Phase 1 study of the protein deubiquitinase inhibitor VLX1570 in patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma

Eric K. Rowinsky, Agne Paner, Jesus G. Berdeja, Claudia Paba-Prada, Parameswaran Venugopal, Kimmo Porkka, Joachim Gullbo, Stig Linder, Angelica Loskog, Paul G. Richardson, Ola Landgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This phase 1 study sought to characterize the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic behavior of VLX1570, a small molecule inhibitor of the deubiquitinases (DUBs) that remove sterically bulky ubiquitin chains from proteins during processing in the19S regulatory subunit of the proteasome, in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Fourteen patients were treated with escalating doses of VLX1570 ranging from 0.05 to 1.2 mg/kg as a brief intravenous (IV) infusion on Days 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16 of a 28-day cycle. Due to its poor aqueous solubility, VLX1570 was formulated in polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylated castor oil, and polysorbate 80 and administered as a brief intravenous (IV) infusion via a central venous catheter. Anti-myeloma effects were noted at doses at or above 0.6 mg/kg, however, two patients treated at the 1.2 mg/kg dose level experienced severe, abrupt, and progressive respiratory insufficiency, which was associated with diffuse pulmonary infiltrates on imaging studies, similar to those rarely noted with bortezomib and other inhibitors of the 20S proteasome, culminating in death. Although the contribution of VLX1570’s formulation to the pulmonary toxicity could not be ruled out, the severity and precipitous nature of the toxicity and the steep relationship between dose and toxicity, the study was discontinued. Despite the severe pulmonary toxicity noted with VLX1570, efforts directed at identifying DUB inhibitors with greater therapeutic indices appear warranted based on the unique mechanism of action, robustness of preclinical antitumor activity, and activity of the DUB inhibitors in MM resistant to PIs targeting the 20S proteasome subunit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1448-1453
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 19S proteasome
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Protein deubiquitinase inhibitor
  • Pulmonary toxicity
  • VLX1570

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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