Publications by authors named "Annalisa Arcari"

26 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Simplified Geriatric Assessment in Older Patients With Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: The Prospective Elderly Project of the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Apr 12;39(11):1214-1222. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Division of Medical Oncology and Immune-related Tumors, Centro di Riferimento Oncologico di Aviano (CRO) IRCCS, Aviano (PN), Italy.

Purpose: To prospectively validate the use of a simplified geriatric assessment (sGA) at diagnosis and to integrate it into a prognostic score for older patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Methods: We conducted the prospective Elderly Project study on patients with DLBCL older than 64 years who underwent our Fondazione Italiana Linfomi original geriatric assessment (oGA) (age, Cumulative Illness Rating Scale for Geriatrics, activities of daily living, and instrumental activities of daily living) before treatment. Treatment choice was left to the physician's discretion. The primary end point was overall survival (OS) (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02364050).

Results: We analyzed 1,163 patients (median age 76 years), with a 3-year OS of 65% (95% CI, 62 to 68). Because at multivariate analysis on oGA, age > 80 years retained an independent correlation with OS, we also developed a new, simplified version of the GA (sGA) that classifies patients as fit (55%), unfit (28%), and frail (18%) with significantly different 3-year OS of 75%, 58%, and 43%, respectively. The sGA groups, International Prognostic Index, and hemoglobin levels were independent predictors of OS and were used to build the Elderly Prognostic Index (EPI). Three risk groups were identified: low (23%), intermediate (48%), and high (29%), with an estimated 3-year OS of 87% (95% CI, 81 to 91), 69% (95% CI, 63 to 73), and 42% (95% CI, 36 to 49), respectively. The EPI was validated using an independent external series of 328 cases.

Conclusion: The Elderly Project validates sGA as an objective tool to assess fitness status and defines the new EPI to predict OS of older patients with DLBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02465DOI Listing
April 2021

Long-lasting efficacy and safety of lenalidomide maintenance in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are not eligible for or failed autologous transplantation.

Hematol Oncol 2020 Aug 5;38(3):257-265. Epub 2020 May 5.

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

We report final results of a phase II trial addressing efficacy and feasibility of lenalidomide maintenance in patients with chemosensitive relapse of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not eligible for or failed after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Patients with relapsed DLBCL who achieved at least a partial response to salvage chemoimmunotherapy were enrolled and treated with lenalidomide 25 mg/day for 21 of 28 days for 2 years or until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Primary endpoint was 1-year PFS. Forty-six of 48 enrolled patients were assessable. Most patients had IPI ≥2, advanced stage and extranodal disease before the salvage treatment that led to trial registration; 28 (61%) patients were older than 70 years. Lenalidomide was well tolerated. With the exception of neutropenia, grade-4 toxicities occurred in <1% of courses. Three patients died of complications during maintenance and three died due to second cancers at 32 to 64 months. There were 13 SAEs recorded in 12 patients; all these patients but two recovered. Lenalidomide was interrupted due to toxicity in other 6 patients, and 25 patients required dose reduction (transient in 21). At 1 year from registration, 31 patients were progression free. After a median follow-up of 65 (range 39-124) months, 22 patients remain progression free, with a 5-year PFS of 48% ± 7%. The duration of response to lenalidomide was longer than response to prior treatment in 30 (65%) patients. Benefit was observed both in de novo and transformed DLBCL, germinal-center-B-cell and nongerminal-center-B-cell subtypes. Twenty-six patients are alive (5-year OS 62% ± 7%). With the limitations of a nonrandomized design, these long-term results suggest that lenalidomide maintenance might bring benefit to patients with chemosensitive relapse of DLBCL not eligible for or failed after ASCT. Lenalidomide was associated with durable disease control and was well tolerated in this elderly population. Further investigations on immunomodulatory drugs as maintenance in these high-risk patients are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2742DOI Listing
August 2020

