Preface – EHA 2020


Constantine Tam, MB, BS (Hons), MD, FRACP, FRCPA, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, and University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia

Dear Colleagues,
Due to the circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 25th European Hematology Association (EHA) Annual Congress had to take place as a virtual edition, although this raised new possibilities such as a 10-day program. Like its predecessors conducted onsite, the EHA25 Virtual Congress offered original unpublished scientific hematology data, hematological innovations, and evidence-based knowledge of primary clinical relevance.
This memo inHaematology publication summarizes content presented on the topics of B cell malignancies, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, and cold agglutinin disease.

Within the field of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors have emerged as important players in the management of patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia and mantle cell lymphoma but were also shown to be active in diffuse large B cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and marginal zone lymphoma. Next-generation agents with optimized features are under development. In patients with mantle cell lymphoma, promising results obtained with novel agents challenge the role of chemotherapy, particularly in the front-line setting. Both single-agent and combined regimens containing various classes of targeted agents might open up new dimensions and are being extensively evaluated in clinical trials.
BTK inhibition has also transformed the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and continues to be investigated alone and together with other agents. The advent of modern treatment options has given rise to an increasing demand for time-limited therapy in these patients. Fixed-duration approaches, possibly guided by the assessment of minimal residual disease, represent a feasible road ahead.
Although rare, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria is a potentially life-threatening condition that calls for effective management. The range of available agents targeting the complement system is currently being expanded. Novel agents, by addressing various factors that enhance residual anemia, contribute to more complete disease control. Likewise, cold agglutinin disease shows a low prevalence but considerably affects patient prognosis and quality of life. As in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, inhibition of certain components of the complement system can lead to rapid and durable clinical improvements. Global registry data will elucidate clinical characteristics as well as the use of treatments, patient outcomes and the natural history of this disease.

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