Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia: Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

New treatments.  These therapies are being explored in clinical trials:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio) stops several proteins that certain types of cancer need to grow and spread, and laboratory tests have shown that it can keep Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia from worsening.
  • Vaccines have been studied in clinical trials as a treatment option for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia.

Targeted therapy. As explained in the Treatment Options section, targeted therapy can block tumor growth in different ways.

  • Alemtuzumab (Campath) is being studied for its ability to locate and destroy tumor cells or to deliver other substances to the tumor cells than can destroy them without harming normal cells.
  • Bortezomib (Velcade) is a type of targeted therapy approved for multiple myeloma called a proteasome inhibitor, targeting specific enzymes called proteasomes that digest proteins in the cells. Bortezomib and other proteasome inhibitors, such as carfilzomib (Kyprolis), and oprozomib are being studied for the treatment of Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia.
  • Other drugs that target how B-cells develop are also being evaluated for patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia. Ibrutinib inhibits the Bruton tyrosine kinase enzyme and has shown to be effective in early clinical trials. Idelalisib inhibits PI3 kinase, which is involved in B-cell growth, and is being evaluated for a variety of B-cell cancers, including Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia. The drugs everolimus (Afinitor) and temsirolimus (Torisel), as well as drugs called histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, such as panobinostat, are also being looked at as treatments for Waldemstrom’s macroglobulinemia.

Drug combinations. Drugs are being used in combination to treat Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia:

  • Monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab (see Treatment Options), are being used along with chemotherapy as a way to eliminate more cancer cells.
  • The drug fludarabine combined with cyclophosphamide is sometimes used to treat patients with advanced and/or symptomatic Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, as is another combination of drugs called DTPACE (dexamethasone [multiple brand names], thalidomide [Synovir, Thalomid], cisplatin [Platinol], doxorubicin [Adriamycin], cyclophosphamide, and etoposide [Toposar, VePesid]) plus rituximab.
  • Bortezomib, dexamethasone, and rituximab are being studied in combination to treat Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More about the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

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