Newer Interferon Agents and Other Novel Treatments Propel MPN Paradigm

Gina Columbus @ginacolumbusonc
Published: Monday, Mar 04, 2019
Suman A. Kambhampati, MD

Suman A. Kambhampati, MD

In myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), next generations of interferon and novel therapies are showing encouraging efficacy signals in patients, which could impact future directions in this patient population, explained Suman A. Kambhampati, MD. 

State of the Science Summit™ on Hematologic Malignancies, Kambhampati, the co-director of the Blood Cancer Center at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, HCA Midwest Health, discussed emerging data in MPNs and what is coming on the horizon.

OncLive®: What MPN data were reported at the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting?

Kambhampati: MPNs [comprise] a very complicated heterogenous disease consisting of many subtypes, and the big thing that came out of the 2018 ASH Annual Meeting was in patients with PV and high-risk ET. Hydroxyurea and pegylated interferon alfa-2a were both equal in terms of responses and toxicity. That study took many years to complete; it was a multi-institutional study and provided robust evidence of usage of hydroxyurea versus pegylated interferon alfa-2a.

Another new drug called avapritinib looks extremely promising in advanced systemic mastocytosis. The response rates and symptom burden reduction were very impressive with that drug in very early-phase trials. It looks very promising in advanced systemic mastocytosis. 

What has been the history of interferon in this paradigm?

Interferon is a naturally occurring cytokine; we all have interferons in our system endogenously. It is supposed to regulate hematopoiesis and [researchers] have studied interferon rigorously over the years; it’s supposed to be a pleotropic cytokine that can inhibit hematopoiesis and also reorganize hematopoiesis in myelofibrosis. It’s an agent that can actually act as a disease modifying agent and has been shown to reduce mutational burden and mutation clearance, thus leading to some deep responses and in patients with MPNs. 

How have the different generations of interferon impacted the usage of this drug?

The most widely used one in the United States is pegylated interferon alfa-2b, and there are different variations of interferon coming in the pipeline. The data again look consistent; [they are] efficacious, but right now the applicability is just relevant to pegylated interferon alfa-2b.
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