Novel and Expanded Oncology Drug Approvals of 2016-PART 2: New Options in the Management of Hematologic Malignancies

Oncology (Williston Park). 2017 Feb 15;31(2):138-46.


The recent past has brought pharmacotherapeutic advances that benefit patients with hematologic malignancies. In 2016, two novel hematology drugs were approved and four previously approved hematology drugs were granted expanded use for the treatment of appropriate patient populations by the US Food and Drug Administration. These new approvals and indications represent significant steps forward in patient management: they include the first-in-class B-cell lymphoma 2 inhibitor, venetoclax, the newest targeted therapy available for the treatment of hematologic malignancies; and nivolumab, the first immune checkpoint inhibitor to be approved for treatment of a hematologic malignancy. Other advances include defibrotide as the first drug approved for the treatment of veno-occlusive disease with evidence of multiorgan dysfunction, and the expansion of indications for the two anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, as well as the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody daratumumab. This article reviews each of these drugs and their indications, mechanisms of action, accompanying pivotal trial data, pertinent toxicities, use in special populations, and appropriate clinical context.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Approval*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy
  • Multiple Myeloma / drug therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents