Publications by authors named "Alicia Rovò"

72 Publications

When Should We Think of Myelodysplasia or Bone Marrow Failure in a Thrombocytopenic Patient? A Practical Approach to Diagnosis.

J Clin Med 2021 Mar 2;10(5). Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital Bern, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.

Thrombocytopenia can arise from various conditions, including myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and bone marrow failure (BMF) syndromes. Meticulous assessment of the peripheral blood smear, identification of accompanying clinical conditions, and characterization of the clinical course are important for initial assessment of unexplained thrombocytopenia. Increased awareness is required to identify patients with suspected MDS or BMF, who are in need of further investigations by a step-wise approach. Bone marrow cytomorphology, histopathology, and cytogenetics are complemented by myeloid next-generation sequencing (NGS) panels. Such panels are helpful to distinguish reactive cytopenia from clonal conditions. MDS are caused by mutations in the hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, characterized by cytopenia and dysplasia, and an inherent risk of leukemic progression. Aplastic anemia (AA), the most frequent acquired BMF, is immunologically driven and characterized by an empty bone marrow. Diagnosis remains challenging due to overlaps with other hematological disorders. Congenital BMF, certainly rare in adulthood, can present atypically with thrombocytopenia and can be misdiagnosed. Analyses for chromosome fragility, telomere length, and germline gene sequencing are needed. Interdisciplinary expert teams contribute to diagnosis, prognostication, and choice of therapy for patients with suspected MDS and BMF. With this review we aim to increase the awareness and provide practical approaches for diagnosis of these conditions in suspicious cases presenting with thrombocytopenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10051026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958851PMC
March 2021

The rare hemoglobin variant Hb Mizuho: report of a Swiss family and literature review.

Ann Hematol 2021 Feb 15. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, 3010, Bern, Switzerland.

Hb Mizuho is a very rare unstable hemoglobin; here, we describe the clinical history of three Swiss family members with Hb Mizuho together with a systematic review of the previously six published cases. The clinical history of the adult woman we report here is unique since this is the first Hb Mizuho presenting with Moyamoya complications and the first case reported with long-term erythrocyte exchange. The literature review showed that Hb Mizuho was mainly reported as a de novo mutation, with the exception of children descended from known cases. All published patients with this unstable hemoglobin showed severe hemolytic anemia with the exception of one; all were regularly transfused. Patients with higher HbF levels might require fewer transfusions. All patients underwent splenectomy at a median age of 4 years and had variable clinical improvement; some achieved complete resolution of transfusion dependency after splenectomy. Iron overload in Hb Mizuho patients seems to be mainly attributed to transfusions and has less to do with ineffective erythropoiesis. Diagnosis might be challenging; a normal hemoglobin electrophoresis should not rule out the diagnosis of unstable hemoglobin in patients with otherwise unexplained hemolytic anemia. This series shows the enormous utility of using molecular techniques for diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04458-3DOI Listing
February 2021

Acquired hemophilia A and plasma cell neoplasms: a case report and review of the literature.

J Med Case Rep 2020 Oct 30;14(1):206. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Hematology and Central Hematology Laboratory, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, CH-3010, Bern, Switzerland.

Background: Acquired hemophilia A is a rare autoimmune disease with clinically often significant bleeding diathesis resulting from circulating autoantibodies inhibiting coagulation factor VIII. Half of acquired hemophilia A cases are associated with an underlying disorder, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, or use of certain drugs, or occur during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. In the other half, no underlying cause is identified. An association of acquired hemophilia A with plasma cell neoplasm seems to be extremely rare.

Case Presentation: We describe a case of a 77-year-old Swiss Caucasian man who was diagnosed with acquired hemophilia A and smoldering multiple myeloma as an underlying cause. Acquired hemophilia A was treated with prednisolone, cyclophosphamide, and immunoadsorption. Extensive workup revealed a plasma cell neoplasm as the only disorder associated with or underlying the acquired hemophilia A. For long-term control of acquired hemophilia A, we considered treatment of the plasma cell neoplasm necessary, and a VRD (bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone) regimen was initiated. Due to multiple complications, VRD was reduced to VRD-lite after two cycles. After nine cycles of induction therapy and five cycles of consolidation therapy, the patient is in complete remission of his acquired hemophilia A and very good partial remission of the plasma cell neoplasm. We conducted a literature review to identify additional cases of this rare association and identified 15 other cases. Case descriptions, including the sequence of occurrence of acquired hemophilia A and plasma cell neoplasm , treatment, evolution, and outcome are presented.

