Sabatolimab plus hypomethylating agents in previously untreated patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (STIMULUS-MDS1): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial | Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation Return to top.

Sabatolimab plus hypomethylating agents in previously untreated patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (STIMULUS-MDS1): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial

Journal Title: 
Lancet Hematology
Primary Author: 
Zeidan AM
Author(s): 
Zeidan AM, Ando K, Rauzy O, Turgut M, Wang MC, Cairoli R, Hou HA, Kwong YL, Arnan M, Meers S, Pullarkat V, Santini V, Malek K, Kiertsman F, Niolat J, Ramos PM, Menssen HD, Fenaux P, Miyazaki Y, Platzbecker U
Original Publication Date: 
Thursday, January 11, 2024

Background: Sabatolimab is an immunotherapy targeting T-cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain-3 (TIM-3), an immuno-myeloid regulator expressed on immune cells and leukaemic stem cells. In this trial, we compared the efficacy and safety of sabatolimab plus hypomethylating agent with placebo plus hypomethylating agents in previously untreated patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes.

Methods: STIMULUS-MDS1 was a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 study done at 54 investigational sites in 17 countries. Adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with intermediate-risk, high-risk, and very high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (according to Revised International Prognostic Scoring System criteria) who had not received previous treatment were included. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to intravenous sabatolimab (400 mg on day 8 and 22) or placebo plus a hypomethylating agent (intravenous decitabine 20 mg/m2 on day 1-5 or intravenous or subcutaneous azacitidine 75 mg/m2 on day 1-7 or day 1-5 and day 8 and 9) every 28 days until treatment discontinuation. The two primary endpoints were complete response rate and progression-free survival, assessed in the full analysis set, which included all randomly assigned patients. Complete response was analysed, as prespecified, 7 months after the last patient was randomly assigned. All other analyses presented, including progression-free survival, were done at the final data cutoff prespecified via a protocol amendment on Sept 2, 2021. Safety was assessed in in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03946670, and is ongoing.

Findings: Between July 29, 2019, and Aug 10, 2020, 127 patients were randomly assigned to sabatolimab plus a hypomethylating agent group (sabatolimab group; n=65) or placebo plus a hypomethylating agent (placebo group; n=62). The median age of participants was 73 years (IQR 69-77), of whom 86 (68%) of 127 patients were male and 77 (61%) were White. The primary endpoints were not met. Complete response (cutoff date of March 10, 2021) was achieved in 14 (22%; 95% CI 12·3-33·5) of 65 patients in the sabatolimab group vs 11 (18%; 9·2-29·5) of 62 patients in the placebo group (p=0·77). At the cutoff date of the final analysis (March 1, 2022), median follow-up for progression-free survival was 17·8 months (IQR 16·6-19·4) in the sabatolimab group and 19·2 months (17·7-22·3) in the placebo group, and the median progression-free survival was 11·1 months (95% CI 7·6-17·6) in the sabatolimab group vs 8·5 months (6·9-11·3) in the placebo group (hazard ratio 0·75 [95% CI 0·48-1·17]; p=0·1022). The most common adverse events of any grade were neutropenia (35 [56%] of 62 patients in the sabatolimab group vs 43 [68%] of 63 patients in the placebo group), thrombocytopenia (30 [48%] vs 32 [51%]), constipation (29 [47%] vs 24 [38%]), diarrhoea (27 [44%] vs 14 [22%]), anaemia (22 [35%] vs 34 [54%]), febrile neutropenia (22 [35%] vs 15 [24%]), and leukopenia (15 [24%] vs 20 [32%]). One patient developed a serious potential treatment-related immune-mediated adverse event in the sabatolimab group. There was one treatment-related death in the sabatolimab group due to pneumonitis.

Interpretation: The addition of sabatolimab to hypomethylating agents in this study did not result in a significant improvement in complete response rates or progression-free survival. Sabatolimab had a manageable safety in most patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes. A randomised phase 3 trial is ongoing to assess the potential benefit of sabatolimab plus azacitidine on overall survival in this setting.

Funding: Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Bone Marrow Disease(s): 
  • myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
Share with addtoany.com.