The addition of daratumumab to lenalidomide and dexamethasone (DRd) vs. lenalidomide and dexamethasone (Rd) alone was evaluated in the POLLUX trial, a randomized, open-label, multicentre, phase III study. The population of the study included 569 patients with multiple myeloma (MM), who had received at least one previous line of therapy.
DRd treatment resulted in an improved progression-free survival, response rate, and depth of response in all subgroups including patients who had a treatment-free interval ≤12 months and those with high-risk cytogenetics. Daratumumab is a relatively new drug that has already shown clinical benefit when used as monotherapy. Now it clearly demonstrates a positive effect as an addition to an immunomodulatory backbone treatment.
The impressive results of the POLLUX trial in patients with R/R MM (not refractory to lenalidomide) are among the best in this setting. It is certainly a practice-changing study that will have a significant impact on the way we are treating Canadian patients with R/R MM. The fact that lenalidomide-exposed patients (although a small group) had a similar outcome as other subgroups of patients, including lenalidomide-naïve patients, is interesting, since many relapsed patients have been previously exposed to lenalidomide but are not refractory.
Another related abstract sought to evaluate how the addition of daratumumab to Rd in the POLLUX trial promoted T-cell response. The findings certainly support an immunomodulatory effect of daratumumab as its mechanism of action. The understanding of its immunomodulating properties is of interest since daratumumab is administered in combination with dexamethasone, which is associated with immunosuppressive effects. It is theoretically plausible that dexamethasone could decrease part of the efficacy of daratumumab through its immunosuppressive effect.
Neil Berinstein, MD, FRCPC, ABIM
Dr. Neil Berinstein earned his premedical degree and medical doctorate from the University of Manitoba and received further specialty and research training at the University of Toronto and Stanford University. Dr. Berinstein currently holds multiple academic and professional positions, including Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and is an active staff member of the Hematology Oncology Site Group in the Odette Cancer Program at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. He is currently the Director of Translational Research at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Berinstein specializes in the management and research of patients with lymphoproliferative disorders, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, and myeloma.
Bruce D. Cheson, MD, FACP, FAAS, FASCO
Dr. Bruce Cheson completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Hospitals and then a clinical and research fellowship in Hematology at New England Medical Center Hospital. He is former Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Advances in Hematology and Oncology and Clinical Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myeloma, and a former Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. From 2002 to 2006, he was on the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is past-Chair of the Lymphoma Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B/Alliance, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Subcommittee on Lymphoma. Currently, Dr. Cheson is Professor of Medicine, Head of Hematology, and Deputy Chief of Hematology-Oncology at Georgetown University Hospital, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Cheson’s clinical interests focus on the development and evaluation of new therapeutic approaches for hematologic malignancies.
Joseph Connors, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Joseph Connors earned his medical degree from Yale University. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine and chief residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Prior to completing his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Stanford University, he worked at the Indian Health Service in Alaska for two years. In 1981, he accepted a position in Medical Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. He has been a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia since that time, reaching the position of Clinical Professor in 1997. At present, he is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, at the University of British Columbia and the Chair of the Lymphoma Tumour Group for the BC Cancer Agency. Dr. Connors’ clinical activities and research efforts are focused in the area of lymphoid cancers. He is best known for his clinical investigations into the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and multiple myeloma.
Richard LeBlanc, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Richard LeBlanc is a hematologist and medical oncologist at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montreal, Quebec. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal. Dr. LeBlanc obtained his medical degree at Laval University and is certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology. He worked as a research fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston from 2000 to 2002. Dr. LeBlanc was recruited by Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont to help improve medical care, research, and teaching in multiple myeloma. Dr. LeBlanc holds the Myeloma Canada Chair at the University of Montreal. He is the Director of the Myeloma Cell Bank at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, which is affiliated with the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank. He is also the Medical Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. Finally, Dr. LeBlanc is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Myeloma Canada.
Carolyn Owen, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Carolyn Owen completed postgraduate training in internal medicine and hematology at the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia, respectively, followed by a research fellowship in molecular genetics at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, U.K. Her research focused on familial myelodysplasia and acute myeloid leukemia. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Foothills Medical Centre and Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary, and her clinical interests are low-grade lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She is also the local principal investigator in Calgary for several clinical trials in these areas.
Anthea Peters, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Anthea Peters obtained her medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006. She then completed her residencies in Internal Medicine at the University of Alberta and in Hematology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Peters joined the Division of Hematology at the University of Alberta as a Clinical Scholar in July 2011. Her main area of interest is in lymphoma.