Dr-Brian A. Jonas

AML: Timing of Response to Venetoclax Combination Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Brian A. Jonas

Dr. Jonas

Brian A. Jonas, M.D., Ph.D.
UC Davis Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

At this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and European Hematology Association (EHA) virtual meetings, we presented data on the rapidity and likelihood of response to venetoclax treatments, and its associated characteristics, in older patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

We evaluated data from two clinical trials of venetoclax in combination with azacitidine, or decitabine (M14-358), or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) (M14-387) in this patient population.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

ResponseThe analysis determined a clinically relevant percentage of patients with AML that do not receive complete remission or complete remission with incomplete count recovery but remain on venetoclax combination therapy beyond two cycles can still achieve complete remission.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

  • AML is a complex and challenging disease, with especially low survival rates among patients who are older or unfit to withstand intensive chemotherapy.
  • Venetoclax targets the BCL-2 protein, which restores the process of apoptosis and has the flexibility to be used in combination. The role of the BCL-2 family regulator proteins in leukemia stem cells is emerging, as certain members of the BCL-2 family can be overexpressed and may represent an important driver of chemoresistance in AML.
  • Understanding which patients respond to venetoclax-based therapy and how they respond can help clinicians optimize treatment decisions and improve outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

  • These results further underscore the complexity of treating AML and the importance of assessing key predictive patient characteristics – particularly with this elderly AML patient population – as evidenced by the subset of patients who remained on the venetoclax combination therapy beyond two cycles and achieved a later complete remission.
  • I am encouraged by the clinical benefit we continue to see with venetoclax and look forward to further exploring the possibilities of venetoclax in ongoing studies in AML as well as other cancer types, such as the myelodysplastic syndromes.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

    • I am encouraged that venetoclax continues to demonstrate a clinically transformative impact in previously untreated AML patients who are not good candidates for intense induction chemotherapy.
    • To now see the benefits of the scientific advancements that have occurred over the past 10 plus years in AML is encouraging. My patients who are not candidates for induction chemotherapy now have more effective options — something that would not have been the case just a few years ago.

Disclosures: Dr. Jonas receives honorarium from AbbVie for consulting/advising/travel and research funding to his institution.


Timing of response to venetoclax combination treatment
J Clin Oncol 38: 2020 (suppl; abstr 753

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD