Thépot S, Ben Abdelali R, Chevret S, Renneville A, Beyne-Rauzy O, Prébet T, Park S, Stamatoullas A, Guerci-Bresler A, Cheze S, Tertian G, Choufi B, Legros L, Bastié JN, Delaunay J, Chaury MP, Sanhes L, Wattel E, Dreyfus F, Vey N, Chermat F, Preudhomme C, Fenaux P, Gardin C; Groupe Francophone des Myélodysplasies (GFM).
Haematologica. 2016 Aug;101(8):918-25. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2015.140988. Epub 2016 May 26.
The efficacy of azacitidine in patients with anemia and with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes, if relapsing after or resistant to erythropoietic stimulating agents, and the benefit of combining these agents to azacitidine in this setting are not well known. We prospectively compared the outcomes of patients, all of them having the characteristics of this subset of lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome, if randomly treated with azacitidine alone or azacitidine combined with epoetin-β. High-resolution cytogenetics and gene mutation analysis were performed at entry. The primary study endpoint was the achievement of red blood cell transfusion independence after six cycles. Ninety-eight patients were randomised (49 in each arm). Median age was 72 years. In an intention to treat analysis, transfusion independence was obtained after 6 cycles in 16.3% versus 14.3% of patients in the azacitidine and azacitidine plus epoetin-β arms, respectively (P=1.00). Overall erythroid response rate (minor and major responses according to IWG 2000 criteria) was 34.7% vs. 24.5% in the azacitidine and azacitidine plus epoetin-β arms, respectively (P=0.38). Mutations of the SF3B1 gene were the only ones associated with a significant erythroid response, 29/59 (49%) versus 6/27 (22%) in SF3B1 mutated and unmutated patients, respectively, P=0.02. Detection of at least one "epigenetic mutation" and of an abnormal single nucleotide polymorphism array profile were the only factors associated with significantly poorer overall survival by multivariate analysis. The transfusion independence rate observed with azacitidine in this lower-risk population, but resistant to erythropoietic stimulating agents, was lower than expected, with no observed benefit of added epoetin, (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: 01015352).