ASH 2016

 
 
 

San Diego Convention Center, site of the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting.

The 58th ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition took place December 3-6, 2016, in San Diego, California.

 

Artificial RBCs show promise in preclinical study

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 01/01/17

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Lab mice
Photo by Aaron Logan

Researchers have developed artificial red blood cells (RBCs) that appear able to emulate functions of natural red blood cells (RBCs), at least in rodents. The artificial RBCs, known as ErythroMer, are designed to be freeze-dried, stored at ambient temperatures, and reconstituted with water when needed. If ErythroMer proves safe and effective in humans, it could represent an alternative to blood transfusions that might be useful . . . [Read Article]

Combos prove no better than 7+3 for AML

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/31/16

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Guillermo Garcia-Manero, MD
Photo courtesy of
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Neither a 2-drug combination nor a 3-drug combination is superior to 7+3 chemotherapy in younger patients with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to a phase 3 trial. Treatment with idarubicin and high-dose cytarabine (IA), with or without vorinostat (V), was no more effective than standard cytarabine plus daunorubicin (7+3) in this trial. In fact, among patients with favorable cytogenetics, outcomes with IA or IA+V were inferior to outcomes with 7+3. [Read Article]

All cases of CRS are not created equal

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/30/16

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Poster session at the
2016 ASH Annual Meeting

Investigators have found that life-threatening cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and its symptoms are due to the release of macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) cytokines, such as IL-6, IL-8, and IL2RA. MAS cytokines, at least in vitro, are not made by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and are not necessary for CAR T-cell efficacy, the team says. The cytokines are produced by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in response to CAR-mediated killing of leukemia. [Read Article]

HU trial to prevent stroke in SCA feasible in Nigeria

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/28/16

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Najibah Galadanci, MBBS
© Todd Buchanan 2016

High rates of recruitment (90%), enrollment (92%), and adherence to study drug and follow-up visits have confirmed the feasibility of conducting a trial of hydroxyurea (HU) for stroke prevention in Nigeria (the SPIN trial), researchers say. The 235 children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) enrolled on the SPIN trial did not miss any of the scheduled monthly visits, and drug adherence was 84% based on the increase in their mean corpuscular volume (MCV) by 10 fL. [Read Article]

Old drug, new tricks possible in MM

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/27/16

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Christoph Driessen, MD, PhD

An antiretroviral drug used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may find a role in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) patients who are proteasome inhibitor (PI)-refractory. According to investigators, nelfinavir may sensitize refractory patients so that PI-based treatments become an option for them. In a phase 2 study of 34 patients, nelfinavir in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone produced an . . . [Read Article]

MM patients with t(11;14) benefit from venetoclax

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/23/16

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Shaji Kumar, MD

Venetoclax, the oral BCL-2 inhibitor approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with 17p deletion, is also showing activity in multiple myeloma (MM) patients, particularly those with t(11;14) translocation. Final results of a phase 1 study showed venetoclax to be safe as monotherapy in relapsed or refractory MM, producing a response rate of 40% in patients with the translocation and 21% overall. [Read Article]

KTE-C19 feasible in most young, high-risk ALL patients, study suggests

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/23/16

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ALL patient
Photo by Bill Branson

Trial results suggest treatment with the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy KTE-C19 is feasible for most young patients with high-risk B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Nearly all ALL patients in this trial were able to receive their assigned dose of KTE-C19 after a preparative chemotherapy regimen. The complete response (CR) rate in these patients was 62%, and the rate of severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS) was low. [Read Article]

G-CHOP no better than R-CHOP in previously untreated DLBCL

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/22/16

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Vial of obinutuzumab

Substituting obinutuzumab for rituximab in combination with CHOP chemotherapy does not improve outcomes in patients with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), according to a study presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. In this phase 3 trial, known as GOYA, researchers compared obinutuzumab plus CHOP (G-CHOP) to rituximab plus CHOP (R-CHOP) in patients with previously untreated DLBCL. [Read Article]

