The Latest Myeloma News from the American Society of Hematology Meeting

Andrew Schorr:

So, Dr. Durie. Let's pull all this together. We'll try to summarize. You've been listening, and I've been listening, you've been talking, and I've been talking too, to try to distill this down for people as we just take just a couple of more minutes, and then folks, send in your questions on the web site, and then we're going to pose them to another myeloma expert from Emory, Dr. Tom Heffner, next week.

So, we've talked about these five phase-III trials, like one of the ones from Europe, the Dr. San Miguel trial that he ran with a whole cooperative team from Europe, 1600 patients, and the other trials. It sounds like you have a lot to chew on, and it's important for people to maybe revisit some discussion with their doctor. If it's not broken, don't fix it as far as if they're on successful therapy now, but at least as far as a plan in managing this chronic condition or like Henry called up, and he's wondering how should he start. It's an important discussion now, isn't it?

Dr. Durie:

Absolutely. I think that these new data are exciting, and the outcomes are very good with some of these new combinations. So, if there is the opportunity, and if there's the time, it is particularly important to sit down with your doctor and get a second opinion if necessary to discuss well maybe one of those new combinations could be better for me than perhaps what was being considered up to now because the idea of having these really large trials is to have decisive information where we can say, okay well, this treatment definitely is better than this other one over here, and so this gives security and confidence both to the doctor and to the patient that they are getting the best option for them.

Andrew Schorr:

Also, I think people heard clearly today that you're looking at different types of myeloma among people, so it's really important to know what deck have you been dealt in this myeloma diagnosis, and is there evidence among these trials that in your situation this might be the way to go. Not all myeloma is alike. I think you all have said it several times, it's not one-size-fits-all.

Dr. Durie:

Right, and I think that, we didn't get into it earlier, but one other thing that was happening at ASH was that there were quite a number of mostly posters I would say, but quite important posters; there just was so much data; but these posters were looking at what we call subdata analysis where different investigators were looking at the subgroup who had abnormal kidney function, the subgroup that maybe had a delayed response, the subgroup that had different prognostic factors to try to break out how did the treatment work for those different situation. So, we are slowly but steadily getting more precise information to guide individual patients.

Andrew Schorr:

Yes, and I think there are happy stories to tell.

Dr. Durie:

Yes.

Andrew Schorr:

Whether Carol, your story sounded pretty good, smoldering in Cape May, New Jersey. That's okay. Let's hope that goes on forever. Or Henry, I think you have a lot to look forward to in new treatments. There was the gentleman who was on the NBC Nightly News in that same segment you were on the other day, Brian, the former football player who is doing well.

Dr. Durie:

Yes, absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:

Here in Seattle, where I live, Mel Stottlemeyer, former star and then pitching coach for the New York Yankees is going to be our pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners and doing well. So, as Jim Berenson said there in Los Angeles is, and you've said too, this is a marathon, and increasingly there are lines of therapies that are changing that have more and more effectiveness than every before, so exciting data.

So, Brian, when you go to bed at night, since ASH now, and your head is probably spinning with all the data, and you're part of it, you must feel as a myeloma specialist pretty good.

Dr. Durie:

It's a wonderful time to have these options available to think about and to discuss with patients because it's so positive. We can be planning to use this combination that we know can work well, but we're not closing the door to this other combination, which we have just heard about, which could be used later. So, an important concept right now is this notion of sequential therapy where one treatment can work for several years then some CRAB features develop, some relapse occurs, and then you can use another combination, and so it's very, very important for both the patient and the physician to be planning for the long term. You don't want to be closing doors. You don't want to be getting toxicity that could be troublesome to you in the longer term. Avoid neuropathy. Avoid other problems, and just do what's necessary to get the job done without putting yourself at risk.

So, yes, a lot of very, very positive ideas bouncing around in your brain right now.

Andrew Schorr:

That's good news. Also, remember that Brian's organization, if you don't personally have a relationship with is, is the International Myeloma Foundation. Here's their number again to begin to talk about what resources, what suggestions they would make. If you're not connected with a myeloma subspecialist, they have of course the long list. Here's their phone number again, 1-800-452-CURE (1-800-452-2873).

Dr. Durie:

And perhaps I can also mention the web site, which is www.myeloma.org because our team was at ASH, and we were interviewing some of these key presenters of those trials that we've been talking about, and those interviews are now up on the web site, so Mike Katz and our staff are working hard to accomplish this, so this could be a helpful resource for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Right, I love your staff, and Mike is the most devoted guy I know. Good for you, Mike.

One last thing is, with all this happening, and that phone number 1-800-452-CURE, so are we closer to a cure doctor because that's really what people want.

Dr. Durie:

Absolutely, ever closer. I think that the step that we're at right now is chronic. Chronic is definitely here for a substantial number of patients with myeloma, where it used to be rare for patients to be treated for five years and then 10 years, but now there are patients 15 years and 20 years out. There was just recently a reunion in Little Rock where they had 10-year survivors, and this was an incredible experience where apparently somewhere around 10% of the 10-year survivors were able to go to this even, which was between 30 and 40 people, so there are several hundred patients who have undergone therapy there who are in this "over the 10-year" mark. So, it's just very, very good.

Andrew Schorr:

It sure is. We're going to go. We've gone longer. Thanks for sticking with us Dr. Durie.

Dr. Durie:

No problem.

Andrew Schorr:

Thank you all our listeners. That was Dr. Brian Durie who is of course Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and a multiple myeloma specialist at the Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. We had another Los Angeleno, Dr. James Berenson, who was with us, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, and we had with us Dr. Sagar Lonial, who is a myeloma specialist at the Winship Comprehensive Cancer Center of Emory University in Atlanta.

We'll post another program a week from today with Dr. Tom Heffner from Winship at Emory, and send in those questions and take a look at all our replays. We'll post the replay of this. Listen to it, read it, and thank you for joining us. As always, knowledge can be the best medicine of all. I'm Andrew Schorr. Have a great day.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Millennium, our partners, or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Advertisement
Join Our Community Register for Events Read Our Latest Blog
Advertisement

Page last updated on November 22, 2013