Background: Patients with myeloma receiving initial therapy with lenalidomide-based regimens can have difficulty collecting adequate stem cells for an autologous transplant. Stem cell collection in these patients can be significantly enhanced by addition of the CXCR-4 antagonist plerixafor to the mobilization regimen. Plerixafor is typically given subcutaneously (SQ), with collection approximately 11 hours after injection to obtain maximum yield. Intravenous administration can potentially allow more rapid and predictable mobilization compared to the SQ route. We designed this trial to prospectively assess the efficacy of intravenous plerixafor administration in patients undergoing lenalidomide therapy.
Patients and methods: Patients who were receiving initial therapy with a lenalidomide-based regimen and were undergoing stem cell collection within 12 months of their myeloma diagnosis were enrolled. Patients received GCSF at 10 μg/kg/day for 4 days followed by addition of plerixafor at 0.24 mg/kg/dose starting on day 5. Plerixafor was administered intravenously early morning (6-7 am) followed by apheresis beginning 4-5 hours later. Plerixafor was administered for a maximum of 4 days; but patients could continue apheresis beyond the 4th day at treating physician discretion. The aims of the study were to determine the proportion of patients reaching a stem cell yield of at least 3 million CD34 cells/kg by second day of apheresis, the safety and tolerability of intravenously administered plerixafor, and the overall rate of failure to mobilize (defined as less than 2.5 million CD34 cells/kg in 4 collections).
Results: Thirty-seven patients were accrued between December 2009 – April 2011, and 36 were eligible for analysis. The median age was 61 years (range; 28-73); 61% were male. The median time from start of initial therapy to enrollment was 4.6 months (range; 2.6 to 11.1) and the median cycles of lenalidomide were 4 (range; 3-11). Thirty-four (94%) of the patients achieved at least 3 million CD34 cells/kg within 2 days of apheresis. The median CD34 cells/kg after 1 day of collection was 3.9 million (range; 0.7 to 9.2) and after two days of collection was 7.02 million (range: 1.1-16.5). Two patients failed the mobilization (<2.5 million CD34 cells/kg). There were no grade 3 or 4 non-hematological adverse events and one patient experienced grade 4 thrombocytopenia. The most common grade 1 or 2 adverse events seen were gastrointestinal, namely nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain or bloating. Grade 1 dizziness was reported in 8 patients. Overall, the infusion was well tolerated.
Conclusion: Intravenously administered plerixafor is an effective strategy for mobilization in this patient group with low rate of failure to mobilize. It is well tolerated with toxicity comparable to the SQ administration. It also offers flexibility in patient scheduling with a convenient schedule for early morning infusion followed by apheresis later in the day.