Combined checkpoint blockade promising in HL

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/22/16

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2016 ASH Annual Meeting
© Todd Buchanan 2016

Immune checkpoint blockade with nivolumab plus ipilimumab has shown promise in treating hematologic malignancies, particularly classical Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), based on results of the combination cohort of the phase 1 CheckMate 039 study. Thirty-one heavily pretreated HL patients achieved an overall response rate (ORR) of 74%, including 6 complete responses. And in transplant-naïve HL patients, the combination produced an ORR of 67%. [Read Article]

Ruxolitinib may prevent CRS after CAR T-cell therapy

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/20/16

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SCID mouse
Photo courtesy of NCI

A novel xenograft model of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) demonstrated that the JAK/STAT inhibitor ruxolitinib can prevent severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS) without impairing the anti-tumor effect of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, according to research presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. Almost all patients responding to CAR T-cell therapy develop CRS, and up to 60% develop severe CRS. [Read Article]

Trial supports early treatment of lower-risk ET

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/20/16

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Prescription medications
Photo courtesy of CDC

Results from the ARETA trial suggest patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) can benefit from early treatment even if they are not considered high-risk. In this phase 3 trial, non-high-risk patients were less likely to experience ET-related cardiovascular events or disease progression if they received extended-release anagrelide rather than placebo. Patients who received extended-release anagrelide were also less likely to become high-risk over time. [Read Article]

MDS patients with mutated IDH2 benefit from enasidenib

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/19/16

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Eytan Stein, MD
Photo courtesy of ASH

Daily treatment with enasidenib monotherapy in patients with mutated IDH2-positive myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) induced responses in the majority of patients treated, according to a presentation at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. The study was a portion of a larger phase 1/2 trial of the agent in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other hematologic malignancies, so the subset was relatively small, numbering 17 patients. [Read Article]

CAR met primary endpoint at interim analysis in DLBCL

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/16/16

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Attendees at the
2016 ASH Annual Meeting

The chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy KTE-C19 has met its primary endpoint at the pre-specified interim analysis of the phase 2 ZUMA-1 trial in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), according to data presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. DLBCL patients had an overall response rate (ORR) of 76% and a complete response (CR) rate of 47% (P<0.0001) after 3 months or more of follow-up. And most responses were evident by day 30. [Read Article]

Study reveals CML patients likely to benefit from HSCT long-term

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/15/16

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HSCT preparation
Photo by Chad McNeeley

New research may help inform the management of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), according to a speaker at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. The study revealed a group of CML patients who appear most likely to benefit from allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT) in the long run. The data suggested that CML patients have a low risk of long-term morbidity if they undergo HSCT before the age of 45, are conditioned . . . [Read Article]

‘Unprecedented’ MRD negativity with daratumumab in MM

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/14/16

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2016 ASH Annual Meeting
© Todd Buchanan 2016

Daratumumab added to standard of care regimens drives deep clinical responses beyond complete response (CR), a magnitude that is “unprecedented” in the relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM) setting, according to a speaker at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. Investigators added daratumumab to lenalidomide/dexamethasone in the POLLUX trial and to bortezomib/dexamethasone in the CASTOR trial. [Read Article]

How old is too old to be on a kids’ protocol for ALL?

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/14/16

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Child with cancer
Photo by Bill Branson

In recent years, pediatric or pediatric-inspired protocols have become the preferred treatment approach for younger adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). These protocols include higher doses of steroids, vincristine, methotrexate, and L-asparaginase. However, the upper age limit for this strategy has not been defined. With the GRAALL-2005 study, investigators set out to determine how old is too old to be treated on pediatric protocols. [Read Article]

Two mutations may help drive CBF-AML

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/14/16

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Poster session at the
2016 ASH Annual Meeting

Researchers have found evidence to suggest that mutations in the CCND1 and CCND2 genes may contribute to the development of core-binding factor acute myeloid leukemia (CBF-AML). The team noted that CBF-AML is defined by the presence of either t(8;21)(q22;q22)/RUNX1-RUNX1T1 or inv(16)(p13.1q22)/t(16;16)(p13.1;q22)/CBFB-MYH11. However, the fusion genes alone are not capable of causing CBF-AML. [Read Article]

