Tag Archive for: venetoclax

What AML Mutations Are Associated With Adverse Outcomes?

What AML Mutations Are Associated With Adverse Outcomes? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Which acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mutations are linked to adverse outcomes? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shares insight..Learn about different mutations, treatment options, and the importance of testing.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver:Check for mutations to the frontline setting…absolutely, these include FLT3, IDH1, IDH2, TP53, and NPM1 MLL this list will likely continue to grow as we get more targeted therapies in immunotherapies and find benefit in particular subsets, but also in the relapse setting to not depend on the baseline molecular profile because the lipids actually can change. We do see AML as a multiclonal disease, and there can be emergence and escape of different clones, so to check again in the relapse for those same mutations and both in the frontline, the relapse setting.

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Long-Term Effects Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Should Know

Long-Term Effects Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Should Know

AML Treatment Approaches Expand for Older and High-Risk Patients

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Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, what mutations are associated with adverse outcomes in AML? What are the best time points to check for these mutations, and what therapeutic options do you consider for patients or harboring these mutations?

Dr. Naval Daver:

This is very, very important, a mutational targeted therapy is probably the biggest overarching change that has occurred in acute myeloid leukemia in the last decade, and of course to implement those therapies. One has to know the mutational profile, the five big mutations that whenever I speak to my patients in clinic today that I talk about wanting to know before I embark on any therapy are FLT3 or FLD3, IDH1, IDH2, TP53, and now, more and more recently, NPM1 or MLL, actually six different mutations, cytogenetic operations, and the reason is that we do have targeted therapies for these mutations, some of these targeted therapies are already approved in the frontline setting like the FLT3 inhibitors, some of these are being evaluated in ongoing Phase III  studies like the CD47 magrolimab for TP53.

As well as the menin inhibitors now in frontline setting in combinations of intensive chemo or HMA venetoclax (Venclexta), or MLL NPM1 but I think identifying these targets and getting the patients on the right clinical trial personalized to that target for them has historically shown significant improvements, 20 to 30 percent survival improvements in FLT3, IDH and potentially for the TP53 MLL NPM-1 so definitely on newly diagnosed, I would recommend getting that information and then going on to either standard of care the drugs already approved or clinical trial that incororates that targeted therapy or immunotherapy for a target in the relapse setting the two most important mutations today, or the three most important are FLT3, then IDH as well as MLL NPM1. 

Three inhibitors like gilteritinib (Xospata) are already approved. Similarly, IDH inhibitors and combinations of gilteritinib or IDH with venetoclax  are really showing very good outcomes, even in relapse three, which about 20 years ago was a very, very, very poor outcome. T

oday, we can get up to 80 percent of these patients to remission, half of them into transplant, and a good number may have long-term survival post-transplant, so it’s very important to not mislead to an IDH1, IDH2 to a relapse setting.

And then now with the menin inhibitors we’re also looking in all our patients for MLL rearrangement, NPM1 in relapse, because this could open the door for menin inhibitor-based therapy, which again can give up to 50 percent remission and a path to transplant. Now many patients at MD Anderson who have gone through too many inhibitors, transplant and are alive and ongoing at two and three years.

So the bottom line is, it’s important you check at my activation tip for this question is it’s important to check for mutations to the frontline setting…absolutely, these include FLT3, IDH1, IDH2, TP53, and NPM1 MLL this list will likely continue to grow as we get more targeted therapies in immunotherapies and find benefit in particular subsets, but also in the relapse setting to not depend on the baseline molecular profile because the lipids actually can change.

We do see AML as a multiclonal disease, and there can be emergence and escape of different clones, so to check again in the relapse for those same mutations and both in the frontline, the relapse setting.

To try to get on to a therapy, whether it’s approved or clinical trial that incorporates those targeted therapies, which has historically shown a significant improvement in both response and long-term survival. 

What Does Triplet Therapy in AML Mean for the Future?

What Does Triplet Therapy in AML Mean for the Future? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What do acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients need to know about triplet therapy? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shares his perspective. Learn about the meaning, progress, and outlook for triplet therapy. 

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver:Some of the early data with the FLT3 inhibitor as well as the CD47 antibody triplets are showing very, very promising activity and are now moving into larger multi-center and randomized studies.”

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Why Is the Menin Pathway Important in AML?

Challenges in Treating TP53-Mutated AML, Hope on the Horizon

Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, what does triplet therapy in AML mean for the future?

Dr. Naval Daver:

So when we say triplet therapy, what we’re really thinking about is building on the existing FDA-approved combination of HMA venetoclax (Venclexta), so as a background venetoclax, showed a CR, CRI which is a complete remission rate of about 70 to 75 percent with the median survival in 15 months.

This was in older patients, about 75 years in age, those who were not considered fit for intensive chemotherapy, although this was a major step forward in comparison to what we have seen with traditional low intensities with azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza), decitabine (Dacogen) alone, we do see the three-year survival is about 25 to 30 percent. 

So this is progress compared to 10 percent long-term survival, we used to get a decade ago, but, of course, we want to improve on that. Also, a molecular analysis of data has shown that there are certain molecular subsets that don’t respond as well to azacitidine, venetoclax or if they respond they relapse quickly these include FLT3 mutated and the TP53 mutated as well as potentially MLL rearranged.

And so here we have started incorporating the targeted therapies like inhibitors like the menin inhibitors like CD47 antibodies to target those specific high-risk or bad molecular cytogenetic groups, and we are seeing that with the combinations of these three drugs, especially for those particular molecular subsets.

So azacitidine and venetoclax for FLT3 inhibitor for FLT3 mutator, azacitidine, and venetoclax, magrolimab for TP53 mutated, the response rates that we’re getting, as well as the depth of response and the early trends towards survival are looking very, very promising compared to what we have seen with azacitidine venetoclax alone.

So we believe, and I personally believe that these three drug combinations, the so-called triplets will actually be eventually the way to go forward now, that means that one has to realize that when you add a third drug, there is a cumulative myelosuppression, azacitidine-venetoclax is already a myelosuppressive regimen. 

