Decitabine and Clofarabine in Higher Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)


The goal of this clinical research study is to learn if sequential administration of decitabine and clofarabine can help to control MDS better than decitabine alone. The safety of this drug combination will also be studied.

Full Title of Study: “A Randomized Study of Decitabine Alternating With Clofarabine Versus Decitabine Until Failure in Patients With Higher Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: June 2015

Detailed Description

The Study Drugs: Decitabine is designed to damage cells' DNA (genetic material), which may cause myelodysplastic marrow cells to work more like normal marrow cells. Clofarabine is designed to interfere with the growth and development of abnormal marrow cells. Study Groups: If you are found to be eligible to take part in this study, you will be randomly assigned (as in the flip of a coin) to 1 of 2 groups. – If you are in Group 1, you will receive decitabine and clofarabine. – If you are in Group 2, you will receive only decitabine. Study Drug Administration: Each cycle is 4-8 weeks depending on how you tolerate the drug and how the MDS responds to it. Group 1: If you are in Group 1, you will receive the drugs in an alternating series of cycles. This means that you will receive decitabine for the first 3 cycles, then clofarabine for the next 3 cycles, and then repeat. This pattern will continue for up to 24 cycles. On Days 1-5 of Cycles 1-3, 7-9, 13-15, and 19-21, you will receive decitabine by vein over 1-2 hours. On Days 1-5 of Cycles 4-6, 10-12, 16-18, and 22-24, you will receive clofarabine by vein over 1-2 hours. Group 2: If you are in Group 2, you will receive decitabine by vein over 1-2 hours on Days 1-5 of every cycle. Study Visits: On Day 1 of every cycle, the following tests and procedures will be performed: – You will have a physical exam, including measurement of your weight and vital signs. – Your performance status will be recorded. Once a week, blood (about 1-2 teaspoons) will be drawn for routine tests. At the end of Cycle 3, you will have a bone marrow aspirate to check the status of the disease. If the disease has not gone into remission after Cycle 3, your next bone marrow aspirate will depend on your group. If you are in Group 1, you may have another aspirate about 3 weeks after you begin Cycle 4. After that, you may have an aspirate every 2 weeks (or more often if your doctor feels it is needed) until the response (or lack thereof) is confirmed. If you are in Group 2, you may not have another bone marrow aspirate until after the end of Cycle 6. You will need to stay in Houston to receive the study drug(s). When you have study visits where you are not receiving study drug(s), these tests can be performed by your local doctor. If your MD Anderson leukemia doctor approves, your study drug can be administered outside MD Anderson by your local doctor. Length of Study: You will be on study for up to 24 cycles. You will be taken off study early if the disease gets worse or you experience any intolerable side effects. Follow-up Visits: After your last dose of study drug, you will have follow-up visits. You will only have these visits if the disease has responded to the study drug. – Once a month, blood (about 1 tablespoon) will be drawn routine tests. This can be done at home through your local cancer doctor. – Every 6 months, you will return to Houston for a physical exam and blood (about 1 tablespoon) will be drawn for routine tests. This is an investigational study. Clofarabine is FDA approved and commercially available for use in pediatric patients with a type of blood cancer (acute lymphocytic leukemia — ALL). Its use in patients with MDS is investigational. Decitabine is FDA approved and commercially available for use in patients with MDS. Up to 80 patients will take part in this study. All will be enrolled at MD Anderson.


  • Drug: Decitabine
    • Decitabine 20 mg/m^2 by vein daily over 1-2 hours for 5 days for both Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 receives decitabine on Days 1-5 of Cycles 1-3, 7-9, 13-15, and 19-21; and Group 2 is on Days 1-5 of every cycle.
  • Drug: Clofarabine
    • Clofarabine 10 mg/m^2 by vein daily over 1-2 hours for 5 days on Days 1-5 of Cycles 4-6, 10-12, 16-18, and 22-24.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Decitabine + Clofarabine
    • Drug delivery intravenously (IV) in alternating series of cycles (Decitabine 20 mg/m^2 for 5 days first 3 cycles, then Clofarabine 10 mg/m^2 five days for next 3 cycles), pattern repeats for up to 24 cycles.
  • Experimental: Decitabine
    • Decitabine 20 mg/m^2 IV daily for 5 days for a total of 24 courses.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Event Free Survival (EFS) at 1 Year
    • Time Frame: Assessed at 12 months/1 year
    • Percentage of participants with event free survival at 1 year. Event free survival (EFS) where event is defined as either death or transformation to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (marrow and/or blood blasts >/= 20%)

