BACKGROUND: Volasertib induces mitotic arrest and apoptosis by targeting Polo-like kinases. In this phase I dose-escalation study, the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacokinetics (PK), and preliminary efficacy of volasertib were determined in pediatric patients.
METHODS: Patients aged 2 to <18 years with relapsed/refractory acute leukemia/advanced solid tumors (ST) without available effective treatments were enrolled-cohort C1 (aged 2 to <12 years); cohort C2 (aged 12 to <18 years). The patients received volasertib intravenously (starting dose: 200 mg/m2 body surface area on day 1, every 14 days). The primary endpoint was the pediatric MTD for further development.
RESULTS: Twenty-two patients received treatment (C1: leukemia, n = 4; ST, n = 8; C2: leukemia, n = 3; ST, n = 7). No dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) occurred up to 300 mg/m2 volasertib in C1; two patients in C2, at 250 mg/m2 volasertib, had DLTs in cycle 1, one of which led to death; therefore, the MTD of volasertib in C2 was 200 mg/m2 . The most common grade 3/4 adverse events (all patients) were febrile neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia (41% each). Stable disease (SD) was the best objective response (leukemia, n = 5; ST, n = 2); the duration of SD was short in all patients, except in one with an ST. PK profiles were generally comparable across dose groups and were consistent with those in adults.
CONCLUSION: The pediatric MTD/dose for further development was identified. There were no unexpected safety or PK findings; limited antitumor/antileukemic activity was demonstrated.