Pacritinib is a potent ACVR1 inhibitor with significant anemia benefit in patients with myelofibrosis

Stephen T. Oh, Ruben A. Mesa, Claire N. Harrison, Prithviraj Bose, Aaron T. Gerds, Vikas Gupta, Bart L. Scott, Jean Jacques Kiladjian, Alessandro Lucchesi, Tim Kong, Sarah A. Buckley, Shanthakumar Tyavanagimatt, Bryan G. Harder, Karisse Roman-Torres, Jennifer Smith, Adam R. Craig, John Mascarenhas, Srdan Verstovsek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In patients with cytopenic myelofibrosis, treatment with the JAK2/IRAK1 inhibitor pacritinib was associated with anemia benefit in the phase 3 PERSIST-2 study. The impact of pacritinib on transfusion independence (TI) has not been previously described, nor has the mechanism by which pacritinib improves anemia been elucidated. Because it has been previously postulated that inhibition of activin A receptor, type 1 (ACVR1)/activin receptor-like kinase-2 improves anemia in patients with myelofibrosis via suppression of hepcidin production, we assessed the relative inhibitory potency of pacritinib compared with other JAK2 inhibitors against ACVR1. Pacritinib inhibited ACVR1 with greater potency (half-maximal inhibitory concentration [IC50] = 16.7 nM; Cmax:IC50 = 12.7) than momelotinib (IC50 = 52.5 nM; Cmax:IC50 = 3.2), fedratinib (IC50 = 273 nM; Cmax:IC50 = 1.0), or ruxolitinib (IC50 > 1000; Cmax:IC50 < 0.01). Pacritinib’s inhibitory activity against ACVR1 was corroborated via inhibition of downstream SMAD signaling in conjunction with marked suppression of hepcidin production. Among patients on PERSIST-2 who were not transfusion independent at baseline based on Gale criteria, a significantly greater proportion achieved TI on pacritinib compared with those treated on best available therapy (37% vs 7%, P = .001), and significantly more had a ≥50% reduction in transfusion burden (49% vs 9%, P < .0001). These data indicate that the anemia benefit of the JAK2/IRAK1 inhibitor pacritinib may be a function of potent ACVR1 inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5835-5842
Number of pages8
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 10 2023


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