A Phase I Study of Ruxolitinib, Lenalidomide, and Steroids for Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma

Clin Cancer Res. 2020 May 15;26(10):2346-2353. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1899. Epub 2020 Jan 14.


Purpose: Ruxolitinib with lenalidomide and dexamethasone shows antimyeloma effects in vitro and in vivo. MUC1 leads to lenalidomide resistance in multiple myeloma cells, and ruxolitinib blocks its expression. Thus, ruxolitinib may restore sensitivity to lenalidomide. Therefore, a phase I trial was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of ruxolitinib with lenalidomide and methylprednisolone for patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who had been treated with lenalidomide/steroids and a proteasome inhibitor and showed progressive disease at study entry.

Patients and methods: A traditional 3+3 dose escalation design was used to enroll subjects in four cohorts with planned total enrollment of 28 patients. Subjects received ruxolitinib twice daily, lenalidomide daily on days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle, and methylprednisolone orally every other day. Primary endpoints were safety, clinical benefit rate (CBR), and overall response rate (ORR).

Results: Twenty-eight patients were enrolled. The median age was 67 years and received a median of six prior treatments including lenalidomide and steroids to which 93% were refractory. No dose-limiting toxicities occurred. The CBR and ORR were 46% and 38%, respectively. All 12 responding patients were refractory to lenalidomide. Grade 3 or grade 4 adverse events (AE) included anemia (18%), thrombocytopenia (14%), and lymphopenia (14%). Most common serious AEs included sepsis (11%) and pneumonia (11%).

Conclusions: This phase I trial demonstrates that a JAK inhibitor, ruxolitinib, can overcome refractoriness to lenalidomide and steroids for patients with RRMM. These results represent a promising novel therapeutic approach for treating multiple myeloma (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03110822).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Dexamethasone / adverse effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Janus Kinase 2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Lenalidomide / administration & dosage
  • Lenalidomide / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Myeloma / metabolism
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate


  • INCB018424
  • Pyrazoles
  • Dexamethasone
  • JAK1 protein, human
  • JAK2 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 1
  • Janus Kinase 2
  • Lenalidomide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03110822