Publications by authors named "Andishe Attarbaschi"

134 Publications

Vemurafenib acts as molecular on-off switch governing systemic inflammation in Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

Blood Adv 2021 Oct 7. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

St. Anna Children's Hospital, Austria.

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a neoplasm marked by the accumulation of CD1A+CD207+ cells. It is most commonly driven by a somatic, activating mutation in the BRAF serine-threonine kinase (BRAFV600E). Multisystem disease with risk-organ involvement requires myelotoxic chemotherapy, making BRAF-inhibitors an attractive treatment option. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of the course of an LCH patient treated with the combination of vemurafenib and salvage chemotherapy who achieved sustained clinical and molecular remission. We show that there is no relationship between peripheral bloodBRAFV600E levels and clinical presentation during treatment with vemurafenib, but that vemurafenib leads to a fast, efficient, but reversible inhibition of clinical manifestations of systemic inflammation. In line, serum levels of inflammatory cytokines exactly mirror vemurafenib administration. Genotyping analysis identified the BRAFV600E mutation in multiple hematopoietic cell types, including NK cells and granulocytes. Single-cell transcriptome analyses of peripheral blood and bone marrow cells at time of diagnosis and during treatment indicate that RAF-inhibition abrogates the expression of inflammatory cytokines previously implicated in LCH such as IL1B and CXCL8. Together, our data suggest that while the CD1A+CD207+histiocytes are the hallmark of LCH, other BRAF-mutated cell populations may contribute significantly to morbidity in patients with multisystem LCH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005442DOI Listing
October 2021

Copy Number Changes and Allele Distribution Patterns of Chromosome 21 in B Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Sep 13;13(18). Epub 2021 Sep 13.

Labdia Labordiagnostik GmbH, Clinical Genetics, Zimmermannplatz 8, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Chromosome 21 is the most affected chromosome in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Many of its numerical and structural abnormalities define diagnostically and clinically important subgroups. To obtain an overview about their types and their approximate genetic subgroup-specific incidence and distribution, we performed cytogenetic, FISH and array analyses in a total of 578 ALL patients (including 26 with a constitutional trisomy 21). The latter is the preferred method to assess genome-wide large and fine-scale copy number abnormalities (CNA) together with their corresponding allele distribution patterns. We identified a total of 258 cases (49%) with chromosome 21-associated CNA, a number that is perhaps lower-than-expected because -positive cases (11%) were significantly underrepresented in this array-analyzed cohort. Our most interesting observations relate to hyperdiploid leukemias with tetra- and pentasomies of chromosome 21 that develop in constitutionally trisomic patients. Utilizing comparative short tandem repeat analyses, we were able to prove that switches in the array-derived allele patterns are in fact meiotic recombination sites, which only become evident in patients with inborn trisomies that result from a meiosis 1 error. The detailed analysis of such cases may eventually provide important clues about the respective maldistribution mechanisms and the operative relevance of chromosome 21-specific regions in hyperdiploid leukemias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184597DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8465600PMC
September 2021

Severe toxicity free survival: physician-derived definitions of unacceptable long-term toxicities following acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Jul;8(7):e513-e523

Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address:

5-year overall survival rates have surpassed 90% for childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia, but survivors are at risk for permanent health sequelae. Although event-free survival appropriately represents the outcome for cancers with poor overall survival, this metric is inadequate when cure rates are high but challenged by serious, persistent complications. Accordingly, a group of experts in paediatric haematology-oncology, representative of 17 international acute lymphocytic leukaemia study groups, launched an initiative to construct a measure, designated severe toxicity-free survival (STFS), to quantify the occurrence of physician-prioritised toxicities to be integrated with standard cancer outcome reporting. Five generic inclusion criteria (not present before cancer diagnosis, symptomatic, objectifiable, of unacceptable severity, permanent, or requiring unacceptable treatments) were used to assess 855 health conditions, which resulted in inclusion of 21 severe toxicities. Consensus definitions were reached through a modified Delphi process supplemented by two additional plenary meetings. The 21 severe toxicities include severe adverse health conditions that substantially affect activities of daily living and are refractory to therapy (eg, refractory seizures), are without therapeutic options (eg, blindness), or require substantially invasive treatment (eg, cardiac transplantation). Incorporation of STFS assessment into clinical trials has the potential to improve and diversify treatment strategies, focusing not only on traditional outcome events and overall survival but also the frequencies of the most severe toxicities. The two major aims of this Review were to: prioritise and define unacceptable long-term toxicity for patients with childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia, and define how these toxicities should be combined into a composite quantity to be integrated with other reported outcomes. Although STFS quantifies the clinically unacceptable health tradeoff for cure using childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia as a model disease, the prioritised severe toxicities are based on generic considerations of relevance to any other cancer diagnosis and age group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(21)00136-8DOI Listing
July 2021

Diagnosis and management of acute appendicitis in 21 pediatric hematology and oncology patients at a tertiary care cancer center.

