Dr Ruben Mesa Discusses Better Understanding Symptoms in MPNs

December 29, 2019

Symptoms are not random chance—they have a real link to biological drivers of the disease and understanding them is important, said Ruben Mesa, MD, director of UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Symptoms are not random chance—they have a real link to biological drivers of the disease and understanding them is important, said Ruben Mesa, MD, director of UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Transcript

Your team created a quality of life model for patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms—ideally how would this model be used in practice or in clinical trials?

The purpose of the model is to really try to better understand the drivers of quality of life for patients, I think further validate and reinforce the importance of the improvement in symptoms as an important end point in clinical trials. We are also modeling that along with our efforts to better understand the biology behind the symptoms.

The symptoms in these diseases are not just random chance, you know, nor are they just psychological. They have a real link to biological drivers in the disease: increase inflammatory markers, increase in IL-8 [interleukin 8], increase in IL-8 have been associated with a decrease in survival. So, we think that they are important biological clues and trying to bring that additional sort of scientific rigor to better understand.

We're even learning that not all symptoms are really interchangeable. You know, there's certain symptoms that are clearly associated with progression, such as bone pain and inadvertent weight loss. There's others that are more multifactorial but might be present throughout, such as fatigue. So, we're learning a lot of the granular details of how to really interpret symptoms and use them just like we might look at a hemoglobin or a white cell count.