Bosutinib is a second-generation BCR-ABL1 TKI with activity against the Src family of kinases that was initially approved to treat patients with CP-, AP-, or BP-CML after resistance or intolerance to imatinib. Long-term data has been reported from the phase 1/2 trial of bosutinib therapy in patients with CP-CML who developed resistance or intolerance to imatinib plus dasatinib and/or nilotinib. A total of 119 patients were included in the 4-year follow-up; 38 were resistant/intolerant to imatinib and resistant to dasatinib, 50 were resistant/intolerant to imatinib and intolerant to dasatinib, 26 were resistant/intolerant to imatinib and resistant to nilotinib, and 5 were resistant/intolerant to imatinib and intolerant to nilotinib or resistant/intolerant to dasatinib and nilotinib. Bosutinib 400 mg daily was studied in this setting. Of the 38 patients with imatinib resistance/intolerance and dasatinib resistance, 39% achieved MCyR, 22% achieved CCyR, and the OS was 67%. Of the 50 patients with imatinib resistance/intolerance and dasatinib intolerance, 42% achieved MCyR, 40% achieved CCyR, and the OS was 80%. Finally, in the 26 patients with imatinib resistance/intolerance and nilotinib resistance, 38% achieved MCyR, 31% achieved CcyR, and the OS was 87%.14
Five-year follow-up from the phase 1/2 clinical trial which studied bosutinib 500 mg daily in CP-CML patients after imatinib failure reported data on 284 patients. By 5 years on study, 60% of patients had achieved MCyR and 50% achieved CCyR with a 71% and 69% probability, respectively, of maintaining these responses at 5 years. The 5-year OS was 84%.15 These data led to the regulatory approval of bosutinib 500 mg daily as second-line or later therapy.
Bosutinib was initially studied in the first-line setting in the randomized phase 3 BELA (Bosutinib Efficacy and Safety in Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia) trial. This trial compared bosutinib 500 mg daily to imatinib 400 mg daily in newly diagnosed, previously untreated CP-CML patients. This trial failed to meet its primary endpoint of increased rate of CCyR at 12 months, with 70% of bosutinib patients achieving this response compared to 68% of imatinib-treated patients (P = 0.601). In spite of this, the rate of MMR at 12 months was significantly higher in the bosutinib arm (41%) compared to the imatinib arm (27%; P = 0.001).16
A second phase 3 trial (BFORE) was designed to study bosutinib 400 mg daily versus imatinib in newly diagnosed, previously untreated CP-CML patients. This study enrolled 536 patients who were randomly assigned 1:1 to bosutinib versus imatinib. The primary endpoint of this trial was rate of MMR at 12 months. A significantly higher number of bosutinib-treated patients achieved this response (47.2%) compared with imatinib-treated patients (36.9%, P = 0.02). Furthermore, by 12 months 77.2% of patients on the bosutinib arm had achieved CCyR compared with 66.4% on the imatinib arm, and this difference did meet statistical significance (P = 0.0075). A lower rate of progression to AP- or BP-CML was noted in bosutinib-treated patients as well (1.6% versus 2.5%). Based on this data, bosutinib gained regulatory approval for first-line therapy in CP-CML at a dose of 400 mg daily.17
On the BFORE trial, the most common treatment-emergent adverse events of any grade reported in the bosutinib-treated patients were diarrhea (70.1%), nausea (35.1%), increased ALT (30.6%), and increased AST (22.8%). Musculoskeletal pain or spasms occurred in 29.5% of patients, rash in 19.8%, fatigue in 19.4%, and headache in 18.7%. Hematologic toxicity was also reported, but most was grade 1/2. Thrombocytopenia was reported in 35.1%, anemia in 18.7%, and neutropenia in 11.2%.17
Cardiovascular events occurred in 5.2% of patients on the bosutinib arm of the BFORE trial, which was similar to the rate observed in imatinib patients. The most common cardiovascular event was QT interval prolongation, which occurred in 1.5% of patients. Pleural effusions were reported in 1.9% of patients treated with bosutinib, and none were grade 3 or higher.17
If liver enzyme elevation occurs at a value greater than 5 times the institutional upper limit of normal, bosutinib should be held until the level recovers to ≤2.5 times the upper limit of normal, at which point bosutinib can be restarted at a lower dose. If recovery takes longer than 4 weeks, bosutinib should be permanently discontinued. Liver enzymes elevated greater than 3 times the institutional upper limit of normal and a concurrent elevation in total bilirubin to 2 times the upper limit of normal is consistent with Hy's law, and bosutinib should be discontinued. Although diarrhea is the most common toxicity associated with bosutinib, it is commonly low grade and transient. Diarrhea occurs most frequently in the first few days after initiating bosutinib. It can often be managed with over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications, but if the diarrhea is grade or higher, bosutinib should be held until recovery to grade 1 or lower. Gastrointestinal side effects may be improved by taking bosutinib with a meal and a large glass of water. Fluid retention can be managed with diuretics and supportive care. Finally, if rash occurs, this can be addressed with topical or systemic steroids as well as bosutinib dose reduction, interruption, or discontinuation.7
Similar to other TKIs, if bosutinib-induced cytopenias occur, treatment should be held and restarted at the same or a lower dose upon blood count recovery.7