Publications by authors named "Alessandro Rambaldi"

349 Publications

Concurrent Diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Symptomatic COVID-19 Infection: a Case Report Successfully Treated with Azacitidine-Venetoclax Combination.

Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 2021 1;13(1):e2021057. Epub 2021 Sep 1.

Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

SARS-COV2 pandemic has caused profound challenges in health care systems worldwide. Patients affected by hematological neoplasms appear to be particularly at risk of developing COVID-19 complications, with unfavorable outcomes. Here, we present the case of a 57-years-old woman diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and concurrent acute myeloid leukemia (AML). At the time of diagnosis, it was decided to postpone leukemia therapy to enable adequate COVID-19 pneumonia treatment. When her conditions related to pneumonia improved, the combination of Azacitidine-Venetoclax was used as first-line treatment instead of conventional intensive chemotherapy. At the end of the first two cycles, the patient showed complete remission, and a post-remission consolidation with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been planned. This case suggests that Azacytidine-Venetoclax induction may represent a valid and safe alternative to intensive chemotherapy in the challenging setting of patients with a concomitant diagnosis of AML and severe COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4084/MJHID.2021.057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8425345PMC
September 2021

NOVEL NPM1 EXON 5 MUTATIONS AND GENE FUSIONS LEADING TO ABERRANT CYTOPLASMIC NUCLEOPHOSMIN IN AML.

Blood 2021 08 3. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Munich Leukemia Laboratory, Munich, Germany.

Nucleophosmin (NPM1) mutations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affect exon 12, but sporadically also exon 9 and 11, all causing changes at protein C-terminal end (loss of tryptophans and creation of a nuclear export signal-NES motif) that lead to aberrant cytoplasmic NPM1 (NPM1c+), detectable by immunohistochemistry. Combining immunohistochemistry and molecular analyses in 929 AML patients, we found non-exon 12 NPM1 mutations in 5/387 (1.3%) NPM1c+ cases. Besides mutations in exon 9 (n=1) and exon 11 (n=1), novel mutations in exon 5 were discovered (n=3). One more exon 5 mutation was identified in additional 141 AML patients selected for wild-type NPM1 exon 12. Furthermore, 3 NPM1 rearrangements (i.e. NPM1/RPP30, NPM1/SETBP1, NPM1/CCDC28A) were detected and characterized among 13,979 AML samples screened by cytogenetic/FISH and RNA sequencing. Functional studies demonstrated that in AML cases the new NPM1 proteins harboured an efficient extra NES, either newly created or already present in the fusion partner, ensuring its cytoplasmic accumulation. Our findings support NPM1 cytoplasmic relocation as critical for leukemogenesis and reinforce the role of immunohistochemistry in predicting any AML-associated NPM1 genetic lesions. Also, this study highlights the need for developing new specific assays for molecular diagnosis and monitoring of NPM1-mutated AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021012732DOI Listing
August 2021

Updated results of the placebo-controlled, phase III JAKARTA trial of fedratinib in patients with intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis.

Br J Haematol 2021 Jul 30. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.

Fedratinib, an oral Janus kinase-2 (JAK2) inhibitor, reduces splenomegaly and improves symptom burden in patients with myelofibrosis. Regulatory approval of fedratinib 400-mg daily was based on results of an updated analysis of the pivotal phase III, placebo-controlled JAKARTA trial in patients with JAK-inhibitor-naïve myelofibrosis. At week 24, spleen volume response rate was 47% and symptom response rate was 40% with fedratinib 400 mg, versus 1% and 9% respectively, with placebo. Common adverse events were diarrhoea, nausea, anaemia, and vomiting. No Wernicke encephalopathy occurred in patients receiving fedratinib 400 mg/day. These updated data support use of first-line fedratinib in patients with myelofibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17727DOI Listing
July 2021

IgD Subtype But Not IgM or Non-Secretory Is a Prognostic Marker for Poor Survival Following Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Multiple Myeloma. Results From the EBMT CALM (Collaboration to Collect Autologous Transplant Outcomes in Lymphomas and Myeloma) Study.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk 2021 May 24. Epub 2021 May 24.

Hospital Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris, France.

Background: The Collaboration to Collect Autologous Transplant Outcomes in Lymphoma and Myeloma (CALM) study has provided an opportunity to evaluate the real-world outcomes of patients with myeloma. The aim of this study was to compare the outcome according to the different subtypes of myeloma using CALM data.

Patients: This study compared overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and complete remission (CR) and the impact of novel versus non-novel drug containing induction regimens prior to autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) of 2802 patients with "usual" and "rare" myelomas.

Results: Our data suggest that IgM and non-secretory myeloma have superior PFS and OS compared with IgD myeloma and outcomes comparable to those for usual myeloma. Patients who received novel agent induction had higher rates of CR prior to transplant. Non-novel induction regimens were associated with inferior PFS but no difference in OS. Although not the primary focus of this study, we show that poor mobilization status is associated with reduced PFS and OS, but these differences disappear in multivariate analysis suggesting that poor mobilization status is a surrogate for other indicators of poor prognosis.

Conclusion: We confirm that IgD myeloma is associated with the worst prognosis and inferior outcomes compared with the other isotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2021.05.012DOI Listing
May 2021

Allelic HLA Matching and Pair Origin Are Favorable Prognostic Factors for Unrelated Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Neoplastic Hematologic Diseases: An Italian Analysis by the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto di Cellule Staminali e Terapie Cellulari, Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and Associazione Italiana di Immunogenetica e Biologia dei Trapianti.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 05 16;27(5):406.e1-406.e11. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapies Unit, Department of Hemato-Oncology and Radiotherapy, Grande Ospedale Metropolitano "Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli", Reggio Calabria, Italy.

HLA molecules are important for immunoreactivity in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The Gruppo Italiano Trapianto di Cellule Staminali e Terapie Cellulari, Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and Associazione Italiana di Immunogenetica e Biologia dei Trapianti promoted a retrospective observational study to evaluate HLA matching and the impact of allelic HLA mismatching and non-HLA factors on unrelated Italian HSCT outcomes. From 2012 to 2015, 1788 patients were enrolled in the study. The average donor age was 29 years and the average recipient age was 49 years. As a conditioning regimen, 71% of the patients received myeloablative conditioning. For GVHD prophylaxis, 76% received either antithymocyte or anti-T lymphocyte globulin, cyclosporine A, and methotrexate. Peripheral blood was the stem cell source in 80%. The median duration of follow-up was 53 months. Regarding HLA matching, 50% of donor-recipient pairs were 10/10 matched, 38% had 1 mismatch, and 12% had 2 or more mismatches. A total of 302 pairs shared Italian origin. Four-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival, GVHD-free relapse-free survival, and relapse rates were 49%, 40%, 22%, and 34%, respectively. The 4-year NRM was 27%, and the 100-day cumulative incidence of grade ≥II acute GVHD (aGVHD) was 26%. In multivariate analysis, 9/10 and ≤8/10 HLA allele-matched pairs were associated with worse OS (P = .04 and .007, respectively), NRM (P = .007 and P < .0001, respectively), and grade III-IV aGVHD (P = .0001 and .01, respectively). Moreover, the incidences of grade II-IV aGVHD (P = .001) and chronic GVHD (P = .002) were significantly lower in Italian pairs. In conclusion, 10/10 HLA matching is a favorable prognostic factor for unrelated HSCT outcome in the Italian population. Moreover, the presence of 2 HLA-mismatched loci was associated with a higher NRM (P < .0001) and grade II-IV aGVHD (P = .006) and a poorer OS (P = .001) compared with 1 HLA-mismatched locus in early or intermediate disease phases. Finally, we found that Italian donor and recipient origin is a favorable prognostic factor for GVHD occurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.11.021DOI Listing
May 2021

MRD-Based Therapeutic Decisions in Genetically Defined Subsets of Adolescents and Young Adult Philadelphia-Negative ALL.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 27;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Hematology Unit, Azienda Ulss3 Serenissima, Ospedale dell'Angelo, 30174 Venezia-Mestre, Italy.

In many clinical studies published over the past 20 years, adolescents and young adults (AYA) with Philadelphia chromosome negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph- ALL) were considered as a rather homogeneous clinico-prognostic group of patients suitable to receive intensive pediatric-like regimens with an improved outcome compared with the use of traditional adult ALL protocols. The AYA group was defined in most studies by an age range of 18-40 years, with some exceptions (up to 45 years). The experience collected in pediatric ALL with the study of post-induction minimal residual disease (MRD) was rapidly duplicated in AYA ALL, making MRD a widely accepted key factor for risk stratification and risk-oriented therapy with or without allogeneic stem cell transplantation and experimental new drugs for patients with MRD detectable after highly intensive chemotherapy. This combined strategy has resulted in long-term survival rates of AYA patients of 60-80%. The present review examines the evidence for MRD-guided therapies in AYA's Ph- ALL, provides a critical appraisal of current treatment pitfalls and illustrates the ways of achieving further therapeutic improvement according to the massive knowledge recently generated in the field of ALL biology and MRD/risk/subset-specific therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8123823PMC
April 2021

Outcomes following second allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with myelofibrosis: a retrospective study of the Chronic Malignancies Working Party of EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Aug 6;56(8):1944-1952. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

CHU de Lille, univ Lille, INSERM U1286, INFINITE, 59000, Lille, France.

Therapeutic management of patients with primary or secondary myelofibrosis (MF) who experience relapse or graft failure following allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) remains heterogeneous. We retrospectively analyzed 216 patients undergoing a second allo-HCT for either relapse (56%) or graft failure (31%) between 2010 and 2017. Median age was 57.3 years (range 51-63). The same donor as for the first allo-HCT was chosen in 66 patients (31%) of whom 19 received an HLA-identical sibling donor, whereas a different donor was chosen for 116 patients (54%). Median follow-up was 40 months. Three-year overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) were 42% and 39%, respectively. Three-year non-relapse mortality (NRM) and relapse rates were 36% and 25%, respectively. Grade II-IV and III-IV acute GVHD occurred in 25% and 11% of patients, respectively, and the 3-year incidence of chronic GVHD was 33% including 14% for extensive grade. Graft-failure incidence at 1 year was 14%. In conclusion, our data suggest that a second allo-HCT is a potential option for patients failing first allo-HCT for MF albeit careful patient assessment is fundamental to identify individual patients who could benefit from this approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01271-4DOI Listing
August 2021

Covid-19 and gender: lower rate but same mortality of severe disease in women-an observational study.

BMC Pulm Med 2021 Mar 20;21(1):96. Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Department of Health and Social Care Professions, ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

Background: Gender-related factors might affect vulnerability to Covid-19. The aim of this study was to describe the role of gender on clinical features and 28-day mortality in Covid-19 patients.

Methods: Observational study of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Bergamo, Italy, during the first three weeks of the outbreak. Medical records, clinical, radiological and laboratory findings upon admission and treatment have been collected. Primary outcome was 28-day mortality since hospitalization.

Results: 431 consecutive adult patients were admitted. Female patients were 119 (27.6%) with a mean age of 67.0 ± 14.5 years (vs 67.8 ± 12.5 for males, p = 0.54). Previous history of myocardial infarction, vasculopathy and former smoking habits were more common for males. At the time of admission PaO/FiO was similar between men and women (228 [IQR, 134-273] vs 238 mmHg [150-281], p = 0.28). Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) assistance was needed in the first 24 h more frequently in male patients (25.7% vs 13.0%; p = 0.006). Overall 28-day mortality was 26.1% in women and 38.1% in men (p = 0.018). Gender did not result an independent predictor of death once the parameters related to disease severity at presentation were included in the multivariable analysis (p = 0.898). Accordingly, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis in female and male patients requiring CPAP or non-invasive ventilation in the first 24 h did not find a significant difference (p = 0.687).

Conclusion: Hospitalized women are less likely to die from Covid-19; however, once severe disease occurs, the risk of dying is similar to men. Further studies are needed to better investigate the role of gender in clinical course and outcome of Covid-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12890-021-01455-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7980742PMC
March 2021

Bergamo and Covid-19: How the Dark Can Turn to Light.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2021 19;8:609440. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, IRCCS, Bergamo, Italy.

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread rapidly. Here we discuss the dramatic situation created by COVID-19 in Italy, particularly in the province of Bergamo (the most severely affected in the first wave), as an example of how, in the face of an unprecedented tragedy, acting (albeit belatedly)-including imposing a very strict lockdown-can largely resolve the situation within approximately 2 months. The measures taken here ensured that Bergamo hospital, which was confronted with rapidly rising numbers of severely ill COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, was able to meet the initial challenges of the pandemic. We also report that local organization and, more important, the large natural immunity against SARS-CoV-2 of the Bergamo population developed during the first wave of the epidemic, can explain the limited number of new COVID-19 cases during the more recent second wave compared to the numbers in other areas of Lombardy. Furthermore, we highlight the importance of coordinating the easing of containment measures to avoid what is currently observed in other countries, especially in the United States, Latin American and India, where this approach has not been adopted, and a dramatic resurgence of COVID-19 cases and an increase in the number of hospitalisations and deaths have been reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.609440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7933506PMC
February 2021

Long-term safety and efficacy of givinostat in polycythemia vera: 4-year mean follow up of three phase 1/2 studies and a compassionate use program.

Blood Cancer J 2021 Mar 6;11(3):53. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Clinical R&D Department, Italfarmaco S.p.A, Cinisello Balsamo, Italy.

Polycythemia vera (PV) is a BCR-ABL1-negative myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) characterized by excessive proliferation of erythroid, myeloid, and megakaryocytic components in the bone marrow, mainly due to a Janus kinase 2 gene mutation (JAK2). Givinostat, a histone-deacetylase inhibitor that selectively targets JAK2 cell growth, has demonstrated good efficacy and safety in three phase 1/2 studies in patients with PV. This manuscript focuses on the 4-year mean (2.8 year median) follow-up of an open-label, long-term study that enrolled 51 patients with PV (out of a total of 54 with MPN) who received clinical benefit from givinostat in these previous studies or on compassionate use, and who continued to receive givinostat at the last effective and tolerated dose. The primary objectives are to determine givinostat's long-term safety and tolerability, and efficacy evaluated by the investigators according to internationally recognized response criteria. During follow-up, only 10% of PV patients reported Grade 3 treatment-related adverse events (AEs), while none had Grade 4 or 5 treatment-related AEs. The overall response rate for the duration of follow-up was always greater than 80% in patients with PV. In conclusion, givinostat demonstrated a good safety and efficacy profile in patients with PV, data supporting long-term use in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41408-021-00445-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936975PMC
March 2021

Gene expression profile correlates with molecular and clinical features in patients with myelofibrosis.

Blood Adv 2021 03;5(5):1452-1462

Center for Genome Research.

Myelofibrosis (MF) belongs to the family of classic Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). It can be primary myelofibrosis (PMF) or secondary myelofibrosis (SMF) evolving from polycythemia vera (PV) or essential thrombocythemia (ET). Despite the differences, PMF and SMF patients are currently managed in the same way, and prediction of survival is based on the same clinical and genetic features. In the last few years, interest has grown concerning the ability of gene expression profiles (GEPs) to provide valuable prognostic information. Here, we studied the GEPs of granulocytes from 114 patients with MF, using a microarray platform to identify correlations with patient characteristics and outcomes. Cox regression analysis led to the identification of 201 survival-related transcripts characterizing patients who are at high risk for death. High-risk patients identified by this gene signature displayed an inferior overall survival and leukemia-free survival, together with clinical and molecular detrimental features included in contemporary prognostic models, such as the presence of high molecular risk mutations. The high-risk group was enriched in post-PV and post-ET MF and JAK2V617F homozygous patients, whereas pre-PMF was more frequent in the low-risk group. These results demonstrate that GEPs in MF patients correlate with their molecular and clinical features, particularly their survival, and represent the proof of concept that GEPs might provide complementary prognostic information to be applied in clinical decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003614DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7948267PMC
March 2021

Idecabtagene Vicleucel in Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma.

N Engl J Med 2021 02;384(8):705-716

From the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (N.C.M.), the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School (N.C.M.), and Massachusetts General Hospital (N.R.), Boston, and bluebird bio, Cambridge (F.P., M.M.) - all in Massachusetts; Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas (L.D.A.); the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco (N.S.); Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (D.M.); Sarah Cannon Research Institute and Tennessee Oncology, Nashville (J.B.); Emory School of Medicine, Atlanta (S.L.); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN (Y.L.); Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack (D.S.), and Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton (J.N.C., S.K., P.P., L.H., T.B.C., K.H.) - both in New Jersey; Institut Josep Carreras and Institut Catala d'Oncologia, Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona (A.O.), and Clinica Universidad de Navarra, Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Cáncer, Pamplona (J.S.-M.) - both in Spain; Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Nantes, Nantes (P.M.), and CHU de Lille, University of Lille, INSERM Unité 1286, Institute for Translational Research in Inflammation, Lille (I.Y.-A.) - both in France; University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (M.D.); "Seràgnoli" Institute of Hematology, Bologna University School of Medicine, Bologna (M.C.), the Department of Oncology and Hematology, University of Milan, Milan (A.R.), and Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo (A.R.) - all in Italy; University Hospital of Würzburg, Würzburg (H.E.), University Hospital Heidelberg (H.G.) and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (H.G.), Heidelberg, the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg (K.W.), and Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, Tübingen (K.W.) - all in Germany; and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto (D.R.).

Background: Idecabtagene vicleucel (ide-cel, also called bb2121), a B-cell maturation antigen-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, has shown clinical activity with expected CAR T-cell toxic effects in patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.

Methods: In this phase 2 study, we sought to confirm the efficacy and safety of ide-cel in patients with relapsed and refractory myeloma. Patients with disease after at least three previous regimens including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 antibody were enrolled. Patients received ide-cel target doses of 150 × 10 to 450 × 10 CAR-positive (CAR+) T cells. The primary end point was an overall response (partial response or better); a key secondary end point was a complete response or better (comprising complete and stringent complete responses).

Results: Of 140 patients enrolled, 128 received ide-cel. At a median follow-up of 13.3 months, 94 of 128 patients (73%) had a response, and 42 of 128 (33%) had a complete response or better. Minimal residual disease (MRD)-negative status (<10 nucleated cells) was confirmed in 33 patients, representing 26% of all 128 patients who were treated and 79% of the 42 patients who had a complete response or better. The median progression-free survival was 8.8 months (95% confidence interval, 5.6 to 11.6). Common toxic effects among the 128 treated patients included neutropenia in 117 patients (91%), anemia in 89 (70%), and thrombocytopenia in 81 (63%). Cytokine release syndrome was reported in 107 patients (84%), including 7 (5%) who had events of grade 3 or higher. Neurotoxic effects developed in 23 patients (18%) and were of grade 3 in 4 patients (3%); no neurotoxic effects higher than grade 3 occurred. Cellular kinetic analysis confirmed CAR+ T cells in 29 of 49 patients (59%) at 6 months and 4 of 11 patients (36%) at 12 months after infusion.

Conclusions: Ide-cel induced responses in a majority of heavily pretreated patients with refractory and relapsed myeloma; MRD-negative status was achieved in 26% of treated patients. Almost all patients had grade 3 or 4 toxic effects, most commonly hematologic toxic effects and cytokine release syndrome. (Funded by bluebird bio and Celgene, a Bristol-Myers Squibb company; KarMMa ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03361748.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2024850DOI Listing
February 2021

Addition of Rituximab in Reduced Intensity Conditioning Regimens for B-Cell Malignancies Does Not Influence Transplant Outcomes: EBMT Registry Analyses Following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation for B-Cell Malignancies.

Front Immunol 2020 2;11:613954. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Rituximab (R) is increasingly incorporated in reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) in patients with B-cell malignancies, not only to improve disease control, but also to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). There are no randomized prospective data to validate this practice, although single center data and the CIBMTR analysis have shown promising results. We aimed at validation of these findings in a large registry study. We conducted a retrospective analysis using the EBMT registry of 3,803 adult patients with B-cell malignancies undergoing alloHCT (2001-2013) with either rituximab (R-RIC-9%) or non-rituximab (RIC-91%) reduced intensity regimens respectively. Median age and median follow up were 55 years (range 19.1-77.3) and 43.2 months (range 0.3-179.8), respectively. There was no difference in transplant outcomes (R-RIC vs RIC), including 1-year overall survival (69.9% vs 70.7%), 1-year disease-free survival (64.4% vs 62.2%), 1-year non-relapse mortality (21% vs 22%), and day-100 incidence of acute GVHD 2-4° (12% vs 12%). In summary, we found that addition of rituximab in RIC regimens for B-cell malignancies had no significant impact on major transplant outcome variables. Of note, data on chronic GVHD was not available, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from the present study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.613954DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884746PMC
June 2021

Long-term follow-up of blinatumomab in patients with relapsed/refractory Philadelphia chromosome-positive B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: Final analysis of ALCANTARA study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 03 13;146:107-114. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research, City of Hope, Duarte, CA, United States.

Aim: To evaluate long-term durability of blinatumomab, a BiTE® (bispecific T-cell engager) molecule, in adults with relapsed/refractory (R/R) Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Methods: In this final analysis of an open-label, single-arm, phase 2, multicentre ALCANTARA study (NCT02000427), adults (age ≥18 years) with Ph+ ALL who had relapsed or were refractory to at least one TKI were included. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who achieved complete remission (CR)/CR with partial haematologic recovery (CRh) during the first two cycles of blinatumomab treatment.

Results: The final analysis included 45 patients who completed the study between 3rd January 2014 and 6th January 2017, of which 16 (35.6%; 95% CI, 21.9%-51.2%) achieved CR/CRh within the first two blinatumomab cycles. After a median follow-up of 16.1 months, median relapse-free survival (RFS) was 6.8 (95% CI, 4.4-not estimable [NE]) months. Median overall survival (OS) was 9.0 (95% CI, 5.7-13.5) months with a median follow-up of 25.1 months. Median OS in patients with CR (19.8 [95% CI, 12.1-NE] months) was greater than in those without CR (6.0 [95% CI, 2.9-7.1] months). Of 16 patients with CR/CRh, 14 achieved complete minimal residual disease (MRD) response; the median duration of complete MRD response was 9.7 (95% CI, 5.2-NE) months. Treatment-related adverse events were consistent with those previously reported.

Conclusion: Long-term durability of responses to blinatumomab was demonstrated in patients with R/R Ph+ ALL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.12.022DOI Listing
March 2021

Among classic myeloproliferative neoplasms, essential thrombocythemia is associated with the greatest risk of venous thromboembolism during COVID-19.

Blood Cancer J 2021 02 4;11(2):21. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Hospital Moncloa, Madrid, Spain.

In a multicenter European retrospective study including 162 patients with COVID-19 occurring in essential thrombocythemia (ET, n = 48), polycythemia vera (PV, n = 42), myelofibrosis (MF, n = 56), and prefibrotic myelofibrosis (pre-PMF, n = 16), 15 major thromboses (3 arterial and 12 venous) were registered in 14 patients, of whom all, but one, were receiving LMW-heparin prophylaxis. After adjustment for the competing risk of death, the cumulative incidence of arterial and venous thromboembolic events (VTE) reached 8.5% after 60 days follow-up. Of note, 8 of 12 VTE were seen in ET. Interestingly, at COVID-19 diagnosis, MPN patients had significantly lower platelet count (p < 0.0001) than in the pre-COVID last follow-up.This decline was remarkably higher in ET (-23.3%, p < 0.0001) than in PV (-16.4%, p = 0.1730) and was associated with higher mortality rate (p = 0.0010) for pneumonia. The effects of possible predictors of thrombosis, selected from those clinically relevant and statistically significant in univariate analysis, were examined in a multivariate model. Independent risk factors were transfer to ICU (SHR = 3.73, p = 0.029), neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (SHR = 1.1, p = 0.001) and ET phenotype (SHR = 4.37, p = 0.006). The enhanced susceptibility to ET-associated VTE and the associated higher mortality for pneumonia may recognize a common biological plausibility and deserve to be delved to tailor new antithrombotic regimens including antiplatelet drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41408-021-00417-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871138PMC
February 2021

Classification and Personalized Prognostic Assessment on the Basis of Clinical and Genomic Features in Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Apr 4;39(11):1223-1233. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: Recurrently mutated genes and chromosomal abnormalities have been identified in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We aim to integrate these genomic features into disease classification and prognostication.

Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 2,043 patients. Using Bayesian networks and Dirichlet processes, we combined mutations in 47 genes with cytogenetic abnormalities to identify genetic associations and subgroups. Random-effects Cox proportional hazards multistate modeling was used for developing prognostic models. An independent validation on 318 cases was performed.

Results: We identify eight MDS groups (clusters) according to specific genomic features. In five groups, dominant genomic features include splicing gene mutations (, , and ) that occur early in disease history, determine specific phenotypes, and drive disease evolution. These groups display different prognosis (groups with mutations being associated with better survival). Specific co-mutation patterns account for clinical heterogeneity within - and -related MDS. MDS with complex karyotype and/or gene abnormalities and MDS with acute leukemia-like mutations show poorest prognosis. MDS with 5q deletion are clustered into two distinct groups according to the number of mutated genes and/or presence of mutations. By integrating 63 clinical and genomic variables, we define a novel prognostic model that generates personally tailored predictions of survival. The predicted and observed outcomes correlate well in internal cross-validation and in an independent external cohort. This model substantially improves predictive accuracy of currently available prognostic tools. We have created a Web portal that allows outcome predictions to be generated for user-defined constellations of genomic and clinical features.

Conclusion: Genomic landscape in MDS reveals distinct subgroups associated with specific clinical features and discrete patterns of evolution, providing a proof of concept for next-generation disease classification and prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01659DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078359PMC
April 2021

CD123 Is Consistently Expressed on -Mutated AML Cells.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 28;13(3). Epub 2021 Jan 28.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Perugia, 06131 Perugia, Italy.

-mutated (mut) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) comprises about 30% of newly diagnosed AML in adults. Despite notable advances in the treatment of this frequent AML subtype, about 50% of mut AML patients treated with conventional treatment die due to disease progression. CD123 has been identified as potential target for immunotherapy in AML, and several anti-CD123 therapeutic approaches have been developed for AML resistant to conventional therapies. As this antigen has been previously reported to be expressed by mut cells, we performed a deep flow cytometry analysis of CD123 expression in a large cohort of mut and wild-type samples, examining the whole blastic population, as well as CD34CD38 leukemic cells. We demonstrate that CD123 is highly expressed on mut cells, with particularly high expression levels showed by CD34CD38 leukemic cells. Additionally, CD123 expression was further enhanced by mutations, which frequently co-occur with mutations. Our results identify -mutated and particularly double-mutated AML as disease subsets that may benefit from anti-CD123 targeted therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030496DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865228PMC
January 2021

Ropeginterferon alfa-2b versus phlebotomy in low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera (Low-PV study): a multicentre, randomised phase 2 trial.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Mar 18;8(3):e175-e184. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Unità Operativa di Ematologia e Trapianto Midollo Osseo, IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.

Background: There is no evidence that phlebotomy alone is sufficient to steadily maintain haematocrit on target level in low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera. This study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of ropeginterferon alfa-2b on top of the standard phlebotomy regimen with phlebotomy alone.

Methods: In 2017, we launched the Low-PV study, a multicentre, open-label, two-arm, parallel-group, investigator-initiated, phase 2 randomised trial with a group-sequential adaptive design. The study involved 21 haematological centres across Italy. Participants were recruited in a consecutive order. Participants enrolled in the study were patients, aged 18-60 years, with a diagnosis of polycythaemia vera according to 2008-16 WHO criteria. Eligible patients were randomly allocated (1:1) to receive either phlebotomy and low-dose aspirin (standard group) or ropeginterferon alfa-2b on top of the standard treatment (experimental group). Randomisation sequence was generated using five blocks of variable sizes proportional to elements of Pascal's triangle. Allocation was stratified by age and time from diagnosis. No masking was done. Patients randomly allocated to the standard group were treated with phlebotomy (300 mL for each phlebotomy to maintain the haematocrit values of lower than 45%) and low-dose aspirin (100 mg daily), if not contraindicated. Patients randomly allocated to the experimental group received ropeginterferon alfa-2b subcutaneously every 2 weeks in a fixed dose of 100 μg on top of the phlebotomy-only regimen. The primary endpoint was treatment response, defined as maintenance of the median haematocrit values of 45% or lower without progressive disease during a 12-month period. Analyses were done by intention-to-treat principle. The study was powered assuming a higher percentage of responders in the experimental group (75%) than in the standard group (50%). Here we report results from the second planned interim analysis when 50 patients had been recruited to each group. The trial is ongoing, and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03003325.

Findings: Between Feb 2, 2017, and March 13, 2020, 146 patients were screened, and 127 patients were randomly assigned to the standard group (n=63) or the experimental group (n=64). The median follow-up period was 12·1 months (IQR 12·0-12·6). For the second pre-planned interim analysis, a higher response rate in the experimental group was seen (42 [84%] of 50 patients) than in the standard group (30 [60%] of 50 patients; absolute difference 24%, 95% CI 7-41%, p=0·0075). The observed z value (2·6001) crossed the critical bound of efficacy (2·5262), and the stagewise adjusted p value early showed superiority of experimental treatment. Thus, the data safety monitoring board decided to stop patient accrual for overwhelming efficacy and to continue the follow-up, as per protocol, for 2 years. Under the safety profile, no statistically significant difference between groups in frequency of adverse events of grade 3 or higher was observed; the most frequently reported adverse events were neutropenia (four [8%] of 50 patients) in the experimental group and skin symptoms (two [4%] of 50 patients) in the standard group. No grade 4 or 5 adverse events occurred.

Interpretation: Supplementing phlebotomy with ropeginterferon alfa-2b seems to be safe and effective in steadily maintaining haematocrit values on target in low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera. Findings from the current study might have implications for changing the current management of low-risk patients with polycythaemia vera.

Funding: AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals, Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30373-2DOI Listing
March 2021

Convalescent hyperimmune plasma for chemo-immunotherapy induced immunodeficiency in COVID-19 patients with hematological malignancies.

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 06 18;62(6):1490-1496. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak, patients with defective immunity after chemo-immunotherapy due to hematological disorders showed prolonged symptoms and worse prognosis of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia, probably due to inadequate adaptive immune response and noneffective viral clearance. We describe a single-center series of hematological immunocompromised patients undergoing passive immunization with hyperimmune plasma for persistent COVID-19 symptoms. In all cases, such treatment was well tolerated and contributed to clinical and radiological improvement and recovery; viral clearance was also achieved in a patients' subset. Although requiring further investigation, these results suggest a specific role for hyperimmune plasma administration in hematological patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2021.1872070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7832449PMC
June 2021

Immunotherapy of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Lymphoma With T Cell-Redirected Bispecific Antibodies.

J Clin Oncol 2021 02 12;39(5):444-455. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078487PMC
February 2021

High mortality rate in COVID-19 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms after abrupt withdrawal of ruxolitinib.

Leukemia 2021 02 7;35(2):485-493. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Hospital Moncloa, Madrid, Spain.

We report the clinical presentation and risk factors for survival in 175 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and COVID-19, diagnosed between February and June 2020. After a median follow-up of 50 days, mortality was higher than in the general population and reached 48% in myelofibrosis (MF). Univariate analysis, showed a significant relationship between death and age, male gender, decreased lymphocyte counts, need for respiratory support, comorbidities and diagnosis of MF, while no association with essential thrombocythemia (ET), polycythemia vera (PV), and prefibrotic-PMF (pre-PMF) was found. Regarding MPN-directed therapy ongoing at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis, Ruxolitinib (Ruxo) was significantly more frequent in patients who died in comparison with survivors (p = 0.006). Conversely, multivariable analysis found no effect of Ruxo alone on mortality, but highlighted an increased risk of death in the 11 out of 45 patients who discontinued treatment. These findings were also confirmed in a propensity score matching analysis. In conclusion, we found a high risk of mortality during COVID-19 infection among MPN patients, especially in MF patients and/or discontinuing Ruxo at COVID-19 diagnosis. These findings call for deeper investigation on the role of Ruxo treatment and its interruption, in affecting mortality in MPN patients with COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-020-01107-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7789078PMC
February 2021

At the peak of COVID-19 age and disease severity but not comorbidities are predictors of mortality: COVID-19 burden in Bergamo, Italy.

Panminerva Med 2021 Mar 27;63(1):51-61. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Unit of Quality Management, ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

Background: Findings from February 2020, indicate that the clinical spectrum of COVID-19 can be heterogeneous, probably due to the infectious dose and viral load of SARS-CoV-2 within the first weeks of the outbreak. The aim of this study was to investigate predictors of overall 28-day mortality at the peak of the Italian outbreak.

Methods: Retrospective observational study of all COVID-19 patients admitted to the main hospital of Bergamo, from February 23 to March 14, 2020.

Results: Five hundred and eight patients were hospitalized, predominantly male (72.4%), mean age of 66±15 years; 49.2% were older than 70 years. Most of patients presented with severe respiratory failure (median value [IQR] of PaO2/FiO2: 233 [149-281]). Mortality rate at 28 days resulted of 33.7% (N.=171). Thirty-nine percent of patients were treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), 9.5% with noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and 13.6% with endotracheal intubation. 9.5% were admitted to Semi-Intensive Respiratory Care Unit, and 18.9% to Intensive Care Unit. Risk factors independently associated with 28-day mortality were advanced age (≥78 years: odds ratio [OR], 95% confidence interval [CI]: 38.91 [10.67-141.93], P<0.001; 70-77 years: 17.30 [5.40-55.38], P<0.001; 60-69 years: 3.20 [1.00-10.20], P=0.049), PaO2/FiO2<200 at presentation (3.50 [1.70-7.20], P=0.001), need for CPAP/NIV in the first 24 hours (8.38 [3.63-19.35], P<0.001), and blood urea value at admission (1.01 [1.00-1.02], P=0.015).

Conclusions: At the peak of the outbreak, with a probable high infectious dose and viral load, older age, the severity of respiratory failure and renal impairment at presentation, but not comorbidities, are predictors of 28-day mortality in COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0031-0808.20.04063-XDOI Listing
March 2021

Haploidentical related donor compared to HLA-identical donor transplantation for chemosensitive Hodgkin lymphoma patients.

BMC Cancer 2020 Nov 24;20(1):1140. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Hematology Department, Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Unit, Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille, France.

Background: Allogeneic stem cell transplantation from haploidentical donor using an unmanipulated graft and post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PT-Cy) is growing. Haploidentical transplantation with PT-Cy showed a major activity in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), reducing the relapse incidence. The most important predictive factor of survival and toxicity was disease status before transplantation, which was better in patients with well controlled disease.

Methods: We included 198 HL in complete (CR) or partial remission (PR) before transplantation. Sixty-five patients were transplanted from haploidentical donor and 133 from a HLA identical donor (both sibling and unrelated donors). Survival analysis was defined according to the EBMT criteria. Survival curves were generated by using Kaplan-Meier method and differences between groups were compared by the log rank test or by the log rank test for trend when appropriated.

Results: The PFS, OS, and RI were significantly better in patients in CR compared to PR (55% vs 29% p = 0.001, 74% vs 55% p = 0.03, 27% vs 55% p <  0.001, respectively). The 2-year PFS was significantly better for HAPLO than HLA-id (63% vs 37%, p = 0.03), without difference in OS. The 1-year NRM was not different. The 2-year relapse incidence (RI) was lower in the HAPLO group (24% vs 44%, p = 0.008). Patients in CR receiving haplo HSCT showed higher 2-year PFS and lower 2-year RI than those allografted with HLA-id donor (75% vs 47%, p <  0.001 and 11% vs 34%, p < 0.001, respectively). In multivariate analysis, donor type and disease status before transplantation were independent predictors of PFS as well as they predict the risk of relapse. Disease status at transplantation and age were independently associated to OS.

Conclusions: Nonetheless this is a retrospective study, limiting the wide applicability of results, data from this analysis suggest that HLA mismatch can induce a strong graft versus lymphoma effect leading to an enhanced PFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-020-07602-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7685618PMC
November 2020

Splenectomy before allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for myelofibrosis: Tumor burden matters!

Am J Hematol 2021 01;96(1):12-13

Department of Oncology-Hematology, University of Milan and Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.26054DOI Listing
January 2021
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