Preclinical and early clinical evaluation of the oral AKT inhibitor, MK-2206, for the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia

Marina Y. Konopleva, Roland B. Walter, Stefan H. Faderl, Elias J. Jabbour, Zhihong Zeng, Gautam Borthakur, Xuelin Huang, Tapan M. Kadia, Peter P. Ruvolo, Jennie B. Feliu, Hongbo Lu, La Kiesha Debose, Jan A. Burger, Michael Andreeff, Wenbin Liu, Keith A. Baggerly, Steven M. Kornblau, L. Austin Doyle, Elihu H. Estey, Hagop M. Kantarjian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Purpose: Recent studies suggested that AKT activation might confer poor prognosis in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), providing the rationale for therapeutic targeting of this signaling pathway. We, therefore, explored the preclinical and clinical anti-AML activity of an oral AKT inhibitor, MK-2206. Experimental Methods: We first studied the effects of MK-2206 in human AML cell lines and primary AML specimens in vitro. Subsequently, we conducted a phase II trial of MK-2206 (200 mg weekly) in adults requiring second salvage therapy for relapsed/refractory AML, and assessed target inhibition via reverse phase protein array (RPPA). Results: In preclinical studies, MK-2206 dose-dependently inhibited growth and induced apoptosis in AML cell lines and primary AML blasts. We then treated 19 patients with MK-2206 but, among 18 evaluable participants, observed only 1 (95% confidence interval, 0%-17%) response (complete remission with incomplete platelet count recovery), leading to early study termination. The most common grade 3/4 drugrelated toxicity was a pruritic rash in 6 of 18 patients. Nevertheless, despite the use of MK-2206 at maximum tolerated doses, RPPA analyses indicated only modest decreases in Ser473 AKT (median 28%; range, 12%- 45%) and limited inhibition of downstream targets. Conclusions: Although preclinical activity of MK-2206 can be demonstrated, this inhibitor has insufficient clinical antileukemia activity when given alone at tolerated doses, and alternative approaches to block AKT signaling should be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2226-2235
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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