Direct-acting antivirals in relapsed or refractory hepatitis C virus-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Leuk Lymphoma 2020 09 28;61(9):2122-2128. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Recent studies have demonstrated feasibility and substantial benefit of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) administration during or after first-line immune-chemotherapy (I-CT) in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). However, data on DAAs used during or after salvage treatments are still lacking. In this study we assessed clinical and virological outcome in 11 patients with relapsed ( = 7) or refractory ( = 4) HCV-positive DLBCL. DAAs were given either concurrently ( = 3) or subsequent ( = 8) to salvage I-CT. Most patients (10 of 11) received sofosbuvir-based regimens. All patients completed their planned courses of DAAs and achieved sustained virological response. DAAs were well tolerated, with no grade ≥2 adverse events. At a median follow-up of 3.6 years four patients died (4-year OS: 76%). In conclusion, we provide evidence that DAAs in HCV-positive relapsed/refractory DLBCL are extremely safe and effective, suggesting that they should be used if HCV eradication was not instituted before.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1755859DOI Listing
September 2020

Bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine combined with nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin (MBVD) in elderly (≥70 years) or cardiopathic patients with Hodgkin lymphoma: a phase-II study from Fondazione Italiana Linfomi (FIL).

Leuk Lymphoma 2019 12 8;60(12):2890-2898. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Hematology Unit, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

This phase-II study assessed activity and toxicity of substituting conventional doxorubicin with nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin in the conventional ABVD regimen for the treatment of elderly or cardiopathic patients with HL. Stage I-IIA and IIB-IV patients were treated with three courses of MBVD plus radiotherapy, or six courses of MBVD, respectively, plus radiotherapy limited to bulky or residual disease areas. The primary endpoints were CR rate and the rate of cardiac events. Forty-seven patients were enrolled. Median age was 75 years, 13 had stage I-II disease. Overall, CR was achieved by 36 patients (77%, 95% CI: 62-88), 100% and 68% in stage I-II and III-IV, respectively. With a median follow-up of 40 months (IQR: 36-45). Three-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 70% and 43%, respectively. Cardiac events grades 3-5 were reported in two patients. In conclusion, MBVD's activity and safety profile was comparable to historical ABVD data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2019.1608529DOI Listing
December 2019

The metronomic all-oral DEVEC is an effective schedule in elderly patients with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma.

Invest New Drugs 2019 06 26;37(3):548-558. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

Hematology Unit, IRCCS - Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Meldola, Italy.

Metronomic-chemotherapy (M-CHT) has been rarely assessed in non-Hodgkin-lymphoma (NHL). Therefore, in 2011 we started experimenting a new all-oral M-CHT schedule termed DEVEC (Deltacortene®, etoposide, vinorelbine, cyclophosphamide, +/-Rituximab) in diffuse-large-B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients. Methods Patients with stage Ib-IV were enrolled as follows: 1) treatment-naïve, frail ≥65y, or unfit ≥85y; and 2) relapsed/refractory (R/R) ≥55y. Data were prospectively collected from six Italian centres and compared for efficacy to two reference groups, treated with established iv Rituximab-CHT in 1 and 2 line respectively. Results from April-2011 to March-2018, 17/51(33%) naïve, 21/51(41%) refractory and 13/51(25.5%) relapsed patients started DEVEC; 39/51(76.5%) were de-novo DLBCL; 10/51(19.6%) transformed-DLBCL and 2/51(3.9%) unclassifiable-DLBCL/classical-Hodgkin-lymphoma. The median age was 85y (range=77-93) and 78y (range=57-91) in naïve and R/R respectively and overall the DEVEC patients had very poor features compared to the reference. The rate of grade≥3 haematological-AEs was 43%(95CI=29-58%): G3-neutropenia was the most frequent; grade≥3 extra-haematological-AEs was 13.7% (95%CI=5.4-25.9%), the most frequent was infection. One-year OS and PFS were 67% and 61% for naive, 60% and 50% for reference-naïve respectively; Cox proportional hazard ratio (Cox-PH-ratio) for OS and PFS were 0.69 (95%CI=0.27-1.76;p=.441) and 0.68 (95%CI=0.28-1.62;p=.381) respectively. One-year OS and PFS were 48% and 39% in the R/R, 36% and 17% in the reference-R/R respectively; Cox-PH-ratio for OS and PFS, were 0.76 (95%CI=0.42-1.40; p=.386) and 0.48 (95%CI=0.28-0.82; p=.007) respectively. Conclusion The favourable activity of DEVEC compared to a real-life series and the convenience of an oral administration, may possibly lay the groundwork for a paradigm-shift in the treatment of elderly DLBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-019-00769-5DOI Listing
June 2019

Direct-Acting Antivirals in Hepatitis C Virus-Associated Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphomas.

Oncologist 2019 08 14;24(8):e720-e729. Epub 2018 Dec 14.

Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.

Background: International guidelines suggest hepatitis C virus (HCV) eradication by direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) after first-line immunochemotherapy (I-CT) in patients with HCV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), although limited experiences substantiate this recommendation. Moreover, only a few data concerning concurrent administration of DAAs with I-CT have been reported.

Subjects, Materials, And Methods: We analyzed hematological and virological outcome and survival of 47 consecutive patients with HCV-positive DLBCL treated at 23 Italian and French centers with DAAs either concurrently (concurrent cohort []: = 9) or subsequently (sequential cohort []: = 38) to first-line I-CT (mainly rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone [R-CHOP]-like).

Results: Median age was 61 years, 89% of patients had stage III/IV, and 25% presented evidence of cirrhosis. Genotype was 1 in 56% and 2 in 34% of cases. Overall, 46 of 47 patients obtained complete response to I-CT. All patients received appropriate DAAs according to genotype, mainly sofosbuvir-based regimens ( = 45). Overall, 45 patients (96%) achieved sustained virological response, 8 of 9 in and 37 of 38 in . DAAs were well tolerated, with only 11 patients experiencing grade 1-2 adverse events. Twenty-three patients experienced hepatic toxicity (grade 3-4 in seven) following I-CT in compared to only one patient in . At a median follow-up of 2.8 years, two patients died (2-year overall survival, 97.4%) and three progressed (2-year progression-free survival, 93.1%).

Conclusion: Excellent outcome of this cohort of HCV-positive DLBCL suggests benefit of HCV eradication by DAAs either after or during I-CT. Moreover, concurrent DAAs and R-CHOP administration appeared feasible, effective, and ideally preferable to deferred administration of DAAs for the prevention of hepatic toxicity.

Implications For Practice: Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCLs) represent a great therapeutic challenge, especially in terms of hepatic toxicity during immune-chemotherapy (I-CT) and long-term hepatic complications. The advent of highly effective and toxicity-free direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) created an exciting opportunity to easily eradicate HCV shortly after or in concomitance with first-line immunochemotherapy (usually R-CHOP). This retrospective international study reports the real-life use of the combination of these two therapeutic modalities either in the concurrent or sequential approach (DAAs after I-CT) in 47 patients. The favorable reported results on long-term outcome seem to support the eradication of HCV with DAAs in all patients with HCV-positive DLBCL. Moreover, the results from the concurrent approach were effective and safe and displayed an advantage in preventing hepatic toxicity during I-CT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0331DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6693710PMC
August 2019

Ibrutinib as a bridge to transplant in high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia: A case report and review of the literature.

Leuk Res Rep 2017 15;8:21-23. Epub 2017 Nov 15.

Hematology Unit and Transplantion Center, "Guglielmo da Saliceto" Hospital, via Taverna 49, 29100 Piacenza, Italy.

