Histone Deacetylase Inhibition with Panobinostat Combined with Intensive Induction Chemotherapy in Older Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Phase I Study Results

Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Aug 15;25(16):4917-4923. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-0171. Epub 2019 May 31.


Purpose: The histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor panobinostat potentiates anthracycline and cytarabine cytotoxicity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. We hypothesized that panobinostat prior to and during induction chemotherapy would be tolerable and augment response in patients showing increased histone acetylation.

Patients and methods: Patients received panobinostat 20-60 mg oral daily on days 1, 3, 5, and 8 with daunorubicin 60 mg/m2/day intravenously on days 3 to 5 and cytarabine 100 mg/m2/day intravenously by continuous infusion on days 3 to 9 ("7+3"). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated for HDAC expression and histone acetylation changes.

Results: Twenty-five patients ages 60-85 years (median age, 69) were treated. Fifteen patients had de novo AML, six AML with myelodysplasia-related changes, two AML with prior myeloproliferative neoplasm, one therapy-related myeloid neoplasm, and one myelodysplastic syndrome with excess blasts-2. No dose-limiting toxicities occurred in dose escalation cohorts. In dose expansion, six patients received panobinostat at 60 mg and nine patients at 50 mg due to recurrent grade 1 bradycardia at the 60-mg dose. The complete response (CR)/incomplete count recovery (Cri) rate was 32%. Median overall survival was 10 months: 23 months with CR/CRi versus 7.8 months without CR/CRi (log-rank P = 0.02). Median relapse-free survival was 8.2 months. Increased histone acetylation 4 and 24 hours after panobinostat was significantly associated with CR/CRi.

Conclusions: Panobinostat with "7+3" for older patients with AML was well tolerated. Panobinostat 50 mg on days 1, 3, 5, and 8 starting 2 days prior to "7+3" is recommended for future studies. Panobinostat-induced increases in histone acetylation in PBMCs predicted CR/CRi.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / metabolism
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones