Publications by authors named "Anna Chierichini"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Impact of invasive aspergillosis occurring during first induction therapy on outcome of acute myeloid leukaemia (SEIFEM-12B study).

Mycoses 2020 Oct 23;63(10):1094-1100. Epub 2020 Aug 23.

Istituto di Ematologia, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli-IRCCS-Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.

Background: Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients are at high risk of invasive aspergillosis (IA) after first induction chemotherapy (CHT). Although IA risk factors have been identified, few data are available on impact of IA, occurring during induction phase, on overall AML outcome.

Patients And Results: The end point of this multicentre, case-control, study was to evaluate whether IA, occurring after first induction CHT, can affect treatment schedule and patient's outcome. We identified 40 AML patients (cases) who developed IA during first induction phase, 31 probable (77.5%) and 9 proven (22.5%). These cases were matched with a control group (80 AML) without IA, balanced according to age, type of CHT, AML characteristics and cytogenetic-molecular risk factors. The overall response rate to induction CHT was the same in the 2 groups. In the 40 cases with IA, the overall response rate to antifungal treatment was favourable (80%) but it was significantly affected by the achievement of leukaemia complete remission (CR) with induction CHT. In fact, in cases with AML responsive to induction CHT, responses of IA to antifungal therapy were 96% compared to 21% in cases of AML not responsive to induction treatment (P < .0001). The adherence to the schedule and full doses of CHT were reported in 35% of cases (14/40) and in 76% of controls (61/80) (P = .0001; OR 6.7; 95% CI 2.7-16.6). After first induction CHT, a significant higher number of cases (15/40; 37.5%) compared to controls (9/80; 11%) could not receive additional cycles of CHT (P = .0011, OR 4.8; 95% CI 1.9-12.3). The IA-related mortality was 22.5%. The median OS of cases was significantly worse than OS of controls with a difference of 12.3 months (12.1 vs 24.4 months, P = .04). However, the occurrence of IA during first induction phase did not have a significant impact on the OS of cases who achieved a CR of AML with induction CHT which are able to proceed, despite the IA, with their therapeutic program, achieving the same OS as the control group with AML in CR (P = ns).

Conclusions: These data show that IA during first induction CHT can delay the subsequent therapeutic program and has a significant impact on OS, specifically in AML patients who did not achieved a CR of AML with the first course of CHT.
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October 2020

Antiemetic prophylaxis in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a multicenter survey of the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto Midollo Osseo (GITMO) transplant programs.

Ann Hematol 2020 Apr 8;99(4):867-875. Epub 2020 Feb 8.

SODc Terapie Cellulari e Medicina Trasfusionale, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy.

A survey within hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) centers of the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto Midollo Osseo (GITMO) was performed in order to describe current antiemetic prophylaxis in patients undergoing HSCT. The multicenter survey was performed by a questionnaire, covering the main areas on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV): antiemetic prophylaxis guidelines used, antiemetic prophylaxis in different conditioning regimens, and methods of CINV evaluation. The survey was carried out in November 2016, and it was repeated 6 months after the publication of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC)/European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) specific guidelines on antiemetic prophylaxis in HSCT. The results show a remarkable heterogeneity of prophylaxis among the various centers and a significant difference between the guidelines and the clinical practice. In the main conditioning regimens, the combination of a serotonin receptor antagonist (5-HT-RA) with dexamethasone and neurokin receptor antagonist (NK1-RA), as recommended by MASCC/ESMO guidelines, increased from 0 to 15% (before the publication of the guidelines) to 9-30% (after the publication of the guidelines). This study shows a lack of compliance with specific antiemetic guidelines, resulting mainly in under-prophylaxis. Concerted strategies are required to improve the current CINV prophylaxis, to draft shared common guidelines, and to increase the knowledge and the adherence to the current recommendations for CINV prophylaxis in the specific field of HSCT.
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April 2020

GIMEMA AML1310 trial of risk-adapted, MRD-directed therapy for young adults with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2019 09 8;134(12):935-945. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

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

We designed a trial in which postremission therapy of young patients with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was decided combining cytogenetics/genetics and postconsolidation levels of minimal residual disease (MRD). After induction and consolidation, favorable-risk patients (FR) were to receive autologous stem cell transplant (AuSCT) and poor-risk patients (PR) allogeneic stem cell transplant (AlloSCT). Intermediate-risk patients (IR) were to receive AuSCT or AlloSCT depending on the postconsolidation levels of MRD. Three hundred sixty-one of 500 patients (72%) achieved a complete remission, 342/361 completed the consolidation phase and were treatment allocated: 165 (48%) to AlloSCT (122 PR, 43 IR MRD-positive) plus 23 rescued after salvage therapy, for a total of 188 candidates; 150 (44%) to AuSCT (115 FR, 35 IR MRD-negative) plus 27 IR patients (8%) with no leukemia-associated phenotype, for a total of 177 candidates. Overall, 110/177 (62%) and 130/188 (71%) AuSCT or AlloSCT candidates received it, respectively. Two-year overall (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) of the whole series was 56% and 54%, respectively. Two-year OS and DFS were 74% and 61% in the FR category, 42% and 45% in the PR category, 79% and 61% in the IR MRD-negative category, and 70% and 67% in the IR MRD-positive category. In conclusion, AuSCT may still have a role in FR and IR MRD-negative categories. In the IR MRD-positive category, AlloSCT prolongs OS and DFS to equal those of the FR category. Using all the available sources of stem cells, AlloSCT was delivered to 71% of the candidates.This trial was registered at as #NCT01452646 and EudraCT as #2010-023809-36.
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September 2019

Prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting after high-dose melphalan and stem cell transplantation: review of the evidence and suggestions.

Support Care Cancer 2019 Mar 18;27(3):793-803. Epub 2018 Dec 18.

Hematology, Rome Transplant Network, Department of Hematology, Stem Cell Transplant Unit, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: High-dose melphalan (HDMel) is the most common conditioning chemotherapy regimen for autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT) in patients affected by multiple myeloma (MM). No consensus exists for the emetogenicity or prophylaxis of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in this regimen.

Methods: Data on the incidence and efficacy/safety of CINV prophylaxis among patients affected by MM undergoing autologous SCT with the HDMel regimen was extracted from electronic databases and analyzed.

Results: Eleven studies involving multiple CINV prophylaxis regimens were identified and included. No consensus on HDMel emetogenicity was reached, but most studies summarized the emetogenicity as moderate-high risk. An aprepitant-based three-drug regimen (aprepitant + serotonin receptor antagonist (5HT3RA) + dexamethasone) showed better efficacy than a two-drug regimen (5HT3RA + dexamethasone) for CINV prevention without increasing the frequency in adverse events.

Conclusions: The aprepitant-based three-drug regimen should be the regimen of choice for CINV prophylaxis for MM patients undergoing autologous SCT with HDMel conditioning.
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March 2019

The Rome Transplant Network model compared to the Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry activity for unrelated donor search process and transplant efficiency for hematologic malignancy.

Transfusion 2017 07 13;57(7):1734-1743. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Italian Bone MarrowDonorRegistry, Ospedale Galliera, Genoa, Italy.

Background: From 2011 to 2014, a total of 71% of the 3834 patients with hematologic malignancies successfully identified a matched unrelated donor (MUD) through the Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (IBMDR), corresponding to a transplant efficiency of 62%.

Study Design And Methods: From 2006, the Rome Transplant Network (RTN) followed a hierarchical selection strategy for the alternative donor search: first MUD, second cord blood, and third haploidentical donor. Using a low-resolution HLA, a preliminary query (PQ) was performed in all cases with assignment of good or poor score if more or less than 10 MUDs were identified in Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide. Herein we assessed the utility of PQ and of high-resolution (HR) HLA from the start of the search. Moreover, we compared the donor identification and the transplant efficiency between IBMDR and RTN.

Results: At RTN 79% of 417 patients met a good PQ with a 50% MUD identification versus 12.5% with poor PQ. Our policy led to 78 and 74% of alternative donor identification and transplant efficiency, respectively, higher than IBMDR data equal to 71% (p = 0.007) and 62% (p < 0.0001). The timing for donor identification was significantly reduced using HR HLA at the start of the search from 88 to 66 days at IBMDR (p < 0.001) and from 61 to 41 days at RTN (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Both PQ and HR HLA at the start of the process represents a useful tool to address the search towards the best and timely donor choice. Moreover, establishing a specific donor policy significantly improves the transplant efficiency.
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July 2017

Posaconazole oral suspension primary prophylaxis in acute leukemia and allogeneic stem cell transplant patients: can it be used without measurement of plasma concentration?

Med Mycol 2016 Jul 11;54(5):445-58. Epub 2016 Feb 11.

Dipartimento di Farmacologia Preclinica e Clinica Mario Aiazzi Mancini, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Posaconazole oral suspension (PCZ-susp) can display a variable degree of inter and intra-individual absorption. However, there is no agreement on the need of plasma-posaconazole-concentration (PPC) monitoring as a routine practice in patients receiving PCZ-susp. In this prospective, multicenter study we evaluated the variability of PPCs in hematologic patients receiving PCZ-susp prophylaxis with the aim to define conditions at different risk of subtherapeutic PPCs. Overall, 103 acute leukemia (AL) patients submitted to intensive chemotherapy (115 courses) and 46 allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) recipients (47 courses) receiving PCZ-susp prophylaxis were considered. The adequacy of PPC pattern after the steady state (≥day 7 of treatment) in courses with two or more PPC measurements was defined as follows: inadequate pattern: PPC < 0.5 mcg/ml at least once; borderline pattern: PPC always ≥0.5mcg/ml but < 0.7 mcg/ml at least once; adequate pattern: PPC always ≥0.7 mcg/ml. The PPC pattern was evaluable in 83 and 37 AL and allo-SCT patients, respectively. It was adequate, borderline and inadequate in 63.9%, 14.5%, and 21.7% of courses, respectively, in AL, and in 62.2%, 10.8%, and 27.0% of courses, respectively, in allo-SCT. In both groups, an inadequate PPC pattern was associated with the development of diarrhea. In absence of diarrhea, the probability of an inadequate PPC pattern was 11.9% in AL and 17.2% in allo-SCT patients. PCZ-susp might be used without stringent need of PPC monitoring in patients without diarrhea.
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July 2016

Pre-chemotherapy risk factors for invasive fungal diseases: prospective analysis of 1,192 patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (SEIFEM 2010-a multicenter study).

Haematologica 2015 Feb;100(2):284-92

Divisione di Ematologia, Azienda Ospedaliera "Bianchi Melacrino Morelli", Reggio Calabria.

Correct definition of the level of risk of invasive fungal infections is the first step in improving the targeting of preventive strategies. We investigated the potential relationship between pre-hospitalization exposure to sources of fungi and the development of invasive fungal infections in adult patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia after their first course of chemotherapy. From January 2010 to April 2012, all consecutive acute myeloid leukemia patients in 33 Italian centers were prospectively registered. Upon first admission, information about possible pre-chemotherapy risk factors and environmental exposure was collected. We recorded data regarding comorbid conditions, employment, hygienic habits, working and living environment, personal habits, hobbies, and pets. All invasive fungal infections occurring within 30 days after the first course of chemotherapy were recorded. Of the 1,192 patients enrolled in this study, 881 received intensive chemotherapy and were included in the present analysis. Of these, 214 developed an invasive fungal infection, including 77 proven/probable cases (8.7%). Of these 77 cases, 54 were proven/probable invasive mold infections (6.1%) and 23 were proven yeast infections (2.6%). Upon univariate analysis, a significant association was found between invasive mold infections and age, performance status, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, smoking, cocaine use, job, hobbies, and a recent house renovation. Higher body weight resulted in a reduced risk of invasive mold infections. Multivariate analysis confirmed the role of performance status, job, body weight, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and house renovation. In conclusion, several hospital-independent variables could potentially influence the onset of invasive mold infections in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Investigation of these factors upon first admission may help to define a patient's risk category and improve targeted prophylactic strategies. ( NCT01315925)
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February 2015

Results of a multicenter, controlled, randomized clinical trial evaluating the combination of piperacillin/tazobactam and tigecycline in high-risk hematologic patients with cancer with febrile neutropenia.

J Clin Oncol 2014 May 14;32(14):1463-71. Epub 2014 Apr 14.

Giampaolo Bucaneve, Stelvio Ballanti, and Albano Del Favero, Ospedale S. Maria della Misericordia, Perugia, Italy; Alessandra Micozzi, Giuseppe Gentile, and Robin Foà, "Sapienza" Università di Roma, Roma; Marco Picardi, A. O. Universitaria "Federico II," Napoli; Nicola Cascavilla, Ospedale Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, IRCCS, San Giovanni Rotondo; Prassede Salutari, Ospedale Civile "Spirito Santo," Pescara; Giorgina Specchia, Università di Bari, Bari; Rosa Fanci, A. O. Universitaria "Careggi," Firenze; Mario Luppi, A. O. Universitaria Policlinico, Modena; Laura Cudillo, Policlinico Tor Vergata, Roma; Renato Cantaffa, A. O. "Pugliese Ciaccio," Catanzaro; Giuseppe Milone, Policlinico "Vittorio Emanuele," Catania; Monica Bocchia, Policlinico "S. Maria alle Scotte," Siena; Giovanni Martinelli, Istituto Europeo Oncologico, Milano; Massimo Offidani, A. O. Universitaria-Ospedali Riuniti, Ancona; Anna Chierichini, Ospedale S. Giovanni Addolorata, Roma; Francesco Fabbiano, Ospedali Riuniti, Palermo; Giovanni Quarta, Ospedale "A. Perrino," Brindisi; Valeria Primon, Ospedale SS Antonio e Biagio, Alessandria; Bruno Martino, A. O. "Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli," Reggio Calabria; Annunziata Manna, ASL5, La Spezia; Eliana Zuffa, Ospedale S. Maria delle Croci, Ravenna; and Antonella Ferrari, A. O. Sant'Andrea, Roma.

Purpose: Empiric antibiotic monotherapy is considered the standard of treatment for febrile neutropenic patients with cancer, but this approach may be inadequate because of the increasing prevalence of infections caused by multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria.

Patients And Methods: In this multicenter, open-label, randomized, superiority trial, adult, febrile, high-risk neutropenic patients (FhrNPs) with hematologic malignancies were randomly assigned to receive piperacillin/tazobactam (4.5 g intravenously every 8 hours) with or without tigecycline (50 mg intravenously every 12 hours; loading dose 100 mg). The primary end point was resolution of febrile episode without modifications of the initial allocated treatment.

Results: Three hundred ninety FhrNPs were enrolled (combination/monotherapy, 187/203) and were included in the intention-to-treat analysis (ITTA). The ITTA revealed a successful outcome in 67.9% v 44.3% of patients who had received combination therapy and monotherapy, respectively (127/187 v 90/203; absolute difference in risk (adr), 23.6%; 95% CI, 14% to 33%; P < .001). The combination regimen proved better than monotherapy in bacteremias (adr, 32.8%; 95% CI, 19% to 46%; P < .001) and in clinically documented infections (adr, 36%; 95% CI, 9% to 64%; P < .01). Mortality and number of adverse effects were limited and similar in the two groups.

Conclusion: The combination of piperacillin/tazobactam and tigecycline is safe, well tolerated, and more effective than piperacillin/tazobactam alone in febrile, high-risk, neutropenic hematologic patients with cancer. In epidemiologic settings characterized by a high prevalence of infections because of MDR microorganisms, this combination could be considered as one of the first-line empiric antibiotic therapies.
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May 2014

Prospective phase II single-center study of the safety of a single very high dose of liposomal amphotericin B for antifungal prophylaxis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2013 Jun 25;57(6):2596-602. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Unità di Ematologia, Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni Addolorata, Rome, Italy.