The treatment landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been challenged by the advent of novel classes of drugs, such as B-cell receptor (BCR)-inhibitors and BCL-2 antagonists. In selected high-risk patients, the choice to start allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHCT) or continue these agents is a matter of debate. Furthermore, published data about the impact on the feasibility of alloHCT and the optimal timing of administration are limited. Here we present a case of relapsed TP53 mutated CLL treated with ibrutinib as a bridge to alloHCT, discussing risks and benefits of different treatment options in a "real life" situation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrr.2017.11.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5717301PMC
November 2017

Italian real-life experience with brentuximab vedotin: results of a large observational study of 40 cases of relapsed/refractory systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Haematologica 2017 11 3;102(11):1931-1935. Epub 2017 Aug 3.

Institute of Hematology "L. e A. Seràgnoli", University of Bologna, Italy

Between November 2012 and July 2014, in accordance with national law 648/96, brentuximab vedotin was available in Italy for patients with relapsed systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma outside a clinical trial context. A large Italian observational retrospective study was conducted on the use of brentuximab vedotin in everyday clinical practice to check whether clinical trial results are confirmed in a real-life context. The primary endpoint of this study was best response; secondary endpoints were the overall response rate at the end of the treatment, duration of response, survival and safety profile. A total of 40 heavily pretreated patients were enrolled. Best response was observed after a median of four cycles in 77.5%: globally, 47.5% patients obtained a complete response, 64.2% in the elderly subset. The overall response rate was 62.5%. At the latest follow up, 15/18 patients are still in complete remission (3 with consolidation). The progression-free survival rate at 24 months was 39.1% and the disease-free survival rate at the same time was 54% (median not reached). All the long-term responders were aged <30 years at first infusion. The treatment was well tolerated even in this real-life context and no deaths were linked to drug toxicity. Brentuximab vedotin induces clinical responses quite rapidly, i.e. within the first four cycles of treatment in most responders, thus enabling timely use of transplantation. For patients ineligible for transplant or for those in whom a transplant procedure failed, brentuximab vedotin may represent a feasible effective therapeutic option in everyday clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2017.171355DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664397PMC
November 2017

Lenalidomide maintenance in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are not eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation: an open label, single-arm, multicentre phase 2 trial.

Lancet Haematol 2017 Mar 17;4(3):e137-e146. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

Unit of Lymphoid Malignancies, Department of Onco-Hematology, Milan, Italy; Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Pathology Unit, Milan, Italy; San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.

Background: Patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) or having relapse after ASCT have a low likelihood of cure. Single-drug maintenance after salvage therapy might be an attractive strategy to prolong survival in these patients. Lenalidomide is a suitable candidate for long-lasting maintenance as it is an oral drug, active against DLBCL that can be taken for years with an acceptable toxicity profile. We designed a study to investigate safety and efficacy of lenalidomide maintenance in patients with chemosensitive relapse of DLBCL not eligible for ASCT or having relapse after ASCT.

Methods: In this open-label, single group, multicentre phase 2 trial, we recruited HIV-negative adults with de novo or transformed DLBCL and relapsed disease responsive to conventional rituximab-containing salvage therapy from 12 oncology-haematology centres in Italy. All patients were given oral lenalidomide 25 mg per day for 21 of 28 days until lymphoma progression or unacceptable toxicity (severely compromises organ function, quality of life, or both). Primary endpoint was 1-year progression-free survival. The estimated sample size was 47 patients; maintenance was deemed efficacious if at least 19 patients were progression-free survivors at 1 year. All enrolled patients were included in primary analyses, with the exception of patients who post-hoc objectively did not meet the eligibility criteria (modified intention-to-treat). This study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov registry, number NCT00799513.

