Pevonedistat, a first-in-class NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor, combined with azacitidine, in patients with AML

Ronan T. Swords, Steven Coutre, Michael B. Maris, Joshua F. Zeidner, James M. Foran, Jose Cruz, Harry P. Erba, Jesus G. Berdeja, Wayne Tam, Saran Vardhanabhuti, Iwona Pawlikowska-Dobler, Hélène M. Faessel, Ajeeta B. Dash, Farhad Sedarati, Bruce J. Dezube, Douglas V. Faller and Michael R. Savona

Key points

  • RP2D of PEV is 20 mg/m2 in the PEV+AZA combination and did not alter the toxicity profile of AZA; DLTs were transiently elevated ALT/AST.

  • In treatment-naive older AML patients, the intent to treat (ITT) overall response rate (ORR) was 50%.


Pevonedistat (TAK-924/MLN4924) is a novel inhibitor of NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) with single-agent activity in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We performed a phase 1b study (NCT01814826) of pevonedistat (PEV) with azacitidine (AZA) based on synergistic activity seen preclinically. Primary objectives included safety and tolerability, and secondary objectives included pharmacokinetics (PK) and disease response. Patients ≥60 years with treatment-naïve AML, unfit for standard induction therapy, received PEV 20 or 30 mg/m2 IV on days 1, 3, and 5, combined with fixed-dose AZA (75 mg/m2 IV/SC) on days 1-5, 8, and 9, every 28 days. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events were constipation (48%), nausea (42%), fatigue (42%), and anemia (39%). In total, 11 deaths were observed and considered unrelated to study therapy by the investigators. Transient elevations in AST and ALT were dose limiting. The recommended phase 2 dose of PEV in this combination is 20 mg/m2. PEV PK was not altered by the addition of AZA. Overall response rate (ORR) based on an ITT analysis was 50% (20 CR, 5 CRi, 7 PR), with an 8.3-month median duration of remission. In patients receiving ≥6 cycles of therapy (n = 23, 44%), ORR was 83%. In patients with TP53 mutations, the composite CR/PR rate was 80% (4/5). Two of these patients stayed on study for >10 cycles. Baseline bone marrow blast percentage or cytogenetic/molecular risk did not influence ORR.

  • Submitted September 12, 2017.
  • Accepted January 3, 2018.