2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading organization for physicians and oncology professionals who care for people with cancer. Each year, ASCO’s Annual Meeting brings together over 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world to discuss state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies and ongoing controversies in the field.

Our Lymphoma Program is proud to have been part of several research studies presented at this year’s meeting, contributing to new discoveries across a range of lymphoma subtypes. Here are the latest updates from our team:


T-Cell Lymphoma

An unmet treatment need exists for peripheral T-cell lymphoma patients, especially those with relapsed/refractory disease. Dr. Jia Ruan was part of a research team testing immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab within this patient population.

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Follicular Lymphoma

Dr. Peter Martin was involved in a clinical trial investigation of acalabrutinib in treatment of follicular lymphoma, which yielded promising response rates.

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Data supporting vitamin D supplementation in indolent lymphoma patients treated with rituximab were presented at this year’s meeting. Dr. John Leonard is Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian’s principal investigator evaluating the vitamin’s effects in an ongoing phase III trial. Trial information here.

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Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) 

Dr. Jia Ruan was involved in the clinical trial assessment of single-agent acalabrutinib in relapsed/refractory DLBCL patients.

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Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia

Dr. Richard Furman was senior author on a study demonstrating acalabrutinib as an effective and well-tolerated therapy for people with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia.

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Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)  

Dr. John Allan, along with Dr. Richard Furman, collaborated with research colleagues to investigate the demographic impact on incidence and treatment outcomes in people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

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Dr. John Allan is Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian’s principal investigator for a phase II clinical trial of ibrutinib and venetoclax – two non-chemotherapeutic agents – in people with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Trial information here.

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Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

People with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at increased risk for developing aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas frequently associated with two herpes viruses: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV). Weill Cornell Medicine pathologist Ethel Cesarman, MD, PhD, contributed to a phase II trial conducted through the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) to test HDAC inhibitor vorinostat’s effects on HIV-related non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Dr. Peter Martin, the Principal Investigator for the Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes (LEO) consortium at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, aided in a study of vulnerability to undesirable outcomes in people with newly diagnosed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Vulnerable status was measured overall, and by age, gender and clinical features.

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As always, we are proud of our team’s active commitment to advancing the overall understanding of lymphoma and improving clinical outcomes and quality of life for all those affected by the disease.

 

ASCO 2014: Promising Results with Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab for Patients with Previously Untreated Follicular Lymphoma

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By Peter Martin, MD

On May 30, 2014, at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) I had the pleasure of presenting updated, preliminary results from the multi-center, national cooperative group CALGB 50803 phase II trial of lenalidomide plus rituximab in patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma. This trial represents an important step as we move away from traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy towards a future with novel, better-tolerated regimens for treatment of patients with follicular lymphoma.

Patients in this trial received oral lenalidomide on days 1-21 of each 28-day cycle for a total of twelve cycles plus four weekly infusions of rituximab during cycle 1 followed by four additional infusions at the start of cycles 4, 6, 8, and 10. The primary objective was to measure the patient’s complete response rate. Overall, we found that the regimen was well tolerated, with very low rates of infection or other significant adverse events. Preliminary data from patients evaluable for complete response suggests that over 90% of patients responded, including roughly 70% complete responses. At two years, 89% of patients continued to respond. These efficacy data are consistent with what is typically seen with cytotoxic chemotherapy-based regimens and they support further evaluation of lenalidomide plus rituximab compared to chemotherapy in an ongoing phase III trial.

Rally for Medical Research: Help Protect Funding for Medical Research

On April 8, 2012 thousands of individuals and nearly 200 partnering programs, including representatives from the American Society of Hematology (ASH), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) gathered at the Carnegie Library grounds in Washington, D.C. for the Rally for Medical Research. Here medical research supporters sought to raise public awareness over the importance of federally funded medical research. This need has been magnified by the March 1 sequestration mandated cuts to all areas of the federal budget, and a decade long decline in funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH).

As ASH wrote, this decline in money for medical research is not a new development:

“Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is in serious jeopardy. NIH’s inflation-adjusted budget today is almost 20 percent lower than it was in FY 2003…Under sequestration, the NIH budget will be cut by an additional $1.6 billion over the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2013. While the impact of these cuts may not be felt all at once or immediately, the harm caused to bio-medical research will be devastating- progress toward cures for deadly diseases and efforts to prevent costly chronic conditions will be slowed…”

Besides these  budgetary concerns, ASCO President Sandra M. Swain noted the human cost of such budget cuts, stressing the impressive strides made in cancer research due to federal funding:

“As a direct result of the federal investment in cancer research, we understand more about cancers than at any point in human history. This understanding of cancer at the molecular level has created unprecedented opportunities to slow the growth of cancer diseases. As a country, we can be proud that two of three people in the U.S. with cancer live at least 5 years after their diagnosis. This is up from one of two in the 1970s before the passage of the National Cancer Act. Since the 1990s, the nation’s cancer death rate has dropped 18 percent, reversing decades of increases. More than 13 million people in the U.S. are cancer survivors.”

Considering these new fiscal realities, the researchers and clinicians in the Lymphoma Program at Weill Cornell Medical College are adjusting accordingly. They will continue to do all that they can to deliver the latest in ground breaking research and clinical care.

Click here to use the ASH advocacy tool to contact your Representative and Senators about protecting medical research. Contact information for individual Representatives and Senators can be found here and here.