Discussion And Conclusions: Our case, together with 15 other cases described in the literature, underscore the possibility of plasma cell neoplasm as an underlying cause of acquired hemophilia A. Physicians should consider including protein electrophoresis, immunofixation, and analysis of free light chains in laboratory diagnostics when treating a patient with acquired hemophilia A. The occurrence of excessive and unexplained bleeding in patients diagnosed with plasma cell neoplasm should raise suspicion of secondary acquired hemophilia A and trigger the request for coagulation tests, particularly in patients treated with immunomodulatory drugs such as thalidomide or lenalidomide. Additionally, early intervention with immunoadsorption can be lifesaving in cases with high-titer factor VIII inhibitors, especially when surgical interventions are necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13256-020-02505-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596986PMC
October 2020

Late effects after ablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation for adolescent and young adult acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood Adv 2020 03;4(6):983-992

Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

There is marked paucity of data regarding late effects in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) who undergo myeloablative conditioning (MAC) allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We evaluated late effects and survival in 826 1-year disease-free survivors of MAC HCT for AYA AML, with an additional focus on comparing late effects based upon MAC type (total body irradiation [TBI] vs high-dose chemotherapy only). The estimated 10-year cumulative incidence of subsequent neoplasms was 4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2%-6%); 10-year cumulative incidence of nonmalignant late effects included gonadal dysfunction (10%; 95% CI, 8%-13%), cataracts (10%; 95% CI, 7%-13%), avascular necrosis (8%; 95% CI, 5%-10%), diabetes mellitus (5%; 95% CI, 3%-7%), and hypothyroidism (3%; 95% CI, 2%-5%). Receipt of TBI was independently associated with a higher risk of cataracts only (hazard ratio [HR], 4.98; P < .0001) whereas chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) was associated with an increased risk of cataracts (HR, 3.22; P = .0006), avascular necrosis (HR, 2.49; P = .006), and diabetes mellitus (HR, 3.36; P = .03). Estimated 10-year overall survival and leukemia-free survival were 73% and 70%, respectively, and did not differ on the basis of conditioning type. In conclusion, late effects among survivors of MAC HCT for AYA AML are frequent and are more closely linked to cGVHD than type of conditioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7094022PMC
March 2020

Hepatic sinusoidal hemophagocytosis with and without hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

PLoS One 2019 30;14(12):e0226899. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Hepatology, University Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Inselspital, DBMR, University of Bern, Berne, Switzerland.

Background/purpose: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare, life threatening hyperinflammatory syndrome. Sinusoidal hemophagocytosis is occasionally observed on liver biopsy in patients who do not have clinical suspicion of HLH. We aimed at comparing the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with signs of hemophagocytosis on liver biopsy meeting and not meeting the HLH diagnostic criteria.

Methods: We reviewed the clinical, laboratory features and outcomes of all adult patients consecutively admitted in our center between 08/2011 and 08/2017 presenting with liver histology showing sinusoidal hemophagocytosis and of critically ill patients presenting with severe liver disease in whom hemophagocytosis was histologically confirmed. The characteristics of patients fulfilling and not fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of HLH were compared.

Results: We identified 12 cases (58% male, median age 61, 75% with a chronic underlying disease) with liver histology showing sinusoidal hemophagocytosis. All had at least some of the clinical features typically associated with HLH. Six were critical ill patients. In 4 cases with insufficient laboratory and clinical criteria, liver biopsy allowed to confirm the HLH diagnosis. Six patients died, of which four met the diagnostic criteria for HLH. Two patients with chronic liver disease died despite not fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of HLH.

Conclusion: Hemophagocytosis on liver biopsy may contribute to confirming a diagnosis of HLH in suspected cases with indeterminate clinical and laboratory findings. Sinusoidal hemophagocytosis in patients with cirrhosis was associated with bad outcome.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226899PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6936840PMC
April 2020

Long-term outcome of a randomized controlled study in patients with newly diagnosed severe aplastic anemia treated with antithymocyte globulin and cyclosporine, with or without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor: a Severe Aplastic Anemia Working Party Trial from the European Group of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Haematologica 2020 05 3;105(5):1223-1231. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Hemato-Onco-SCT Pole, Hematology Unit. G. Gaslini Children's Research Hospital, Genova, Italy.

This follow-up study of a randomized, prospective trial included 192 patients with newly diagnosed severe aplastic anemia receiving antithymoglobulin and cyclosporine, with or without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). We aimed to evaluate the long-term effect of G-CSF on overall survival, event-free survival, probability of secondary myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML), clinical paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, relapse, avascular osteonecrosis and chronic kidney disease. The median follow-up was 11.7 years (95% CI, 10.9-12.5). The overall survival rate at 15 years was 57±12% in the group given G-CSF and 63±12% in the group not given G-CSF (=0.92); the corresponding event-free survival rates were 24±10% and 23±10%, respectively (=0.36). In total, 9 patients developed MDS or AML, 10 only a clonal cytogenetic abnormality, 7 a solid cancer, 18 clinical paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, 8 osteonecrosis, and 12 chronic kidney disease, without any difference between patients treated with or without G-CSF. The cumulative incidence of MDS, AML or isolated cytogenetic abnormality at 15 years was 8.5±3% for the G-CSF group and 8.2±3% for the non-G-CSF group (=0.90). The cumulative incidence of any late event including myelodysplastic syndrome or acute myeloid leukemia, isolated cytogenetic abnormalities, solid cancer, clinical paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, aseptic osteonecrosis, chronic kidney disease and relapse was 50±12% for the G-CSF group and 49±12% for the non-G-CSF group (=0.65). Our results demonstrate that it is unlikely that G-CSF has an impact on the outcome of severe aplastic anemia; nevertheless, very late events are common and eventually affect the prognosis of these patients, irrespectively of their age at the time of immunosuppressive therapy (NCT01163942).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.222562DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7193468PMC
May 2020

Use of eltrombopag in aplastic anemia in Europe.

Ann Hematol 2019 Jun 26;98(6):1341-1350. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Department of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

Eltrombopag (ELT), an oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist, has recently emerged as a promising new drug for the treatment of aplastic anemia (AA). How ELT is used outside of clinical trials in the real-world setting and results of this treatment are not known. We conducted therefore a retrospective survey on the use of ELT in AA among EBMT member centers. We analyzed the 134 patients reported in our survey together with 46 patients recently published by Lengline et al. The median follow-up from start of ELT treatment was 15.3 months, with 85.6% patients alive at last follow-up. Importantly, only 28.9% of our patients received ELT according to the FDA/EMA label as monotherapy in the relapsed/refractory setting, whereas 16.7% received ELT upfront. The overall response rate in our cohort was 62%, very similar to the results of the pivotal ELT trial. In multivariate analysis, combination therapy with ELT/cyclosporine/ATG and response to previous therapy were associated with response. Overall survival was favorable with a 1-year survival from ELT start of 87.4%. We identified age, AA severity before ELT start and response to ELT as variables significantly associated with OS. Two patients transformed to MDS; other adverse events were mostly benign. In sum, ELT is used widely in Europe to treat AA patients, mostly in the relapsed/refractory setting. Response to ELT is similar to the clinical trial data across different age groups, treatment lines, and treatment combinations and results in favorable survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-019-03652-8DOI Listing
June 2019

Non-GVHD ocular complications after hematopoietic cell transplantation: expert review from the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the CIBMTR and Transplant Complications Working Party of the EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2019 05 27;54(5):648-661. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Department of Ophthalmology, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Madrid, Spain.

Non-graft-vs.-host disease (non-GVHD) ocular complications are generally uncommon after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), but can cause prolonged morbidity affecting activities of daily living and quality of life. Here we provide an expert review of non-GVHD ocular complications in a collaboration between transplant physicians and ophthalmologists through the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Complications discussed in this review include cataracts, glaucoma, ocular infections, ocular involvement with malignancy, ischemic microvascular retinopathy, central retinal vein occlusion, retinal hemorrhage, retinal detachment, and ocular toxicities associated with medications. We have summarized incidence, risk factors, screening, prevention and treatment of individual complicastions and generated evidence-based recommendations. Baseline ocular evaluation before HCT should be considered in all patients who undergo HCT. Follow-up evaluations should be considered according to clinical symptoms, signs and risk factors. Better preventive strategies and treatments remain to be investigated for individual ocular complications after HCT. Both transplant physicians and ophthalmologists should be knowledgeable of non-GVHD ocular complications and provide comprehensive collaborative team care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-018-0339-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6497536PMC
May 2019

Ocular graft-versus-host disease after hematopoietic cell transplantation: Expert review from the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the CIBMTR and Transplant Complications Working Party of the EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2019 05 7;54(5):662-673. Epub 2018 Dec 7.

Department of Ophthalmology, University Clinical Hospital Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurs in more than half of patients who develop chronic GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), causing prolonged morbidity, which affects activities of daily living and quality of life. Here we provide an expert review of ocular GVHD in a collaboration between transplant physicians and ophthalmologists through the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Recent updates in ocular GVHD, regarding pathophysiology, preclinical models, risk factors, prevention, screening, diagnosis, response criteria, evaluation measures, and treatment are discussed in this review. Ocular GVHD has at least three biological processes: lacrimal gland dysfunction, meibomian gland dysfunction, and corneoconjunctival inflammation. Preclinical models have found several novel pathogenic mechanisms, including renin angiotensin system and endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling that can be targeted by therapeutic agents. Many studies have identified reliable tests for establishing diagnosis and response assessment of ocular GVHD. Efficacy of systemic and topical treatment for ocular GVHD is summarized. It is important for all health professionals taking care of HCT recipients to have adequate knowledge of ocular GVHD for optimal care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-018-0340-0DOI Listing
May 2019

Non-Graft-versus-Host Disease Ocular Complications after Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Expert Review from the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 05 3;25(5):e145-e154. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

Department of Ophthalmology, Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.

Non-graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) ocular complications are generally uncommon after hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) but can cause prolonged morbidity affecting activities of daily living and quality of life. Here we provide an expert review of non-GVHD ocular complications in a collaboration between transplantation physicians and ophthalmologists through the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Complications discussed in this review include cataracts, glaucoma, ocular infections, ocular involvement with malignancy, ischemic microvascular retinopathy, central retinal vein occlusion, retinal hemorrhage, retinal detachment and ocular toxicities associated with medications. We summarize the incidence, risk factors, screening, prevention, and treatment of individual complications and generate evidence-based recommendations. Baseline ocular evaluation before HCT should be considered in all patients who undergo HCT. Follow-up evaluations should be considered according to clinical signs and symptoms and risk factors. Better preventive strategies and treatments remain to be investigated for individual ocular complications after HCT. Both transplantation physicians and ophthalmologists should be knowledgeable about non-GVHD ocular complications and provide comprehensive collaborative team care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2018.11.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511311PMC
May 2019

Ocular Graft-versus-Host Disease after Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Expert Review from the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 02 24;25(2):e46-e54. Epub 2018 Nov 24.

Department of Ophthalmology, University Clinical Hospital Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Ocular graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) occurs in more than one-half of patients who develop chronic GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), causing prolonged morbidity that affects activities of daily living and quality of life. Here we provide an expert review of ocular GVHD in a collaboration between transplantation physicians and ophthalmologists through the Late Effects and Quality of Life Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research and the Transplant Complications Working Party of the European Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Recent updates in ocular GVHD regarding pathophysiology, preclinical models, risk factors, prevention, screening, diagnosis, response criteria, evaluation measures, and treatment are discussed. Ocular GVHD involves at least 3 biological processes: lacrimal gland dysfunction, meibomian gland dysfunction, and corneoconjunctival inflammation. Preclinical models have identified several novel pathogenic mechanisms, including the renin angiotensin system and endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling, which can be targeted by therapeutic agents. Numerous studies have identified reliable tests for establishing diagnosis and response assessment of ocular GVHD. The efficacy of systemic and topical treatment for ocular GVHD is summarized. It is important that all health professionals caring for HCT recipients have adequate knowledge of ocular GVHD to provide optimal care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2018.11.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6362842PMC
February 2019

Evaluation of Second Solid Cancers After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in European Patients.

JAMA Oncol 2019 02;5(2):229-235

Center for Haematology, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

Importance: Incidence and risk factors of second solid cancers (SSCs) that occur after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are well documented. However, clinical outcome data of patients who developed an SSC after HSCT are limited.

Objective: To assess the outcome of patients with an SSC occurring after HSCT from the time of SSC diagnosis.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study used data of 4065 patients from 26 countries registered with the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, which has maintained clinical data since 1977 of patients who received a transplant. Information from all patients who underwent a transplant in Europe and had an SSC diagnosis between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2014, was extracted. The cohort included patients with 18 different cancers. Data analysis was conducted from September 3, 2017, to March 17, 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Median and 5-year age-standardized overall survival, causes of death, risk factor multivariate analysis using a clustered Cox proportional hazard regression model, and standardized mortality ratio were calculated for each of the 18 types of SSC.

Results: In total, 220 617 patients underwent a transplant, of whom only 4065 (1.8%) patients with a second solid cancer after HSCT were included in the study. Among the 4065 patients, 2321 (57.1%) were men and 1744 (42.9%) were women, with a mean (range) age of 59.1 (3.2-82.3) years at diagnosis of second solid cancer. The 5-year age-standardized overall survival was 47% (95% CI, 45%-49%). The 5-year overall survival rate after SSC diagnosis was poor for pancreas, lung, hepatobiliary, esophageal, brain, and gastric cancers, with a median survival between 0.6 and 1 year. The 5-year overall survival was intermediate for endometrial, colorectal, sarcomas, ovarian, bladder, oropharyngeal, and kidney cancers, with a median survival between 2 and 10 years. The 5-year overall survival was more favorable for melanoma, breast, prostate, cervix, and thyroid cancers, with a median survival of 10 or more years. Additional transplant-associated factors for mortality for patients treated with allogeneic HSCT were age at transplant, donor type, conditioning regimen, and graft-vs-host disease. In total, 1777 patients (43.7%) died, of which 1256 (74.8%) were from SSC, 344 (20.5%) from primary disease, and 79 (4.7%) from other causes. Standardized mortality ratio was higher, compared with de novo solid cancers, for melanoma, prostate, breast, kidney, bladder, colorectal, and endometrial cancers but not for the other cancers.

Conclusions And Relevance: The outcome of SSC is mainly dependent on the type of second cancer; thus, future studies should investigate the reasons the standardized mortality ratio is higher for some cancers to identify whether patients with these cancers should be treated differently and to help in screening and counseling patients who developed an SSC after HSCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4934DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6439555PMC
February 2019

Clinical and morphological practices in the diagnosis of transplant-associated microangiopathy: a study on behalf of Transplant Complications Working Party of the EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2019 07 25;54(7):1022-1028. Epub 2018 Oct 25.

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Internal Medicine, Medical University of Warsaw, Warszawa, Poland.

Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This study evaluated clinical and morphological practices of TA-TMA diagnosis in EBMT centers. Two questionnaires, one for transplant physician and one for morphologist, and also a set of electronic blood slides from 10 patients with TA-TMA and 10 control patients with various erythrocyte abnormalities, were implemented for evaluation. Seventeen EBMT centers participated in the study. Regarding criteria used for TA-TMA diagnosis, centers reported as follows: 41% of centers used the International Working Group (IWG) criteria, 41% used "overall TA-TMA" criteria and 18% used physician's decision. The threshold of schistocytes to establish TA-TMA diagnosis in the participating centers was significantly associated with morphological results of test cases evaluations (p = 0.002). The mean number of schistocytes reported from blood slide analyses were 4.3 ± 4.5% for TA-TMA cases (range 0-19.6%, coefficient of variation (CV) 0.7) and 1.3 ± 1.6% for control cases (range 0-8.3%, CV 0.8). Half of the centers reported schistocyte levels below 4% for 7/10 TA-TMA cases. The intracenter variability was low, indicating differences in the institutional practices of morphological evaluation. In conclusion, the survey identified the need for the standardization of TA-TMA morphological diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-018-0374-3DOI Listing
July 2019

European experience and risk factor analysis of donor cell-derived leukaemias/MDS following haematopoietic cell transplantation.

Leukemia 2019 02 26;33(2):508-517. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Department of Haematology, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Madrid, Spain.

Donor cell leukaemia (DCL) is a rare complication of allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We have investigated the prevalence and outcome of donor cell haematology malignancies within centres registered with the European Society of Blood and Marrow transplantation (EBMT). We have sought to identify risk factors to shed light on the pathogenesis of DCL as a model for leukaemogenesis. DCL cases were identified by questionnaire and a follow-up questionnaire requested detailed data. Control subjects from the EBMT registry who had not developed DCL were used for a matched pair analysis to identify risk factors. We identified 38 patients with DCL; the estimated prevalence was 80.5/100,000 transplants. Patients were predominantly treated for haematological malignancy. A clone was retrospectively identified in 7/25 (28%) donors for whom data was available. Overall survival was poor with 29/38 patients dead a median of 11 (range 0-91) months after DCL diagnosis. Matched case-pair analysis identified three factors on multivariate analysis as significantly associated with an increased risk for DCL: use of growth factors within the first 100 days after transplantation, in vivo T-cell depletion and multiple allografts. The risk factors identified, support reduced immune surveillance and replicative stress as pathogenic in the development of DCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-018-0218-6DOI Listing
February 2019

Improvement of relative survival in elderly patients with acute myeloid leukaemia emerging from population-based cancer registries in Switzerland between 2001 and 2013.

Cancer Epidemiol 2018 02 7;52:55-62. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Department of Haematology and Central Haematology Laboratory, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Switzerland; Department for BioMedical Research, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) is a rare and heterogeneous haematological malignancy with increasing incidence in the elderly. We performed a population-based, observational analysis of AML cases reported to the Cantonal Cancer Registries in Switzerland. Data was aggregated by the National Institute for Epidemiology and Cancer Registration and stratified for the two time periods 2001-2007 and 2008-2013. Overall, 2351 new AML cases were registered with a stable age-standardised incidence rate (3.0 [95 CI: 2.8-3.2] per 100,000 person-years). This indicates that our observed raise of annual AML cases (+10.9%) is mainly related to demographic ageing and not to an increase of age-specific risks. The fraction of non-classifiable AML cases decreased over time (54.6% to 41.8%) but remained high in elderly patients (65-74yrs: 44%; 75-84yrs: 54.2%, 85+yrs: 59.1%), suggesting less accurate diagnostics and reporting with increasing age. 5yrs relative survival (RS) correlated with AML risk class (favorable: 61.7%-68.4%; adverse risk: 11.4%-21.9%) and age (<65yrs: 42.6-43.3%; 75-84yrs: 2.0-3.0%), but improved only modestly overall (19.2% to 23.3%). Interestingly, we identified a significant improvement of RS in patients aged 65-74yrs (5yrs: 5.2% to 13.5%; p<0.001). As surrogate for changes in management, we found an increase of allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantations (1.4 to 7%) and clinical trial activities (25 to 29%) for elderly AML patients during the observation period. Our analysis indicates that recent progress made in management of elderly AML patients results in an improvement of survival on a population-based level in Switzerland and that therapeutic nihilism is not justifiable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2017.11.008DOI Listing
February 2018

Standardization of 8-color flow cytometry across different flow cytometer instruments: A feasibility study in clinical laboratories in Switzerland.

