The 22nd European Hematology Association (EHA) meeting was held in Madrid, Spain and featured an Educational Session focused on Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM). Over 1,000 attendees, mainly clinicians, packed Hall C at the EHA meeting on June 25, 2017 for the session that featured presentations from Dr. Steve Treon, Harvard Medical School, Boston USA, and Dr. Stathis Kastritis, University of Athens, Greece. The session was chaired by Dr. Maria V. Mateos of the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Dr. Treon discussed the importance of the MYD88 and CXCR4 mutations in WM that are present in 90-95% and 30-40% of WM patients, respectively. Both mutations were discovered in the Treon laboratory following whole genome sequencing. Dr. Treon elaborated on the cell signaling that occurs by the MYD88 and CXCR4 mutations, and efforts to target these mutations by new treatments. Dr. Treon discussed the importance of ibrutinib in targeting MYD88 signaling, and the recent approval of ibrutinib by the US FDA, and European EMA for the treatment of WM. He also discussed efforts in the Bing Center Laboratory to develop new drugs that target MYD88 signaling including inhibitors of the IRAK and HCK pathways. Dr. Treon also discussed new clinical trials made possible by genomic advances including a study of ulocuplomab that targets CXCR4, a protein whose role in drug resistance was first reported by his laboratory.

In addition a trial that targets BCL2 using venetoclax (ABT-199), and its potential use in combination with ibrutinib was discussed by Dr. Treon. Dr. Stathis Kastritis of the University of Athens, presented new data from clinical trials including two studies that studied the role of ibrutinib in previously treated WM patients. Dr. Kastritis reported an overall response rate of 90% in both studies, with durable responses. Dr. Kastritis discussed the use of ibrutinib in context of current treatment options that include rituximab, alkylator drugs (cyclophosphamide and bendamustine), and proteasome inhibitors (bortezomib and carfilzomib).

Drs Meletios Dimopoulos, Edward Laane, and Steven Treon.

An interview by Dr. Treon at EHA on progress in WM made possible by genomic advances can be found at: http://www.vjhemonc.com/video/uwkezdnipcw-eha17-steven-treon-vjho-02/