2022 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting Recap

The 2022 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting marked the 64th year in a row that hematology professionals gathered to discuss the latest research and updates in blood cancers and blood disorders. ASH is the world’s largest professional organizations made up of physicians and scientists with a keen interest in tackling blood diseases. Over 25,000 attendees participate in the annual ASH Meeting which aims to highlight advancements across both malignant and non-malignant hematology. Similar to last year’s meeting, ASH was hosted in a hybrid format, accommodating members from around the world to gather both virtually and in-person in New Orleans.

Each year, we look to honor and celebrate the Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Lymphoma Program team members whose new discoveries and research were selected for presentation at the ASH meeting. During the conference, we provided insights and perspectives via coverage on our Twitter feed, offering a deeper look into original research coming out of our basic science laboratories as well as translational and clinical research studies.

Leading up to the conference, Dr. John Leonard shared his #LeonardList: a yearly countdown on Twitter highlighting what he found to be the top 10 most impactful and important lymphoma research abstracts presented at the ASH annual meeting. For the fifth year in a row, a special CancerCast podcast episode provided listeners insight directly from Dr. Leonard regarding the “why” behind his #LeonardList selections, as well as 5 additional bonus podcast-only choices. His abstract selections aim to highlight research that is changing the treatment landscape for lymphoma patients, as well as other important issues as racial disparities and other factors in care. Listen to the teaser clip below for a sneak peek and tune into CancerCast for the full episode available on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify, or online at Weill Cornell Medicine.

At this year’s ASH meeting, many of the notable presentations demonstrated scientific and treatment advancements that are leading the way for more targeted therapies and improved outcomes for patients. The WCM team shared research updates across many different forms of lymphoma.

Research involving Dr. Richard Furman investigated a novel treatment for people with lymphoma, including patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and Richter’s transformation (RT). The study found that the treatment was tolerable and efficacious in well-treated and refractory patients, a population that often is less likely to respond to therapies. Dr. Furman breaks down the findings below.

The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program is proud to partner with the Lymphoma Epidemiological Outcomes (LEO) Cohort, representing the largest, most diverse group of lymphoma patients studied to-date. At ASH 2022, our team was involved with many research updates involving this cohort. Our program chief, Dr. Peter Martin, shared his sentiments of gratitude, and our recent blog post details this LEO Cohort research.

Below is a breakdown of some of the additional great lymphoma work that Weill Cornell physicians and researchers shared throughout the ASH 2022 meeting.

Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

Dr. Jia Ruan presented data from an investigator-initiated multi-center study evaluating a triplet-combination therapy for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) patients. In this phase II trial, the team added acalabrutinib to the doublet lenalidomide and rituximab treatment regimen with encouraging results. The study also explored minimal residual disease status as a biomarker to adjust treatment intensity and duration.

Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)

Dr. Mohammad Alhomoud, a current Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Hematology & Medical Oncology fellow, participated in this year’s ASH conference. Below, he breaks down this research investigating the impact of low-dose radiation in combination with CAR T-cell therapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Dr. Danny Luan presented at ASH 2022 on research he conducted under the mentorship of Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program Chief, Dr. Peter Martin, and other team members. Dr. Luan completed medical school at Weill Cornell and is now in his first-year residency at Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He reported on a new predictive model for DLBCL outcomes after patients complete immunochemotherapy.

Dr. Nicolás Di Siervi – a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Leandro Cerchietti’s lab –presented an oral abstract on a novel target for aggressive B-cell lymphomas. This research looked deeper into the tumor microenvironment to identify vulnerabilities that could be targeted for future lymphoma therapies.

T-Cell Lymphoma

Dr. Jia Ruan was selected to present research at this year’s ASH conference regarding how certain care factors affect clinical outcomes for peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) patients. Specifically, Dr. Ruan’s research dove into data from the Lymphoma Epidemiological Outcomes (LEO) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported Molecular Epidemiology Resource (MER) cohorts.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Dr. Richard Furman shared insights into results from a phase I/II clinical trial of acalabrutinib in relapsed and refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. This research  provided the longest follow-up dataset to-date for this subset of CLL patients. Dr. Furman explains the significance of this research below.

Dr. John Allan presented an oral abstract based on the CAPTIVATE study highlighting four year follow-up data from the minimal residual disease (MRD) study cohort of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Finally, in addition to the important research that our team was involved with at this year’s ASH meeting, we had a few thought leaders selected to participate in specialized programming. Dr. John Leonard Chaired a Friday Satellite Symposium session in which Dr. John Allan was a panel speaker titled “Aggressive B-Cell Lymphomas: Experts Discuss New Care Standards and Evolving Treatment Strategies.” Alongside fellow lymphoma experts, Drs. Leonard and Allan helped  educate attendees on innovative care strategies for aggressive B-cell lymphomas, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma.