Yes, it’s manageable, but it is myelosuppressive. And the third drug, this can become more cumulative, so we have been working for the last three, four years and continue to work on those optimization because since we are seeing true synergy but pre-clinically and what we think in the clinic, we are not needing to give full doses and we’re doing reduced durations of venetoclax and those with FLT3 inhibitor, and now we feel that some of those triplets are actually giving very, very, very good efficacy.

There’s a lot of discussion in the community of whether we need to combine all two drugs up front or can be sequence these drugs or can we introduce a targeted therapy based on a molecular escape, and I think a lot of these will have to be evaluated and many of these are being looked at in various trials, but I do think the bottom line is that bringing in your targeted therapy or immunotherapies early on in the frontline setting and some way or the other is probably where you’re going to get the most bang for the buck and the most benefit in curing patients long-term rather than trying to reserve them for the salvage, because in salvage AML historically, nothing has really been able to improve the long-term cure rate significantly.

So the activation tip for this question is that now with the identification of certain molecular subsets that have poorer outcomes with the HMA venetoclax, we have started incorporating targeted and immunotherapies in the earlier settings, either up front in the three drug combination or an early sequential approach.

And we believe that with such combinations, we may be able to achieve deeper remission and longer responses. Some of the early data with the FLT3 inhibitor as well as the CD47 antibody triplets are showing very, very promising activity and are now moving into larger multi-center and randomized studies. 

A Look at Lower Intensity Chemotherapy in Untreated AML

A Look at Lower Intensity Chemotherapy in Untreated AML from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discusses whether untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can be treated with lower intensity chemotherapy.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver: “Ask your physician and your oncologist when you’re talking with them about what all the newest therapies are and what would be specifically the best treatment for their specific leukemia with respect to the different mutations.”

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Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, what are we learning about patients with untreated AML who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy? Will intensive chemotherapy, a thing of the past, in the near future?

Dr. Naval Daver:

There has been a major shift over the last four or five years towards using lower intensity combinations, such as azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza) and venetoclax (Venclexta) and patients who are definitely about 75 and not fit for intensive induction. I don’t think anybody debates in that population, but even in patients 60 to 75 years away, you are borderline, and maybe we could give intensive induction chemotherapy and get patients to through it with support of care, antifungals, antibiotics by close monitoring, but we’re seeing similar remission rates with azacitidine (Vidaza), venetoclax (Venclexta), much less toxicity, less mortality, and especially the goal is to get a number of these patients to allogeneic stem cell transplant, which it is.

Then we feel that the lower intensity, better tolerated, smoother remission getting patients in a good condition an allogeneic transplant may be the way to go now, of course, to really make the standard of care, we have to look at this in a randomized fashion to make sure that what we believe is actually what the data is going to confirm, so there is an ongoing randomized study looking at the azacitidine and venetoclax intensity versus the traditional intensive chemotherapy called three plus seven in patients 18 to 65 years of age, and that…then you will, I think, give us a lot of information and data as for whether we can start for placing intensive chemotherapy for a large proportion or majority of AML patients, even those who are younger.

Today, I don’t think that in terms of chemotherapies are a thing of the past, I think those patients who are below 60 or even those who are 60 to 65, who are routinely doing intensive induction chemotherapy, one has to realize that the five-year survival for many molecular subsets are close to 50 to 60 percent with intensive induction chemotherapy, whereas with HMA venetoclax in the older unit, we’re looking at three to five-year survival rates of about 30 percent, so we have still not seen data and younger patients with Hamas to be convinced that this will replace intensive chemotherapy altogether, I think the signal suggests that there is a potential for it to do so, especially with the use of allergenic tensor as plan, which we’re using quite frequently and…or maintenance.

But that has not yet been established. So I would still say we do use intensive chemo in those who are young and fit, so my activation tip for this is that there has been a lot of progress in the lower intensity therapies over the last six or seven years. 

A decade ago would not even be asking whether there’s anything that can replace intensive chemo today we do have data with HMA venetoclax that suggest that it may be as good as intensive chemo looking at the response rates MRD negativity, and especially with three drug combinations where adding targeted therapies to HMA venetoclax, those response rates and depth of response looking as good, if not better, than intensive chemo there are randomized studies ongoing that are going to be looking at intensive chemotherapy versus HMA venetoclax and if those show equivalents or superiority for HMA venetoclax, I think in the next five, six years there will be a huge shift towards less use of intense and chemotherapy in the frontline setting, but we’re not there yet. 

AML Clinical Trials Critical to Treatment Breakthroughs and Improvements

AML Clinical Trials Critical to Treatment Breakthroughs and Improvements from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Why are acute myeloid leukemia (AML) clinical trials so critical? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shares his perspective about clinical trials. Learn how clinical trials help both current and future AML patients. 

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver:Clinical  trials are critical, both for the patients themselves to get access to what we call tomorrow’s medicine today as well as potentially to help move the entire field forward.”

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A Look at Treatment Strategies for High-Risk AML Patients

A Look at Treatment Strategies for High-Risk AML Patients

Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, what is the importance of clinical trial participation as it relates to breakthroughs in AML, and what advice do you have for AML patients considering a clinical trial?

Dr. Naval Daver: Clinical trials are critical for the progress that we have already seen an acute myeloid leukemia, the drugs that have been improved in the last six, seven years, including venetoclax (Venclexta), FLT3 inhibitors, midostaurin (Rydapt or Tauritmo),  gilteritinib (Xospata), hopefully quizartinib other emerging targeted therapies…IDH1, IDH2 inhibitors, menin inhibitors, CD47 antibodies, we’ve learned about all of them and have got approvals and many of them through the ongoing clinical trials.

I think it’s very important for patients to realize that in most large academic centers, we will only participate in the clinical trial if we think it has the potential to improve the standard of care in the future. There’s very little incentive for academic investigators or clinical investigators, such as myself, we’re very, very busy to get involved in a trial if we don’t think that it has the potential to improve the outcome or change the nature of AML therapy in the future, so a lot of patients often ask me, Oh, I want the randomized or placebo arm. There is no real placebo alone in any AML study that I’m aware of, most of the studies will use standard of care, which is what you would’ve gotten wherever you were getting treatment at home, locally, community hospital versus a standard of care plus where the new drug will be added, whether it’s the FLT3 inhibitor, the CD47 antibody, the menin inhibitor 

So there’s a good chance, 50 percent that you’re going to get standard of care plus that we think has the potential to improve the outcome, of course, you never know, that’s what you do, the trial, but we think based on the previous pre-clinical data to pass when the page to deliver this looks like it will improve the outcome for this molecular or site group versus standard of care, which is what you will have gotten.

So I think it’s important to realize that you will never get less on standard of care and any clinical trial, at least in the AML field, and at least in our experience that they understand. 

Now, beyond that, there’s also a Phase I in two states, and those are the ones that we focus on quite a bit at MD Anderson, these are single arm studies, meaning everybody will get the investigational agent combo, so azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza) and venetoclax (Venclexta), we were one of the first sites to work on and leave this study and all of our patients in 2015, 2016, we’re getting this regiment, it was not approved to much later in 2019, 2020, and for those three, four years, our patients, hundreds of patients were able to get that combination, which probably cured many, many more than would have been cured to the standard of care until, of course, I’ve got a pro four years later, but for an option, of course, you cannot wait four years, so I’m a huge believer in clinical trials, I think it’s really, really important, both for the patients themselves as well as for the field, for us to be able to move the entire AML field forward for the next decade, and I would very strongly consider looking at or discussing with your treating physician trial options, and then you can look at them on your own through clinicaltrials.gov, or other sites with leukema and lymphoma that give a lot of information on clinical trials. 

So my activation tip related to this question is that I think clinical  trials are critical, both for the patients themselves to get access to what we call tomorrow’s medicine today as well as potentially to help move the entire field forward, all of the clinical drug approvals in progress we have seen in AML in the last six, seven years have come through clinical trials that patients in the past have agreed to kindly participate and helped probably themselves by getting better medications and combinations, and definitely the field to move forward, so definitely a big proponent for clinical trials. 

A Look at Treatment Strategies for High-Risk AML Patients

A Look at Treatment Strategies for High-Risk AML Patients from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treatments are available for high-risk patients? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discusses various mutations, potential for cure, and clinical trials. Learn about the outlook for high-risk AML treatments.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver:The best way to get up to these agents is to go on clinical trials and incorporate these therapies, both in the frontline setting as well as in the relapsed refractory setting.” 

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Assessing Untreated AML Patients Who Are Ineligible for Intensive Chemotherapy

What Does Triplet Therapy in AML Mean for the Future (2)

What Does Triplet Therapy in AML Mean for the Future?

Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, what treatment strategies are available for high-risk AML patients?

Dr. Naval Daver:

High-risk AML patients includes a group of a number of different mutations, and cytogenetic abnormalities, this includes TP53 mutation, as well as adverse cytogenetics, which includes chromosome 17, deletion 5, deletion 7, as well as complex carrier type. This entire group historically had a poor outcome and has had limited responses to traditional intensive chemo, even if we achieve responses there, usually short-lived.

We do have some patients where we are able to achieve remission with intensive chemo or with azacitidine-venetoclax (Vidaza-Venclexta) and transition and transmission them transplant with about 25 to 30 percent potentially achieving a long-term remission and possible cure. 

But aside from that, there is very little potential to cure these patients with just traditional intensive chemo, venetoclax in this area, there has been developments with the emergence new class of immunotherapy drugs, called CD47 antibodies, the one that’s most advanced in this field is a drug called magrolimab, and we are evaluating the drugs such as magrolimab in combination with azacitidine as well as in combination with azacitidine-venetoclax and are seeing high remission rates, both in TP53 mutated and TP53 wild type.

So this pathway that works by activating a macrophages or the immune system to attack the tumor cells, seems to be in some way mutation agnostic with response rates being maintained even in the traditional high-risk subsets, especially such as TP53 and complex cytogenetics for some of the other high-risk groups such as MLL, we’re using targeted therapies like menin inhibitors, and these seem to work well in those patients who have these adverse cytogenetic molecular abnormalities, so there is progress, and we think that the CD47 antibody field and hopefully the main inhibitor feed will be able to improve outcomes in these traditionally molecular cytogenetic subsets.

My activation point related to this question is for high-risk mutations and cytogenetic commonalities such as TP53 complex carrier chromosome 17 MLL,  best hope at this time is in clinical trials evaluating novel therapies such as CD47 antibodies and menin inhibitors. These are not yet FDA-approved, but based on emerging data from the ongoing Phase I, II studies, we think that there is a good chance they will be approved in the future.

However, this time, the best way to get up to these agents is to go on clinical trials and incorporate these therapies, both in the frontline setting as well as in the relapsed refractory setting. 

AML Treatment Approaches Expand for Older and High-Risk Patients

AML Treatment Approaches Expand for Older and High-Risk Patients from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How have acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treatment approaches expanded for older and high-risk patients? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center shares insight about additional treatment options. Learn about the potential for long-term cures for these patient groups. 

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver: “There is a dramatic progress, especially in the treatment of older unfit AML with the approval of the azacitidine-venetoclax combination.”

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Transcript: 

Art: 

Dr. Daver, for older and high-risk AML patients, how are the treatment approaches expanding?

Dr. Naval Daver: 

In older and high-risk AML, the major approval has been the combination of azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza) and venetoclax (Venclexta), which is a BCL-2 inhibitor, the regimen was evaluated in a large Phase III study called the VIALE study, where we looked at the standard of care for the last two decades for older unfit AML, which azacitidine alone versus the combination of azacitidine and venetoclax and this combination showed a three times higher remission rate, 75 versus 28 percent overall remission rate as well as an improvement in overall survival and long-term survivors.

So this has led to great progress with now remission rates of 75 percent achievable in older unfit AML and many of them being durable at three years with ongoing follow-up, so this has really opened the door for us to be able to treat patients up to 75, 80, 85 years of age with effective therapy given the three parts of these to achieve remission, which is usually associated with freedom from transfusion improvement, quality of life, improved energy, less time in the hospital, less infections.

The other progress now is coming from the use of targeted therapies as well in these populations, and even though the HMA venetoclax or azacitidine combination is doing very well.

We now have data, in fact, from the ASH 2022 December meeting that at three years, about 25 percent or so I would still remain alive with azacitidine was even or 8 percent, now it’s 25 percent. But, of course, we want to do much better than that, and so this is where we are incorporating the targeted therapies, the FLT3 inhibitors, the IDH1, IDH2 inhibitors, menin inhibitors, and immunotherapies onto the backbone of azacitidine-venetoclax, which we hope will further improve that long-term survival cure from 25 to hopefully 50 to 60 percent and beyond.

So a lot of progress, you know, going from less than 10 percent, a 30 percent survival, long-term, and I think in the next few years, even up to 50 percent with some of these new combinations. The activation tip related to this question is that there is a dramatic progress, especially in the treatment of older unfit AML with the approval of the azacitidine-venetoclax combination.

This regimen is now giving high remission rates, which approximate remission rates that are seen with traditional intensive chemotherapy without the mucositis and toxicities and better volatility, and we are now working to further improve the remission and the durability of this dominant of initial.

 …potentially adding targeted therapy such as FLT3 inhibitors, IDH1, IDH2 menin inhibitors, and we think that potentially in the next decade, we could be achieving long-term cures in a large proportion of older unfit AML, which was something one could just dream of a decade ago. 

What Promising AML Treatments Are Available for Newly Diagnosed Patients?

What Promising AML Treatments Are Available for Newly Diagnosed Patients? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What do newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients have for promising treatment options? Dr. Naval Daver from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discusses progress in available treatments. Learn about therapies determined by key factors.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Daver: “It’s very important to really consider all the available treatment options and if needed to seek consultation with an expert or academic center to get the most up-to-date treatments available for AML.

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Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Daver, for newly diagnosed AML patients, what are the latest and most promising available therapies?

For newly diagnosed AML at this time, the most promising agents include targeted therapies and BCL-2 inhibitor treatments, these are non-chemotherapeutic drugs, and we’ve seen great progress in the application of these as well as recent FDA approvals.

So one of these is an agent called venetoclax (Venclexta), which is a BCL-2 inhibitor and venetoclax in combination with hypomethylating agents such as azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza) has shown a response to close to 75 percent. 

And the nice thing is that this regimen can be given and patients who are older than 70, 75 years of age, and even those who are having comorbidities are not fit for traditional intensive chemotherapy with similar response rates, so this has been approved in the last couple of years for the frontline treatment of AML, and we’ve been using this combination of venetoclax and azacitidine quite frequently with high efficacy in this patient population, the other new agents that have shown breakthroughs in AML are the targeted therapies, these include FLT3 inhibitors that target the FLT3 mutation and these have shown good activity, but the single agents with gilteritinib (Xospata) being approved in the relapsed refractory setting as a single agent where gilteritinib showed a response rate of about 50 percent as a single oral targeted therapy in relapsed FLT3-mutated AML, which is actually better than the response rate with high-dose combination more where the response rate is only about 25 to 30 percent.

So, gilteritinib is now approved, and it’s now moving and being evaluated in frontline setting other FLT3 inhibitors like lestaurtinib (CEP-701), actually just recently completed frontline studies showing improved outcome when lestaurtinib added to intensive chemo versus just intensive chemo in FLT3 in AML. And we hope and think there’s a good chance lestaurtinib will be approved in the near future.

And also IDH inhibitors have been approved both in the relapsed setting, frontline setting, and now we even have a third group of targeted therapy is called the menin inhibitors, they target MLL rearrangement and NPM1 mutations, which are seen in about 15 percent to 20 percent of the AML, so there’s been a lot of progress.

All of this in the last seven years, six, seven years with multiple targeted therapies, with multiple inhibitor-based treatments, showing progress in AML and then also recently, the concept of maintenance therapy, this is something we used for the last couple of decades in a acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma and in lymphoma.

But we had not had clear data in AML, but the recent study using oral formulation of a azacitidine in CC486 has shown the maintenance in patients who complete an induction consolidation and could not go to allogeneic stem cell transplant for one reason or the other was important and improve both overall survival and relapse-free survival, and so this is the first time now we have an FDA-approved and standard use of maintenance therapy after the traditional induction consolidation, so even changing the general paradigm of AML therapy.

So a lot has changed in the last seven to eight years in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia, and this is very exciting.

And the activation tip related, this question is that there are multiple new targeted and low intensity therapeutic options available for patients with acute myeloid leukemia, and in our institution, in my opinion, even older patients are eligible for some form of therapy or the other…very few patients, if any, today, are being sent to hospitals or palliative care without treatment.

So it’s very important to really consider all the available treatment options and if needed to seek consultation with an expert or academic center to get the most up-to-date treatments available for AML. 

Assessing Untreated AML Patients Who Are Ineligible for Intensive Chemotherapy

Assessing Untreated AML Patients Who Are Ineligible for Intensive Chemotherapy from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How are acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients assessed for intensive chemotherapy? Dr. Catherine Lai from Penn Medicine explains eligibility criteria. Learn factors that impact patient eligibility and treatment options for AML patients who are categorized as ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Lai: Talk with your physician about how they will determine whether or not you are fit or unfit for intensive chemotherapy.

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What Does Triplet Therapy in AML Mean for the Future?

Transcript: 

Art:

Okay, Dr. Lai, what are we learning about patients with untreated AML who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy?

Dr. Catherine Lai:

To define ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, I think that that is a moving target because historically, we would define patients as eligible for intensive or less intensive chemotherapy based on an age cut-off. And as the population is becoming more fit and is also getting older, what I would like to say is that we should use physiologic age, not chronologic age to determine who is eligible for intensive chemotherapy, and that is…in terms of how that is assessed, that is not uniformly done. 

