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Dana-Farber to present more than 40 research studies at 2020 ASH Annual Meeting

Two Dana-Farber studies selected for inclusion in the official ASH press program

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers will present more than 40 research studies at the virtual 62nd American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting on December 5-8, including two studies that were selected for inclusion in the official press program. Dana-Farber is home to one of the largest and most respected treatment centers for patients with disorders of the blood and bone marrow. ASH is the world's most comprehensive hematology event, attracting more than 25,000 hematology professionals from around the world.

Scientific updates to be presented at ASH reveal potentially practice changing findings related to stem cell transplant, lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma treatment. Notable oral presentations by Dana-Farber researchers include:

Title: A multi-center biologic assignment trial comparing reduced intensity allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation to hypomethylating therapy or best supportive care in patients aged 50-75 with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome: Blood and marrow transplant clinical trials network study 1102*

Abstract: 75

Presenter: Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC

Press Program Time: Friday, Dec. 4, 9:30 a.m. PST / 12:30 p.m. EST

Session Time: Saturday, Dec. 5, 7:30 a.m. PST / 10:30 a.m. EST

Recent advances in the treatment of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) have improved patient survival and quality of life, while reducing transfusion burden. However, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), widely used in younger MDS patients, remains the only curative therapy for MDS. While transplantation outcomes among selected older patients with MDS are similar to younger patients with MDS, early transplantation for older patients is infrequently offered since the relative benefits of HCT over non-HCT therapy have not been well defined in this patient group. This multi-center, biologic assignment trial in older individuals with high risk MDS defines the benefit of HCT over non-HCT therapy.


Title: DNMT3A clonal hematopoiesis in older donors is associated with improved survival in recipients after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant

Abstract: 80

Presenter: Christopher Gibson, MD

Session Time: Saturday, Dec. 5, 8:45 a.m. PST / 11:45 a.m. EST

Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) is an age-related condition in which somatic mutations can be detected in the blood of healthy individuals. In the non-transplant setting, CH is associated with an elevated risk of developing hematologic malignancy and an increased risk of non-hematologic outcomes due to altered inflammatory signaling. During hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), CH in older donors can engraft in recipients and could therefore influence outcomes through effects on graft immunologic function or by causing donor cell leukemia. A definitive link between donor CH and recipient outcomes has not been established. Dana-Farber researchers evaluated the impact of CH in donors aged 40 years or older on recipient clinical outcomes in 1,727 donor-recipient pairs.

Title: Safety and efficacy of adding venetoclax to reduced intensity conditioning chemotherapy prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with high risk myeloid malignancies

Abstract: 190

Presenter: Jacqueline S. Garcia, MD

Session Time: Saturday, Dec. 5, 12:15 p.m. PST / 3:15 p.m. EST

The outcomes for patients with myeloid malignancies who relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is poor, and relapse occurs more frequently for those with high-risk mutations or cytogenetics. The oral selective BCL-2 inhibitor and BH3 mimetic venetoclax increases mitochondrial apoptotic priming, even in chemoresistant myeloblasts. Reasoning that venetoclax would selectively increase the anti-leukemic effect of HCT conditioning chemotherapy without undue toxicity, this study evaluated the safety and efficacy of adding venetoclax to fludarabine and busulfan reduced intensity conditioning chemotherapy. Dana-Farber researchers report on the completed dose-escalation and expansion cohorts from the phase 1 trial.

Title: Prognostic value of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in autologous stem cell graft and post-transplant plasma samples among patients with diffuse large B-Cell lymphoma

Abstract: 531

Presenter: Reid Merryman, MD

Session Time: Monday, Dec. 7, 7:15 a.m. PST / 10:15 a.m. EST

While autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) can be curative for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), relapse remains common. With the emergence of novel effective therapies, it is even more important to identify patients at high risk of treatment failure who may not benefit from ASCT, and patients with impending post-ASCT relapse who may be candidates for pre-emptive interventions. Researchers assembled cohorts of DLBCL patients who underwent ASCT and had apheresis stem cell samples or serially collected post-ASCT peripheral blood mononuclear cell and plasma samples. Researchers hypothesized that circulating tumor DNA identified using immunoglobulin-based next generation sequencing in apheresis stem cell or peripheral blood samples could predict relapse.

Title: Safety, Efficacy, and patient-reported outcomes of venetoclax in combination with azacitidine for the treatment of patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome: A phase 1b study

Abstract: 656

Presenter: Jacqueline S. Garcia, MD

Session Time: Monday, Dec.7, 12:15 p.m. PST / 3:15 p.m. EST

Hypomethylating agents form the current standard treatment for patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome who are not eligible for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). However, overall response rates remain low in patients receiving azacitidine, and median overall survival is reported as ~15 months. In addition, there are few data on patient-reported outcomes published in this population while on treatment. Venetoclax is a selective, potent, orally bioavailable BCL-2 inhibitor, which has demonstrated synergy with hypomethylating agents in preclinical studies of higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. From an ongoing, open-label, dose-escalation, Phase 1b study evaluating venetoclax and azacitidine for the treatment of treatment-naïve higher-risk MDS, researchers report the updated safety and efficacy in all treated patients and the exploratory analysis of key patient-reported outcomes in patients who received the recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D).

Title: Primary analysis of ZUMA-5: A phase 2 study of axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) in patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL)*

Abstract: 700

Presenter: Caron Jacobson, MD, MMSc

Press Program Time: Saturday, Dec. 5, 9:30 a.m. PST / 12:30 p.m. EST

Session Time: Monday, Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m. PST / 4:30 p.m. EST

Patients with advanced-stage indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including follicular lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma, frequently relapse with standard treatment, underscoring a need for novel therapies. Axi-cel autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy is approved for the treatment of relapsed/refractory large B cell lymphoma after more than two lines of systemic therapy. Dana-Farber will present the primary analysis of ZUMA-5, a Phase 2, multicenter, single-arm study of axi-cel in patients with relapsed/refractory indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Complete details on Dana-Farber’s activities at ASH are available online at

For all ASH-related media inquiries, call or email Claire Monaghan, 240-678-6494,

*Denotes study selected for the 2020 ASH Annual Meeting press program

Posted on December 01, 2020

  • Reid W. Merryman, MD
  • Research
  • Caron A. Jacobson, MD, MMSc
  • Jacqueline S. Garcia, MD
  • Corey Cutler, MD, MPH
  • Myelodysplastic/Myeloproliferative Diseases
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Lymphomas
  • Leukemias
  • Blood Cancer

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