Sci Rep 2021 06 9;11(1):12170. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, St. Anna Children's Hospital, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 6, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Acute appendicitis is a rare gastrointestinal complication of anti-cancer chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Among a cohort of 2341 hemato-oncologic patients at a pediatric tertiary care cancer center, we identified 21 patients (0.9%) with 23 episodes of acute appendicitis, based on pathological imaging of the appendix and clinical findings. Median age at diagnosis was 10.21 years. Types of underlying disease included acute leukemias (n = 15), solid tumors (n = 4), and aplastic anemia (n = 2). Clinical symptoms seen in > 1 case were recorded for all 23 episodes as follows: abdominal pain, n = 22; abdominal tenderness, n = 4; fever, n = 7; nausea, n = 2; emesis; n = 2; diarrhea, n = 5; and constipation, n = 2. Median leukocyte count at diagnosis was 0.5 × 10/L, with a median of 0.1 × 10/L for the absolute neutrophil count (ANC). All patients received broad-spectrum antibiotics and 18/23 (78%) patients underwent uneventful appendectomy after a median of 5 days and with a median ANC of 0.7 × 10/L. Median duration until continuation of chemotherapy was 17 days for the 20 cases of appendicitis occurring during the patients' disease course. Overall, 5/21 (19%) patients died including one related to the appendicitis itself which progressed to a typhlitis and was due to a fungal infection. The other fatalities were transplant- (n = 2) and leukemia-related (n = 2). Acute appendicitis is a rare and usually not life-threatening event in pediatric hemato-oncologic patients, which, if managed by prompt administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics (and antimycotics), can be safely followed by an elective (delayed) appendectomy, even before complete recovery of the neutrophils is achieved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90206-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8190273PMC
June 2021

Pharmacogenetics of the Central Nervous System-Toxicity and Relapse Affecting the CNS in Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 12;13(10). Epub 2021 May 12.

2nd Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis University, H-1094 Budapest, Hungary.

Despite improving cure rates in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), therapeutic side effects and relapse are ongoing challenges. These can also affect the central nervous system (CNS). Our aim was to identify germline gene polymorphisms that influence the risk of CNS events. Sixty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 20 genes were genotyped in a Hungarian non-matched ALL cohort of 36 cases with chemotherapy related acute toxic encephalopathy (ATE) and 544 controls. Five significant SNPs were further analyzed in an extended Austrian-Czech-NOPHO cohort ( = 107 cases, = 211 controls) but none of the associations could be validated. Overall populations including all nations' matched cohorts for ATE ( = 426) with seizure subgroup ( = 133) and posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES, = 251) were analyzed, as well. We found that patients with rs1045642, rs1128503 or rs2032582 TT genotypes were more prone to have seizures but those with rs1045642 TT developed PRES less frequently. The same SNPs were also examined in relation to ALL relapse on a case-control matched cohort of 320 patients from all groups. Those with rs1128503 CC or rs2032582 GG genotypes showed higher incidence of CNS relapse. Our results suggest that blood-brain-barrier drug transporter gene-polymorphisms might have an inverse association with seizures and CNS relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8151239PMC
May 2021

Risk factors and outcomes in children with high-risk B-cell precursor and T-cell relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: combined analysis of ALLR3 and ALL-REZ BFM 2002 clinical trials.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Jul 16;151:175-189. Epub 2021 May 16.

Children's Cancer Group, Division of Cancer Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, The University of Manchester, UK; Tata Translational Cancer Research Centre, Tata Medical Center, New Town, Kolkata, India. Electronic address:

Aim: Outcomes of children with high-risk (HR) relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) (N = 393), recruited to ALLR3 and ALL-REZ BFM 2002 trials, were analysed. Minimal residual disease (MRD) was assessed after induction and at predetermined time points until haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT).

Methods: Genetic analyses included karyotype, copy-number alterations and mutation analyses. Ten-year survivals were analysed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox models for multivariable analyses.

Results: Outcomes of patients were comparable in ALLR3 and ALL-REZ BFM 2002. The event-free survival of B-cell precursor (BCP) and T-cell ALL (T-ALL) was 22.6% and 26.2% (P = 0.94), respectively, and the overall survival (OS) was 32.6% and 28.2% (P = 0.11), respectively. Induction failures (38%) were associated with deletions of NR3C1 (P = 0.002) and BTG1 (P = 0.03) in BCP-ALL. The disease-free survival (DFS) and OS in patients with good vs poor MRD responses were 57.4% vs 22.6% (P < 0.0001) and 57.8% vs 32.0% (P = 0.0004), respectively. For BCP- and T-ALL, the post-SCT DFS and OS were 42.1% and 56.8% (P = 0.26) and 51.6% and 55.4% (P = 0.67), respectively. The cumulative incidences of post-SCT relapse for BCP- and T-ALL were 36.9% and 17.8% (P = 0.012) and of death were 10.7% and 25.5% (P = 0.013), respectively. Determinants of outcomes after SCT were acute graft versus host disease, pre-SCT MRD (≥10), HR cytogenetics and TP53 alterations in BCP-ALL.

Conclusion: Improvements in outcomes for HR ALL relapses require novel compounds in induction therapy to improve remission rates and immune targeted therapy after induction to maintain remission after SCT.

Trial Registration: ALLR3: NCT00967057; ALL REZ-BFM 2002: NCT00114348.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.034DOI Listing
July 2021

[Antibacterial Prophylaxis in Children and Adolescents Undergoing Therapy for Cancer - Statement of the Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH) and of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) on Two Current International Guidelines].

Klin Padiatr 2021 May 10;233(3):101-106. Epub 2021 May 10.

Infectious Disease Research Program, Center for Bone Marrow Transplantation, Department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University Children's Hospital, Muenster, Muenster, Germany.

