Idasanutlin in addition to cytarabine is in development for the treatment of relapse or refractory Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). AML is a type of cancer that causes the bone marrow (the soft inner part of the bones where new blood cells are made) to produce excess immature white blood cells. The term acute means that it can develop fairly quickly and becomes increasingly more severe. If left untreated it would cause death within a few weeks or months. It is most common in people aged 60 years and over. Symptoms of AML may include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, recurrent infections, prolonged bleeding and unintended weight loss. Some risk factors, such as exposure to radiation, smoking, exposure to benzene, cancer treatments or blood or genetic disorders, may increase a person’s risk of developing AML.
The most common treatment option for AML is chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells. Idasanutlin in addition to cytarabine is a new treatment option that has shown promising clinical activity in acute leukaemia. Idasanutlin acts by blocking the activity of a protein known as MDM2 that is frequently found in AML. Blocking the activity of MDM2 can result in promoting cancer cells death. Idasanutlin is taken orally. If licenced, idasanutlin in addition to cytarabine would offer a new treatment option for patients with relapsed or refractory AML.
Olaparib belongs to a group of drugs called PARP enzyme inhibitors while bevacizumab is an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody. Both drugs act in different but synergistic ways to kill tumour cells. It is thought that bevacizumab may increase the sensitivity of olaparib to killing the tumour cells. Olaparib administered orally as a monotherapy is already licensed as a maintenance therapy of advanced ovarian cancer. The addition of bevacizumab given by intravenous infusions may potentially improve treatment outcomes.