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Expert Point of View: Ajay K. Nooka, MD, MPH


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“Both KarMMa and CARTITUDE-1 trials presented during the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program showed exceptional results, not only in obtaining higher responses in the majority of patients but also in attaining high-quality responses,” said Ajay K. Nooka, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Oncology, at Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University.

He noted that 94% of evaluable patients in ­KarMMA and 81% of evaluable patients in ­CARTITUDE-1 attained minimal residual disease-negativity at 10-5—and these patients had received a median of more than five prior lines of therapy. “These responses have translated nicely to a progression-free survival advantage: a median of 8.8 months in KarMMa (12 months for patients who received 450 × 106 chimeric antigen receptor [CAR]-positive T cells) and in the CARTITUDE-1 trial, 86% remained progression-free at 9 months, which is unprecedented.”

He acknowledged that the management of cytokine-release syndrome and neurotoxicity involved “a steep learning curve,” but most cases were low grade and easily manageable. “The results across both trials were very encouraging,” Dr. Nooka said. “It is highly exciting to see the efficacy of CAR T-cell trials as earlier lines of therapy.”

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Nooka has received consulting fees from Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Oncology, Karyopharm Therapeutics, Oncopeptides, Adaptive, and Takeda.

 


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