Preface – ASCO/EHA/ICML 2021

Véronique Leblond, MD Department of Hematology, Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital Paris, France

Véronique Leblond, MD
Department of Hematology,
Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital
Paris, France

Dear Colleagues,

As virtual scientific conferences are becoming part of our daily routine as clinicians and researchers, information in individual areas of interest is easily accessible across different congresses.
This publication summarizes studies investigating targeted and immune-directed treatment of B-cell malignancies that were presented at the European Hematology Association (EHA) Annual Congress, 9th–17th June, the 16th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma (ICML), 18th–22nd June, and the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 4th–8th June 2021.
Chemotherapy-free regimens that can induce deep responses to the point of undetectability of minimal residual disease are generally gaining momentum and have already been established as cornerstones of treatment in various settings. A broad range of clinical trials is exploring effective and tolerable combinations with and without chemotherapeutic agents, as well as potent targeted drugs that show effectivity as monotherapies. BTK inhibition represents an important pillar in the management of diseases such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, and marginal zone lymphoma. Trial results have demonstrated that patient outcomes can be improved with the use of newer-generation agents, while yet newer BTK inhibitors are being developed. Likewise, novel BCL2- and PI3K-targeted agents are being designed with optimized features such as increased selectivity. Novel bispecific antibodies appear to offer substantial activity across a range of hematologic entities.
Moreover, the use of drugs that enhance anti-tumor immunity is an attractive approach, both in the single-agent and combination therapy settings. Checkpoint inhibition has been tested successfully in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and classical Hodgkin lymphoma. As for solid tumors, durable responses are being observed in a certain percentage of patients. The development of innovative checkpoint inhibitors, which are expected to provide improved outcomes, is ongoing.