Setting a Foundation for CAR T-Cell Therapy: Mounzer Agha, MD

The director of the Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center discussed how the meeting sets the foundation for what’s to come in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other hematologic malignancies.

This content originally appeared on our sister site, Cancer Network.

Cancer Network spoke with Mounzer Agha, MD, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Hillman Cancer Center, at the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting about the value of the conference for multiple myeloma. He detailed the importance of investigators converging to discuss the future of treatment across tumor types.


ASCO, along with [the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting] and the European Hematology Association [Congress], is a representative benchmark where we really set the foundation for what’s to come in the next year and the years to come. What we hope to accomplish at this ASCO is to set the foundation for treatments that were [once] viewed as applicable only for last-line therapy [and apply them to] earlier treatment settings safely. In the field of multiple myeloma, we are still discussing the role of high-dose melphalan in autologous stem cell transplant. This role has gone unchallenged now for a couple of decades and if you really think about it, it is not a curative treatment. It does lead to an improvement in survival and disease control, but it does not represent a long-term solution for patients with multiple myeloma. CAR T[-cell therapy] offers the hope of long-term disease control and perhaps cure in a subset of patients [with multiple myeloma]. What we demonstrate this time is that you can offer this treatment effectively and safely. This represents a paradigm shift and ASCO is the venue that we would like to disseminate this to the public and to other physicians.

Agha ME, Cohen AD, Madduri D, et al. CARTITUDE-2: Efficacy and safety of ciltacabtagene autoleucel (cilta-cel), a BCMA-directed CAR T-cell therapy, in patients with progressive multiple myeloma (MM) after one to three prior lines of therapy. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(suppl 15):8013. doi:10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.8013
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