J Immunol Methods 2019 12 29;475:112348. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Cantonal Hospital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.

The EuroFlow Consortium developed a fully standardized flow cytometric approach from instrument settings, through antibody panel, reagents and sample preparation protocols, to data acquisition and analysis. The Swiss Cytometry Society (SCS) promoted a study to evaluate the feasibility of using such standardized measurements of 8-color data across two different flow cytometry platforms - Becton Dickinson (BD) FACSCanto II and Beckman Coulter (BC) Navios, aiming at increasing reproducibility and inter-laboratory comparability of immunophenotypic data in clinical laboratories in Switzerland. The study was performed in two phases, i.e. a learning phase (round 1) and an analytical phase (rounds 2 and 3) consisting of a total of three rounds. Overall, 10 laboratories using BD FACSCanto II (n=6) or BC Navios (n=4) flow cytometers participated. Each laboratory measured peripheral blood samples from healthy donors stained with a uniform antibody panel of reagents - EuroFlow Lymphoid Screening Tube (LST) - applying the EuroFlow standardized protocols for instrument setup and sample preparation (www.EuroFlow.org). All data files were analyzed centrally and median fluorescence intensity (MedFI) values for individual markers on defined lymphocyte subsets were recorded; variability from reference MedFI values was assessed using performance scores. Data troubleshooting and discussion of the results with the participants followed after each round at SCS meetings. The results of the learning phase demonstrated that standardized instrument setup and data acquisition are feasible in routine clinical laboratories without previous experience with EuroFlow. During the analytical phase, highly comparable data were obtained at the different laboratories using either BD FACSCanto II or BC Navios. The coefficient of variation of MedFI for 7 of 11 markers performed repeatedly below 30%. In the last study round, 89% of participants scored over 90% MedFI values within the acceptance criteria (P-score), in line with the results of the EuroFlow quality assessment rounds performed by the EuroFlow expert laboratories(Kalina et al., 2015). Central analysis of data allowed identification of deviations from the standardized procedures and technical issues (e.g. failure to perform correct instrument setup and improper compensation). In summary, here we show that inter-laboratory cross-platform standardization of 8-color flow cytometric measurements in clinical laboratories is feasible and allows for fully comparable MedFI results across BD FACSCanto II and BC Navios instruments. However, adherence to standardized protocols is crucial. Thus, training of the laboratory personnel in the EuroFlow standardized procedures is highly recommended to prevent errors in instrument setup and sample preparation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2017.07.013DOI Listing
December 2019

Does centre experience matter?

Br J Haematol 2017 08 30;178(4):497-498. Epub 2017 May 30.

Haematology and Central Haematology Laboratory, University Hospital of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14789DOI Listing
August 2017

Trends of classification, incidence, mortality, and survival of MDS patients in Switzerland between 2001 and 2012.

Cancer Epidemiol 2017 02 2;46:85-92. Epub 2017 Jan 2.

Foundation National Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Registration (NICER) c/o University of Zurich, Seilergraben 49, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are emerging disorders of the elderly with an increasing burden on healthcare systems. He we report on the first population-based, epidemiological analysis of patients diagnosed with MDS in Switzerland between 2001 and 2012. The aim of this study was to characterize the extent and limitations of currently available population-based, epidemiological data and formulate recommendations for future health services research. The investigated outcomes comprised trends of annual case frequency, classification of morphological subtypes, incidence, mortality and survival. Annual case frequency increased by 20% (from 263 to 315 cases per year), whereas age-standardized incidence-/mortality-rates remained stable (2.5/1.1 per 100'000 person-years). This observation reflects population growth as well as higher diagnostic awareness and not an increase of age-specific risk. However, it will inevitably influence the future prevalence of MDS and the impact on healthcare systems. Reporting of classification in MDS subtypes was poor with modest improvement from 20% to 39% and increased awareness for mainly higher-risk diseases. Relative survival for all patients at 5-years (RS) ranged between 37 and 40%. Significant better RS was found for younger compared to older higher-risk MDS patients (48% vs. 17%), reflecting the effect of allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. However, no survival advantage was found in elderly patients after introduction of hypomethylating agents as standard for care in this patient group. Our data is in line with results from other MDS and cancer registries. It allows formulating recommendations for future collaborative health services research on MDS patients with national and international partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2016.12.005DOI Listing
February 2017

Fertility preservation in pediatric and adolescent cancer patients in Switzerland: A qualitative cross-sectional survey.

Cancer Epidemiol 2016 10 1;44:141-146. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

University Hospital Bern, Department of Hematology, Bern, Switzerland.

