Addressing Unmet Needs and Challenges in AML

Eytan M. Stein, MD, discusses the unmet needs and challenges for treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Eytan M. Stein, MD, chief of the leukemia service and director for the program for drug development in leukemia at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the unmet needs and challenges for treating patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

In an interview with Targeted OncologyTM, Stein noted that the treatment landscape for patients with AML has undergone many positive changes in the past decade as new treatments allow for a wider patient population to be treated and treatments can be tailored to individual patients. For instance, treatment can be tailored for patients with AML who test positive for a FLT3 mutation or older patients with AML have shown that they can avoid intensive treatments with the use of venetoclax (Venclexta).

However, according to Stein, the median overall survival (OS) for these patients has not increased enough and more work is needed to continue these positive trends and provide treatment that continues to improve the OS in meaningful ways. Stein also discusses the work that is needed to be done for patients with p53 mutations and the complexity of their karyotype.

Transcription:

0:08 | Even though the overall survival has improved for many, many patients, the majority of those patients are going to end up relapsing. So we went from a place where we really didn't have any treatments that worked very well, to a place where now patients have a median overall survival of maybe a year and a half if they're older than 70 or 75 [years old].As an academic oncologist, I'm like, "Oh, my god, that's amazing," right? But in real life, that's not so amazing. If I told you, you had a year and a half to live, you'd be pretty upset, and I'd be pretty upset if someone told me that.

0:39 | So there are major areas where we still need to improve on this initial [treatment] success that we've had. There are some particularly poor risk groups of patients, specifically patients with what are called a complex karyotype and p53 mutations. But those patients who really don't do very well with anything, and we really need to understand the science better to understand how we can improve the outcomes for those patients as well.