The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology was held from Dec. 8 to 11 in Atlanta and attracted more than 20,000 participants from around the world, including hematology specialists as well as clinical practitioners and other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood; bone marrow; and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems.
In one study, John C. Byrd, M.D., of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Columbus, and colleagues found that an orally-administered Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, ibrutinib, was effective and well tolerated in patients with treatment-naive and relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
"The key results of the study were that, in a group of patients with CLL and unmet needs, including a lack of effective treatment options, the use of an oral medication provided high durable responses with continuous therapy and was well tolerated," Byrd said. "Specifically, we found that estimated progression-free survival in patients treated with the oral agent estimated to be 96 percent at 26 months, whereas with standard chemotherapy it would be closer to 50 percent. In relapse patients, we found that progression-free survival at 26 months was 76 percent, as compared to 10 percent typically found in those patients who receive standard chemotherapy."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to Pharmacyclics as well as other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
In another study, Jan A. Burger, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib in combination with rituximab for the treatment of high-risk CLL patients. The investigators studied 40 patients, including 38 patients who have remained on the therapy.
"In terms of responses, we found that the overall response rate was 83 percent in these high-risk patients, which is a very promising overall response rate. In addition, some patients' disease stabilized or was too early to assess," Burger said. "In terms of toxicities, the combination was very well tolerated. We have seen similar toxicities that have already been described when using the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib as a single agent. Most common side effects were mild, such as grade 1 diarrhea, which was manageable without any physician intervention. We did not see any neutropenia, and platelet and other blood counts improved."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to Pharmacyclics and Genzyme.
Mark J. Levis, M.D., Ph.D., of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues evaluated whether a targeted approach using a FLT-3 inhibitor was effective in adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who had failed standard therapy and also failed salvage therapy.
"We found that, in this patient population, monotherapy with the oral FLT-3 inhibitor was effective in dramatically reducing the presence of leukemia in the bone marrow, allowing for approximately 37 percent of patients to undergo stem cell transplantation," Levis said. "Overall, the drug was well tolerated. In retrospect, we were using a higher dose than indicated and had some patients experience QTc prolongation, but the dose was reduced in those cases, making the problem manageable."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
ASH: Adults With Sickle Cell Rely More on Emergency Care
TUESDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- As patients with sickle cell disease make the transition from pediatric to adult health care they increasingly rely on the emergency department and incur higher associated costs, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 8 to 11 in Atlanta.
ASH: Extended Apixaban Cuts Risk of Recurrent VTE
MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) who have completed six to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy, extending anticoagulation with the oral factor Xa inhibitor apixaban is associated with a reduced risk of recurrent VTE, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 8 to 11 in Atlanta.
ASH: More Intense Treatment Beneficial in Polycythemia Vera
MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with polycythemia vera, more intense treatment to achieve a hematocrit target of less than 45 percent correlates with a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular death and major thrombosis compared with a target of 45 to 50 percent, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 8 to 11 in Atlanta.
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