Stephen D. Nimer, MD
As a whole, the field of hematologic oncology is moving away from the use of chemotherapy toward more targeted treatment strategies, a shift that is resulting in improved survival outcomes, explained Stephen D. Nimer, MD.
State of the Science Summit™ on Hematologic Malignancies, Nimer shed light on new strategies and trends in the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies.
OncLive®: You served as moderator for this State of the Science Summit™. Could you speak to some of the topics that were covered?
: We discussed new treatments for hematologic malignancies. There were a few common themes, one of which is moving toward the use of targeted therapies as opposed to chemotherapy. Many of our standard regimens that have been used for a long time are not as effective as some of the more directed therapies. We also heard a lot about antibodies for lymphoma and myeloma, which are turning out to be extremely effective. The development of immune approaches for treating cancer is also replacing some of the traditional chemotherapies.
Lastly, there was quite a bit of information on MRD. As we develop treatments that can eliminate easily measurable disease, the question becomes how to monitor very tiny amounts of disease. That will help us optimize treatments.
How has MRD affected the field of hematologic oncology?
When you don't have very good treatments available, MRD is not that important. There have been several publications in AML, myeloma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) showing that the newer therapies are able to eliminate nearly all of the disease. With some of the other therapies, we would find 1 in 1000 or 1 in 10,000 malignant cells. Now, we’re frequently under 1 in 1 million cells. Those techniques involve pathologic complete response-based studies, and sometimes, flow cytometric–based studies.
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