Dr. Jia Ruan presented on “Fixing the Target on Aggressive Lymphoma: Insights on the Next Phase of Integrating Targeted Agents into MCL and DLBCL Management.” This CME program discussed the use of targeted agents, including new evidence with BTK inhibitors in MCL and DLBCL indicating that these therapies may lead to better treatment responses when added to established therapeutic platforms or when used in disease subtypes defined by specific molecular features.

Dr. Leandro Cerchietti also spoke at a Scientific Program on Stromal Cells in Lymphoma, highlighting the role of these specialized cells in the lymphoma tumor microenvironment. Dr. Cerchietti discussed how leveraging certain biological vulnerabilities may lead to future therapies.

The Weill Cornell Medicine Lymphoma Program remains committed to advancing the overall understanding of lymphoma biology, improving clinical outcomes, and enhancing the quality of life for all those affected by the disease. While we are wrapping up coverage of our involvement at the 2022 ASH meeting, the WCM Lymphoma Program physicians and scientists continue to conduct research each and every day to advance the field.

American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2022 Involvement: The Lymphoma Epidemiological Outcomes (LEO) Cohort

At Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) and NewYork-Presbyterian, we are proud to partner with the Lymphoma Epidemiological Outcomes (LEO) Cohort for a variety of research projects aimed to change the way we understand and manage lymphoma, a broad category which encompasses nearly 80 different distinct disease types. The LEO Cohort is the largest, most diverse study of lymphoma patients in the world to-date, comprised of participants from eight large U.S. academic centers.

At the 2022 American Society for Hematology (ASH) annual meeting, several studies involving the WCM Lymphoma Program, which included results and analyses from the LEO Cohort, were selected to be presented.

Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program Chief, Dr. Peter Martin, shares his gratitude for the patients who have participated in this research, as they’ve played an integral role in helping move the field forward and expanding our knowledge of this disease.

I would like to thank our amazing patients who are participating in the Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes (LEO) cohort study, the largest, most diverse cohort study of lymphoma patients anywhere. Your dedication, along with fellow participants at eight institutions around the country, has resulted in multiple abstracts being presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology. These include studies in follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and marginal zone lymphoma. With dozens of additional studies already reported or underway, the LEO cohort is poised to change the way we understand and manage lymphoma over the decade to come.

Peter Martin, MD

Learn more about research presented at the ASH 2022 Conference from the LEO Cohort data:

Abstract #1591: Patterns of Care and Clinical Outcomes in Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas: The Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes (LEO) and Molecular Epidemiology Resource (LEO-MER) Prospective Cohort Study

Dr. Jia Ruan presented on this multi-center prospective cohort study analyzing the patterns of care and clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), a rare and heterogenous group of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This research included 718 PTCL patients enrolled in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported Molecular Epidemiology Resource (MER) and the Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes (LEO) cohort from 2002-2020. The study showed increased demographic diversity with time, and an increased use of novel agents such as brentuximab vedotin in the initial treatment setting. CHOP-based induction chemotherapy was the most common treatment in the LEO-MER cohort, despite being suboptimal particularly for patients with PTCL subtypes other than the anaplastic large cell lymphoma, including PTCL not otherwise specified (NOS) subtype and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. These results warrant further research to develop therapies with targeted agents tailored to these different subtypes of PTCL.

Abstract #4207: Predictive Value of Staging PET/CT to Detect Bone Marrow Involvement in Marginal Zone Lymphoma (MZL): An Analysis from LEO MZL Working Group

This study led used prospectively collected data from the LEO Cohort to assess the predictive value of using PET/CT scans to detect bone marrow involvement and survival implications in marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) patients. The team looked at 311 MZL patients enrolled in the LEO Cohort who had data on bone marrow involvement and both biopsy and PET/CT results. The initial results, with short-term follow-up, showed low sensitivity to assessing bone marrow involvement using PET/CT data across all MZL subtypes. Additionally, splenic MZL demonstrated low negative predictive values for this assessment. These results highlight the limitations for MZL patients in current staging criteria.