But, in general, it takes into account how active a patient is and what they’re able to do on a day-to-day basis, so mostly their physical function, we also take into consideration their cognitive function as well, but to a lesser extent.

So, for patients who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, the standard practice would be the combination of azacitidine (Onureg or Vidaza) or decitabine (Dacogen), both of which are hypomethylating agents in combination with venetoclax (Venclexta), and that combination has really changed the landscape in terms of how we treat patients, it can be given as an outpatient, so it’s much better tolerated and has fewer side effects compared to intensive chemotherapy.

So the activation tip here is to talk with your physician about how they will determine whether or not you are fit or unfit for intensive chemotherapy. 

What Are the Latest Acute Myeloid Leukemia Therapies?

What Are the Latest Acute Myeloid Leukemia Therapies? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What are the latest treatments in acute myeloid leukemia (AML)? Dr. Catherine Lai from Penn Medicine discusses the increase in available AML treatments. Learn about combination therapies and treatment options for patients with IDH1, IDH2, and FLT3 mutations.

[ACT]IVATION TIP from Dr. Lai: “Ask your physician and your oncologist when you’re talking with them about what all the newest therapies are and what would be specifically the best treatment for their specific leukemia with respect to the different mutations.”

Download Resource Guide

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How Can We Address Disparities in AML Among Diverse Populations?

What Are the ASH 2022 Takeaways for AML Patients

What Promising AML Treatments Are Available for Newly Diagnosed Patients

What Promising AML Treatments Are Available for Newly Diagnosed Patients?

Transcript: 

Art:

Dr. Lai, for newly diagnosed AML patients, what are the latest available therapies?

Dr. Catherine Lai:

That’s a great question. The last, I would say, a handful of years have really seen a dramatic increase in the number of new treatment options for AML patients, specifically since 2017, the FDA has approved 10 new drugs for AML, that’s both for patients who are newly diagnosed and in the relapsed refractory setting.

And so what I would say is that we break our patients into two different categories in terms of being able to tolerate intensive chemotherapy versus non-intensive chemotherapy, and as well as looking at specifically targeted mutations that patients may have so that we can better understand the disease but also treat these patients more specifically to try to maximize efficacy while minimizing toxicity. 

And so specifically, I would say for patients who have FLT3 mutations, there are drugs such as midostaurin (Rydapt) and gilteritinib (Xospata), there are drugs for mutations in IDH1 and IDH2, enasidenib (Idhifa) and ivosidenib (Tibsovo) and recently, or in December of  2022, olutasidenib (Rezlidhia) was also approved for IDH1-mutated patients as well.

We have a general targeted agent that’s an oral chemotherapy that probably has made the biggest difference in how we treat patients called venetoclax (Venclexta), and that’s used in combination with azacitidine (Onureg) or decitabine (Dacogen), or low dose cytarabine (Cytosar).

Although most commonly in the United States, we use azacitidine or decitabine in combination with the venetoclax, and that I think is really what I’d say has been practice changing for the most part, in terms of both increasing the complete remission rates as well as the overall survival for these patients. So I would say there are a lot of new drugs. It is all very exciting.

The biggest activation tip in terms of takeaways is to ask your physician and your oncologist when you’re talking with them about what all the newest therapies are and what would be specifically the best treatment for their specific leukemia with respect to the different mutations.

Art:

Okay. Dr. Lai, what are the latest approaches to combination chemotherapy to treat AML?

Dr. Catherine Lai:

So, the latest approaches for combination chemotherapy would be in the combination of a hypomethylating agent, azacitidine or decitabine in combination with venetoclax. This is the most practice-changing combination that has been approved since 2017 to 2018, and now more recently, what’s been happening is now looking, so we call that a doublet, and now it’s been looking at…what we’ve been studying is now whether or not triplets are more effective, when we do have triple combinations, we do see an increase in toxicity and so on, we haven’t come up with the right algorithm in terms of what that exact formula should be, but often I think about it in kind of a three-fold in terms of wins the right time, what’s the right combination, and how do we see in the drugs, and I think the sequencing is the biggest thing that we don’t yet know, and how do we combine the two different..two different drugs in a way, and how do we give them in a way that will maximize efficacy, will minimize the toxicity, so as an example is, Do we give two drugs for a specific period of time, and then after some determined time point, do we…

And change it to a different set of combination of drugs to make sure that patients are getting the most benefit of the drugs, and we don’t know that yet, but I think that that’s where the general direction…where the landscape is heading, so the activation tip I would take home from this is just to have a conversation with your physician about potential clinical trials and how combination therapies are being used. 

 

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How Is Relapsed or Refractory Myeloma Managed?

How Is Relapsed or Refractory Myeloma Managed? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Drs. Irene Ghobrial and Betsy O’Donnell discuss next steps if myeloma relapse occurs or the disease doesn’t respond to treatment. The experts review the necessary tests following a myeloma relapse and how a treatment choice is determined.

Dr. Irene Ghobrial is Director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Learn more about Dr. Ghobrial.

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute specializing in Plasma Cell Disorders. 

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How Do Test Results Impact Myeloma Treatment Options?


Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

We know that relapse can happen. Dr. Ghobrial, how common is relapsed or refractory disease? 

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

Yes, and, fortunately, we do have amazing remissions. We have very long remissions. Many people are living 10 years, 15 years and longer, which as Dr. Nadeem said, was not something we knew about years ago. I trained 20 years ago as a fellow, and myeloma was a survival of three to five years.  

We’ve come a long way, but we want to change that even better. We want a cure. We want to tell a patient, “You are done. You’re cured,” and we will not stop until that happens. So, when people have a progression again or relapse, then we want to consider what is the next available option. What is the best option to give them yet one more long, long remission? We are failing sometimes, and that’s because the disease is so bad, the biology of the disease is so bad, and the drugs that we’re using may not be the best drugs for that patient. 

And that’s why we need to understand better the biology and pick the right drugs for the right patient up front as much as we can, and also think about earlier treatment. We were just saying we probably have amazing drugs, but we’re waiting way too long until people have almost metastatic disease, and then we treat them. Why not think of an earlier interception when the disease is less mutated, when you have less cancer cells, a better immune system, and use your best drugs then? And hopefully we will achieve cure in many of those patients. 

