Adding venetoclax to fludarabine/busulfan RIC transplant for high-risk MDS and AML is feasible, safe, and active

Blood Adv. 2021 Dec 28;5(24):5536-5545. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005566.


Adding the selective BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax to reduced-intensity conditioning chemotherapy (fludarabine and busulfan [FluBu2]) may enhance antileukemic cytotoxicity and thereby reduce the risk of posttransplant relapse. This phase 1 study investigated the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) of venetoclax, a BCL-2 selective inhibitor, when added to FluBu2 in adult patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and MDS/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) undergoing transplant. Patients received dose-escalated venetoclax (200-400 mg daily starting day -8 for 6-7 doses) in combination with fludarabine 30 mg/m2 per day for 4 doses and busulfan 0.8 mg/kg twice daily for 8 doses on day -5 to day -2 (FluBu2). Transplant related-toxicity was evaluated from the first venetoclax dose on day -8 to day 28. Twenty-two patients were treated. At study entry, 5 patients with MDS and MDS/MPN had 5% to 10% marrow blasts, and 18 (82%) of 22 had a persistent detectable mutation. Grade 3 adverse events included mucositis, diarrhea, and liver transaminitis (n = 3 each). Neutrophil/platelet recovery and acute/chronic graft-versus-host-disease rates were similar to those of standard FluBu2. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. The RP2D of venetoclax was 400 mg daily for 7 doses. With a median follow-up of 14.7 months (range, 8.6-24.8 months), median overall survival was not reached, and progression-free survival was 12.2 months (95% confidence interval, 6.0-not estimable). In patients with high-risk AML, MDS, and MDS/MPN, adding venetoclax to FluBu2 was feasible and safe. To further address relapse risk, assessment of maintenance therapy after venetoclax plus FluBu2 transplant is ongoing. This study was registered at as #NCT03613532.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Busulfan
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute* / drug therapy
  • Sulfonamides
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vidarabine / analogs & derivatives


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Sulfonamides
  • Vidarabine
  • Busulfan
  • venetoclax
  • fludarabine

Associated data