Selective inhibition of nuclear export with selinexor in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma

John Kuruvilla, Michael Savona, Rachid Baz, Paul Morten Mau-Sorensen, Nashat Gabrail, Ramiro Garzon, Richard Stone, Michael Wang, Lynn Savoie, Peter Martin, Ian Flinn, Meagan Jacoby, Thaddeus J. Unger, Jean-Richard Saint-Martin, Tami Rashal, Sharon Friedlander, Robert Carlson, Michael Kauffman, Sharon Shacham and Martin Gutierrez

Key Points

  • Selective inhibitor of nuclear export compounds are a novel class of XPO1 inhibitors.

  • Selinexor is safe and efficacious in patients with R/R NHL.

Publisher's Note: There is an Inside Blood Commentary on this article in this issue.


Patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. We evaluated selinexor, an orally bioavailable, first-in-class inhibitor of the nuclear export protein XPO1, in this phase 1 trial to assess safety and determine a recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D). Seventy-nine patients with various NHL histologies, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Richter’s transformation, mantle cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, were enrolled. In the dose-escalation phase, patients received 3 to 80 mg/m2 of selinexor in 3- or 4-week cycles and were assessed for toxicities, pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity. In the dose-expansion phase, patients were treated with selinexor at 35 or 60 mg/m2. The most common grade 3 to 4 drug-related adverse events were thrombocytopenia (47%), neutropenia (32%), anemia (27%), leukopenia (16%), fatigue (11%), and hyponatremia (10%). Tumor biopsies showed decreases in cell-signaling pathways (Bcl-2, Bcl-6, c-Myc), reduced proliferation (Ki67), nuclear localization of XPO1 cargos (p53, PTEN), and increased apoptosis after treatment. Twenty-two (31%) of the 70 evaluable patients had an objective responses, including 4 complete responses and 18 partial responses, which were observed across a spectrum of NHL subtypes. A dose of 35 mg/m2 (60 mg) was identified as the RP2D. These findings suggest that inhibition of XPO1 with oral selinexor at 35 mg/m2 is a safe therapy with encouraging and durable anticancer activity in patients with R/R NHL. The trial was registered at as #NCT01607892.

  • Submitted November 7, 2016.
  • Accepted April 26, 2017.
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