Some preclinical and pharmacokinetic studies suggested the variable safety and the potential efficacy of an antifungal prophylaxis with a single high dose of liposomal amphotericin B (L-AmB) in high-risk patients. An open-label, prospective study was conducted with 48 adults receiving induction chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Patients received a single infusion of 15 mg/kg of body weight L-AmB and, eventually, a second dose after 15 days of persistent neutropenia. The primary objective was tolerability and safety. Efficacy was also evaluated as a secondary endpoint. A pharmacokinetic study was performed with 34 patients in order to evaluate any association of plasma L-AmB levels with toxicity and efficacy. Overall, only 6 patients (12.5%) reported Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) grade 3 hypokalemia, which was corrected with potassium supplementation in all cases, and no patient developed clinically relevant nephrotoxicity. Mild infusion-related adverse events occurred after 6 of 53 (11.3%) total infusions, with permanent drug discontinuation in only one case. Proven invasive fungal disease (IFD) was diagnosed in 4 (8.3%) patients. The mean AmB plasma levels at 6 h, 24 h, and 7 days after L-AmB administration were 160, 49.5, and 1 mg/liter, respectively. The plasma AmB levels were higher than the mean values of the overall population in 3 patients who developed CTC grade 3 hypokalemia and did not significantly differ from the mean values of the overall population in 3 patients who developed IFD. Our experience demonstrates the feasibility and safety of a single 15-mg/kg L-AmB dose as antifungal prophylaxis in AML patients undergoing induction chemotherapy.
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June 2013

Standard- versus high-dose lenograstim in adults with hematologic malignancies for peripheral blood progenitor cell mobilization.

Transfusion 2010 Nov;50(11):2432-46

Department of Hematology, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Background: The aim of this retrospective, multicenter study was to compare high- versus standard-dose lenograstim after chemotherapy in collecting target dose of CD34+ peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPCs) in adult candidates for autologous transplant.

Study Design And Methods: A total of 166 consecutive patients (28 acute leukemias [ALs], 77 lymphomas, 61 multiple myeloma [MM]) underwent 182 mobilization procedures. Only the first were analyzed. The CD34+ cell target was at least 2×10(6) , 4×10(6) , and 8×10(6) /kg and lenograstim started on days +19, +1, and +5 from the end of chemotherapy for AL, lymphomas, and MM, respectively. Eighty-seven and 79 patients, respectively, received 5 and 10µg/kg/day lenograstim subcutaneously (sc). An analysis to evaluate factors predicting satisfactory procedures and outcome of transplants performed with first-mobilization-procedure PBPCs was conducted. Most patients received 6mg of pegfilgrastim or 5µg/kg/day lenograstim sc after transplant.

Results: In multivariate analysis, high-dose lenograstim (p=0.053) in MM and male sex (p=0.028) were positive predictive factors for reaching cell target. Fludarabine negatively influenced stimulation length (p=0.002). Apheresis, CD34+ cells mobilized and collected, blood volume processed, side effects, transplants performed, and engraftment time were similar between lenograstim cohorts. Pegfilgrastim versus lenograstim delayed platelet (PLT) recovery times (13 days vs. 11 days, p=0.036).

Conclusions: High-dose lenograstim more efficiently mobilized MM patients requiring the highest PBPC target but did not influence transplants performed and engraftment time. Male patients mobilized more efficiently. Fludarabine negatively influenced stimulation length. Finally, pegfilgrastim seems to delay PLT recovery.
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November 2010

Invasive aspergillosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia: a SEIFEM-2008 registry study.

Haematologica 2010 Apr 22;95(4):644-50. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

M.D. Istituto di Ematologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Francesco Vito, 1 I-00168 Roma, Italia.

Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate prognostic factors, treatments and outcome of invasive aspergillosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia based on data collected in a registry.

Design And Methods: The registry, which was activated in 2004 and closed in 2007, collected data on patients with acute myeloid leukemia, admitted to 21 hematologic divisions in tertiary care centers or university hospitals in Italy, who developed proven or probable invasive aspergillosis.

