Highlights in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia From ASH 2020

Mark R. Litzow, MD


December 28, 2020

Dr Mark R. Litzow, a leukemia expert from the Mayo Clinic, offers his take on the most important abstracts in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) presented at the 2020 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The first topic he covers is CAR T-cell therapy, beginning with a Chinese study of first-in-class nanobody-derived autologous CD7 CAR T cells in patients with relapsed/refractory ALL, which showed promising clinical efficacy and safety.

He then discusses ALLCAR19, a UK study that achieved high remission rates and a tolerable safety profile despite a high disease burden.

Dr Litzow's next topic is antibody-based therapies, starting with the INITIAL-1 trial. This open-label phase 2 study examined inotuzumab ozogamicin induction therapy followed by conventional chemotherapy-based consolidation and maintenance, again with promising results.

He then looks at the results of a study of hyper-CVAD and sequential blinatumomab in patients newly diagnosed with Ph-negative pre–B-cell ALL.

This is followed by a similar study, this time on mini–hyper-CVD plus inotuzumab ozogamicin, with or without blinatumomab. Many of the patients, who had a median age of 68 years, were able to achieve a durable remission.

Finally, Dr Litzow discusses a US study on minimal residual disease monitoring using peripheral blood that may offer a viable alternative to serial bone marrow examinations.


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