Azacitidine combined with donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) is an established treatment for relapse of myeloid malignancies after allogeneic transplantation. Based on its immunomodulatory and anti-leukemic properties we considered Lenalidomide to act synergistically with Azacitidine/DLI to improve outcome. We therefore prospectively investigated tolerability and efficacy of this combination as first salvage therapy for adults with post-transplant relapse of AML, MDS and CMML. Patients were scheduled for 8 cycles Azacitidine (75 mg/m2 day 1-7), Lenalidomide (2.5 or 5mg, day 1-21) and up to 3 DLI with increasing T cell dosages (0.5×106-1.5×107 cells/kg). Primary endpoint was safety, while secondary endpoints included response, graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) and overall survival (OS). Fifty patients with molecular (52%) or hematological (48%) relapse of MDS (n=24), AML (n=23) or CMML (n=3) received a median of 7 (range, 1 to 8) cycles including 14 patients with 2.5mg and 36 with 5mg Lenalidomide daily dosage. Concomitantly, 34 patients (68%) received at least one DLI. Overall response rate was 56% and 25 patients (50%) achieved complete remission being durable in 80%. Median OS was 21 months and 1-year OS rate 65% with no impact of type of or time to relapse and Lenalidomide dosages. Treatment was well tolerated indicated by febrile neutropenia being the only grade ≥3 non-hematologic adverse event in >10% of patients and modest acute (grade II-IV 24%) and chronic (moderate/severe 28%) GvHD incidences. In summary, Lenalidomide can be safely added to Azacitidine/DLI without excess of GvHD and toxicity. Its significant anti-leukemic activity suggests that this combination is a novel salvage option for post-transplant relapse. (NCT02472691)
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