Results: One hundred and forty cases of invasive aspergillosis were collected, with most cases occurring during the period of post-induction aplasia, the highest risk phase in acute myeloid leukemia. The mortality rate attributable to invasive aspergillosis was 27%, confirming previous reports of a downward trend in this rate. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the stage of acute myeloid leukemia and the duration of, and recovery from, neutropenia were independent prognostic factors. We analyzed outcomes after treatment with the three most frequently used drugs (liposomal amphotericin B, caspofungin, voriconazole). No differences emerged in survival at day 120 or in the overall response rate which was 71%, ranging from 61% with caspofungin to 84% with voriconazole.

Conclusions: Our series confirms the downward trend in mortality rates reported in previous series, with all new drugs providing similar survival and response rates. Recovery from neutropenia and disease stage are crucial prognostic factors. Efficacious antifungal drugs bridge the period of maximum risk due to poor hematologic and immunological reconstitution.
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April 2010

The epidemiology of fungal infections in patients with hematologic malignancies: the SEIFEM-2004 study.

Haematologica 2006 Aug;91(8):1068-75

Istituto di Ematologi, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Francesco Vito, 1, I-00168 Rome, Italy.

Background And Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and outcome of invasive fungal infections (IFI) in patients with hematologic malignancies.

Design And Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients admitted between 1999 and 2003 to 18 hematology wards in Italy. Each participating center provided information on all patients with newly diagnosed hematologic malignancies admitted during the survery period and on all episodes of IFI experienced by these patients.

Results: The cohort was formed of 11,802 patients with hematologic malignacies: acute leukemia (myeloid 3012, lymphoid 1173), chronic leukemia (myeloid 596, lymphoid 1104), lymphoma (Hodgkin's 844, non-Hodgkin's 3457), or multiple myeloma (1616). There were 538 proven or probable IFI (4.6%); 373 (69%) occurred in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Over half (346/538) were caused by molds (2.9%), in most cases Aspergillus spp. (310/346). The 192 yeast infections (1.6%) included 175 cases of candidemia. Overall and IFI-attributable mortality rates were 2% (209/11802) and 39% (209/538), respectively. The highest IFI-attributable mortality rates were associated with zygomycosis (64%) followed by fusariosis (53%), aspergillosis (42%), and candidemia (33%).

Interpretation And Conclusions: Patients with hematologic malignancies are currently at higher risk of IFI caused by molds than by yeasts, and the incidence of IFI is highest among patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Aspergillus spp are still the most common pathogens, followed by Candida spp. Other agents are rare. The attributable mortality rate for aspergillosis has dropped from 60-70% to approximately 40%. Candidemia-related mortality remains within the 30-40% range reported in literature although the incidence has decreased.
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August 2006

TRAIL decoy receptors mediate resistance of acute myeloid leukemia cells to TRAIL.

Haematologica 2005 May;90(5):612-24

Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Background And Objectives: The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is regarded as a potential anticancer agent. However, many cancer cells are resistant to apoptosis induction by TRAIL. The present study was designed to evaluate the sensitivity to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in acute myeloblastic leukemias (AML).

Design And Methods: TRAIL/TRAIL receptor (TRAIL-R) expression and sensitivity to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis were explored in 79 AML patients, including 17 patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

Results: In non-APL AML we observed frequent expression of TRAIL decoy receptors (TRAIL-R3 and TRAIL-R4), while TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2 expression was restricted to AML exhibiting monocytic features. Total leukemic blasts, as well as AML colony-forming units (AML-CFU), were invariably resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. APL express membrane-bound TRAIL on their surface and exhibit a pattern of TRAIL-R expression similar to that observed in the other types of AML. Before, during and after retinoic acid treatment APL cells are TRAIL-resistant. The induction of granulocytic maturation of APL cells by retinoic acid was associated with a marked decline of TRAIL expression.

Interpretation And Conclusions: The analysis of experimental APL models (i.e., U937 cells engineered to express PML/RAR-Eo and NB4 cells) provided evidence that PML/RAR-Eo expression was associated with downmodulation of TRAIL-R1 and with resistance to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. We suggest that AML blasts, including APL blasts, are resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis, a phenomenon seemingly related to the expression of TRAIL decoy receptors on these cells. Finally, APL blasts express membrane-bound TRAIL that could confer an immunologic privilege to these cells.
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May 2005