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Blood. 2006 Nov 15;108(10):3271-9. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Phase 1/2 study of the combination of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine with valproic acid in patients with leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Leukemia, Box 428, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


We conducted a phase 1/2 study of the combination of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (decitabine) and the histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid (VPA) in patients with advanced leukemia, including older untreated patients. A group of 54 patients were treated with a fixed dose of decitabine (15 mg/m(2) by IV daily for 10 days) administered concomitantly with escalating doses of VPA orally for 10 days. A 50 mg/kg daily dose of VPA was found to be safe. Twelve (22%) patients had objective response, including 10 (19%) complete remissions (CRs), and 2 (3%) CRs with incomplete platelet recovery (CRp). Among 10 elderly patients with acute myelogenous leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome, 5 (50%) had a response (4CRs, 1CRp's). Induction mortality was observed in 1 (2%) patient. Major cytogenetic response was documented in 6 of 8 responders. Remission duration was 7.2 months (range, 1.3-12.6+ months). Overall survival was 15.3 months (range, 4.6-20.2+ months) in responders. Transient DNA hypomethylation and global histone H3 and H4 acetylation were induced, and were associated with p15 reactivation. Patients with lower pretreatment levels of p15 methylation had a significantly higher response rate. In summary, this combination of epigenetic therapy in leukemia was safe and active, and was associated with transient reversal of aberrant epigenetic marks.

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