Investigational combo therapy shows benefit for TP53 mutant MDS and AML patients

January 21, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. -- Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are rare hematologic malignancies of the bone marrow. They can occur spontaneously or secondary to treatment for other cancers, so called therapy related disease, which is frequently associated with a mutation of the tumor suppressor gene TP53. Standard treatment for these patients includes hypomethylating agents such as azacitidine or decitabine but unfortunately outcomes are very poor.

"Patients with TP53-mutant disease, which is roughly 10% to 20% of AML and de novo MDS cases, don't have many options for therapy with nondurable responses to standard therapy," said David Sallman, M.D., assistant member of the Malignant Hematology Department at Moffitt Cancer Center. "There is clearly a need for new targeted therapies for this patient population."

Sallman is leading a national, multicenter clinical trial investigating a new therapy option for this group of patients. It builds upon the standard of care therapy, combining eprenetapopt (APR-246) with the chemotherapy azacitidine. Eprenetapopt is a first-in-class mutant p53 reactivator. It is infused in the body and induces cell death in TP53 mutant cancer cells. It also has a synergistic effect when combined with azacitidine, meaning not only do the drugs work well on their own but also together they provide an amplified response.

Results of the phase 1b/2 trial to determine the safety, recommended dose and efficacy of the combination therapy were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Fifty-five patients (40 MDS, 11 AML, 4 MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasms) with at least one TP53 mutation were treated. The overall response rate was 71% with 44% having a complete response (50% for MDS patients), meaning no sign of disease with return of normal blood cell production. The median overall survival for patients was 10.8 months. Patients who responded to treatment had significantly improved overall survival at 14.7 months. Additionally, 35% of patients were able to proceed with allogeneic stem cell transplantation with favorable outcomes versus historical outcomes in this patient population.

"The data is promising and supports the current phase 3, multicenter trial, which we hope will lead to FDA approval and a new much-needed treatment option for this patient population," said Sallman.
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This study was funded by Aprea Therapeutics.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt's scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is the No. 11 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt's expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 7,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

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