Immunocompromised children and adolescents receiving treatment for cancer have an increased risk for potentially life-threatening infectious complications such as blood stream infections with Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens. Therefore, several centers for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology administer antibacterial prophylaxis to these patients to lower morbidity and mortality. Two pediatric specific guidelines on antibacterial prophylaxis were recently published. One of these guidelines was drawn up by an international group of pediatric experts of Europe, North and South America and Australia. The other guideline was prepared by an European group convened at the Eighth European Conference on Infections in Leukaemia (ECIL-8). In this review article, the working groups "Infections" of the Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (GPOH) and "Fever in the neutropenic host" of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases" (DGPI) summarize the available data from randomized studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses on antibacterial prophylaxis as well of current data on the emergence of resistance and discuss methodological aspects and the recommendations of the two guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1443-6576DOI Listing
May 2021

Treatment and Outcome Analysis of 639 Relapsed Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas in Children and Adolescents and Resulting Treatment Recommendations.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 25;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 25.

Department of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and BMT, University Hospital Muenster, 48149 Münster, Germany.

Despite poor survival, controversies remain in the treatment for refractory or relapsed pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma (r/r NHL). The current project aimed to collect international experience on the re-induction treatment of r/r NHL, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), risk factors associated with outcome, and to suggest treatment recommendations. Inclusion criteria were (i) refractory disease, disease progression or relapse of any NHL subtype except anaplastic large cell lymphoma, (ii) age < 18 years at initial diagnosis, (iii) diagnosis in/after January 2000. Data from 639 eligible patients were evaluable. The eight-year probability of overall survival was 34 ± 2% with highly significant differences according to NHL subtypes: 28 ± 3% for 254 Burkitt lymphoma/leukemia, 50 ± 6% for 98 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, 57 ± 8% for 41 primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphomas, 27 ± 3% for 177 T-lymphoblastic lymphomas, 52 ± 10% for 34 precursor-B-cell lymphoblastic lymphomas and 30 ± 9% for 35 patients with rare NHL subtypes. Subtype-specific factors associated with survival and treatment recommendations are suggested. There were no survivors without HSCT, except in few very small subgroups. Conclusions: There is an urgent need to further improve survival in r/r NHL. The current study provides the largest real-world series, which underlines the role of HSCT and suggests treatment recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8123268PMC
April 2021

Comprehensive germline-genomic and clinical profiling in 160 unselected children and adolescents with cancer.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Aug 12;29(8):1301-1311. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology, Medical Faculty, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.

In childhood cancer, the frequency of cancer-associated germline variants and their inheritance patterns are not thoroughly investigated. Moreover, the identification of children carrying a genetic predisposition by clinical means remains challenging. In this single-center study, we performed trio whole-exome sequencing and comprehensive clinical evaluation of a prospectively enrolled cohort of 160 children with cancer and their parents. We identified in 11/160 patients a pathogenic germline variant predisposing to cancer and a further eleven patients carried a prioritized VUS with a strong association to the cancerogenesis of the patient. Through clinical screening, 51 patients (31.3%) were identified as suspicious for an underlying cancer predisposition syndrome (CPS), but only in ten of those patients a pathogenic variant could be identified. In contrast, one patient with a classical CPS and ten patients with prioritized VUS were classified as unremarkable in the clinical work-up. Taken together, a monogenetic causative variant was detected in 13.8% of our patients using WES. Nevertheless, the still unclarified clinical suspicious cases emphasize the need to consider other genetic mechanisms including new target genes, structural variants, or polygenic interactions not previously associated with cancer predisposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-021-00878-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8385053PMC
August 2021

Presence of viremia during febrile neutropenic episodes in patients undergoing chemotherapy for malignant neoplasms.

Am J Hematol 2021 06 3;96(6):719-726. Epub 2021 May 3.

St.Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute (CCRI), Vienna, Austria.

The importance of viral infections as a leading cause of morbidity and mortality is well documented in severely immunosuppressed patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transplantation. By contrast, viral infections generally receive less attention in patients with malignant disorders undergoing chemotherapy, where the onset of neutropenic fever is mostly associated with bacterial or fungal infections, and screening for viral infections is not routinely performed. To address the occurrence of invasive viral infections in a clinical setting commonly associated with less pronounced immunosuppression, we have prospectively screened 237 febrile neutropenic episodes in pediatric (n = 77) and adult (n = 69) patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy, primarily for treatment of acute leukemia. Serial peripheral blood specimens were tested by RQ-PCR assays for the presence and quantity of the clinically relevant viruses CMV, EBV, HHV6 and HAdV, commonly reactivated in highly immunocompromised patients. Viremia was documented in 36 (15%) episodes investigated, including the detection of HHV6 (n = 14), EBV (n = 15), CMV (n = 6), or HAdV (n = 1). While low or intermediate levels of viremia (<10 virus copies/mL) were commonly associated with bacterial or fungal co-infection, viremia at higher levels (>10 copies/mL) was documented in patients without evidence for other infections, raising the possibility that at least in some instances the onset of fever may have been attributable to the virus detected. The observations suggest that viral infections, potentially resulting from reactivation, might also play a clinically relevant role in patients receiving chemotherapy for treatment of malignant neoplasms, and routine screening for viremia in this clinical setting might be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.26177DOI Listing
June 2021

Primary post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder of the central nervous system: characteristics, management and outcome in 25 paediatric patients.

Br J Haematol 2021 06 25;193(6):1178-1184. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, St. Anna Children's Hospital, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Primary central nervous system (CNS) post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) in childhood is rare. Twenty-five patients were retrieved from nine European Intergroup for Childhood Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and/or international Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster Study Group members. Types of allografts included kidney (n = 11), liver (n = 4), heart (n = 5), bowel (n = 1) and haematopoietic stem cells (n = 4). Eighteen were male, 16 ≥ 10 years old, 21 had monomorphic disease and 24 solid intracranial tumour masses. Four-year event-free and overall survival rates were 50% ± 10% and 74% ± 9% respectively. This report represents the largest paediatric series of CNS PTLD reported to date, showing favourable survival odds following systemic and intrathecal chemotherapy and rituximab administration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17398DOI Listing
June 2021

Characteristics, management, and outcome of pediatric patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease-A 20 years' experience from Austria.

Cancer Rep (Hoboken) 2021 Mar 23:e1375. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, St. Anna Children's Hospital, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Management of pediatric post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) after hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) and solid organ transplantation (SOT) is challenging.

Aim: This study of 34 PTLD patients up to 19-years old diagnosed in Austria from 2000 to 2018 aimed at assessing initial characteristics, therapy, response, and outcome as well as prognostic markers of this rare pediatric disease.

Methods And Results: A retrospective data analysis was performed. Types of allografts were kidney (n = 12), liver (n = 7), heart (n = 5), hematopoietic stem cells (n = 4), lungs (n = 2), multi-visceral (n = 2), small intestine (n = 1), and vessels (n = 1). Eighteen/34 were classified as monomorphic PTLD, with DLBCL accounting for 15 cases. Polymorphic disease occurred in nine, and non-destructive lesions in six cases. One patient had a non-classifiable PTLD. Thirteen/34 patients are surviving event-free in first remission (non-destructive, n = 4/6; polymorphic, n = 4/9; monomorphic, n = 6/18). Fourteen/34 patients lacked complete response to first-line therapy, of whom seven died. Four/34 patients relapsed, of whom two died. In 3/34 patients, death occurred as a first event. The 5-year overall and event-free survival rates were 64% ± 9% and 35% ± 9% for the whole cohort. Among all parameters analyzed, only malignant disease as the indication for transplantation had a significantly poor influence on survival.

Conclusions: This study shows PTLD still to be a major cause of mortality following SOT or HSCT in children. A continued understanding of the molecular biology of the disease shall allow to decrease treatment intensity for lower risk patients and to identify patients who may benefit from newer therapy approaches to improve outcome and decrease morbidity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cnr2.1375DOI Listing
March 2021

Assessment of Waldeyer's ring in pediatric and adolescent Hodgkin lymphoma patients-Importance of multimodality imaging: Results from the EuroNet-PHL-C1 trial.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 04 3;68(4):e28903. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: In the EuroNet Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma (EuroNet-PHL) trials, decision on Waldeyer's ring (WR) involvement is usually based on clinical assessment, that is, physical examination and/or nasopharyngoscopy. However, clinical assessment only evaluates mucosal surface and is prone to interobserver variability. Modern cross-sectional imaging technology may provide valuable information beyond mucosal surface, which may lead to a more accurate WR staging.

Patients, Materials, And Methods: The EuroNet-PHL-C1 trial recruited 2102 patients, of which 1752 underwent central review including reference reading of their cross-sectional imaging data. In 14 of 1752 patients, WR was considered involved according to clinical assessment. In these 14 patients, the WR was re-assessed by applying an imaging-based algorithm considering information from F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, contrast-enhanced computed tomography, and/or magnetic resonance imaging. For verification purposes, the imaging-based algorithm was applied to 100 consecutive patients whose WR was inconspicuous on clinical assessment.

Results: The imaging-based algorithm confirmed WR involvement only in four of the 14 patients. Of the remaining 10 patients, four had retropharyngeal lymph node involvement and six an inconspicuous WR. Applying the imaging-based algorithm to 100 consecutive patients with physiological appearance of their WR on clinical assessment, absence of WR involvement could be confirmed in 99. However, suspicion of WR involvement was raised in one patient.

Conclusions: The imaging-based algorithm was feasible and easily applicable at initial staging of young patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. It increased the accuracy of WR staging, which may contribute to a more individualized treatment in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28903DOI Listing
April 2021

Clinical Implications of Minimal Residual Disease Detection in Infants With -Rearranged Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treated on the Interfant-06 Protocol.

J Clin Oncol 2021 02 6;39(6):652-662. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Purpose: Infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is characterized by a high incidence of gene rearrangements and poor outcome. We evaluated the value of minimal residual disease (MRD) in infants with -rearranged ALL treated within the Interfant-06 protocol, which compared lymphoid-style consolidation (protocol IB) versus myeloid-style consolidation (araC, daunorubicin, etoposide/mitoxantrone, araC, etoposide).

Materials And Methods: MRD was measured in 249 infants by DNA-based polymerase chain reaction of rearranged , immunoglobulin, and/or T-cell receptor genes, at the end of induction (EOI) and end of consolidation (EOC). MRD results were classified as negative, intermediate (< 5 × 10), and high (≥ 5 × 10).

