A multicentre phase II clinical experience with the novel aza-epothilone Ixabepilone (BMS247550) in patients with relapsed or refractory indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma
The epothilones represent a novel group of microtubule stabilization agents that appear to retain activity even in chemotherapy-resistant cell lines and animal models. Because of their ability to overcome chemotherapy resistance, we conducted a phase II study of Ixabepilone in patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Ixabepilone was given at a dose of 25 mg/m(2) weekly for three of four consecutive weeks. Patients were required to have received < or =4 prior chemotherapy regimens, with an interval of at least one month since the last treatment, 3 months from prior rituximab, and 7 d from prior steroids, an absolute neutrophil count >1 x 10(9)/l and a platelet count >50 x 10(9)/l. Dose reductions were allowed. The overall response rate in assessable patients was 27% in this otherwise heavily treated population. One patient with chemotherapy-refractory follicular lymphoma attained a complete remission that lasted approximately 8 months. Three responses were also seen in refractory MCL and one in small lymphocytic lymphoma. The duration of response ranged from 2 to 8 months. Major toxicities included fatigue, myelosuppression and neuropathy. These data suggest that Ixabepilone has activity in chemotherapy-refractory lymphoma.