Findings: Between March 24, 2009, and Dec 22, 2015, we recruited 48 patients. 46 of 48 enrolled patients were assessable (two patients had unconfirmed diagnoses). 36 (78%) of 46 patients had de novo DLBCL and ten (22%) of 46 patients had transformed DLBCL. At a median follow-up of 25 months (IQR 12-56), 556 lenalidomide courses had been delivered, with an average mean of 12 courses (range 3-41) per patient; 19 patients were still in treatment at a median follow-up of 25 months. Lenalidomide was well tolerated; with the exception of neutropenia, grade 3-4 toxicities were uncommon. We recorded ten severe adverse events in nine patients due to febrile neutropenia (n=4), diarrhoea (n=2), melena, stroke, vomiting, and intestinal infarction; all but one patient recovered, and six of these patients continued with lenalidomide treatment. The exception was the only death due to toxicity (intestinal infarction). At 1 year from trial registration, 28 patients were progression free, which was much higher than the predetermined efficacy threshold. During the whole observation period, 21 events occurred: progressive lymphoma in 19 patients, death due to toxicity in one, death while off therapy in one, 1-year progression-free survival was 70% (95% CI 57-83).

Interpretation: With the limitations of a non-randomised design, this trial supports the use of lenalidomide maintenance in patients with chemo-sensitive relapse of DLBCL who are not eligible for ASCT or who had relapse after ASCT. These results warrant further investigation of immunomodulatory drugs as maintenance in high-risk patients with DLBCL.

Funding: Celgene Corp.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(17)30016-9DOI Listing
March 2017

Combination of bendamustine and rituximab as front-line therapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: multicenter, retrospective clinical practice experience with 279 cases outside of controlled clinical trials.

Eur J Cancer 2016 06 27;60:154-65. Epub 2016 Apr 27.

UOC Ematologia, Ospedale Annunziata, Cosenza, Italy. Electronic address:

Recently, encouraging results in terms of safety and efficacy have been obtained using bendamustine-rituximab (BR) in untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients enrolled in a phase II study. Here, we report a retrospective international multicenter study of CLL patients treated with BR as front-line therapy. The cohort included 279 patients with progressive CLL from 33 centers (29 Italian, 3 Israeli and 1 German) who received at least 1 cycle of BR as first-line treatment during the 2008-2014 period. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BR administered as front-line therapy, outside of controlled clinical trials. Median age was 70 years (range, 43-86 years); 62.4% were males and 35.8% had Binet stage C. Forty-two patients (15.2%) were unfit (cumulative illness rating scale [CIRS] score ≥7), and 140 (50.2%) had creatinine clearance ≤70 ml/min. Fluorescent in situ hybridisation analysis, available for 192 cases, showed that 21 (10.9%) had del11q and 18 (9.4%) del17p. The overall response rate (ORR) was 86.4%, with a complete remission rate of 28%. Patients with del17p had an ORR of 66.7%. After median follow-up of 24 months, the 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 69.9%; CIRS ≥7, immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable-region (IGHV) unmutated status, del17p and BR dose intensity <80% were independently associated with shorter PFS. Grade III or IV neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anaemia were observed in 25.9%, 15.4%, and 15.1% of patients, respectively. Twenty-four patients (8.6%) had severe infections. BR is also an effective and safe regimen for untreated CLL patients, outside of controlled clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2016.03.069DOI Listing
June 2016

Safety and efficacy of rituximab plus bendamustine in relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients: an Italian retrospective multicenter study.

Leuk Lymphoma 2016 08 15;57(8):1823-30. Epub 2015 Dec 15.

a Hematology Unit, Department of Onco-Hematology , Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital , Piacenza , Italy ;

Relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not suitable for high dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) has a dismal prognosis and no standard therapy. We designed an Italian multicenter retrospective study aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of rituximab plus bendamustine (R-B) as salvage treatment in patients not eligible for ASCT because of age and/or comorbidity or in patients with post-ASCT recurrence. Fifty-five patients with a median age of 76 years were included. The overall response rate was 50%, including 28% complete remission and 22% partial remission. The median overall survival (OS) was 10.8 months. The median progression free survival (PFS) was 8.8 months. Eleven patients are still alive and in complete remission at last follow-up (12-71 months). Toxicity was moderate, mainly grades 1 and 2. R-B showed promising efficacy results with an acceptable toxicity profile and should be further investigated, possibly in combination with novel drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10428194.2015.1106536DOI Listing
August 2016

Prognostic roles of absolute monocyte and absolute lymphocyte counts in patients with advanced-stage follicular lymphoma in the rituximab era: an analysis from the FOLL05 trial of the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi.