Results: EOI MRD levels predicted outcome with 6-year disease-free survival (DFS) of 60.2% (95% CI, 43.2 to 73.6), 45.0% (95% CI, 28.3 to 53.1), and 33.8% (95% CI, 23.8 to 44.1) for infants with negative, intermediate, and high EOI MRD levels, respectively ( = .0039). EOC MRD levels were also predictive of outcome, with 6-year DFS of 68.2% (95% CI, 55.2 to 78.1), 40.1% (95% CI, 28.1 to 51.9), and 11.9% (95% CI, 2.6 to 29.1) for infants with negative, intermediate, and high EOC MRD levels, respectively ( < .0001). Analysis of EOI MRD according to the type of consolidation treatment showed that infants treated with lymphoid-style consolidation had 6-year DFS of 78.2% (95% CI, 51.4 to 91.3), 47.2% (95% CI, 33.0 to 60.1), and 23.2% (95% CI, 12.1 to 36.4) for negative, intermediate, and high MRD levels, respectively ( < .0001), while for myeloid-style-treated patients the corresponding figures were 45.0% (95% CI, 23.9 to 64.1), 41.3% (95% CI, 23.2 to 58.5), and 45.9% (95% CI, 29.4 to 60.9).

Conclusion: This study provides support for the idea that induction therapy selects patients for subsequent therapy; infants with high EOI MRD may benefit from AML-like consolidation (DFS 45.9% 23.2%), whereas patients with low EOI MRD may benefit from ALL-like consolidation (DFS 78.2% 45.0%). Patients with positive EOC MRD had dismal outcomes. These findings will be used for treatment interventions in the next Interfant protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8196086PMC
February 2021

Outcomes of paediatric patients with B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia with ABL-class fusion in the pre-tyrosine-kinase inhibitor era: a multicentre, retrospective, cohort study.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Jan 22;8(1):e55-e66. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: ABL-class fusion genes other than BCR-ABL1 have been identified in approximately 3% of children with newly diagnosed acute lymphocytic leukaemia, and studies suggest that leukaemic cells carrying ABL-class fusions can be targeted successfully by tyrosine-kinase inhibitors. We aimed to establish the baseline characteristics and outcomes of paediatric patients with ABL-class fusion B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia in the pre-tyrosine-kinase inhibitor era.

Methods: This multicentre, retrospective, cohort study included paediatric patients (aged 1-18 years) with newly diagnosed ABL-class fusion (ABL1 fusion-positive, ABL2 fusion-positive, CSF1R fusion-positive, and PDGFRB fusion-positive) B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia enrolled in clinical trials of multidrug chemotherapy done between Oct 3, 2000, and Aug 28, 2018, in which tyrosine-kinase inhibitors had not been given as a first-line treatment. Patients from 14 European, North American, and Asia-Pacific study groups of the Ponte di Legno group were included. No patients were excluded, and patients were followed up by individual study groups. Through the Ponte di Legno group, we collected data on the baseline characteristics of patients, including IKZF1, PAX5, and CDKN2A/B deletion status, and whether haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) had been done, as well as treatment outcomes, including complete remission, no response, relapse, early death, and treatment-related mortality, response to prednisone, and minimal residual disease (MRD) at end of induction therapy. 5-year event-free survival and 5-year overall survival were estimated by use of Kaplan-Meier methods, and the 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse was calculated by use of a competing risk model.

Findings: We identified 122 paediatric patients with newly diagnosed ABL-class fusion B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia (77 from European study groups, 25 from North American study groups, and 20 from Asia-Pacific study groups). 64 (52%) of 122 patients were PDGFRB fusion-positive, 40 (33%) were ABL1 fusion-positive, ten (8%) were CSF1R fusion-positive, and eight (7%) were ABL2 fusion-positive. In all 122 patients, 5-year event-free survival was 59·1% (95% CI 50·5-69·1), 5-year overall survival was 76·1% (68·6-84·5), and the 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse was 31·0% (95% CI 22·4-40·1). MRD at the end of induction therapy was high (≥10 cells) in 61 (66%) of 93 patients, and most prevalent in patients with ABL2 fusions (six [86%] of 7 patients) and PDGFRB fusion-positive B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia (43 [88%] of 49 patients). MRD at the end of induction therapy of 10 cells or more was predictive of an unfavourable outcome (hazard ratio of event-free survival in patients with a MRD of ≥10vs those with a MRD of <10 3·33 [95% CI 1·46-7·56], p=0·0039). Of the 36 (30%) of 119 patients who relapsed, 25 (69%) relapsed within 3 years of diagnosis. The 5-year cumulative incidence of relapse in 41 patients who underwent HSCT (17·8% [95% CI 7·7-31·3]) was lower than in the 43 patients who did not undergo HSCT (45·1% [28·4-60·5], p=0·013), but event-free survival and overall survival did not differ between these two groups.

Interpretation: Children with ABL-class fusion B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia have poor outcomes when treated with regimens that do not contain a tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, despite the use of high-risk chemotherapy regimens and frequent HSCT upon first remission. Our findings provide a reference for evaluating the potential benefit of first-line tyrosine-kinase inhibitor treatment in patients with ABL-class fusion B-cell acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

Funding: The Oncode Institute, Pediatric Cancer Foundation Rotterdam, Dutch Cancer Society, Kika Foundation, Deutsche Krebshilfe, Blood Cancer UK, Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Cancer Australia, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, and St Baldrick's Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30353-7DOI Listing
January 2021

Pre-existing antibodies against polyethylene glycol reduce asparaginase activities on first administration of pegylated E. coli asparaginase in children with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Haematologica 2020 12 10;Online ahead of print. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Children's Hospital Muenster.

