Bhavana Bhatnagar, MD, on the Molecular Revolution in AML

By Chadi Nabhan, MD, MBA, FACP - Last Updated: August 10, 2023

In this episode of The HemOnc Pulse, Dr. Bhatnagar, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the West Virigina University Cancer Institute, reflects on how the molecular characterization of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) has evolved. She joins host Chadi Nabhan, MD, MBA, FACP, to discuss how this growing base of knowledge has impacted diagnosis, treatment, and classification.

“The most significant changes have come about as a result of improvements and refinements in the molecular characterization of AML,” Dr. Bhatnagar said.

Some of these changes include major updates in the World Health Organization and European LeukemiaNet systems.

“Within a span of six years, there was enough [information] there to change the way that AML was classified,” she said. “A lot of that is based on the recurring gene mutations that you see. It’s changed a lot of things.”

The changes brought about by molecular characterization have a profound impact on real-world clinical care for patients with AML.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we only had a couple of treatments to potentially offer people,” Dr. Bhatnagar said. “Now there’s a whole armamentarium of things that we can offer based on the different type of AML they have, so the types of discussions that I’m having with my patients are a lot different now.”

The episode also highlights Dr. Bhatnagar’s recent research, which explored the differential impact of mutations by race in patients with AML. While questions remain, she outlined future research that may help explain some disparities in AML outcomes.

“There’s a lot that can be done in this space,” Dr. Bhatnagar said.

Find all episodes of The HemOnc Pulse here.

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