Katherine Banwell:

What testing takes place after a relapse? Is it different than what has happened before, the testing that was done before? 

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

No, the same tests exactly. We sort of say it’s restaging. We check everything again – the bone marrow biopsy, the FISH, because you may now develop a 17p that was probably there, but the very, very small number of cells that you cannot detect, and now it grows because of something called chrono selection. The drugs kill the sensitive cells, but they don’t kill the bad cells, and that’s how we can get all of those changes and mutations.  

Katherine Banwell:

Okay. Dr. O’Donnell, is the process for choosing treatment different for a relapsed or refractory patient? 

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

So, that’s a great question. Yes, it can be. I mean, again, it always depends on how the person is doing at that time. It also depends, there are certain drugs that may not be approved in the front lines, something like venetoclax (Venclexta). If a person has a specific translocation, this 11;14, that’s something that we would like it in a second-line setting, for example. 

Usually one of the big questions people ask is if you’re on a specific class of drugs, should you change classes? So, this example is if you’re on lenalidomide (Revlimid), and you have evidence that your disease is progressing, should you change to a different type of drug? A proteasome inhibitor, monoclonal antibody? Should that include one of the same classes of drug, like pomalidomide (Pomalyst), which is the next generation? 

So, there are a lot of different factors that we consider. The number of drugs. So, you know, as Dr. Nadeem said, historically – there’s a lot of history in myeloma therapy, and it’s been an evolution, and so now we’ve had people who were treated with the three-drug combination that are starting, after many years, to progress. So, we might choose a monoclonal antibody for those patients because it wasn’t available at the time they were diagnosed. Versus patients now, who are typically on a four-drug regimen that includes those monoclonal antibodies and all the different classes of drugs. 

We’re looking at different and, if available, novel agents to put those patients on. And again, I think Dr. Nadeem made a really important point that I want to underscore, which is that very often our best therapies are available in clinical trials. And so when and if there is the opportunity to be on a clinical trial, you may be then able to get something that would not otherwise be available to you. So, I encourage people to always have an open mind to being on a clinical trial at any stage in their disease treatment. 

Katherine Banwell:

What therapies are available for relapse or refractory disease? Are they different than other therapies? 

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell:

You know, so that’s a great question. So, yes and no. I highlighted one example that might be a little bit different, but in general, we’re very fortunate that we have multiple classes of drugs, meaning we have different drugs that work differently to kill your myeloma cells. And as Dr. Nadeem said earlier, we use those in combinations to increase the effectiveness of those medicines. Within each class we have a variety of drugs. 

You used the example of immunomodulators, and show that we have three different of those type of drugs.   

We have two different proteasome inhibitors. Beyond that, we have other classes of drugs that were mentioned. We have monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapies.  

And so very often we make, it’s almost like a mix where we pick what we think is going to be most effective, sometimes based on cytogenetics. The biology. Sometimes based on patient selection. What are their other medical problems, what are their current issues? And we pick the combination that we feel is going to be most effective from the different classes of drugs that we have together, usually trying to use multiple drugs in combination. 

Katherine Banwell:

Well, what newer therapies are available or in development for refractory and relapsed disease? 

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell:

So, I think that the greatest interest that I think we’re all most excited about is the immunotherapy space, and I think we’ve seen – for myeloma, we see that this is a relapsing and remitting disease. 

And what’s been so exciting about CAR-T cells and the bispecific antibodies is that in patients who have had, on average, five relapses, we’re seeing tremendous results. So, complete remissions or very good partial remissions that last. In fact, can last up to two years, on average, with one of our CAR T-cell products. 

So, this is really exciting, especially when you compare to what historically has been out there for patients who have had that many relapses. And just as Dr. Nadeem said, the way that drugs enter, they enter from the relapse refractory setting, ethically that’s what makes the most sense, and they march their way forward. And so that process is happening right now as we speak, and I think like Dr. Ghobrial talked about, is the importance in early disease of thinking about using these really exciting therapies in patients who have lower burdens of disease with a goal of cure. 

And so I think all of us on this call are committed to one thing, and that is curing multiple myeloma, and even the precursors that lead up to it so that patients never have to go through the process of years and years of therapy. And so I think we’re very excited about what immunotherapy might be able to offer as we move forward in myeloma treatment. 

How Are Patients on Myeloma Maintenance Therapy Monitored?

How Are Patients on Myeloma Maintenance Therapy Monitored? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Myeloma specialist Dr. Omar Nadeem explains how a follow-up care and monitoring plan for patients on maintenance therapy is determined.

Dr. Omar Nadeem is the Clinical Director of the Myeloma Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program and Associate Director of the Multiple Myeloma Clinical Research Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Learn more about Dr. Nadeem.

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Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

Dr. Nadeem, many patients are on maintenance therapy following active treatment. So, how is a patient on maintenance therapy monitored? 

Dr. Omar Nadeem:

Yes, so, majority of the time just with blood work. We don’t necessarily need to do a lot of bone marrow biopsies and PET scans for a majority of patients that are on maintenance therapy unless we’re either worried about their blood markers or some symptoms. Generally speaking, any time – it depends on what maintenance therapy they’re on, of course. If they’re just on lenalidomide (Revlimid), which is the most commonly used maintenance therapy, a lot of times we check in with them every one to three months. 

Depending on how their disease status is and how they’ve been doing and whether there’s any side effects that we need to worry about. So, they still have to see their doctors, still have to get the blood work. Usually you can get away with having it done no more than once a month or so, unless they are on other medications along with Revlimid, where we then have to check in with them a little bit more frequently. 

And some of that changes, so patients can be on maintenance therapy for five plus years, and we get a very good sense of how they are doing and kind of how their disease is doing, and we can kind of be a moving target in terms of the frequency of the follow-ups. 

How Is Research Advancing Myeloma Treatment and Care?

How Is Research Advancing Myeloma Treatment and Care? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

A panel of myeloma experts, including Drs. Omar Nadeem, Irene Ghobrial, and Betsy O’Donnell, discuss how clinical trials advance myeloma research and share an update on promising therapies in development.

Dr. Omar Nadeem is the Clinical Director of the Myeloma Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program and Associate Director of the Multiple Myeloma Clinical Research Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Learn more about Dr. Nadeem.

Dr. Irene Ghobrial is Director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Learn more about Dr. Ghobrial.

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute specializing in Plasma Cell Disorders. 

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Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

Where do clinical trials fit into a patient’s treatment plan? 

Dr. Omar Nadeem:

Yes. So, clinical trials as a term, a lot of times patients have a lot of questions about what that means. There’s a lot of misconceptions, I would say.  

Sometimes patients think they will get either a placebo and they won’t get the adequate treatment, or that they may not get the right treatment, right, because they’re taking a chance going on a clinical trial. It’s actually the opposite. So, all the trials are really designed to improve upon what we already know works in a particular disease, right? So, when we think about trials let’s say in relapsed myeloma, where the patient has already had some of the approved therapies, we’re looking at the most promising new therapies that have shown efficacy either in the lab or first in human studies and then moving them through the different phases and studying them in more and more patients.  

And that’s how all these drugs get started, right? So, they all get started at that point and then make their way to earlier lines of therapy.  

Then you’re trying to answer different questions as part of clinical trials. So, which one of these therapies can I combine, for example. Which ones can I omit, which ones – so, they’re all sort of getting the standard therapy and getting something either added on top of it or removed, depending on what the question that we’re asking. 

And then in the world that we currently live in with precursor plasma cell disorders, as Dr. Ghobrial mentioned, we have lots of patients that are at high risk of developing multiple myeloma in their lifetime, and that could be in a few years to a decade. And a lot of these therapies are so effective, and we’re now trying to really study some of these rationally in that patient population, so that’s a very different clinical trial, for example, than what I described earlier.  

So, it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and where you are in the phase of your disease. 

Katherine Banwell:

This next question is open to all of you. Are there therapies in development that are showing promise for patients with myeloma? Dr. O’Donnell, let’s start with you.  

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell:

Yes. So, I think we are so fortunate in multiple myeloma to have so much interest in our disease and so many great drugs developed. So, as Dr. Nadeem was discussing, CAR-T cells are an immunotherapy, the ones that are approved now, we actually are fortunate to have two CAR-T cells approved, target something very specific called B-cell maturation antigen.  

We’re now seeing the next generation where we’re looking at other targets on the same cancer cell, that plasma cell, so those are evolving. 

Same thing is true in the bispecific antibody space. Again, those target BCMA now, but we have newer bispecifics who look at alternate targets, and really what this does is it gives us different ways of approaching the cancer cell, particularly as you relapse through disease.  

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

I would probably say we’re also getting into targeted therapies and more of personalized, so if you have an 11;14 translocation, venetoclax (Venclexta) would be an amazing drug for that. And the more we can say my own personal myeloma, what’s the best treatment for me, that’s how we’re trying to do it. So, it may not be exactly precision medicine, but we’re getting closer and closer to precision medicine of my myeloma, my specific drugs. And even if people have a 17p deletion, then we would say let’s think of that immunotherapy.  

It is truly a renaissance for us, and we’re starting to get into trispecifics, into off-the-shelf CAR-T, into so many new things. Into two different antigens that are expressed for the CAR-Ts. I mean, we are really beginning the era of immunotherapy, and we’re excited to see how much we can go into that because it will completely change myeloma, and hopefully we will cure many patients. We think we have already amazing drugs. It’s a matter of when to use them and who is the right person for this right drug. 

Katherine:

What are you hopeful about the future of care for myeloma patients? Dr. Ghobrial, do you want to start? 

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

I’m hopeful that we truly cure myeloma, and no one should ever develop end organ damage. 

We should identify it early and treat it early, and no one should ever come in being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. 

Katherine Banwell:

Okay. Dr. Nadeem? 

Dr. Omar Nadeem:

Yes, I think I definitely agree with what Irene said, and really having a more thoughtful approach to each individual myeloma patient. As I mentioned earlier, we have so many available therapies. I want to be able to know exactly which patients need which path in terms of treatment, and which ones we can maybe de-escalate therapy, right? So, thinking about which patients do well and maybe can get away with not being on continuous therapy, and those that absolutely need it. Identifying them better to give them the best therapy. 

Katherine Banwell:

Dr. O’Donnell, do you have anything to add? 

Dr. Betsy O’Donnell:

I think we all share a common goal, which is cure, and for those who we can’t cure yet, I think really working on making the experience as good as it possibly can be and focusing on the factors that we can control and optimizing those, both for patients and their caregivers who are in this journey together with the patient.  

What Are Currently Available Myeloma Treatments?

What Are Currently Available Myeloma Treatments? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Dr. Omar Nadeem reviews myeloma treatment classes, including immunomodulatory therapies, proteasome inhibitors, and monoclonal antibodies. Dr. Nadeem also discusses how combining these therapies has boosted the effectiveness of myeloma treatment.

Dr. Omar Nadeem is the Clinical Director of the Myeloma Immune Effector Cell Therapy Program and Associate Director of the Multiple Myeloma Clinical Research Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Learn more about Dr. Nadeem.

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How Is Research Advancing Myeloma Treatment and Care?


Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

Dr. Nadeem, what types of myeloma treatment classes are currently available?  

Dr. Omar Nadeem:

Yes. So, we started over three decades ago plus with just having basically steroid medications and some older chemotherapy drugs that weren’t very targeted at all, and that was basically all we had up until about a little over 20 years ago, where immunomodulatory drugs were first discovered to be effective in multiple myeloma, and that included thalidomide (Contergan or Thalomid) and now a commonly used agent called lenalidomide, or Revlimid.  

After that, we had a next class of medications approved called proteasome inhibitors that work differently than the immunomodulatory drugs, and then we combined all of these therapies about a decade plus ago and showed that that was better than anything else that we were doing before that. So, combining the steroids with the immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors became the standard of care. 

