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Clofarabine, a novel nucleoside analog, is active in pediatric patients with advanced leukemia.

Author(s): Jeha S, Gandhi V, Chan KW, McDonald L, Ramirez I, Madden R, Rytting M, Brandt M, Keating M, Plunkett W, Kantarjian H

Affiliation(s): Department of Hematology-Oncology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 N Lauderdale St, Memphis, TN 38105, USA. sima.jeha@stjude.org

Publication date & source: 2004-02-01, Blood., 103(3):784-9. Epub 2003 Oct 9.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Clinical Trial, Phase I; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Despite progress in leukemia therapy, most children who experience relapse have a dismal prognosis. New, effective approaches are needed. We conducted a phase 1 study of a novel nucleoside analog, clofarabine, in pediatric patients with refractory and relapsed leukemia. Clofarabine was infused intravenously over 1 hour each day for 5 days. Six dose levels, between 11.25 and 70 mg/m(2) per day for 5 days, were studied in 25 patients. A modified 3 + 3 phase 1 design was followed with 30% dose escalation until the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was defined. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was 52 mg/m(2) per day for 5 days. At the end of infusion at MTD, clofarabine triphosphate levels in leukemia blasts varied between 6 microM and 19 microM, which resulted in complete and sustained inhibition of DNA synthesis. The DLT was reversible hepatotoxicity and skin rash at 70 mg/m(2) per day for 5 days. Twenty-five patients were treated. Five patients achieved complete remission (CR), and 3 achieved partial remission (PR), for an overall response rate of 32%. Clofarabine is well tolerated and shows significant antileukemic activity in heavily pretreated children. Multicenter phase 2 trials in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are ongoing.

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