John Theurer Cancer Center Breakthrough Clinical Trial Demonstrates Prolonged Survival for Advanced Multiple Myeloma Patients

RCCA Oncologist Proves Important Role for the Graft-Versus-Myeloma Effect

HACKENSACK, N.J.--()--John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center today announced publication of breakthrough data in the treatment of advanced multiple myeloma in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Led by Michele L. Donato, MD, and conducted at John Theurer Cancer Center, one of the largest performers of allogeneic transplantation for multiple myeloma in the world, this clinical study demonstrates that allogeneic transplantation for multiple myeloma can lead to sustained remission, even in patients with relapsed refractory diseases, prolonging the lives of trial participants.

“Multiple myeloma is believed to be an incurable disease, even though today's medicines are able to achieve remission, and sometimes a very durable remission. While the vast majority of patients will ultimately succumb to the disease, it is a belief of mine that allogeneic transplantation has potential to change that reality,” states Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., President of Regional Cancer Care Associates, as well as Chief Innovations Officer and Vice President of Cancer Services at John Theurer Cancer Center.

Allogeneic transplantation is a treatment approach whereby the patient receives bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells from another person. The procedure has had little support in the broad medical community because of its treatment-related mortality from the use of toxic myeloablative regimens. Since then, however, there have been improvements in supportive care and new preparative regimens which has led to a significant decrease in treatment related mortality. Dr. Pecora explains, “What the study at our Center revealed was that using today's science, you can complete allogeneic transplants safely and effectively. Patients are living five years later without any disease detectable - potentially cured of it.”

In addition, the study demonstrated that patients with multiple myeloma who contract chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), which is over-active donor immunity post transplantation, have a favorable impact on overall survival. Michele L. Donato, Medical Director of the Blood & Bone Marrow Collection Facility at John Theurer Cancer Center, states, “There is indeed an immunotherapy effect of donor cells in multiple myeloma. Our study shows that if we transplant from a related or unrelated donor, the immune system of that donor has been shown to be able to control the disease in a great number of patients. We have proven there is a graft-versus-myeloma effect - and that has never been done before."

About the Study

John Theurer Cancer Center conducted a study of patients with multiple myeloma undergoing allogeneic transplantation to evaluate outcome parameters. Fifty-seven consecutive patients with multiple myeloma received an allogeneic transplantation between 2004 and 2011 at the Center. Patients who had received at least one autologous transplantation prior to entering the study were included. Twenty-six patients underwent allogeneic transplantation for consolidation after a response to their first autograft, and 30 patients received an allogeneic transplantation as salvage therapy. Donor source was evenly distributed between related and unrelated.

At five years, 49.2% of all patients were in complete Response (CR). Sixteen patients received either donor lymphocyte infusions or immune suppression withdrawal for disease progression, with a 62.5% response rate. The 5-year overall survival (OS) for all patients was 59%. The 5-year OS for the 30 patients in the consolidation group was 82% compared with 38% for those in the salvage group. In multivariate analysis, 3 factors remained significantly associated with OS. These include being in the salvage group (hazard ratio [HR], 4.05; P = .0196), acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) (HR, 2.99; P = .034), and chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), which was highly protective, with a 5-year OS of 78.8% for patients with cGVHD versus 42.6% for patients without cGVHD (HR .17, P = .008).

This clinical data show that allogeneic transplantation for multiple myeloma can lead to sustained remissions. aGVHD is significantly deleterious to OS and progression-free survival, whereas cGVHD is strongly favorable, supporting an important role for the graft-versus-myeloma effect.

About John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is among the nation’s top 50 U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals for Cancer – the highest ranked in New Jersey with this designation. It is New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive cancer center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, preventive care, as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer.

Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. The 14 specialized divisions feature a team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. John Theurer Cancer Center provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care, state of the art technology, access to clinical trials, compassionate care and medical expertise—all under one roof. Physicians at John Theurer Cancer Center are members of Regional Cancer Care Associates, one of the nation’s largest professional hematology/oncology groups. For more information please visit www.jtcancercenter.org.

Contacts

Media:
Victoria Aguiar
vicky@blissintegrated.com
212-584-5470

Contacts

Media:
Victoria Aguiar
vicky@blissintegrated.com
212-584-5470