Fertility preservation (FP) is an important topic of discussion in the field of oncology, particularly in pediatric oncology. Despite the awareness of severe impact of infertility on quality of life and different guidelines available in this area, the options in FP are not routinely discussed with the pediatric cancer patients and their parents. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first survey report concerned to FP counseling and procedures in pediatric and adolescent cancer patients in Switzerland. This survey was conducted from June 2014 to October 2014 on the counseling and procedures performed between 2009 and 2013; the questionnaire was completed by one of the professional from hematology/oncology centers in Switzerland. Currently, only four out of nine centers have a program for FP. In 2013, 45/301 (15%) patients received FP counseling and 36/301 (12%) underwent an FP procedure. The most commonly performed procedures from 2009 to 2013 were administration of gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist (3%) and cryopreservation of ovarian tissue in females (3%) and cryopreservation of sperms in males (6%); the most frequently cited reason for the absence of FP counseling was lack of time (55%). Therefore, this survey should help to develop and harmonize practices with respect to FP counseling and procedures in Switzerland, and to establish FP as a standard of care during cancer treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2016.08.013DOI Listing
October 2016

National Institutes of Health Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Late Effects Initiative: The Cardiovascular Disease and Associated Risk Factors Working Group Report.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2017 Feb 30;23(2):201-210. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

Hematopoietic Transplantation Section, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

A number of studies have shown that autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) contribute to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and worsening of cardiovascular risk factors that could contribute to further CVD over time. These observations, combined with a notable increase in the number of survivors after HCT in recent years, highlight the need for studies aimed at modifying risk or preventing these outcomes by changing specific approaches and/or post-HCT interventions. To address these issues, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and National Cancer Institute co-sponsored an international initiative on late effects after HCT. This report summarizes the major gaps in knowledge along with detailed recommendations regarding study priorities from the Cardiovascular Disease and Associated Risk Factors Committee, a multidisciplinary panel of international experts. The committee calls for specific studies aimed at understanding and preventing arterial disease and cardiac dysfunction (heart failure, valvular disease, and arrhythmias), as well as decreasing cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and sarcopenic obesity) after HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2016.08.019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5526451PMC
February 2017

Determinants of stimulated salivary flow among haematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients.

Clin Oral Investig 2017 Jan 25;21(1):121-126. Epub 2016 Feb 25.

Institute of Preventive Dentistry and Oral Microbiology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Objectives: The aetiology of hyposalivation in haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients is not fully understood. This study examined the effects of treatment-related aetiological factors, particularly medications, on stimulated salivary flow in HSCT recipients.

Subjects And Methods: Adult HSCT recipients (N = 118, 66 males, 27 autologous and 91 allogeneic transplants) were examined. Stimulated whole salivary flow rates (SWSFR) were measured before HSCT and at 6 and 12 months post-HSCT. Linear regression models were used to analyse the associations of medications and transplant-related factors with salivary flow rates, which were compared to salivary flow rates of generally healthy controls (N = 247).

Results: The SWSFR of recipients were lower pre-HSCT (mean ± standard deviation, 0.88 ± 0.56 ml/min; P < 0.001), 6 months post-HSCT (0.84 ± 0.61; P < 0.001) and 12 months post-HSCT (1.08 ± 0.67; P = 0.005) than the SWSFR of controls (1.31 ± 0.65). In addition, hyposalivation (<0.7 ml/min) was more frequent among HSCT recipients pre-HSCT (P < 0.001), 6 months post-HSCT (P < 0.001) and 12 months post-HSCT (P = 0.01) than among controls. The SWSFR was observed to improve over time being significantly higher 12 months post-HSCT compared to pre-HSCT (P < 0.001). The observed decrease of salivary flow could not be explained by the examined transplant-related factors and medications.

Conclusions: Decreased stimulated salivary flow rates could not be explained by the examined factors alone; these findings indicate that hyposalivation in HSCT recipients exhibits a multifactorial aetiology.

Clinical Relevance: All HSCT recipients should be considered to be at high risk of hyposalivation and consequent oral diseases, and they should be treated accordingly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00784-016-1760-0DOI Listing
January 2017

Sexual health in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.

Cancer 2015 Dec 15;121(23):4124-31. Epub 2015 Sep 15.

Department of Hematology, University Hospital of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) plays a central role in patients with malignant and, increasingly, nonmalignant conditions. As the number of transplants increases and the survival rate improves, long-term complications are important to recognize and treat to maintain quality of life. Sexual dysfunction is a commonly described but relatively often underestimated complication after HSCT. Conditioning regimens, generalized or genital graft-versus-host disease, medications, and cardiovascular complications as well as psychosocial problems are known to contribute significantly to physical and psychological sexual dysfunction. Moreover, it is often a difficult topic for patients, their significant others, and health care providers to discuss. Early recognition and management of sexual dysfunction after HSCT can lead to improved quality of life and outcomes for patients and their partners. This review focuses on the risk factors for and treatment of sexual dysfunction after transplantation and provides guidance concerning how to approach and manage a patient with sexual dysfunction after HSCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29675DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5014908PMC
December 2015

Similar outcome of upfront-unrelated and matched sibling stem cell transplantation in idiopathic paediatric aplastic anaemia. A study on behalf of the UK Paediatric BMT Working Party, Paediatric Diseases Working Party and Severe Aplastic Anaemia Working Party of EBMT.

