NS-018 is a Janus-activated kinase 2 (JAK2)-selective inhibitor, targeting the JAK-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway that is deregulated in myelofibrosis. In this phase I, dose-escalation portion of a phase I/II study, patients with myelofibrosis received oral NS-018 in continuous 28-day cycles. The primary study objective was to evaluate safety, tolerability and clinically active dose of NS-018. Forty-eight patients were treated; 23 (48%) had previously received a JAK inhibitor (JAKi). The most common drug-related adverse events were thrombocytopenia (27%)/anemia (15%) for hematologic events, and dizziness (23%)/nausea (19%) for non-hematologic events. Once daily NS-018 at 300 mg was chosen as the phase II study dose based on improved tolerability compared with higher doses. A ⩾50% reduction in palpable spleen size was achieved in 56% of patients (47% of patients with prior JAKi treatment), and improvements were observed in myelofibrosis-associated symptoms. Bone marrow fibrosis grade (local assessment) improved from baseline in 11/30 evaluable patients (37%) after 3 cycles of NS-018. JAK2 allele burden was largely unchanged. Changes in cytokine/protein levels were noted after 4 weeks of treatment. NS-018 reached peak plasma concentration in 1-2 h and did not accumulate with multiple dosing. NS-018 will be assessed in patients with previous JAKi exposure in the phase II portion.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01423851.