Another treatment on the horizon for SCD

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/13/16

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Kenneth Ataga, MD
Photo courtesy of ASH

The first-in-class humanized anti-P-selectin antibody SelG1, also known as crizanlizumab, significantly reduced sickle cell pain crises (SCPC) when compared to placebo in the phase 2 SUSTAIN trial. The higher dose of SelG1 tested reduced the annual rate of SCPC by 45% (P=0.01) and the annual rate of uncomplicated SCPC by 63% (P=0.015). Acute painful crises are the primary cause for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) to seek medical attention. [Read Article]

Restrictive transfusion strategy should be standard after HSCT, doc says

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/13/16

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Blood for transfusion
Photo from UAB Hospital

Results of the phase 3 TRIST study support the use of a restrictive red blood cell (RBC) transfusion strategy in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) to treat hematologic disorders. The study suggests a restrictive strategy—in which patients receive 2 RBC units if their hemoglobin level is below 70 g/L—is non-inferior to a liberal strategy—in which patients receive 2 units if their hemoglobin level is below 90 g/L. [Read Article]

Predicting therapy-related myeloid neoplasms

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/13/16

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Andy Futreal, PhD
Photo courtesy of
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Clonal hematopoiesis could be used as a predictive marker to identify cancer patients at risk of developing therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs), according to researchers. The team conducted a case-control study, which showed that patients who developed t-MNs—acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes—were significantly more likely than patients without t-MNs to have clonal hematopoiesis at the time of primary cancer diagnosis. [Read Article]

Novel interferon appears safer than HU in PV

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/12/16

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Hydroxyurea
Photo by Zak Hubbard

Results of the PROUD-PV trial suggest ropeginterferon alfa-2b is safer than hydroxyurea (HU) for patients with polycythemia vera (PV). In this phase 3 trial, ropeginterferon alfa-2b demonstrated non-inferiority to HU with regard to complete hematologic response (CHR). Ropeginterferon alfa-2b also had a significantly better overall safety profile. Unlike the patients who received HU, none of the patients on ropeginterferon alfa-2b developed secondary malignancies. [Read Article]

Potential treatment for cGVHD after steroid failure

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/11/16

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Attendees at the
2016 ASH Annual Meeting

Ibrutinib, a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia and other hematologic diseases, appears to provide relief for patients suffering from chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) after failing corticosteroid therapy. At present, no approved therapy exists for these patients. Ibrutinib reduced the severity of cGVHD in preclinical models and has been used successfully in the post-allogeneic transplant setting. [Read Article]

Agent exhibits activity in relapsed/refractory AML

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/10/16

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Micrograph showing
acute myeloid leukemia

A next-generation DNA hypomethylating agent has demonstrated clinical activity and an acceptable safety profile in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to researchers. The agent, guadecitabine, produced a composite complete response (CRc) rate of 23% in a phase 2 study. CRc was observed in all patient subgroups and was associated with longer survival, regardless of whether patients went on to receive a transplant. [Read Article]

Pacritinib bests BAT despite study truncation

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/09/16

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John Mascarenhas, MD

The JAK2/FLT3 inhibitor pacritinib significantly reduces spleen volume and symptoms in patients with myelofibrosis and low platelet counts, compared to best available therapy (BAT), according to results of the PERSIST-2 trial. In this phase 3 trial, BAT included the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib. And pacritinib demonstrated benefits over BAT despite a truncated trial. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed PERSIST-2 on clinical hold in February 2016 . . . [Read Article]

Drug produces responses in ‘challenging’ patients

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/09/16

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2016 ASH Annual Meeting
© Todd Buchanan 2016