Antibodies against polyethylene glycol (PEG) in healthy subjects raise concerns about the efficacy of pegylated drugs. We evaluated the prevalence of antibodies against PEG among patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) prior to and/or immediately after their first dose of pegylated E.coli asparaginase (PEG-ASNase). Serum samples of 701 children, 673 with primary ALL, 28 with relapsed ALL, and 188 adults with primary ALL were analyzed for anti-PEG IgG and IgM. Measurements in 58 healthy infants served as reference to define cut-points for antibody-positive and -negative samples. Anti-PEG antibodies were detected in ALL patients prior the first PEG-ASNase with a prevalence of 13.9% (anti-PEG IgG) and 29.1% (anti-PEG IgM). After administration of PEG-ASNase the prevalence of anti-PEG antibodies decreased to 4.2% for anti-PEG IgG and to 4.5% for anti-PEG IgM. Pre-existing anti-PEG antibodies did not inhibit PEG-ASNase activity but significantly reduced PEGASNase activity levels in a concentration dependent manner. Although pre-existing anti-PEG antibodies did not boost, pre-existing anti-PEG IgG were significantly associated with firstexposure hypersensitivity reactions (CTCAE grade 2) (p.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.258525DOI Listing
December 2020

Invasive Mold Infection of the Central Nervous System in Immunocompromised Children.

J Fungi (Basel) 2020 Oct 16;6(4). Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Frankfurt, 60528 Frankfurt, Germany.

Due to the difficulties in the definite diagnosis, data on brain imaging in pediatric patients with central nervous system (CNS)-invasive mold infection (IMD) are scarce. Our aim was to describe brain imaging abnormalities seen in immunocompromised children with CNS-IMD, and to analyze retrospectively whether specific imaging findings and sequences have a prognostic value. In a retrospective study of 19 pediatric patients with proven or probable CNS-IMD, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-findings were described and analyzed. The results were correlated with outcome, namely death, severe sequelae, or no neurological sequelae. : 11 children and 8 adolescents (11/8 with proven/probable CNS-IMD) were included. Seven of the patients died and 12/19 children survived (63%): seven without major neurological sequelae and five with major neurological sequelae. Multifocal ring enhancement and diffusion restriction were the most common brain MRI changes. Diffusion restriction was mostly seen at the core of the lesion. No patient with disease limited to one lobe died. Perivascular microbleeding seen on susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) and/or gradient-echo/T2* images, as well as infarction, were associated with poor prognosis. The presence of infarction was related to poor outcome. As early microbleeding seems to be associated with poor prognosis, we suggest including SWI in routine diagnostic evaluation of immunocompromised children with suspected CNS-IMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof6040226DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711511PMC
October 2020

Prognostic Factors in Childhood Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: Long Term Results of the International ALCL99 Trial.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 24;12(10). Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant Division, Padua University Hospital, 35128 Padua, Italy.

With the aim of describing the long-term follow-up and to define the prognostic role of the clinical/pathological/molecular characteristics at diagnosis for childhood, adolescent and young adults affected by anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), we analyzed 420 patients aged up to 22 years homogeneously treated within the international ALCL99 trial. The 10-year progression free survival (PFS) was 70% and overall survival was 90%, rare late relapses occurred but no secondary malignancies were reported. Among clinical/pathological characteristics, only patients presenting a small cell/lymphohistiocytic (SC/LH) pattern were independently associated with risk of failure (hazard ratio = 2.49). Analysis of minimal disseminated disease (MDD), available for 162 patients, showed that both SC/LH pattern (hazard ratio = 2.4) and MDD positivity (hazard ratio = 2.15) were significantly associated with risk of failure in multivariate analysis. Considering MDD and SC/LH results, patients were separated into three biological/pathological (bp) risk groups: a high-risk group (bpHR) including MDD-positive patients with SC/LH pattern; a low-risk group (bpLR) including MDD-negative patients without SC/LH pattern; and an intermediate-risk group (bpIR) including remaining patients. The 10-year PFS was 40%, 75% and 86% for bpHR, bpIR and bpLR, respectively ( < 0.0001). These results should be considered in the design of future ALCL trials to tailor individual treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102747DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598675PMC
September 2020

The hematopoietic stem cell marker VNN2 is associated with chemoresistance in pediatric B-cell precursor ALL.

Blood Adv 2020 09;4(17):4052-4064

Department of Stem Cell Transplantation, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; and.

Most relapses of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) occur in patients with a medium risk (MR) for relapse on the Associazione Italiana di Ematologia e Oncologia Pediatrica and Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster (AIEOP-BFM) ALL protocol, based on persistence of minimal residual disease (MRD). New insights into biological features that are associated with MRD are needed. Here, we identify the glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored cell surface protein vanin-2 (VNN2; GPI-80) by charting the cell surface proteome of MRD very high-risk (HR) B-cell precursor (BCP) ALL using a chemoproteomics strategy. The correlation between VNN2 transcript and surface protein expression enabled a retrospective analysis (ALL-BFM 2000; N = 770 cases) using quantitative polymerase chain reaction to confirm the association of VNN2 with MRD and independent prediction of worse outcome. Using flow cytometry, we detected VNN2 expression in 2 waves, in human adult bone marrow stem and progenitor cells and in the mature myeloid compartment, in line with proposed roles for fetal hematopoietic stem cells and inflammation. Prospective validation by flow cytometry in the ongoing clinical trial (AIEOP-BFM 2009) identified 10% (103/1069) of VNN2+ BCP ALL patients at first diagnosis, primarily in the MRD MR (48/103, 47%) and HR (37/103, 36%) groups, across various cytogenetic subtypes. We also detected frequent mutations in epigenetic regulators in VNN2+ ALLs, including histone H3 methyltransferases MLL2, SETD2, and EZH2 and demethylase KDM6A. Inactivation of the VNN2 gene did not impair leukemia repopulation capacity in xenografts. Taken together, VNN2 marks a cellular state of increased resistance to chemotherapy that warrants further investigations. Therefore, this marker should be included in diagnostic flow cytometry panels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000938DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7479947PMC
September 2020

Expression Patterns of Coagulation Factor XIII Subunit A on Leukemic Lymphoblasts Correlate with Clinical Outcome and Genetic Subtypes in Childhood B-cell Progenitor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Aug 13;12(8). Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Debrecen, 4032 Debrecen, Hungary.

