Pemmaraju Highlights Next Steps for Research in Myelofibrosis

Naveen Pemmaraju, MD, discusses the next steps for research in the field of myelofibrosis.

Naveen Pemmaraju, MD, associate professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the next steps for research in the field of myelofibrosis.

During the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, Pemmaraju presented findings from an add-back strategy with ruxolitinib (Jakafi) plus navitoclax that looked promising for the field, but with the development of novel treatment strategies, he says it is important to look for toxicity, particularly with a new treatment like navitoclax. There is always the risk of thrombocytopenia with JAK inhibitors, so it is important to monitor for both these older and newer toxicities.

The second direction for research is determining how to measure success in the post-frtonline setting. Typically, research looks at spleen and symptom improvement, but in the second-line and beyond, other factors may need to be considered, such as progression-free, event-free, and overall survival. Pemmaraju says some of these patients have a more acute course that can be measured in years while others can have a more chronic disease that is measured in decades.

The third factor for the future of myelofibrosis is understanding the disease itself, and Pemmaraju notes the search for novel biomarkers is also an important area for future research in this field as it can provide physicians more clues as to what patients will benefit from treatment.