September 28, 2020
Balancing immunosuppression from treatment against potential myeloma infection
- COVID-19 forced providers to reevaluate myeloma treatment
- Hospitals in areas with low spread didn’t have to change their practice significantly
- Keeping patients on some form of therapy protects against immunosuppression from the cancer
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, cancer specialists had to weigh the risks of treating multiple myeloma to prevent morbidity and mortality, with the dangers of virus exposure in their patients. SurvivorNet‘s experts say treatment decisions often hinge on geographic location.
“I know that there were some experts out there who felt that they should take all their patients off but we did not do that,” Dr. Natalie Callander, hematologist-oncologist at UW Health, tells SurvivorNet. “We felt comfortable keeping our patients on maintenance because we knew that the community incidence was pretty low.”
Dr. Nina Shah and her colleagues at UCSF Medical Center focused on the statistical likelihood of infection. “The reality is that we knew myeloma is a definite, whereas COVID and other infections are a possibility,” she says.
At Atlanta’s Winship Cancer Institute, chief medical officer Dr. Sagar Lonial dialed down the dose of agents such as corticosteroids and daratumumab, but didn’t discontinue them. “The reality is that there is nothing more immunosuppressive than lots of myeloma,” he tells SurvivorNet. “And so every effort you make to try and reduce the total body myeloma burden, I think ultimately improves their immune function in the short term.”
See More Highlights from Our Discussion
How Would You Treat a 60-Year-Old Woman with Relapsed Refractory Myeloma?
Giving More Black Patients Access to Clinical Trials Has Real Benefits
Isatuximab Combo Offers a New Therapeutic Option to Multiple Myeloma Patients
Belamaf is ‘First-In-Class’ New Therapy for Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma, But Does it Beat Selinexor?
Watch the full event (and get CME credit)