A dose-escalation phase IIa study of 2,2-dimethylbutyrate (HQK-1001), an oral fetal globin inducer, in sickle cell disease
American Journal of Hematology (Impact Factor: 3.8). 11/2013; 88(11). DOI: 10.1002/ajh.23533
2,2-dimethylbutyrate (HQK-1001), an orally-bioavailable promoter-targeted fetal globin gene-inducing agent, was evaluated in an open-label, randomized dose-escalation study in 52 subjects with hemoglobin SS or S/β0 thalassemia. HQK-1001 was administered daily for 26 weeks at 30 mg/kg (n = 15), 40 mg/kg (n = 18) and 50 mg/kg (n = 19), either alone (n = 21) or with hydroxyurea (n = 31). The most common drug-related adverse events were usually mild or moderate and reversible. Gastritis was graded as severe in three subjects at 40 mg/kg and was considered the dose-limiting toxicity. Subsequently all subjects were switched to the maximum tolerated dose of 30 mg/kg. Due to early discontinuations for blood transfusions, adverse events or non-compliance, only 25 subjects (48%) completed the study. Drug plasma concentrations were sustained above targeted levels at the 30 mg/kg dose. Increases in fetal hemoglobin (Hb F) were observed in 42 subjects (80%), and 12 (23%) had increases ≥4%. The mean increase in Hb F was 2% [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.8-3.2%] in 21 subjects receiving HQK-1001 alone and 2.7% (95% CI, 1.7-3.8%) in 31 subjects receiving HQK-1001 plus hydroxyurea. Total hemoglobin increased by a mean of 0.65 g/dL (95% CI, 0.5-1.0 g/dL), and 13 subjects (25%) had increases ≥1 g/dL. Future studies are warranted to evaluate the therapeutic potential of HQK-1001 in sickle cell disease.
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ABSTRACT: This placebo-controlled phase II study evaluated the pharmacodynamics, efficacy and safety of 2,2-dimethylbutyrate (HQK-1001), a fetal globin gene-inducing short-chain fatty acid derivative, administered orally at 15 mg/kg twice daily for 48 weeks in 76 subjects with sickle cell disease (SCD). The median age was 26 years (range: 1255 years) and 37 subjects (49%) were treated previously with hydroxycarbamide. Sixty subjects (79%) had Hb SS and 16 (21%) had S/β0 thalassemia. The study was terminated after a planned interim analysis showed no significant increase in fetal hemoglobin (Hb F) and a trend for more pain crises in the HQK-1001 group. For 54 subjects with Week 24 data, the mean absolute increase in Hb F was 0.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.11.6%] with HQK-1001 and 0.2% (95% CI: -0.71.1%) with placebo. Absolute increases in Hb F greater than 3% were noted in 9 of 38 subjects (24%) administered HQK-1001 and 1 of 38 subjects (3%) administered placebo. The mean changes in hemoglobin at Week 24 were comparable between the two groups. The mean annualized rate of pain crises was 3.5 with HQK-1001 and 1.7 with placebo. The most common adverse events in the HQK-1001 group, usually graded as mild or moderate, consisted of nausea, headache, vomiting, abdominal pain and fatigue. Additional studies of HQK-1001 at this dose and schedule are not recommended in SCD. Intermittent HQK-1001 administration, rather than a daily regimen, may be better tolerated and more effective, as shown previously with arginine butyrate, and warrants further evaluation.
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ABSTRACT: Currently, bone marrow transplantation is the only curative treatment for β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. In rare cases, sustained and full fetal hemoglobin production was observed in patients after failure of bone marrow transplantation. This rendered the patients transfusion-free, despite genetic disease and transplant rejec- tion. The mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unexplored. We have studied a trio (father-mother-child) in which the affected child became transfusion-independent after rejection of an allogeneic bone marrow graft. Remarkably, we found that his non-thalassemic mother also expressed unusually high levels of γ-globin. High HbF in one of the parents may therefore be of prognostic value in these rare cases. Genotyping of the HBB locus and the HbF quantitative trait loci HBS1L-MYB, KLF1 and BCL11A, and protein expression analysis of KLF1 and BCL11A, failed to explain the increased HbF levels, indicating that an as yet unidentified HbF modifier locus may be involved. We hypothesize that epigenetic events brought about by the transplantation procedure allow therapeutic levels of HbF expression in the child. Potential implications of our observations for reactivation of γ-globin expression and interpretation of the French globin gene therapy case are discussed.
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