Randomized phase 2 study of low-dose decitabine vs low-dose azacitidine in lower-risk MDS and MDS/MPN
Hypomethylating agents (HMAs) improve survival in patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) but are less well-studied in lower-risk disease. We compared the safety and efficacy of low-dose decitabine vs low-dose azacitidine in this group of patients. Adults with low- or intermediate 1-risk MDS or MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), including chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, according to the International Prognostic Scoring System, were randomly assigned using a Bayesian adaptive design to receive either azacitidine 75 mg/m(2) intravenously/subcutaneously daily or decitabine 20 mg/m(2) intravenously daily for 3 consecutive days on a 28-day cycle. The primary outcome was overall response rate (ORR). Between November 2012 and February 2016, 113 patients were treated: 40 (35%) with azacitidine and 73 (65%) with decitabine. The median age was 70 years; 81% of patients were intermediate 1-risk patients. The median number of cycles received was 9. The ORRs were 70% and 49% (P = .03) for patients treated with decitabine and azacitidine, respectively. Thirty-two percent of patients treated with decitabine became transfusion independent compared with 16% of patients treated with azacitidine (P = .2). Cytogenetic response rates were 61% and 25% (P = .02), respectively. With a median follow-up of 20 months, the overall median event-free survival was 18 months: 20 and 13 months for patients treated with decitabine and azacitidine, respectively (P = .1). Treatment was well tolerated, with a 6-week mortality rate of 0%. The use of low-dose HMAs is safe and effective in patients with lower-risk MDS and MDS/MPN. Their effect on the natural history of lower-risk disease needs to be further studied. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (identifier NCT01720225).