Background: Based on previous retrospective results, we investigated the association of coagulation FXIII subunit A (FXIII-A) expression pattern on survival and correlations with known prognostic factors of B-cell progenitor (BCP) childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) as a pilot study of the prospective multi-center BFM ALL-IC 2009 clinical trial.

Methods: The study included four national centers ( = 408). Immunophenotyping by flow cytometry and cytogenetic analysis were performed by standard methods. Copy number alteration was studied in a subset of patients ( = 59). Survival rates were estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis. Correlations between FXIII-A expression patterns and risk factors were investigated with Cox and logistic regression models.

Results: Three different patterns of FXIII-A expression were observed: negative (<20%), dim (20-79%), and bright (≥80%). The FXIII-A dim expression group had significantly higher 5-year event-free survival (EFS) (93%) than the FXIII-A negative (70%) and FXIII-A bright (61%) groups. Distribution of intermediate genetic risk categories and the "B-other" genetic subgroup differed significantly between the FXIII-A positive and negative groups. Multivariate logistic regression confirmed independent association between the FXIII-A negative expression characteristics and the prevalence of intermediate genetic risk group.

Conclusions: FXIII-A negativity is associated with dismal survival in children with BCP-ALL and is an indicator for the presence of unfavorable genetic alterations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7463512PMC
August 2020

Stem Cell Transplantation and Vinblastine Monotherapy for Relapsed Pediatric Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma: Results of the International, Prospective ALCL-Relapse Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 12 30;38(34):3999-4009. Epub 2020 Jul 30.

Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.

Purpose: To analyze the efficacy of a risk-stratified treatment of children with relapsed anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The ALCL-Relapse trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00317408) stratified patients according to the time of relapse and CD3 expression to prospectively test reinduction approaches combined with consolidation by allogeneic or autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (SCT) and vinblastine monotherapy.

Patients And Methods: Patients with progression during frontline therapy (very high risk) or a CD3-positive relapse (high risk) were scheduled for allogeneic SCT after reinduction chemotherapy. Patients with a CD3-negative relapse within 1 year after initial diagnosis or prior exposure to vinblastine (intermediate risk) received autologous SCT after carmustine-etoposide-cytarabine-melphalan. This arm was terminated prematurely, and subsequent patients received vinblastine monotherapy instead. Patients with a CD3-negative relapse > 1 year after initial diagnosis (low risk) received vinblastine monotherapy.

Results: One hundred sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria; 105 evaluable patients with CNS-negative disease had a 5-year event-free survival (EFS) of 53% ± 5% and a 5-year overall survival (OS) of 78% ± 4%. Before termination of autologous SCT, EFS rates of patients in the very-high- (n = 17), high- (n = 26), intermediate- (n = 32), and low- (n = 21) risk groups were 41% ± 12%, 62% ± 10%, 44% ± 9%, and 81% ± 9%; the respective OS rates were 59% ± 12%, 73% ± 9%, 78% ± 7%, and 90% ± 6%. Analyzing only the patients in the intermediate-risk group consolidated per protocol by autologous SCT, EFS and OS of 23 patients were 30% ± 10% and 78% ± 9%, respectively. All 5 patients with intermediate risk receiving vinblastine monotherapy after the amendment experienced relapse again.

Conclusion: Shorter time to relapse was the strongest predictor of subsequent relapse. Allogeneic SCT offers a chance for cure in patients with high-risk ALCL relapse. For early relapsed ALCL autologous SCT was not effective. Vinblastine monotherapy achieved cure in patients with late relapse; however, it was not effective for early relapses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.00157DOI Listing
December 2020

IL10RA modulates crizotinib sensitivity in NPM1-ALK+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Blood 2020 10;136(14):1657-1669

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a T-cell malignancy predominantly driven by a hyperactive anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion protein. ALK inhibitors, such as crizotinib, provide alternatives to standard chemotherapy with reduced toxicity and side effects. Children with lymphomas driven by nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1)-ALK fusion proteins achieved an objective response rate to ALK inhibition therapy of 54% to 90% in clinical trials; however, a subset of patients progressed within the first 3 months of treatment. The mechanism for the development of ALK inhibitor resistance is unknown. Through genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) activation and knockout screens in ALCL cell lines, combined with RNA sequencing data derived from ALK inhibitor-relapsed patient tumors, we show that resistance to ALK inhibition by crizotinib in ALCL can be driven by aberrant upregulation of interleukin 10 receptor subunit alpha (IL10RA). Elevated IL10RA expression rewires the STAT3 signaling pathway, bypassing otherwise critical phosphorylation by NPM1-ALK. IL-10RA expression does not correlate with response to standard chemotherapy in pediatric patients, suggesting that a combination of crizotinib and chemotherapy could prevent ALK inhibitor resistance-specific relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019003793DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530646PMC
October 2020

Management of children with fever and neutropenia: results of a survey in 51 pediatric cancer centers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Infection 2020 Aug 10;48(4):607-618. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, Childrens' Hospital Medical Center, Saarland University Clinic, Kirrberger Str. Building 09, 66421, Homburg, Germany.

