Increased bone marrow angiogenesis and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels are adverse prognostic features in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs). VEGF is a soluble circulating angiogenic molecule that stimulates signaling via receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), including VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2). AML blasts may express VEGFR-2, c-kit, and FLT3. SU5416 is a small molecule RTK inhibitor (RTKI) of VEGFR-2, c-kit, and both wild-type and mutant FLT3. A multicenter phase 2 study of SU5416 was conducted in patients with refractory AML or MDS. For a median of 9 weeks (range, 1-55 weeks), 55 patients (33 AML: 10 [30%] primary refractory, 23 [70%] relapsed; 22 MDS: 15 [68%] relapsed) received 145 mg/m2 SU5416 twice weekly intravenously. Grade 3 or 4 drug-related toxicities included headaches (14%), infusion-related reactions (11%), dyspnea (14%), fatigue (7%), thrombotic episodes (7%), bone pain (5%), and gastrointestinal disturbance (4%). There were 11 patients (20%) who did not complete 4 weeks of therapy (10 progressive disease, 1 adverse event); 3 patients (5%) who achieved partial responses; and 1 (2%) who achieved hematologic improvement. Single agent SU5416 had biologic and modest clinical activity in refractory AML/MDS. Overall median survival was 12 weeks in AML patients (range, 4-41 weeks) and not reached in MDS patients. Most observed toxicities were attributable to drug formulation (polyoxyl 35 castor oil or hyperosmolarity of the SU5416 preparation). Studies of other RTKI and/or other antiangiogenic approaches, with correlative studies to examine biologic effects, may be warranted in patients with AML/MDS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology