Publications by authors named "Alfonso Piciocchi"

90 Publications

ELN2017 risk stratification improves outcome prediction when applied to the prospective GIMEMA AML1310 protocol.

Blood Adv 2021 Nov 3. Epub 2021 Nov 3.

Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

The 2017 version of the ELN recommendations, by integrating cytogenetics and mutational status of specific genes, sort out patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia into 3 prognostically distinct risk categories: favorable (ELN2017-FR), intermediate (ELN2017-IR) and adverse (ELN2017-AR). We performed a post-hoc analysis of the GIMEMA AML1310 trial to investigate the applicability of the ELN2017 risk stratification to our study population. In this trial, after induction and consolidation, patients in complete remission were to receive autologous stem cell transplant (AuSCT) if categorized as favorable-risk or allogeneic stem cell transplant (ASCT) if adverse-risk. Intermediate-risk pts were to receive AuSCT or ASCT based on the post-consolidation levels of Measurable Residual Disease as measured by flow-cytometry. Risk categorization was originally conducted according to NCCN2009 recommendations. Among 500 patients, 445 (89%) were re-classified according to the ELN2017 criteria: ELN2017-FR (186/455; 41.8%), ELN2017-IR (179/445 40.2%) and ELN2017-AR (80/455; 18%); in 55 patients (11%) ELN2017 was not applicable (ELN2017-NC). Two-year overall survival (OS) was 68.8%, 51.3%, 45.8% and 42.8% for ELN2017-FR, ELN2017-IR, ELN2017-NC, and ELN2017-AR group, respectively (p<0.001). When comparing the two different transplant strategies in each ELN2017 risk category, a significant benefit of AuSCT over ASCT was observed among ELN2017-FR patients (2-years OS of 83.3% vs. 66.7%; p=0.0421). The two transplant procedures performed almost equally in the ELN2017-IR group (2-years OS of 73.9% vs. 70.8%; p=0.5552). This post-hoc analysis of the GIMEMA AML1310 trial, confirms that the ELN2017 classification is able to accurately discriminate patients with different outcomes and who may benefit from different transplant strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005717DOI Listing
November 2021

INCB84344-201: Ponatinib and steroids in frontline therapy of unfit patients with Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Blood Adv 2021 Oct 14. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

Incyte Corporation, Wilmington, Delaware, United States.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors have improved survival for patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). However, prognosis for old or unfit patients remains poor. In the INCB84344-201 (formerly GIMEMA LAL 1811) prospective, multicenter, phase 2 trial, we tested the efficacy and safety of ponatinib plus prednisone in newly diagnosed patients with Ph+ ALL aged ≥60 years, or unfit for intensive chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Forty-four patients received oral ponatinib 45 mg/day for 48 weeks (core phase), with prednisone tapered to 60 mg/m2/day from days -14 to 29. Prophylactic intrathecal chemotherapy was administered monthly. Median age was 66.5 years (range, 26-85). The primary endpoint (complete hematologic response [CHR] at 24 weeks) was reached in 38/44 patients (86.4%); complete molecular response (CMR) was reached in 18/44 patients (40.9%) at 24 weeks. 61.4% of patients completed the core phase. As of April 24, 2020, median event-free survival was 14.31 months (95% CI 9.30, 22.31). Median overall survival and duration of CHR were not reached; median duration of CMR was 11.6 months. Most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were rash (36.4%), asthenia (22.7%), alanine transaminase increased (15.9%), erythema (15.9%), and gamma-glutamyltransferase increased (15.9%). Cardiac and vascular TEAEs occurred in 29.5% (grade ≥3, 18.2%) and 27.3% (grade ≥3, 15.9%) of patients, respectively. Dose reductions/interruptions/discontinuations due to TEAEs occurred in 43.2%/43.2%/27.3% of patients; 5 patients had fatal TEAEs. Ponatinib and prednisone had efficacy in unfit patients with Ph+ ALL; however, a lower ponatinib dose may be more appropriate in this population. (This trial is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01641107).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004821DOI Listing
October 2021

Blastic plasmocitoid dendritic cell neoplasm with leukemic spread: a GIMEMA survey.

Blood Adv 2021 Oct 13. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Hematology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli - IRCCS, Rome, Italy, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005802DOI Listing
October 2021

Association of Polygenic Risk Score and Bacterial Toxins at Screening Colonoscopy with Colorectal Cancer Progression: A Multicenter Case-Control Study.

Toxins (Basel) 2021 08 16;13(8). Epub 2021 Aug 16.

Department of Cardiovascular, Endocrine-Metabolic Diseases and Ageing, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and its incidence is correlated with infections, chronic inflammation, diet, and genetic factors. An emerging aspect is that microbial dysbiosis and chronic infections triggered by certain bacteria can be risk factors for tumor progression. Recent data suggest that certain bacterial toxins implicated in DNA attack or in proliferation, replication, and death can be risk factors for insurgence and progression of CRC. In this study, we recruited more than 300 biopsy specimens from people undergoing colonoscopy, and we analyzed to determine whether a correlation exists between the presence of bacterial genes coding for toxins possibly involved in CRC onset and progression and the different stages of CRC. We also analyzed to determine whether CRC-predisposing genetic factors could contribute to bacterial toxins response. Our results showed that CIF toxin is associated with polyps or adenomas, whereas pks+ seems to be a predisposing factor for CRC. Toxins from as a whole have a higher incidence rate in adenocarcinoma patients compared to controls, whereas toxin does not seem to be associated with pre-cancerous nor with cancerous lesions. These results have been obtained irrespectively of the presence of CRC-risk loci.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080569DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8402601PMC
August 2021

Treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Iraq: a 17-year experience from a single center.

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 Aug 6:1-10. Epub 2021 Aug 6.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

We performed a retrospective analysis of 1415 acute lymphoblastic leukemia children diagnosed between January 2000 and December 2016 at Children Welfare Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq. Patients were divided into three cohorts according to treatment period (2000-2005; 2006-2011; 2012-2016). Treatments were based on modified-UKALL protocols; a steroid-pre-phase was introduced from September 2008. The overall complete remission was 86%, increased from 80% to 91% in the last period. Early deaths occurred in 10%, decreasing to 6%, overtime. Relapses were 23%; toxic deaths and abandonment 8% and 13%, respectively. At a median follow-up of 65.3 months, with abandonment considered as an event, the 5-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival were 62.2% and 46.3%, statistically influenced by treatment period (5-year OS 62.6%, 59.1%, 66.3%; =.057, respectively). Though pediatric ALL survival in Iraq is still below that observed in high income countries, survival rates progressively improved. Toxic deaths remain an important cause of failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2021.1961237DOI Listing
August 2021

AMELIORATE: early intensification in -mutated acute myeloid leukemia based on peripheral blast clearance - MYNERVA-GIMEMA AML1919 trial.

Future Oncol 2021 Oct 13;17(29):3787-3796. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

SOD Ematologia, AOU Careggi, Firenze 50134, Italy.

AMELIORATE is a Phase III, randomized trial aiming to personalize treatment intensity in -mutated acute myeloid leukemia. The current study provides an early appraisal of chemosensitivity based on peripheral blasts clearance, as assessed by multiparameter flow cytometry, from baseline to day 4 of induction. This biomarker was previously demonstrated to predict complete remission achievement and measurable residual disease status. For patients experiencing low peripheral blast cells (i.e., ≤2.0 logs), two major adjustments of treatment as compared with current standard of care are envisioned in the experimental arm: the immediate switch to intensified induction with high-doses cytarabine (1500 mg/m b.i.d. on days 5-7 of induction); and the early allocation of the patient to high-risk disease category, to be further refined later based on postinduction measurable residual disease status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2021-0388DOI Listing
October 2021

TH2/TH1 Shift Under Ibrutinib Treatment in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Front Oncol 2021 15;11:637186. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Ibrutinib may revert the T-helper (Th)2 polarization observed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) by targeting the IL-2-inducible kinase, that shows a significant homology with the Bruton tyrosine kinase. In the front-line GIMEMA LLC1114 trial (ibrutinib+rituximab for 6 months, followed by ibrutinib maintenance), we investigated the modulation of T-cell cytokine production in 208 peripheral blood paired samples from 71 CLL patients: 71 samples prior to treatment (Day 0, D0) and at day +14 (D14; n=50), at month +8 (M8; 30), +12 (M12; 25), +18 (M18; 22) and +24 (M24; 10) of treatment. We documented a progressive decrease of CD3+CD4+IL-4+ T cells (Th2), that was significant at M8 and at M12 (p=0.019, p=0.002), a relative increase in the CD3+CD4+IFNγ+ T cells (Th1) and a decrease of CD3+CD4+IL-17+ (Th17) cells that was maintained up to M18 (M8 D0 p=0.003, M12 D0 p=0.003, M18 D0 p=0.004) of ibrutinib treatment. The Th2/Th1 ratio significantly decreased already after 14 days of treatment and was maintained thereafter (D14 D0 p=0.037, M8 D0 p=0.001, M12 D0 p=0.005, M18 D0 p=0.002). The Th2/Th1 modulation over time was significant only among patients with unmutated IGHV. The Th2/Th1 ratio below a cut-off of 0.088 at M8 was associated with the achievement of a complete response (CR) (p=0.016). Ibrutinib may shape the CLL T-cell profile, limiting Th2 activation and inducing a shift in the Th2/Th1 ratio. The association between the Th2/Th1 ratio decrease and the CR achievement suggests the generation of a potential host anti-tumor immune activation induced by ibrutinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.637186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8082026PMC
April 2021

Use of Measurable Residual Disease to Evolve Transplant Policy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A 20-Year Monocentric Observation.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 3;13(5). Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University Tor Vergata of Roma, 00133 Rome, Italy.

Measurable residual disease (MRD) is increasingly employed as a biomarker of quality of complete remission (CR) in intensively treated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. We evaluated if a MRD-driven transplant policy improved outcome as compared to a policy solely relying on a familiar donor availability. High-risk patients (adverse karyotype, FLT3-ITD) received allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (alloHCT) whereas for intermediate and low risk ones (CBF-AML and NPM1-mutated), alloHCT or autologous SCT was delivered depending on the post-consolidation measurable residual disease (MRD) status, as assessed by flow cytometry. For comparison, we analyzed a matched historical cohort of patients in whom alloHCT was delivered based on the sole availability of a matched sibling donor. Ten-years overall and disease-free survival were longer in the MRD-driven cohort as compared to the historical cohort (47.7% vs. 28.7%, = 0.012 and 42.0% vs. 19.5%, = 0.0003). The favorable impact of this MRD-driven strategy was evident for the intermediate-risk category, particularly for MRD positive patients. In the low-risk category, the significantly lower CIR of the MRD-driven cohort did not translate into a survival advantage. In conclusion, a MRD-driven transplant allocation may play a better role than the one based on the simple donor availability. This approach determines a superior outcome of intermediate-risk patients whereat in low-risk ones a careful evaluation is needed for transplant allocation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13051083DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7959451PMC
March 2021

Efficacy of idelalisib and rituximab in relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated outside of clinical trials. A report of the Gimema Working Group.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Aug 26;39(3):326-335. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Medical Sciences, Hematology Section, University of Ferrara, Cona - Ferrara, Italy.

Because the efficacy of new drugs reported in trials may not translate into similar results when used in the real-life, we analyzed the efficacy of idelalisib and rituximab (IR) in 149 patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated at 34 GIMEMA centers. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival were 22.9 and 44.5 months, respectively; performance status (PS) ≥2 and ≥3 previous lines of therapy were associated with shorter PFS and overall survival (OS). 48% of patients were on treatment at 12 months; the experience of the centers (≥5 treated patients) and PS 0-1 were associated with a significantly longer treatment duration (p = 0.015 and p = 0.002, respectively). TP53 disruption had no prognostic significance. The overall response rate to subsequent treatment was 49.2%, with median OS of 15.5 months and not reached in patients who discontinued, respectively, for progression and for toxicity (p < 0.01). Treatment breaks ≥14 days were recorded in 96% of patients and adverse events mirrored those reported in trials. In conclusion, this real-life analysis showed that IR treatment duration was longer at experienced centers, that the ECOG PS and ≥3 lines of previous therapy are strong prognostic factor and that the overall outcome with this regimen was superimposable to that reported in a randomized trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2861DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8451799PMC
August 2021

A multicenter total therapy strategy for adult Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients: final results of the GIMEMA LAL1509 protocol.

Haematologica 2021 07 1;106(7):1828-1838. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University.

The GIMEMA LAL1509 protocol, designed for adult (≥18-60 years) de novo Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients, was based on a dasatinib plus steroids induction - with central nervous system prophylaxis - followed by dasatinib alone in patients in complete molecular response or chemotherapy and/or allogeneic transplantation in patients not reaching a complete molecular response. Sixty patients (median age 41.9 years) were enrolled: 33 were p190+, 18 p210+ and 9 p190/p210+. At the end of induction (day +85), 58 patients (97%) achieved a complete hematologic remission. No deaths in induction were recorded. Eleven patients (18.3%) obtained a complete molecular response. Among non-complete molecular responders (n=47), 22 underwent an allogeneic transplant. Seventeen hematologic relapses occurred (median 7 months, range 3-40.1), 13 during consolidation and 4 post-transplant. ABL1 mutations (5 T315I, 3 V299L, 1 E281K and 1 G254E) were found in 10/13 relapsed cases. With a median follow-up of 57.4 months (range: 4.2-75.6), overall survival and disease-free survival are 56.3% and 47.2%. A better diseasefree survival was observed in patients who obtained a molecular response at day +85 compared to cases who did not. The presence of additional copy number aberrations - IKZF1 plus CDKN2A/B and/or PAX5 deletions - was the most important unfavorable prognostic factor on overall and disease-free survival (p=0.005 and p=0.0008). This study shows that in adult Ph+ ALL long-term survivals can be achieved with a total-therapy strategy based on a chemo-free induction and, in complete molecular responders, also without further systemic chemotherapy. Finally, the screening of additional copy number aberrations should be included in the diagnostic work-up. EudraCT 2010-019119-39.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.260935DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8252956PMC
July 2021

Non-overt disseminated intravascular coagulopathy associated with the first obinutuzumab administration in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Aug 3;39(3):423-427. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Sezione di Ematologia, Dipartimento di Scienze Radiologiche ed Ematologiche, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Infusion-related reactions are among the worst complications of obinutuzumab (G) administration and occur predominantly during the first infusion. We reported another adverse event related to the first G infusion, a subclinical coagulopathy. We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 13 pts with chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated with a frontline G-chlorambucil regimen. Six pts developed non-overt disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) (46%) after the first administration of G. The coagulopathy was subclinical and self-limited in all pts, not requiring any intervention apart from the suspension of anticoagulant therapy in one pt. We observed a drop in the platelet count, an elevation of D-dimer levels, and an elongation of activated partial thromboplastin time. We found a significant difference in the platelet count between the pts with DIC and those withouts; in fact, all the six pts with non-overt DIC had a platelet count greater than 100 × 10 /L, while in the other group only one (p = 0.019). A trend towards a lower lymphocyte count and a higher CD20 expression was found in the pts with DIC. No other correlation between the DIC complication and the clinical or laboratory characteristics of the patients was found. The pathogenesis of the G-related non-overt DIC could be related to the consumption of the platelets after the lysis of lymphocytes, probably triggered by the damage associated molecular patterns. Despite its limitations, this study describes a new adverse event and identifies a specific subgroup of patients whose clinical management at the time of the infusion of G may need to be refined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2837DOI Listing
August 2021

Adolescent and young adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Final results of the phase II pediatric-like GIMEMA LAL-1308 trial.

Am J Hematol 2021 03 29;96(3):292-301. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) represent a unique patient population with specific characteristics and needs. Growing evidences suggest that pediatric-inspired approaches improve the outcome in AYA. These results prompted the design of a pediatric AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000-based regimen - the GIMEMA LAL-1308 protocol - for newly diagnosed AYA (range 18-35 years) with Philadelphia negative (Ph-) ALL. The protocol included minimal residual disease (MRD) analysis at two different time-points (TP), that is, at the end of induction IA and consolidation IB, and a modulation in post-consolidation intensity according to MRD. Seventy-six patients were eligible between September 2010 and October 2014. The regimen was well tolerated, with 2.7% induction deaths and no deaths in the post-consolidation phase. The complete response (CR) rate was 92%; the 48-month overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were 60.3% and 60.4%. Both OS and DFS were significantly better in T-ALL than B-ALL. A molecular MRD <10 at TP1 was associated with a significantly better OS and DFS (77% vs 39% and 71.9% vs 34.4%, respectively);similar results were documented at TP2 (OS and DFS 74.5% vs 30.6% and 71.5% vs 25.7%, respectively). The LAL-1308 results were compared to those from similar historic AYA populations undergoing the two previous GIMEMA LAL-2000 and LAL-0904 protocols. Both OS and DFS improved significantly compared to the two previous protocols. These results indicate that this pediatric-inspired and MRD-oriented protocol is feasible and effective for Ph- AYA ALL patients, and underline the prognostic value of MRD determinations at specific TPs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.26066DOI Listing
March 2021

Screening policies, preventive measures and in-hospital infection of COVID-19 in global surgical practices.

J Glob Health 2020 Dec;10(2):020507

Department of Surgery, Minimally Invasive Unit, Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy.

Background: In a surgical setting, COVID-19 patients may trigger in-hospital outbreaks and have worse postoperative outcomes. Despite these risks, there have been no consistent statements on surgical guidelines regarding the perioperative screening or management of COVID-19 patients, and we do not have objective global data that describe the current conditions surrounding this issue. This study aimed to clarify the current global surgical practice including COVID-19 screening, preventive measures and in-hospital infection under the COVID-19 pandemic, and to clarify the international gaps on infection control policies among countries worldwide.

Methods: During April 2-8, 2020, a cross-sectional online survey on surgical practice was distributed to surgeons worldwide through international surgical societies, social media and personal contacts. Main outcome and measures included preventive measures and screening policies of COVID-19 in surgical practice and centers' experiences of in-hospital COVID-19 infection. Data were analyzed by country's cumulative deaths number by April 8, 2020 (high risk, >5000; intermediate risk, 100-5000; low risk, <100).

Results: A total of 936 centers in 71 countries responded to the survey (high risk, 330 centers; intermediate risk, 242 centers; low risk, 364 centers). In the majority (71.9%) of the centers, local guidelines recommended preoperative testing based on symptoms or suspicious radiologic findings. Universal testing for every surgical patient was recommended in only 18.4% of the centers. In-hospital COVID-19 infection was reported from 31.5% of the centers, with higher rates in higher risk countries (high risk, 53.6%; intermediate risk, 26.4%; low risk, 14.8%;  < 0.001). Of the 295 centers that experienced in-hospital COVID-19 infection, 122 (41.4%) failed to trace it and 58 (19.7%) reported the infection originating from asymptomatic patients/staff members. Higher risk countries adopted more preventive measures including universal testing, routine testing of hospital staff and use of dedicated personal protective equipment in operation theatres, but there were remarkable discrepancies across the countries.

Conclusions: This large international survey captured the global surgical practice under the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the insufficient preoperative screening of COVID-19 in the current surgical practice. More intensive screening programs will be necessary particularly in severely affected countries/institutions.

Study Registration: Registered in ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04344197.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.020507DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567431PMC
December 2020

Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) expression is associated with FLT3-ITD mutations in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Leuk Res 2020 12 15;99:106462. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; Santa Lucia Foundation, I.R.C.C.S., Neuro-Oncohematology, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) is a DNA polymerase expressed in acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs), where it may be involved in the generation of NPM1 and FLT3-ITD mutations. We studied the correlations between TdT expression and FLT3-ITD or NPM1 mutations in primary AML samples, and the impact on patients' survival. TdT expression was analyzed in 143 adult AML patients by flow cytometry as percentage of positivity and mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) on blasts. TdT was positive in 49 samples (34.2%), with a median of 48% TdT-positivity (range 7-98) and a median MFI of 2.70 (range 1.23-30.54). FLT3-ITD and NPM1 mutations were present in 24 (16.7%) and 34 (23.7%) cases, respectively. Median TdT expression on blasts was significantly higher in FLT3-ITD+, as compared with FLT3-ITD- AMLs (median 8% vs 0% respectively, p = 0.035). NPM1 mutational status, FLT3-ITD allelic ratio, karyotype, and ELN risk groups, did not correlate with TdT expression or MFI on blasts. TdT + patients had poorer survival as compared to TdT-, but this result was not confirmed by the multivariable analysis, where ELN risk stratification as well as age and type of treatment remained independent prognostic factors for OS. In summary, our results support the possible implication of TdT enzyme in the generation of FLT3-ITD mutations in AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2020.106462DOI Listing
December 2020

Dasatinib-Blinatumomab for Ph-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Adults.

N Engl J Med 2020 10;383(17):1613-1623

From the Division of Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome (R.F., A.V., L.E., M.-C.P., M.C., M.-S.D.P., M.V., S.C.), Gruppo Italiano Malattie Ematologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA) Data Center, Fondazione GIMEMA Franco Mandelli Onlus (A.P., M.V.), and the Department of Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome (A.G.), Rome, the Hematology Unit, Ospedale dell'Angelo and Ospedale SS Giovanni e Paolo, Venice (R.B., P.V., A.M.), the Division of Hematology, Cardarelli Hospital, Naples (F. Ferrara), the Division of Hematology, Department of Translational Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont, Novara (M.L.), Division of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Ospedali Riuniti Villa Sofia Cervello, Palermo (F. Fabbiano), the Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology, University of Verona, Verona (M.B.), Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano, Università degli Studi di Milano (N.F.), and the Department of Oncology-Hematology, University of Milan (A.R.), Milan, the Department of Hematology, Ospedale Civile, Pescara (P.D.B.), and Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo (A.R.) - all in Italy.

Background: Outcomes in patients with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have improved with the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Molecular remission is a primary goal of treatment.

Methods: We conducted a phase 2 single-group trial of first-line therapy in adults with newly diagnosed Ph-positive ALL (with no upper age limit). Dasatinib plus glucocorticoids were administered, followed by two cycles of blinatumomab. The primary end point was a sustained molecular response in the bone marrow after this treatment.

Results: Of the 63 patients (median age, 54 years; range, 24 to 82) who were enrolled, a complete remission was observed in 98%. At the end of dasatinib induction therapy (day 85), 29% of the patients had a molecular response, and this percentage increased to 60% after two cycles of blinatumomab; the percentage of patients with a molecular response increased further after additional blinatumomab cycles. At a median follow-up of 18 months, overall survival was 95% and disease-free survival was 88%; disease-free survival was lower among patients who had an deletion plus additional genetic aberrations ( or , , or both [i.e., ]). mutations were detected in 6 patients who had increased minimal residual disease during induction therapy, and all these mutations were cleared by blinatumomab. Six relapses occurred. Overall, 21 adverse events of grade 3 or higher were recorded. A total of 24 patients received a stem-cell allograft, and 1 death was related to transplantation (4%).

Conclusions: A chemotherapy-free induction and consolidation first-line treatment with dasatinib and blinatumomab that was based on a targeted and immunotherapeutic strategy was associated with high incidences of molecular response and survival and few toxic effects of grade 3 or higher in adults with Ph-positive ALL. (Funded by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro and others; GIMEMA LAL2116 D-ALBA EudraCT number, 2016-001083-11; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02744768.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2016272DOI Listing
October 2020

Midostaurin in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and FLT3-TKD mutations: a subanalysis from the RATIFY trial.

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(19):4945-4954

Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus der TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany; and.

The results from the RATIFY trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00651261; CALGB 10603) showed that midostaurin combined with standard chemotherapy significantly improved outcomes in patients with FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3)-mutated acute myeloid leukemia (AML), compared with placebo. In this post hoc subgroup analysis from the trial, we evaluated the impact of midostaurin in 163 patients with FLT3-tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) mutations. At a median follow-up of 60.7 months (95% CI, 55.0-70.8), the 5-year event-free survival (EFS) rate was significantly higher in patients treated with midostaurin than in those treated with placebo (45.2% vs 30.1%; P = .044). A trend toward improved disease-free survival was also observed with midostaurin (67.3% vs 53.4%; P = .089), whereas overall survival (OS) was similar in the 2 groups. Patients with AML and NPM1mut/FLT3-TKDmut or core binding factor (CBF)-rearranged/FLT3-TKDmut genotypes had significantly prolonged OS with or without censoring at hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), compared with NPM1WT/CBF-negative AMLs. The multivariable model for OS and EFS adjusted for allogeneic HCT in first complete remission as a time-dependent covariable, revealed NPM1 mutations and CBF rearrangements as significant favorable factors. These data show that NPM1 mutations or CBF rearrangements identify favorable prognostic groups in patients with FLT3-TKD AMLs, independent of other factors, also in the context of midostaurin treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002904DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556122PMC
October 2020

Efficacy of bendamustine and rituximab in unfit patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Indirect comparison with ibrutinib in a real-world setting. A GIMEMA-ERIC and US study.

Cancer Med 2020 11 24;9(22):8468-8479. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Hematology, Niguarda Cancer Center, ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy.

Limited information is available on the efficacy of front-line bendamustine and rituximab (BR) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with reduced renal function or coexisting conditions. We therefore analyzed a cohort of real-world patients and performed a matched adjusted indirect comparison with a cohort of patients treated with ibrutinib. One hundred and fifty-seven patients with creatinine clearance (CrCl) <70 mL/min and/or CIRS score >6 were treated with BR. The median age was 72 years; 69% of patients had ≥2 comorbidities and the median CrCl was 59.8 mL/min. 17.6% of patients carried TP53 disruption. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 45 months; TP53 disruption was associated with a shorter PFS (P = 0.05). The overall survival (OS) at 12, 24, and 36 months was 96.2%, 90.1%, and 79.5%, respectively. TP53 disruption was associated with an increased risk of death (P = 0.01). Data on 162 patients ≥65 years treated with ibrutinib were analyzed and compared with 165 patients ≥65 years treated with BR. Factors predicting for a longer PFS at multivariable analysis in the total patient population treated with BR and ibrutinib were age (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.10, P < 0.01) and treatment with ibrutinib (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.33-0.93, P = 0.03). In a post hoc analysis of patients in advanced stage, a significant PFS advantage was observed in patient who had received ibrutinib (P = 0.03), who showed a trend for OS advantage (P = 0.08). We arrived at the following conclusions: (a) BR is a relatively effective first-line regimen in a real-world population of unfit patients without TP53 disruption, (b) ibrutinib provided longer disease control than BR in patients with advanced disease stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3470DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666748PMC
November 2020

Early intracranial haemorrhages in acute promyelocytic leukaemia: analysis of neuroradiological and clinico-biological parameters.

Br J Haematol 2021 04 10;193(1):129-132. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) represents a modern success of precision medicine. However, fatalities occurring within the first 30 days of induction treatment, in particular intracranial haemorrhage (ICH), remain the main causes of death. We studied the clinico-biological characteristics of 13 patients with APL who experienced ICH. Compared to 85 patients without this complication, patients with ICH were older and more frequently had high-risk APL. Moreover, positivity for the 'swirl' sign at neuroradiological imaging and hydrocephalus were predictors of a fatal outcome, together with lower fibrinogen, prolonged international normalized ratio (INR) and higher lactate dehydrogenase levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17018DOI Listing
April 2021

Philadelphia-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia is associated with minimal residual disease persistence and poor outcome. First report of the minimal residual disease-oriented GIMEMA LAL1913.

Haematologica 2021 06 1;106(6):1559-1568. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

GIMEMA Data Center, Fondazione GIMEMA Franco Mandelli Onlus, Rome, Italy.

Early recognition of Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia cases could impact on the management and outcome of this subset of B-lineage ALL. To assess the prognostic value of the Ph-like status in a pediatric-inspired, minimal residual disease (MRD)-driven trial, we screened 88 B-lineage ALL cases negative for the major fusion genes (BCR-ABL1, ETV6-RUNX1, TCF3-PBX1 and KTM2Ar) enrolled in the GIMEMA LAL1913 front-line protocol for adult BCR/ABL1-negative ALL. The screening - performed using the BCR/ABL1-like predictor - identified 28 Ph-like cases (31.8%), characterized by CRLF2 overexpression (35.7%), JAK/STAT pathway mutations (33.3%), IKZF1 (63.6%), BTG1 (50%) and EBF1 (27.3%) deletions, and rearrangements targeting tyrosine kinases or CRLF2 (40%). The correlation with outcome highlighted that: i) the complete remission (CR) rate was significantly lower in Ph-like compared to non-Ph-like cases (74.1% vs 91.5%, p=0.044); ii) at time point 2 (TP2), decisional for transplant allocation, 52.9% of Ph-like cases vs 20% of non-Ph-like were MRD-positive (p=0.025); iii) the Ph-like profile was the only parameter associated with a higher risk of being MRD-positive at TP2 (p=0.014); iv) at 24 months, Ph-like patients had a significantly inferior event-free and disease-free survival compared to non-Ph-like patients (33.5% vs 66.2%, p=0.005 and 45.5% vs 72.3%, p=0.062, respectively). This study documents that Ph-like patients have a lower CR rate, EFS and DFS, as well as a greater MRD persistence also in a pediatric-oriented and MRD-driven adult ALL protocol, thus reinforcing that the early recognition of Ph-like ALL patients at diagnosis is crucial to refine risk-stratification and to optimize therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.247973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168510PMC
June 2021

Redefining the prognostic likelihood of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients with borderline percentage of immunoglobulin variable heavy chain region mutations.

Br J Haematol 2020 06 16;189(5):853-859. Epub 2020 Feb 16.

Haematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

In chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), caution is warranted regarding the clinical implications of immunoglobulin variable heavy chain region (IGHV) rearrangements with a 'borderline' (BL) percentage of mutations (i.e. 97-97·9% IGHV identity). We analysed the IGHV mutational status in 759 untreated CLL patients (cohort 1). BL-CLL (n = 36, 5%) showed a time to first treatment (TFT) similar to that of M-CLL (n = 338) and significantly longer than that of UM-CLL (n = 385), despite the enrichment in subset #2 cases. In fact, CLLs belonging to subset #2 (n = 15/759, 2%) were significantly more frequent among BL-CLLs (n = 5/36, 14%), with a brief TFT. TFT of BL-CLL remained comparable to that of M-CLL also considering the 327 CLL patients evaluated at diagnosis. These findings were then validated in an independent cohort 2 of 759 newly diagnosed CLL patients (BL-CLL: n = 11, 1·4%) and in all newly diagnosed patients from cohorts 1 and 2 (n = 1 086, 84% stage A; BL-CLL: n = 47, 4·3%). BL-CLL at diagnosis showed a biological profile comparable to that of M-CLL with a low frequency of unfavourable prognostic markers, except for a significant enrichment in subset #2. Our data suggest that the prognosis of BL-CLL is good and similar to that of M-CLL, with the exception of subset #2 cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16434DOI Listing
June 2020

Clinical significance of occult central nervous system disease in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. A multicenter report from the Campus ALL Network.

Haematologica 2021 01 1;106(1):39-45. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare, Universita' Sapienza, Roma.

In acute lymphoblastic leukemia, flow cytometry detects more accurately leukemic cells in patients' cerebrospinal fluid compared to conventional cytology. However, the clinical significance of flow cytometry positivity with a negative cytology - occult central nervous system disease - is not clear. In the framework of the national Campus ALL program, we retrospectively evaluated the incidence of occult central nervous system disease and its impact on outcome in 240 adult patients with newly diagnosed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. All cerebrospinal fluid samples were investigated by conventional cytology and flow cytometry. The presence of ≥10 phenotypically abnormal events, forming a cluster, was considered as flow cytometry positivity. No central nervous system involvement was documented in 179 patients, while 18 were positive by conventional morphology and 43 were occult central nervous system disease positive. The relapse rate was significantly lower in central nervous system disease negative patients and the disease-free and overall survival were significantly longer in central nervous system disease negative patients than in those with manifest or occult central nervous system disease positive. In multivariate analysis, the status of manifest and occult central nervous system disease positivity was independently associated with a worse overall survival. In conclusion, we demonstrate that in adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients at diagnosis flow cytometry can detect occult central nervous system disease at high sensitivity and that the status of occult central nervous system disease positivity is associated with an adverse outcome. (Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03803670).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.231704DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7776237PMC
January 2021
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