Clinical potential of pacritinib in the treatment of myelofibrosis.
Duenas-Perez AB., Mead AJ.
Myelofibrosis (MF) is a myeloid disorder caused by a clonal hematopoietic stem-cell proliferation associated with activation of the Janus kinase (JAK) signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signaling pathways. Patients with MF often develop severe splenomegaly, marked symptom burden and significant cytopenias, with a consequent marked negative impact on quality of life and survival. The management of MF patients has dramatically improved with the development of a group of drugs that inhibit JAK signaling. The first of these agents to be approved was ruxolitinib, a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor, which has been shown to improve both spleen size and symptoms in patients with MF. However, myelotoxicity, particularly of the platelet lineage, significantly limits the patient population who can benefit from this agent. Thus, there is an unmet need for novel agents with limited myelotoxicity to treat MF. Pacritinib, a JAK2 and FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) inhibitor, has shown promising results in early phase trials with limited myelotoxicity and clinical responses that are comparable with those seen with ruxolitinib, even in patients with severe thrombocytopenia. Currently there are two large phase III clinical trials of pacritinib in MF, including patients with thrombocytopenia, and those previously treated with ruxolitinib. If the encouraging results observed in early phase clinical trials are confirmed, pacritinib will represent a new and exciting treatment option for patients with MF and particularly patients with significant cytopenias.