Purpose: Investigation of the current practice of diagnostics and treatment in pediatric cancer patients with febrile neutropenia.

Methods: On behalf of the German Society for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology and the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, an Internet-based survey was conducted in 2016 concerning the management of febrile neutropenia in pediatric oncology centers (POC). This survey accompanied the release of the corresponding German guideline to document current practice before its implementation in clinical practice.

Results: In total, 51 POCs participated (response rate 73%; 43 from Germany, and 4 each from Austria and Switzerland). Identified targets for antimicrobial stewardship concerned blood culture diagnostics, documentation of the time to antibiotics, the use of empirical combination therapy, drug monitoring of aminoglycosides, the time to escalation in patients with persisting fever, minimal duration of IV treatment, sequential oral treatment in patients with persisting neutropenia, indication for and choice of empirical antifungal treatment, and the local availability of a pediatric infectious diseases consultation service.

Conclusion: This survey provides useful information for local antibiotic stewardship teams to improve the current practice referring to the corresponding national and international guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s15010-020-01462-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7395019PMC
August 2020

Rare non-Hodgkin lymphoma of childhood and adolescence: A consensus diagnostic and therapeutic approach to pediatric-type follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma, and nonanaplastic peripheral T-cell lymphoma.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 08 26;67(8):e28416. Epub 2020 May 26.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, The Queen Silvia's Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Pediatric-type follicular (PTFL), marginal zone (MZL), and peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) account each for <2% of childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We present clinical and histopathological features of PTFL, MZL, and few subtypes of PTCL and provide treatment recommendations. For localized PTFL and MZL, watchful waiting after complete resection is the therapy of choice. For PTCL, therapy is subtype-dependent and ranges from a block-like anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL)-derived and, alternatively, leukemia-derived therapy in PTCL not otherwise specified and subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma to a block-like mature B-NHL-derived or, preferentially, ALCL-derived treatment followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in first remission in hepatosplenic and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28416DOI Listing
August 2020

Second malignant neoplasms after treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma-a retrospective multinational study of 189 children and adolescents.

Leukemia 2021 02 11;35(2):534-549. Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Data on the spectrum of second malignant neoplasms (SMNs) after primary childhood non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) are scarce. One-hundred-and-eighty-nine NHL patients diagnosed in a 30 years period of 1980-2010 developing an SMN were retrieved from 19 members of the European Intergroup for Childhood NHL and/or the international Berlin-Frankfurt-Münster Study Group. Five subgroups of SMNs were identified: (1) myeloid neoplasms (n = 43; 23%), (2) lymphoid neoplasms (n = 51; 27%), (3) carcinomas (n = 48; 25%), (4) central nervous system (CNS) tumors (n = 19; 10%), and (5) "other" SMNs (n = 28; 15%). In 37 patients (20%) preexisting disorders were reported with 90% having any kind of cancer predisposition syndrome (CPS). For the 189 primary NHL patients, 5-year overall survival (OS) after diagnosis of an SMN was 56 ± 4%, being worst for patients with preexisting disorders at 28 ± 8%. Five-year OS rates were 38 ± 8%, 59 ± 7%, 79 ± 8%, 34 ± 12%, and 62 ± 11%, respectively, for patients with myeloid and lymphoid neoplasms, carcinomas, CNS tumors, and "other" SMNs (p < 0.0001). Patients with SMNs after childhood NHL having a reported CPS, mostly mismatch repair disorders, carried a very poor prognosis. Moreover, although outcome was favorable in some subtypes of SMNs after childhood NHL (carcinomas, lymphoid neoplasms), other SMNs such as myeloid neoplasms and CNS tumors had a dismal prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-020-0841-xDOI Listing
February 2021

Flash survey on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infections in paediatric patients on anticancer treatment.

Eur J Cancer 2020 06 7;132:11-16. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

The Cancer Centre for Children, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Australia.

Introduction: Since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, it is known that the severe course of the disease occurs mostly among the elderly, whereas it is rare among children and young adults. Comorbidities, in particular, diabetes and hypertension, clearly associated with age, besides obesity and smoke, are strongly associated with the need for intensive treatment and a dismal outcome. A weaker immunity of the elderly has been proposed as a possible explanation of this uneven age distribution. Thus, there is concern that children treated for cancer may allso be at risk for an unfavourable course of infection. Along the same line, anecdotal information from Wuhan, China, mentioned a severe course of COVID-19 in a child treated for leukaemia.

Aim And Methods: We made a flash survey on COVID-19 incidence and severity among children on anticancer treatment. Respondents were asked by email to fill in a short Web-based survey.

Results: We received reports from 25 countries, where approximately 10,000 patients at risk are followed up. At the time of the survey, more than 200 of these children were tested, nine of whom were positive for COVID-19. Eight of the nine cases had asymptomatic to mild disease, and one was just diagnosed with COVID-19. We also discuss preventive measures that are in place or should be taken and treatment options in immunocompromised children with COVID-19.

Conclusion: Thus, even children receiving anticancer chemotherapy may have a mild or asymptomatic course of COVID-19. While we should not underestimate the risk of developing a more severe course of COVID-19 than that observed here, the intensity of preventive measures should not cause delays or obstructions in oncological treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.03.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7141482PMC
June 2020
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