Br J Haematol 2015 May 29;169(4):544-51. Epub 2015 Mar 29.

Department of Diagnostic, Clinical and Public Health Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Recently, in an attempt to improve the discrimination power of the international prognostic index (IPI), patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma were evaluated to determine the prognostic roles of peripheral blood absolute monocyte count (AMC) and absolute lymphocyte count (ALC). Here, we analysed data of 428 patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) enrolled in a prospective, randomized trial (FOLL05 study) conducted by Fondazione Italiana Linfomi, to assess the impact of AMC and ALC on progression-free survival (PFS). All patients had been treated with one of three treatment combinations: (i) rituximab (R) plus cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone; (ii) R plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone or (iii) R plus mitoxantrone and fludarabine. We showed that only AMC was a powerful predictor of PFS, and possibly overall survival, in patients with FL treated with combination chemotherapy regimens that contained R. The AMC can be used alone as a novel, simple factor that can predict survival outcome in patients with FL, independent of the immunochemotherapy regimen. It may therefore be widely used by clinicians, due to its simplicity and broad applicability. Additionally, it can be combined with other factors that determine the IPI or FLIPI, to increase the discriminating ability of these indices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13332DOI Listing
May 2015

Safety and efficacy of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor biosimilars in engraftment after autologous stem cell transplantation for haematological malignancies: a 4-year, single institute experience with different conditioning regimens.

Blood Transfus 2015 Jul 2;13(3):478-83. Epub 2015 Feb 2.

Haematology Unit and Bone Marrow Transplant Centre, "Guglielmo da Saliceto" Hospital, Piacenza, Italy.

Background: Filgrastim biosimilars have recently been introduced into clinical practice. To date biosimilars have demonstrated comparable efficacy and safety as the originator in chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. Published experience in engraftment after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is limited and concerns relatively few patients.

Materials And Methods: With the aim of assessing the efficacy and the safety of filgrastim biosimilars in post-ASCT bone marrow recovery, we conducted a single institution, retrospective study in 56 lymphoma and myeloma patients who received filgrastim biosimilars (Tevagrastim(®) and Zarzio(®)) at standard doses from day 5. We compared our results with recently published data on the originator. A cost analysis of each biosimilar was performed.

Results: Neutrophil counts recovered in 55 patients. The median number of filgrastim biosimilar vials injected was seven per patient. The median time to neutrophil and platelet recovery was 10 and 12 days, respectively. Twenty-six patients had febrile neutropenia, in half of whom the agent involved was identified. In the cost analysis, the use of Tevagrastim(®) and Zarzio(®) was associated with cost reductions of 56% and of 86%, respectively.

Discussion: Despite differences in CD34+ cell counts and time of starting filgrastim, our results in terms of time to engraftment and median number of vials injected are similar to published data. Comparing our results by single conditioning regimen to recent literature data, the time to engraftment and duration of hospitalisation were equivalent. Significant differences were observed in the incidence of febrile neutropenia, perhaps due to different preventive and prophylactic protocols for infections. Although prospective studies should be performed to confirm our results, filgrastim biosimilars were found to be effective and safe in engraftment after ASCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2015.0198-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4614302PMC
July 2015

Cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone and rituximab versus epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, vinblastine, prednisone and rituximab for the initial treatment of elderly "fit" patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: results from the ANZINTER3 trial of the Intergruppo Italiano Linfomi.

Leuk Lymphoma 2012 Apr 15;53(4):581-8. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Oncology Department, Azienda Ospedaliera Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova-IRCCS, Reggio Emilia, Argentina.

