ASH event starts Saturday with teams highlighting findings in leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndromes
- Studies include advances in AML, CAR-T toxicities, MDS, Lymphoma
- Several Roswell Park experts also invited speakers in educational sessions
- Conference happening in New Orleans December 10-13
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center experts from a variety of specialties will share practice-changing discoveries and research advances in hematology and hematologic cancers at the 64th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), held December 10-13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Roswell Park researchers and physician-scientists in leukemia, lymphoma, and myelodysplastic syndromes were invited to give podium presentations or lead educational sessions during the meeting.
Advances in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
On Saturday, Dec. 10, findings from an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) study led by senior author Eunice S. Wang, MD, Chief of Leukemia, will be featured in an oral presentation (abstract 58). This retrospective analysis examined outcomes in patients with newly-diagnosed intermediate-risk cytogenetic AML who underwent standard induction chemotherapy with or without gemtuzumab ozogamicin—a CD33-directed antibody-drug conjugate.
The researchers observed higher rates of MRD-negative complete remission among patients who received the combination approach versus those who were administered induction chemotherapy alone. The patients treated with gemtuzumab ozogamicin also had lower rates of relapse and were more likely to undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. These findings could have significant clinical implications for this patient population; however, Dr. Wang and colleagues note that longer follow-up is warranted to better understand the true survival benefit of this regimen.
Dr. Wang served as senior author on another important acute myeloid leukemia study, which will also be a highlighted oral presentation on Saturday, Dec. 10 (abstract 64). KOMET-001 is an ongoing phase 1/2 study of ziftomenib (KO-539), an inhibitor of KMT2A-menin interaction, in adult patients with relapsed/refractory AML characterized by NPM1 mutations and/or KMT2A gene rearrangements. Preliminary findings confirmed a manageable safety profile and meaningful signs of efficacy among this heavily pretreated patient population. These results underscore the potential of this agent as a novel targeted drug for these specific biological leukemia subtypes.
Roswell Park has played a leading role in the clinical development of ziftomenib and was among the first few centers in the world to treat AML patients with this drug. Further investigations of ziftomenib in combination with other chemotherapy drugs is planned.
First-of-its Kind Model Paves Way for New Approaches to Reduce CAR-T Therapy Toxicities
On Sunday, Dec. 11, pre-doctoral trainee Payal Goala, MS, BS, will present work on a novel preclinical model that is able to re-capitulate two different types of toxicities—cytokine release syndrome and neutropenia—that co-occur in hematologic malignancies following CAR-T therapy administration (abstract 486). This first-of-its-kind model was validated while Goala was at Moffitt Cancer Center.
The Roswell Park team, including senior author Marco Davila, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of Cellular Therapies and Associate Director for Translational Research at Roswell Park, are working to identify therapeutic options that can address these toxicities.
“Having this model at our disposal is a major advancement toward understanding the mechanisms of these CAR-T induced toxicities. Our hope is to use it to accelerate the development of therapeutic approaches to overcome the limitations of these incredibly promising cellular therapies,” notes Dr. Davila.
Understanding Response to Vaccines in Hematologic Patients
Important findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Roswell Park study examined the ability of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and AML patients who are receiving standard of care therapies to respond to viral vaccinations (abstract 128). The findings will be presented at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, by first author Kyle R. Wiatrowski, immunology lab technician at Roswell Park and MD/MBA Candidate
“These results demonstrate that while MDS patients have responses to vaccination against previously encountered pathogens (influenza), they fail to respond to novel pathogens (SARS-Co-V2),” notes the study’s senior author Elizabeth A. Griffiths, MD, Director of MDS. “These data emphasize the importance of careful individualized vaccination strategies in those patients with hematological cancers.”
Predicting Risk of Secondary MDS or AML in Breast Cancer Patients
A study that used a large-scale population-based database to examine risk factors beyond chemo-radiotherapy exposure for therapy-related MDS and AML development among over 230,000 breast cancer survivors that was initiated by an all Roswell Park team, with statistical analysis completed by current faculty members, will be presented at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 (abstract 385).
The results support previous findings that showed a higher-than-expected risk of therapy-related MDS and AML in breast cancer survivors who had received chemotherapy and radiation. Additionally, they report the novel finding that breast cancer survivors who also had an autoimmune disease or those who received growth factor or a solid organ transplant were at higher risk of developing secondary MDS or AML.
“This large population-based study provides information to help clinicians understand which breast cancer survivors over age 65 years are at increased risk for secondary MDS or AML who would benefit from screening in their survivorship program,” notes Megan M. Herr, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, who performed all statistical analyses for this clinically significant study. “Our next steps include evaluating these findings at the molecular level to further aid in clinical decision making.”
Diffuse Large B-cell lymphoma Phase 3 Clinical Trial Results
At 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, work co-authored by Francisco J. Hernandez-Ilizaliturri, MD, Chief of Lymphoma, will be presented during an oral session on cellular immunotherapies (abstract 655). The team’s findings demonstrated that patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), who progressed during first line chemo-immunotherapy or during the first year post completion of therapy, have a higher cure rate when treated with CAR T-cell therapy against CD19 versus high dose chemotherapy and autologous bone marrow transplant. Roswell Park enrolled patients in the study’s Phase 3 clinical trial.
“This study highlights the use of a novel form of immunotherapy for the treatment of primary refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma,” says Dr. Hernandez-Ilizaliturri. “The standard of care of patients with relapsed DLBCL is changing as a result of this study and is paving the way for more application of this technology in the management of patients with B-cell lymphoma.”
Invited Educational Session Speakers
Roswell Park team members will also lend their expertise to a number of educational sessions throughout the conference. Dr. Wang will speak on Friday, Dec. 9 during the “Let’s Talk: Community Perspectives on Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome,” satellite symposium. During this 90-minute talk experts will discuss patient management considerations in the diagnosis and treatment of higher-risk MDS and AML as well as unmet needs and future directions.
Dr. Griffiths will also be speaking on Friday during “Myelodysplastic Syndromes 2022: Today and Tomorrow,” which will highlight recent advances in the diagnosis, classification, and management of patients with MDS.
In-person attendees will have the opportunity to attend the Career Development Lunch on Saturday, where trainees can ask career advice from leaders in the field. Kara Kelly, MD, Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics and Chair of the Roswell Park Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, will be participating.
Check the Roswell Park Newsroom for additional updates during the ASH meeting.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@RoswellPark.org.
Rebecca Vogt, Media Relations Specialist