Secondary Measures

  • Participant Response
    • Time Frame: Up to 6 months
    • Responses: Complete Remission (CR): Normalization peripheral blood & bone marrow </= 5% bone marrow blasts, no evidence dysplasia; peripheral blood granulocyte >/= 1.0 x 10^9/L, & platelet>/= 100 x 10^9/L. Partial Remission: all CR criteria if abnormal before treatment except marrow blasts decrease =/> 50% compared to pretreatment or a less-advanced MDS disease classification than prior to treatment. Hematologic Improvement: Response maintained 8+ weeks: Hemoglobin (pretreatment < 11 g/dL): improves 1.5 g/dL or reduced by 4 units of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in 8 weeks compared with pretreatment transfusions in 8 weeks; or Platelet (pretreatment < 100 x 10^9/L): absolute increase >/= 30 x 10^9/L, starting platelet > 20 x 10^9/L OR increase < 20 x 10^9/L to > 20 x 10^9/L and =/> 100%. Neutrophil (pretreatment < 1 x 10^9/L): increase 100% & absolute increase > 0.5 x 10^9/L.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. Patients with higher risk MDS (IPSS int-2 or high, or >/= 10% blasts as defined by WHO or FAB). – No prior intensive chemotherapy or high-dose cytarabine (>/= 1 g/m2). - Prior biologic therapies (</= 1 cycle of prior decitabine or azacitidine), targeted therapies, or single agent chemotherapy is allowed. – Off chemotherapy for 2 weeks prior to entering this study with no toxic effects of that therapy, unless there is evidence of rapidly progressive disease. – Hydroxyurea is permitted for control of counts prior to treatment. – Hematopoietic growth factors are allowed. . 2. Age >/= 18 years. 3. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status </= 2. 4. Have adequate renal function (serum creatinine </= 1.5 mg/dL) 5. Serum bilirubin </= 1.5 x upper limit of normal (ULN) 6. Aspartate transaminase (AST) or alanine transaminase (ALT) </= 2.5 x ULN 7. Alkaline phosphatase </= 2.5 x ULN 8. Provide signed written informed consent. 9. Capable of understanding the investigational nature, potential risks and benefits of the study, and able to provide valid informed consent. 10. Female patients of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks prior to enrollment. 11. Male and female patients must use an effective contraceptive method during the study and for a minimum of 6 months after study treatment. Exclusion Criteria:

1. Current concomitant chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy other than as specified in the protocol. 2. Use of investigational agents within 30 days or any anticancer therapy within 2 weeks before study entry with the exception of hydroxyurea. The patient must have recovered from all acute toxicities from any previous therapy. 3. Have any other severe concurrent disease, or have a history of serious organ dysfunction or disease involving the heart, kidney, liver, or other organ system that may place the patient at undue risk to undergo treatment. 4. Patients with a systemic fungal, bacterial, viral, or other infection not controlled (defined as exhibiting ongoing signs/symptoms related to the infection and without improvement, despite appropriate antibiotics or other treatment) 5. Pregnant or lactating patients. 6. Any significant concurrent disease, illness, or psychiatric disorder that would compromise patient safety or compliance, interfere with consent, study participation, follow up, or interpretation of study results 7. Any concurrent malignancy (with the exception of exclusion # 8) 8. Exceptions to inclusion # 7: a) Patients with treated non-melanoma skin cancer, in situ carcinoma, or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, regardless of the disease-free duration, are eligible for this study if definitive treatment for the condition has been completed; b) Patients with organ-confined prostate cancer with no evidence of recurrent or progressive disease based on prostate-specific antigen (PSA) values are also eligible for this study if hormonal therapy has been initiated or a radical prostatectomy has been performed.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Collaborator
    • Genzyme, a Sanofi Company
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Guillermo Garcia-Manero, M.D., Principal Investigator, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

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