib 50 mg/day compared to 21% with Dasatinib 100 mg/day.

It was concluded that Dasatinib 50mg daily is a new, cost-effective therapeutic option for frontline therapy in CML-CP and is at least as effective as Dasatinib 100 mg/day, with a better safety profile.

Low-dose dasatinib 50 mg/day versus standard-dose dasatinib 100 mg/day as frontline therapy in chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase: A propensity score analysis. Jabbour E, Sasaki K, Haddad FG, et al. Am J Hematol. 2022;97:1413-1418.