And then we had the next class of drugs approved in 2015 called monoclonal antibodies, and that’s the first time we have monoclonal antibodies approved for myeloma, and it first started in patients that had relapsed myeloma, and then they made it all the way up to front line therapy with a drug in particular called daratumumab (Darzalex).  

And now what we’re going is entering an era of combining all four of these therapies, just like we did 10 years ago with three drugs, and showing that combining four drugs is actually better than three. And the important thing there is that it’s not necessarily adding cumulative toxicity. These are targeted therapies; they all work differently, but they all work really well together. So, now combining these agents has allowed us to really treat the disease effectively and allow for patients to tolerate the therapies.  

And then over the last couple of years, we’ve now entered kind of the next renaissance in myeloma where you have immunotherapies, and these are sort of true immunotherapies, in some cases taking the patient’s own T cells and then genetically modifying them to recognize myeloma cells and putting them back into patients. This is called CAR T-cell therapy, and that’s now approved for patients with multiple myeloma.  

And that again, just like the previous drug, sits in patients that have – you know, at a space where patients have had multiple relapses. But we’re now studying that earlier and earlier, and that along with another class of drugs called bispecific antibodies that also use your T cells via a different mechanism. A lot of exciting things going on, and we keep adding to the available agents for this disease.  

How Is MGUS Monitored?

How Is MGUS Monitored? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Myeloma expert Dr. Irene Ghobrial discusses how patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are monitored over time and shares an update on research being conducted to learn more about this myeloma precursor condition.

Dr. Irene Ghobrial is Director of the Clinical Investigator Research Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Learn more about Dr. Ghobrial.

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What Experts Are Learning About the Hereditary Risk of Myeloma


Transcript:

Katherine Banwell:

Dr. Ghobrial, how are people with MGUS monitored? 

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

Yes, so how do we even diagnose them, right? It’s a big question because it’s incidentally found. Someone will go to their primary care doctor and have a little bit of a high protein or slight anemia, and it may not be related, and then their doctor will check for serum protein electrophoresis, and that’s pure luck. We want to take away luck from this equation. We want to take away chance from this equation. 

And we want to start screening people who are at risk, and we are doing that with the PROMISE study. It’s online available to everyone nationwide, international now, where you can sign up on promisestudy.org and try to ask the question that we do for you research level, the serum protein electrophoresis, and a new test called mass spectrometry that is much more sensitive than SPEP to find it. 

Now, once we find MGUS, we want to know what is my own personal risk of progressing to myeloma? Because I could be 30 years old with MGUS, and likely I will progress to myeloma in the next 10 years, 20 years, and by the time I’m age 60, I would have been diagnosed with myeloma. Just a true case in many, many people. If people are diagnosed today with myeloma, they are going to their doctor because they had back pain or anemia, and they are diagnosed with myeloma. In almost all of the cases, they would have had MGUS and smoldering, but they didn’t know about it three years ago, four years ago because they never got tested for it. 

So, we want to change that completely and become proactive rather than being reactive and waiting for symptoms to happen. Once you have MGUS or smoldering, because we don’t know, we start looking for all of the things to help us identify your risk of progression. So, we look at the height of your M-spike. Is it small or big? And then we in many cases say okay, maybe you need a bone marrow biopsy if your M-spike is a little bit on the higher side because we don’t want to miss smoldering myeloma, which will change the prognosis. 

And then we start looking at do you have anemia? Do you have kidney failure? Do you have any of the other things that may predict that you may be actually going into myeloma? 

We also look at it more as a movie rather than as a snapshot, rather than a picture. If your M-spike is changing or your light chain is changing every three months, every six months, that’s an indicator that the cancer cells are doing something. They’re working in there and growing, and that’s why they’re increasing the M-spike and the light chain. 

And that evolving number is actually a very big predictor of telling us that there is a risk of progressing. Those are all clinical markers that we can do. When we look at the FISH, which we talked about, we can tell the certain markers are chromosomal changes that tell you that those cancer cells want to grow a little bit faster. So, 1q abnormality, 4;14, 14;16, 17p, all of those have been shown that when you have them, the cancer cells are not just sitting around and doing nothing. They’re actually starting to grow, and we want to catch them and understand what is the biology of the disease rather than just how many cancer cells you have. 

We do a lot of research level, and potentially now we’re going to give them back to the patients as clinical level, where we can give you more information about that prediction of your risk of progression. One of my colleagues calls it predicting the hurricane. We know that the hurricane will happen, and it’s a question of how precise could you be? We’re the Weather Channel men here.  

And we could be very precise and tell you it’s going to hit Miami at 2:00 in the afternoon tomorrow, and you could be prepared for it and get out of there. Or, you could be completely unprepared because we were not very accurate in our prediction and tell you it may hit the whole East Coast in the next two weeks. That’s not accuracy. So, we want to be more accurate in our prediction of myeloma because one person will never develop myeloma and can go have fun and enjoy life and not be worried and anxious about their risk, and another person we might say let’s watch you more carefully, or let’s think of interception preventing things. 

So, we do things called next-generation sequencing, taking all of those small numbers of cancer cells, even as little as single cells, and we can do whole genome sequencing and give back that information.  

We look at the immune cells and give back that information. We can do mass spectrometry. And with Betsy and Omar, we’re doing more and more tests so that when we have this prediction model, circulating tumor cells and so on, we can be more accurate in giving you that prediction. 

And help you make the next decision of are we watching carefully, are we preventing and intervening with behavior modification with other things? Are we intervening with therapy to intercept the disease? 

Katherine Banwell:

When are more in-depth tests necessary?  

Dr. Irene Ghobrial:

It depends, of course, on everything. I would probably say for every patient, it is a unique discussion. Some patients will tell me, “Let’s watch again in three to six months, and then I will do more testing,” and some patients want to know everything immediately. And we have those discussions with every patient, and we tailor our therapy as well as our diagnostics workup with every patient, depending on how much they want to know, how much their risk is, and how much they want to be involved in that discussion of how much to prevent myeloma.