How to use new biology to guide therapy in multiple myeloma
Hematology ASH Education Program
Recent advances in multiple myeloma (MM) therapy have led to significantly longer median survival rates and some patients being cured. At the same time, our understanding of MM biology and the molecular mechanisms driving the disease is constantly improving. Next-generation sequencing technologies now allow insights into the genetic aberrations in MM at a genome-wide scale and across different developmental stages in the course of an individual tumor. This improved knowledge about MM biology
... about MM biology needs to be rapidly translated and transformed into diagnostic and therapeutic applications to finally achieve cure in a larger proportion of patients. As a part of these translational efforts, novel drugs that inhibit oncogenic proteins overexpressed in defined molecular subgroups of the disease, such as FGFR3 and MMSET in t(4;14) MM, are currently being developed. The potential of targeted next-generation diagnostic tests to rapidly identify clinically relevant molecular subgroups is being evaluated. The technical tools to detect and define tumor subclones may potentially become clinically relevant because intraclonal tumor heterogeneity has become apparent in many cancers. The emergence of different MM subclones under the selective pressure of treatment is important in MM, especially in the context of maintenance therapy and treatment for asymptomatic stages of the disease. Finally, novel diagnostic and therapeutic achievements have to be implemented into innovative clinical trial strategies with smaller trials for molecularly defined high-risk patients and large trials with a long follow-up for the patients most profiting from the current treatment protocols. These combined approaches will hopefully transform the current one-for-all care into a more tailored, individual therapeutic strategy for MM patients.