According to ASH Clinical News, a phase 1 trial of lenzilumab illustrated clinical benefits for approximately one third of participants with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. It is a novel antibody, and according to study results published in Blood, it has some activity with “limited therapeutic options.”
About Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML)
CMML is a cancer that begins in the blood-forming cells within bone marrow and then moves on to the blood. The issue becomes a surplus of monocytes, which then heightens the total white blood cell count. Affected individuals also face a 15-30% chance of developing acute myeloid leukemia. Doctors will usually diagnose this cancer after they notice the characteristic symptoms, which include an enlarged spleen, pain in the abdomen, and a feeling of fullness. Those with CMML may also experience loss of appetite, fever, and weight loss. After a diagnosis, there are multiple treatment options for patients. These are chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, stem cell transplants, growth factors, and supportive therapy.
About the Study
The first phase of this trial included 15 patients with CMML that either did not respond to or was ineligible for hydroxyurea therapy and hypomethylating agents. Researchers’ aim was to discover the correct dosage and test the safety of lenzilumab.
Participants were separated into three dosages: 200 mg, 400 mg, and 600 mg. The therapy was administered through an IV on day one and day 15, and then every 28 days after. Using the Myelodysplastic Syndromes/Myeloproliferative Neoplasm International Working Group response criteria, researchers were able to assess lenzilumab.
In terms of results, none of the dosages saw dose limiting or treatment emergent toxicities. After 110 days of treatment, 27% of participants achieved a clinical benefit. The median time to response was 5.5 months.
It is these results, along with the lack of toxicity, that encourage researchers to move forward with lenzilumab as a treatment for CMML. They also plan to test this therapy in children with juvenile CMML.