The oral BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax can produce high objective response rates (ORRs) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who have failed treatment with at least one B-cell receptor inhibitor, according to investigators. In a phase 2 study, venetoclax produced an ORR of 67% among all patients enrolled. The drug produced a 70% ORR among patients who had failed treatment with ibrutinib and a 62% ORR among patients who had failed idelalisib. [Read Article]

Data suggest one BTK inhibitor could replace another

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/08/16

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Attendees at the 2016
ASH Annual Meeting

When patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cannot tolerate one Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, they may do well on another, according to a presentation at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. Researchers conducting a phase 1/2 study found that acalabrutinib was “well-tolerated” and demonstrated “promising activity” in patients intolerant to ibrutinib. Seventy-nine percent of patients responded to acalabrutinib. [Read Article]

Rinse could provide short-term treatment of oral cGVHD

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/08/16

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Jacqueline Mays, DDS, PhD
Photo courtesy of NIH

Results of a phase 2 study suggest an oral mouth rinse formulation of the steroid clobetasol could provide short-term treatment of oral chronic graft-vs-host disease (cGVHD). A majority of patients had a greater than 25% improvement in their cGVHD after using the clobetasol rinse, and patients reported improvements in oral health-related quality of life. The rinse even proved effective in patients who had failed prior treatment with clobetasol ointment. [Read Article]

Gene transfer for hemophilia B shows progress

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/07/16

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Lindsey George, MD

Researchers say they have optimized the SPK-9001 adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector so that a “simple infusion” has significantly reduced bleeding events and the need for regular factor IX (FIX) infusions in 9 hemophilia B patients. Eight of the patients were able to stop receiving FIX infusions and achieved an annualized bleeding rate (ABR) of 0. One patient had an ABR of 2 and required on-demand FIX therapy. [Read Article]

Half of CML patients can stop TKI therapy, study suggests

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/07/16

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Francois-Xavier Mahon, MD, PhD
© Todd Buchanan 2016

Updated results of the EURO-SKI trial support the idea that certain chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients can safely stop tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. About half of the patients studied, who had been in deep molecular remission for at least 1 year, had no evidence of relapse for at least 1 year after stopping TKI therapy. Francois-Xavier Mahon, MD, PhD, of the University of Bordeaux in France, presented this finding at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

MPNs limit daily activities and ability to work

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/07/16

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Poster session at the
2016 ASH Annual Meeting

Many patients living with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) have a high burden of disease that affects their quality of life and limits their ability to work, according to research presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. Researchers conducted the first-ever international survey of MPN patients, including those with myelofibrosis (MF), polycythemia vera (PV), and essential thrombocythemia (ET). [Read Article]

Obinutuzumab bests rituximab in FL study

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/06/16

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Attendees at the 2016
ASH Annual Meeting

Interim results of the phase 3 GALLIUM trial suggest an obinutuzumab-based treatment regimen provides a progression-free survival (PFS) benefit over a rituximab-based regimen for patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma (FL). According to investigators, patients who received obinutuzumab plus chemotherapy followed by obinutuzumab maintenance had a “clinically meaningful” improvement in PFS, when . . . [Read Article]

Combo shows early promise in newly diagnosed AML

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/06/16

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Harry Erba, MD, PhD
© Todd Buchanan 2016

A targeted therapy combined with standard chemotherapy can produce rapid, deep remissions in patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to research presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting. In this phase 1b study, investigators tested vadastuximab talirine, an antibody drug conjugate targeting CD33, in combination with 7+3 chemotherapy—a continuous infusion of cytarabine for 7 days plus daunorubicin for 3 days. [Read Article]

Herbal medicine can reduce pain, fatigue in SCD patients

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/05/16

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Interior view of San Diego
Convention Center, site of
the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting

Results of a phase 1 study suggest that SCD-101, a botanical extract based on an herbal medicine used in Nigeria to treat sickle cell disease (SCD), can reduce pain and fatigue in people with SCD. The anti-sickling drug also improves the shape of red blood cells but doesn’t produce a change in hemoglobin, according to researchers. Peter Gillette, MD, of SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, New York, reported these results at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting.  [Read Article]

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