Conference Coverage

Your guide to ASH 2018: Abstracts to watch


With more than 3,000 scientific abstracts at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, it can be tough to figure out what research is most relevant to practice. But the editorial advisory board of Hematology News is making it easier this year with their picks for what to watch and why.


Dr. Brian T. Hill of the Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Brian T. Hill

Brian T. Hill, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, offered his top picks in lymphoma research. Results of the phase 3 international Alliance North American Intergroup Study A041202 will be presented during the ASH plenary session at 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, Dec. 2 in Hall AB of the San Diego Convention Center (Abstract 6). The study compared bendamustine plus rituximab with ibrutinib and the combination of ibrutinib plus rituximab to see if the ibrutinib-containing therapies would have superior progression-free survival (PFS) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), compared with chemoimmunotherapy. Results indicate that ibrutinib had superior PFS in older patients with CLL and could be a standard of care in this population.

The study is worth watching because it is the first report of a head-to-head trial of chemotherapy versus ibrutinib for first-line treatment of CLL, Dr. Hill said.

Two more studies offer important reports of “real world” experiences with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.

In one multicenter retrospective study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) CAR T-cell therapy for relapsed/refractory aggressive B-cell lymphoma when it is used a standard care. The researchers will report that 30-day responses in the real-world setting were comparable to the best responses seen in the ZUMA-1 trial. The full results will be reported at 9:30 a.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Pacific Ballroom 20 of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (Abstract 91).

Another retrospective analysis looked at the use of axi-cell and revealed some critical differences from ZUMA-1, specifically the overall response rate (ORR) and complete response (CR) rate were lower than those reported in the pivotal clinical trial. The findings will be reported at 9:45 a.m. PT on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Pacific Ballroom 20 of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina (Abstract 92).

Researchers will also present the unblinded results from the ECHELON-2 study, which compared the efficacy and safety of brentuximab vedotin in combination with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone (CHP) versus standard CHOP for the treatment of patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma. The results will be presented at 6:15 p.m. PT on Monday, Dec. 3 in room 6F of the San Diego convention center (Abstract 997).

Previously reported blinded pooled data showed that the treatment was well tolerated with 3-year PFS of 53% and OS of 73%.

“This should be a new standard of care for T-cell lymphomas,” Dr. Hill said.

CAR T-cell therapy

Dr. Helen Heslop, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Dr. Helen Heslop

There are a number of abstracts featuring the latest results on CAR T-cell therapy. Helen Heslop, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, recommended an updated analysis from the ELIANA study, which looked at the efficacy and safety of tisagenlecleucel in for children and young adults with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

“Longer-term follow-up of the ELIANA study shows encouraging remission-duration data in pediatric and young adults with ALL without additional therapy,” Dr. Heslop said.

The findings will be presented at 4:30 p.m. PT on Monday, Dec. 3 in room 6A at the San Diego Convention Center (Abstract 895).

Another notable presentation will feature results from a phase 1B/2 trial evaluating infusion of CAR T cells targeting the CD30 molecule and encoding the CD28 endodomain (CD30.CAR-Ts) after lymphodepleting chemotherapy in patients with relapsed or refractory CD30+ Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The researchers will report that there was a significant PFS advances for who received the highest dose level of the CAR T treatment, combined with bendamustine and fludarabine.

The study will be presented at 11 a.m. PT on Monday, Dec. 3 in room 6F at the San Diego Convention Center (Abstract 681).

Dr. Heslop also recommends another study being presented in the same session, which also shows encouraging results with CD30.CAR-Ts. Dr. Heslop is one of the co-investigators on the phase 1 RELY-30 trial, which is evaluating the efficacy of CD30.CAR-Ts after lymphodepleting chemotherapy. Preliminary results suggest a substantial improvement in efficacy. The findings will be presented at 10:45 a.m. PT on Monday, Dec. 3 in room 6F of the San Diego Convention Center (Abstract 680).

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