We conducted a prospective study to compare epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, vinblastine, prednisone and rituximab (R-miniCEOP) with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone and rituximab (R-CHOP) for the treatment of "fit" elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Patients over the age of 65 with stage II-IV DLBCL were screened with a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Patients were randomized to receive six courses of R-miniCEOP (n = 114) or R-CHOP (n = 110). Overall, the rate of complete remission was 70% (p = 0.466). After a median follow-up of 42 months, 5-year event-free survival (EFS) rates were 46% and 48% for R-miniCEOP and R-CHOP, respectively (p = 0.538). Patients older than 72 years and with low-risk disease had a better outcome when treated with R-miniCEOP (p = 0.011). Overall R-CHOP and R-miniCEOP are similarly effective for elderly "fit" patients with DLBCL. The less intense R-miniCEOP may be an acceptable option for the treatment of relatively older patients with low-risk disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10428194.2011.621565DOI Listing
April 2012

Development of hypogammaglobulinemia in patients treated with imatinib for chronic myeloid leukemia or gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

Haematologica 2008 Aug 2;93(8):1252-5. Epub 2008 Jun 2.

Department of Oncology and Haematology, Hematology Division, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Imatinib mesylate is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor used as first line treatment in chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumor patients. Although several in vitro and animal studies demonstrated that imatinib affects immune response, few immune alterations are described in humans. We retrospectively studied hematologic and immunological parameters in 72 chronic myeloid leukemia and 15 gastrointestinal stromal tumor patients treated with imatinib at standard dosage and in 20 chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated before the introduction of imatinib in clinical practice. Both chronic myeloid leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumor patients developed a significant reduction of gammaglobulin and immunoglobulin serum levels. No significant hypogammaglobulinemia was observed in chronic myeloid leukemia patients in the pre-imatinib era. These data demonstrate that imatinib treatment induces hypogammaglobulinemia that can reach a severe entity in 10% of cases, both in chronic myeloid leukemia and in gastrointestinal stromal tumor patients. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate immune humoral alterations and to define the real incidence of infectious events, including viral reactivations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.12642DOI Listing
August 2008

Osteonecrosis of the jaw. A newly emerging site-specific osseous pathology in patients with cancer treated with bisphosphonates. Report of five cases and review of the literature.

Eur J Intern Med 2007 Sep 13;18(5):417-22. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Hospital of Piacenza, Italy.

Background: Bisphosphonates are commonly used as standard care in the management of patients with advanced-stage cancer involving bone. There has recently been growing concern that the use of bisphosphonates is associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ).

Methods: Between 2001 and 2005, five patients with ONJ associated with pamidronate and zoledronate therapy were diagnosed at our department. The patients had breast cancer, renal carcinoma, mesothelioma, and multiple myeloma, all involving bone. The literature was reviewed.

Results: The duration of bisphosphonate therapy before presentation of ONJ ranged from 21 to 36 months. The lesions were localized to the mandible (n=3) and maxilla (n=2). All of the patients presented with pain and exposed bone; in two of them, symptoms began after tooth extraction. A review of the literature through March 2006 identified more than 250 reported cases of ONJ.

Conclusions: The findings in our patients, combined with the literature review, suggest that: (1) the most common clinical presentation of ONJ is pain and exposed bone of the mandible or maxilla; (2) for patients who develop ONJ, conservative, non-surgical treatment is strongly recommended; (3) clinical dental examination and a panoramic jaw radiograph should be performed before patients begin bisphosphonate therapy; (4) dental treatment and other oral procedures should be completed before initiating bisphosphonate therapy; (5) patients should be informed and instructed on the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and having regular dental assessment; and (6) the medical community needs to be aware of the association between bisphosphonate usage and ONJ so that unnecessary and harmful surgical procedures can be avoided.
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September 2007

Jaw avascular bone necrosis associated with long-term use of bisphosphonates.