Br J Haematol 2015 Nov 28;171(4):585-94. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Department of Haematology & Bone Marrow Transplantation, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

We explored the feasibility of unrelated donor haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) upfront without prior immunosuppressive therapy (IST) in paediatric idiopathic severe aplastic anaemia (SAA). This cohort was then compared to matched historical controls who had undergone first-line therapy with a matched sibling/family donor (MSD) HSCT (n = 87) or IST with horse antithymocyte globulin and ciclosporin (n = 58) or second-line therapy with unrelated donor HSCT post-failed IST (n = 24). The 2-year overall survival in the upfront cohort was 96 ± 4% compared to 91 ± 3% in the MSD controls (P = 0·30) and 94 ± 3% in the IST controls (P = 0·68) and 74 ± 9% in the unrelated donor HSCT post-IST failure controls (P = 0·02).The 2-year event-free survival in the upfront cohort was 92 ± 5% compared to 87 ± 4% in MSD controls (P = 0·37), 40 ± 7% in IST controls (P = 0·0001) and 74 ± 9% in the unrelated donor HSCT post-IST failure controls (n = 24) (P = 0·02). Outcomes for upfront-unrelated donor HSCT in paediatric idiopathic SAA were similar to MSD HSCT and superior to IST and unrelated donor HSCT post-IST failure. Front-line therapy with matched unrelated donor HSCT is a novel treatment approach and could be considered as first-line therapy in selected paediatric patients who lack a MSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13614DOI Listing
November 2015

Find-A-Code: how accurate is the international classification of diseases coding system for aplastic anemia?

Eur J Haematol 2015 May;94(5):377-8

Department of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12461DOI Listing
May 2015

Outcome of aplastic anaemia in children. A study by the severe aplastic anaemia and paediatric disease working parties of the European group blood and bone marrow transplant.

Br J Haematol 2015 May 14;169(4):565-73. Epub 2015 Feb 14.

Clinical and Experimental Haematology Unit, G Gaslini Childrens' Hospital, Genova, Italy.

This study analysed the outcome of 563 Aplastic Anaemia (AA) children aged 0-12 years reported to the Severe Aplastic Anaemia Working Party database of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, according to treatment received. Overall survival (OS) after upfront human leucocyte antigen-matched family donor (MFD) haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) or immunosuppressive treatment (IST) was 91% vs. 87% (P 0·18). Event-free survival (EFS) after upfront MFD HSCT or IST was 87% vs. 33% (P 0·001). Ninety-one of 167 patients (55%) failed front-line IST and underwent rescue HSCT. The OS of this rescue group was 83% compared with 91% for upfront MFD HSCT patients and 97% for those who did not fail IST up-front (P 0·017). Rejection was 2% for MFD HSCT and HSCT post-IST failure (P 0·73). Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) grade II-IV was 8% in MFD graft vs. 25% for HSCT post-IST failure (P < 0·0001). Chronic GVHD was 6% in MFD HSCT vs. 20% in HSCT post-IST failure (P < 0·0001). MFD HSCT is an excellent therapy for children with AA. IST has a high failure rate, but remains a reasonable first-line choice if MFD HSCT is not available because high OS enables access to HSCT, which is a very good rescue option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13297DOI Listing
May 2015

Survivorship after allogeneic transplantation-management recommendations for the primary care provider.

Curr Hematol Malig Rep 2015 Mar;10(1):35-44

Division of Hematology, University Hospital of Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4031, Basel, Switzerland,

Prognosis after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has greatly improved. Therefore, long-term survivorship becomes an important issue. A number of malignant and nonmalignant late effects can cause substantial morbidity, with considerable impact on health and quality of life. The main factors responsible for late effects after HSCT are total body irradiation-based conditioning and chronic graft-versus-host disease and its treatment. The knowledge on late effects serves as guidance for surveillance and management decision. Aftercare includes screening and counseling for prevention and treatment of late complications. The care of HSCT recipients tends with time to be transferred from the transplant center back to the primary care provider, who might not be however familiar with the unique needs of long-term survivors. A broad expertise is needed for the post-transplant management; therefore, transplant centers together with primary care providers should ensure complementary care delivery. Standardized follow-up guidelines on late effects represent the best tool to guaranty good management of long-term survivors. Distribution, broad promotion, and applications of these guidelines are therefore needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11899-014-0243-0DOI Listing
March 2015