Abstract #2957: Outcomes and Prognostic Factors of Transformed Follicular Lymphoma: An Analysis from the LEO Consortium

In this abstract, the team evaluated histological transformation (HT) in follicular lymphoma (FL) patients by examining prognostic factors for and outcomes following HT in patients enrolled in the LEO Cohort. HT from FL to an aggressive cancer is rare but when it does occur, is associated with unfavorable outcomes. This observational cohort study looked at patients diagnosed between 2002-2019 with FL who progressed through HT to an aggressive lymphoma, totaling 306 patients. The results confirmed previous reports of negative prognostic indicators being early HT, prior immunochemotherapy treatment, and anthracycline exposure, while also extending this observation to any systemic treatment. Patients who had HT and were older than 70 years old had worse overall survival rates. This study found that HT continues to be an unmet need concerning high lymphoma-related mortality and further research is needed to create a more refined prognostic model, to better understand these factors and the influence of patterns of care on outcomes.

Abstract #850: Evaluating the Impact of Lab-Based Eligibility Criteria By Race/Ethnicity in Frontline Clinical Trials for Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL): A LEO Cohort Analysis

Data has shown that patients treated with immunochemotherapy who are ineligible for frontline clinical trials based on lab results have worse clinical outcomes and increased death rates from lymphoma progression. In this study, the team wanted to address this question of limiting eligibility for frontline clinical trials based on lab results. They did this by investigating the LEO Cohort where they analyzed 2330 newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients between 2015-2020 who had 3 or more lab-based values for comparison. These patients were prospectively followed, and all received the same treatment course. Their results found that patients who were deemed ineligible for frontline clinical trials had significantly inferior overall survival, consistent with the previously determined association between ineligibility and poor outcomes. This larger, more diverse study confirmed previous assumptions, and found that specifically for Hispanic/non-white patients, there are some criteria that disproportionately limit eligibility. Further research is needed to evaluate the impact of each lab-based criteria on eligibility in different racial/ethnic populations and to determine how to tailor eligibility criteria to be more inclusive of the most excluded populations.

Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Research, Treatment, and Support at Weill Cornell Medicine

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is tied to genetic changes in the white blood cells which makes them continually divide and accumulate within the body. MCL affects approximately 4,000 new patients each year. This form of blood cancer is unique and behaves differently in different people, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for all those with MCL. Each patient should undergo an evaluation for a personalized approach. Because of the diversity seen within MCL cases, this disease can be difficult to treat. However, with the help of an expert care team and research advances, new treatment milestones have been making improved outcomes possible. Listen as members of our expert team explain more about this uncommon disease here: What is Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)?

The Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Lymphoma Program team has niche expertise in caring for patients with MCL and has been recognized as a worldwide leader in MCL research and treatment. Weill Cornell lymphoma experts utilize precision medicine and cutting-edge technologies to tailor treatments to the biological characteristics of each patient’s tumor. Hear more about the specifics of our specialized MCL program directly from some of our team members in this video about the Weill Cornell Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Program.

As part of our extensive MCL research program, MCL patients are offered access to sophisticated and precise minimal residual disease (MRD) testing that can detect lingering mantle cells in the body at a threshold of less than one in one million. MRD testing uses blood or bone marrow samples to determine if there are remaining cancer cells that may not be detected by typical scans or blood tests. This allows our physicians to assess how well the current treatment method is working, providing evidence to better tailor the approach depending on results. Some of our expert team members further break down the basics of MRD in this video. Watch to learn more: What is Minimal Residual Disease (MRD)?

Because of the disease diversity seen in many MCL cases, patients often require repeated therapies or novel approaches to treatment. Patients seen by the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program team benefit from the expertise of physicians and researchers working together behind-the-scenes in a collaborative effort to offer the latest research and treatments to patients. Our team prides itself on our wide-range clinical trial options for patients with mantle cell lymphoma. These research studies are aimed at finding the best ways to improve the quality and length of life for all patients with MCL.

WCM is positioned as a renowned leader in mantle cell lymphoma research thanks in part to generous funding support from leading organizations including the National Cancer Institute, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Weill Cornell has dedicated research initiatives focused exclusively on mantle cell lymphoma and designed to develop the most effective MCL treatments by understanding the genetic underpinnings driving the disease. Learn more about Weill Cornell’s globally recognized MCL research program here: Weill Cornell Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Research.

A diagnosis with MCL can be shocking, scary, and may feel isolating at times, but the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program is available to help patients and caregivers navigate this diagnosis and course of care by offering new patient appointments, second opinions and ongoing care for people with mantle cell lymphoma. To learn more or to make an appointment with one of our physicians, visit WeillCornell.org/Lymphoma or call (646) 962-2064.

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