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Aung Naing, Lubomir Sokol and Alan F. List

The management strategy for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) has evolved from sole reliance on supportive measures to active treatment guided by disease risks. Recent progress in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of MDS has accelerated the discovery of new therapeutic targets, and consequently launched the development of several novel therapeutics that are currently in varied stages of clinical testing. One such agent is lenalidomide, which has shown remarkable effectiveness in the cytogenetically defined subset of MDS with the chromosome 5q31 deletion. The advent of new and effective targeted therapeutics may beneficially affect outcomes of an ever-increasing number of patients with MDS. This discussion summarizes the preliminary results of selected novel therapeutics.

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Apostolia M. Tsimberidou, Alexandra M. Adamopoulos, Yang Ye, Sarina Piha-Paul, Filip Janku, Siqing Fu, David Hong, Gerald S. Falchook, Aung Naing, Jennifer Wheler, Adoneca Fortier, Razelle Kurzrock and Kenneth R. Hess

Bendamustine, a cytotoxic alkylating agent, has shown promising results in solid tumors. An investigator-initiated phase I clinical trial of the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agent bevacizumab and bendamustine was conducted in patients with advanced cancer, because the 2 drugs have different mechanisms of antitumor activity and nonoverlapping toxicity. Patients were treated with escalating doses of intravenous bendamustine (70, 80, 90, and 100 mg/m2; days 1 and 2) and intravenous bevacizumab (10 mg/kg; days 1 and 15). A conventional “3 + 3” study design was used. Forty-two patients were treated: 23 women and 19 men. The median age was 60 years. Patients had received a median of 4 prior therapies (range, 1-10). The most common cancer types were colorectal (n=9), head and neck (n= 8), non-small cell lung (n=6), and breast (n=5). Overall, 117 cycles were administered (median per patient, 2; range, 1-8). No dose-limiting toxicities were noted during the escalation phase. Therefore, the highest dose (level 4) of bendamustine (100 mg/m2) was used in the expansion phase. The most common toxicities were fatigue (n=22), nausea (n=14), anorexia (n=9), and thrombocytopenia (n=7). Of 38 patients who were evaluable for response, 23 (61%) had stable disease, including 2 (5.2%) who had stable disease for 6 months or more (1 with adenoid cystic carcinoma and 1 with non-small cell lung cancer). This regimen of bendamustine (100 mg/m2) and bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) was well tolerated and yielded disease stabilization in selected heavily pretreated patients with advanced cancer.