Combined bezafibrate and medroxyprogesterone acetate have efficacy without haematological toxicity in elderly and relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)


Dr Mark T. Drayson, Division Immunity and Infection, University of Birmingham, Medical School, Vincent Drive, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.


Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) causes life-threatening deficits of functional blood cells that require management using red cell and platelet transfusion and aggressive treatment of neutropenic infections. Current cytotoxic chemotherapy further worsens the problem of reduced haemopoiesis and two-thirds of patients are too frail to tolerate intensive chemotherapy at all. Median survival amongst these patients remains at <3 months emphasizing the urgent need for anti-AML therapies that do not suppress haemopoiesis. Our laboratory studies showed combined Bezafibrate and Medroxyprogesterone acetate (BaP) had activity against AML without toxicity to normal stem cells. Here we report the safety and efficacy of BaP in 20 patients (19 AML, 1 high-risk myelodysplasia) for whom intensive chemotherapy was not an option. No patient exhibited haematological toxicity from BaP. Eleven patients took BaP alone for >4 weeks. One reverted from high risk myelodysplasia and remains transfusion independent after 201 weeks of therapy. Three AML patients gained major haematological improvements for 22–30 weeks; in one, marrow was available to document a partial AML response. Thus, this trial indicates that BaP therapy has potential for treatment of elderly and relapsed AML.