Survival after azacitidine (AZA) failure in higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is poor and new treatment options are needed. Erlotinib, an oral inhibitor of the epidermal-growth-factor-receptor (EGFR), has shown in preclinical models some efficacy in higher risk MDS and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this phase I/II trial, 30 patients received 100mg/day (n=5) or 150mg/day (n=25) of Erlotinib orally after primary or secondary resistance to AZA treatment. Eighteen MDS and 12 AML patients were treated. This outpatient treatment was well tolerated with limited grade III-IV extra hematological toxicities (skin (n=1), and diarrhea (n=3). Response was observed in 6 patients (20%) including 1 complete remission (CR), 1 marrow CR and 4 hematological improvement (2 erythroid and 2 on platelets). Median duration of response was 5 months. Erlotinib appears to induce a significant number of responses in higher risk MDS/AML having failed AZA treatment. Given the good safety profile of Erlotinib, its combination with other drugs could be tested in the future in MDS and AML.
- myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)