Background:AML is predominantly a disease of the elderly, yet outcomes remain dismal, particularly for relapsed/refractory (R/R) AML patients (pts). Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin (GO) is a monoclonal antibody targeting CD33–commonly expressed on AML blasts, and, critically, AML stem cells (LSC)–linked to the cytotoxin calicheamicin. GO resistance mechanisms include (i) decreased/aberrant blast CD33 expression, (ii) p-glycoprotein export of calicheamicin, and (iii) apoptosis resistance due to deficient activation of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, a process highly dependent on BCL-2 expression. GO-induced apoptosis depends on the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and Bak and is inhibited by overexpression of the anti-apoptotic proteins BCL-2 or BCL-XL. Venetoclax (VEN) is a BH3 mimetic, binding BCL-2, dislodging its binding to Bak/Bax, and thus facilitating apoptosis. LSC overexpress BCL-2, however VEN monotherapy is not effective in AML, as resistance develops rapidly.

Hypothesis: VEN targeting of BCL-2 proteins that protect LSC from GO-induced apoptosis will synergistically increase GO efficacy. Correlative studies include pre-treatment AML blast BH3 profiling, CD33 expression (including sequencing for isoforms), and BCL-2, BCL-XL, and MCL-1 protein levels; MRD measurement at post-therapy time points using digital drop PCR technology; and quality of life assessments (EORTC QLQ-C30, FACT-Fatigue)

Methods:This is a single arm, open-label, multi-center (BTCRC), dose-escalation phase Ib study of combination of VEN and GO in R/R AML pts (18-75y), using a 3+3 design. Major eligibility: ECOG 0-2, adequate organ function, CD33+ in ≥ 20% AML blasts, ≤ 3 lines of prior therapy, and no prior use of GO or VEN, previous VOD, BMT within 2 months, CNS disease, or history of HIV. Induction: 3-day VEN ramp-up to the target dose of 200 (cohort i), 400 (ii), or 600 (iii) mg daily x 28 d, with GO 3mg/m2 infused days 1, 4, and 7. If CR/CRi achieved, pts proceed to BMT if applicable, otherwise, if in CR/CRi (provided ANC > 1000, plts > 100K) or PR (regardless of counts), they are consolidated with VEN at the prescribed dose x 28d and GO 3mg/m2 on days 1 and 4 (Cycle 2). If BMT not applicable, and pt remaining in CR/CRi or PR (as above), then proceed to VEN alone as Maintenance in cycles 3+ until progression or toxicity. The primary endpoint is MTD of VEN with GO. Secondary endpoints include ORR, anti-leukemic activity, characterization of AEs, and estimates of RFS, EFS, and OS.

Progress: This study is currently open to its second dosing cohort and has enrolled 5 pts to date. No dose-limiting toxicities have been encountered. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on enrollment, which is expected to improve as vaccinations expand. NCT04070768.

Citation Format: Saad Arain, Pritesh Patel, Karen Sweiss, Brian Parkin, Heiko Konig, Gregory Calip, Betul Gok Yavuz, John Quigley. Phase Ib study of the safety and efficacy of Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin (GO) and Venetoclax in patients with relapsed or refractory CD33+ acute myeloid leukemia: Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium BTCRC-AML17-113 [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr CT224.