Tumori 2006 Jul-Aug;92(4):361

Medical Oncology and Hematology Department, Guglielmo da Saliceto Hospital, Piacenza, Italy.

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October 2006

Primary pancreatic lymphoma. A report of five cases.

Haematologica 2005 Jan;90(1):ECR09

Department of Medical Oncology and Haematology, Hospital of Piacenza, via Taverna 49, 29100 Piacenza, Italy E-mail:

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January 2005

[Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura: report of seven cases].

Ann Ital Med Int 2005 Apr-Jun;20(2):108-12

Divisione di Medicina Oncologica ed Ematologia, Ospedale "Guglielmo da Saliceto" di Piacenza.

From May 1999 to January 2002 we observed 7 patients (4 females and 3 males, median age 55 years, range 31-81 years) with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Six patients has been previously undiagnosed and 1 patient was at second relapse. Trigger factors of TTP were identified in 6 patients: ticlopidine treatment (2 patients); an acute cutaneous infection episode immediately before the features of TTP (1 patient); presence of devices: orthodontic (1 patient) and intrauterine contraceptive (1 patient), Mycoplasma urealyticum vaginal infection (1 patient). In all the 7 patients the clinical status was mainly related to the hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia and neurological events. One of these patients presented with hemolytic-uremic syndrome with acute renal failure and macrohematuria at onset, another one showed a systemic exanthema post-infection-like. Six out of 7 patients presented with different neurological events: headache, confusion, focal neurological failure. All the 7 patients were promptly treated with plasma-exchange and cryosupernatant plasma infusion. In addition they received prednisone 25-50 mg/day. All the 7 patients achieved a complete remission after plasma-exchange, one relapsed 3 months later and was treated with plasma-exchange again. All the patients are in complete remission with a median follow-up of 36.3 months (range 20-62 months). From these cases we suggest: 1) clinicians should take in mind the suspicion of TTP in every patient with hemolytic, negative direct Coombs test, anemia, thrombocytopenia, high level of lactate dehydrogenase; 2) the treatment of choice is plasma-exchange; 3) the response of treatment is good if therapy is promptly and aggressively administered; 4) the possible role of a trigger factor for removing it and to prevent relapses.
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September 2005

Primary pancreatic lymphoma. Report of five cases.

Haematologica 2005 Feb;90(2):ECR09

Department of Medical Oncology and Haematology, Hospital of Piacenza, via Taverna 49, 29100 Piacenza, Italy.

Primary pancreatic lymphoma (PPL) is a very rare disease. We report five cases of PPL (4 men and 1 woman, mean age 65 years) diagnosed and treated at our Institution from 1987 to 1997. None of these patients had evidence of extrapancreatic disease and they were categorized as PPL involving pancreas only (stage IE, 3 patients) or pancreas and peripancreatic lymph nodes (stage IIE, 2 patients). The most common presenting symptoms were abdominal pain and weight loss. Imaging techniques showed a mass of the pancreatic head in all cases. The histological diagnosis (3 diffuse-large cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 2 lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma/immunocytoma) was made by ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy and tissue core fine-needle biopsy in three patients and by surgery in the remaining two patients. The three patients diagnosed by percutaneous biopsy were treated with chemotherapy as front-line therapy and two of them received also local radiotherapy; one of these patients is still alive in complete remission at 69 months, one died of an unrelated disease at 67 months and one died of lymphoma relapse at 88 months. Two patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy plus adjuvant chemotherapy; one of them died of recurrent cholangitis 8 months after surgery while the other one is still alive in complete remission after 160 months. This study shows that: 1) imaging techniques can suggest the suspicion of PPL but are unable to distinguish PPL from pancreatic adenocarcinoma; 2) histological diagnosis can be easily obtained by percutaneous US-guided tissue core biopsy; 3) surgery can be avoided both for diagnosis and therapy but the treatment of choice of PPL may only be evaluated on a larger series of patients.
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February 2005