Dr. Verstovsek Discusses Research Efforts in Myelofibrosis-Related Anemia

Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, discusses ongoing research in myelofibrosis-related anemia.

Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, United Energy Resources, Inc. Professor of Medicine, director, Hanns A. Pielenz Clinical Research Center for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, chief, Section for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses ongoing research in myelofibrosis-related anemia.

Although JAK inhibitors are effective treatments for reducing splenomegaly and controlling symptoms in myelofibrosis, anemia remains a challenge for this patient population, Verstovsek explains. As such, novel therapies are in development with the goal of treating anemia in myelofibrosis.

Luspatercept-aamt (Reblozyl) is being evaluated in the ongoing phase 3 INDEPENDENCE trial (NCT04717414) vs placebo in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasm–associated myelofibrosis who are receiving JAK inhibitor therapy and requiring red blood transfusions. Combining luspatercept with JAK inhibitors, such as ruxolitinib (Jakafi), could improve anemia while decreasing splenomegaly and controlling symptoms, Verstovsek says.

Notably, anemia remains the leading cause of ruxolitinib discontinuation in myelofibrosis, so patients requiring treatment in the second-line setting often have a much higher degree of anemia or thrombocytopenia compared with patients in the frontline setting, Verstovsek says. In the second-line setting, momelotinib is being evaluated in comparison with danazol for symptomatic and anemic patients with myelofibrosis previously treated with a JAK inhibitor in the phase 3 MOMENTUM trial (NCT04173494), Verstovsek concludes.