IMWG Conference Series: ASCO 2021

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The International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG) Conference Series Outlines News and Trends From the 2021 Annual ASCO Meeting

Patients, caregivers, and doctors around the world can view the IMF's popular webinar IMWG Conference Series from ASCO 2021.

Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, Dr. Thomas Martin, Dr. Maria V. Mateos, and Dr. Nikhil Munshi distill, debate, and discuss the latest news and trends in the treatment of multiple myeloma from the 2021 Annual ASCO Meeting.

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In This Segment of the IMWG Conference Series, “Making Sense of Treatment”

leading myeloma experts discuss the latest drug therapy news from the June 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual conference and the European Hematology Association (EHA) annual meeting. Moderated by IMF Chairman of the Board Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, panelists include Drs. Thomas Martin (University of California at San Francisco), María V. Mateos (University of Salamanca – Salamanca, Spain), and Nikhil Munshi (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Boston).

Large Number of Myeloma Abstracts This Year

Dr. Durie opens the session by pointing out that of the 4782 total abstracts in this year’s ASCO, more than 280 were myeloma-related.

CAR T-cell Therapy and Bispecific Therapies

He then leads a lively discussion of highlights of these abstracts, beginning with updated results of the CARTITUDE-1 Study that focuses on the use of the BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy cilta-cel in relapsed refractory multiple myeloma.

After agreeing on the positive outlook for this and other CAR T-cell therapies, the panel launches into a debate about bispecific treatments, including teclistamab.

All the doctors seemed to agree that while bispecific therapies require further study, CAR T-cell therapies are very promising and are now becoming commercially available.

Four-Drug Versus Three-Drug Combination Therapies

As the session continues, the panel also tackles the benefits of four-drug therapy versus three-drug regimens, with a look at Part 2 of the CASSOIOPEIA Study.

Second Primary Malignancies in Myeloma Patients

They also address the issue of second primary malignancies that may result from autologous stem cell transplants.

The Phase III MAIA Study

From EHA, they consider the phase III MAIA Study, which compares overall survival rates with daratumumab, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone (dex) versus lenalidomide and dex in transplant-ineligible, newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients.

Next, they examine is the STAMINA Trial, which they all agree shows that mass spectrometry may be used in conjunction with Next Generation Flow to assess patient outcomes.

Myeloma and the Best Imaging Studies

Also, they talk about imaging studies and agree that whole-body MRI low-dose CT + PET-CT can be used as complementary techniques.

Some Additional Points

Some of the doctors found that the new 2/20/20 criteria for classifying high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma and identifying ultra-high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma is not yet the most optimal.

Furthermore, a new immune therapy registry and virtual biobank are now in use. The goal of this biobank is to gather data from local biobanks and merge them at an international level and see what can be learned by pooling this data.

Of note, the doctors all insist that even though all myeloma patients should definitely receive COVID-19 vaccinations, those who do not have an antibody response should continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.


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