Publications by authors named "Anthony D Sung"

50 Publications

A SMART approach to optimizing delivery of an mHealth intervention among cancer survivors with posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Contemp Clin Trials 2021 Sep 16;110:106569. Epub 2021 Sep 16.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, United States of America; Department of Psychology in Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, United States of America.

Background/aims: Many cancer survivors who received intensive treatment such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. PTSD is associated with lower quality of life and other symptoms that require clinical treatment. The iterative treatment decisions that happen in clinical practice are not adequately represented in traditional randomized controlled trials (RCT) of PTSD treatments. The proposed stepped-care SMART design allows for evaluation of initial response to the Cancer Distress Coach mobile app; adaptive stepped-care interventions; and precision treatment strategies that tailor treatment selection to patient characteristics.

Methods/design: HCT survivors (N = 400) reporting PTSD symptoms are being recruited at two cancer centers and randomly assigned to: 1) Cancer Distress Coach app or 2) Usual Care. The app includes educational and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based activities. Four weeks post-randomization, participants re-rate their PTSD symptoms and, based on intervention response, non-responders are re-randomized to receive video-conferenced sessions with a therapist: 3) coaching sessions in using the mobile app; or 4) CBT specific to HCT survivors. Participants complete outcome measures of PTSD, depression, and anxiety after Months 1, 3, and 6. Participant characteristics moderating intervention responses will be examined.

Conclusions: This novel adaptive trial design will afford evidence that furthers knowledge about optimizing PTSD interventions for HCT survivors. To our knowledge, this study is the first SMART design evaluating PTSD symptom management in cancer survivors. If successful, it could be used to optimize treatment among a range of cancer and other trauma survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2021.106569DOI Listing
September 2021

Homecare Encounters: An Organizational Response to Innovative Care for Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation During COVID-19.

Clin J Oncol Nurs 2021 08;25(4):457-464

Duke University.

Background: Healthcare delivery has been significantly changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are vulnerable to infections because of their immunocompromised status. The risk of nosocomial infection may be reduced by providing care to patients at home.

Objectives: This article describes one cancer center's approach for delivering safe patient care through homecare encounters, the benefits of home care for HSCT, and future directions.

Methods: Patients received detailed information on home encounters. Advanced practice providers visited patients daily and then returned to the clinic to formulate a plan of care with the interprofessional care team. Transplantation RNs visited patients on the same day to provide the prescribed care.

Findings: Based on evaluations from 32 patients and 12 providers, the results indicated that home care was safe, feasible, and beneficial for patient care post-HSCT during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1188/21.CJON.457-464DOI Listing
August 2021

A phase 2 trial of the somatostatin analog pasireotide to prevent GI toxicity and acute GVHD in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

PLoS One 2021 25;16(6):e0252995. Epub 2021 Jun 25.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, United States of America.

Background: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is an often curative intent treatment, however it is associated with significant gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity and treatment related mortality. Graft-versus-host disease is a significant contributor to transplant-related mortality. We performed a phase 2 trial of the somatostatin analog pasireotide to prevent gastrointestinal toxicity and GVHD after myeloablative allogeneic HCT.

Methods: Patients received 0.9mg pasireotide every 12 hours from the day prior to conditioning through day +4 after HCT (or a maximum of 14 days). The primary outcomes were grade 3-4 gastrointestinal toxicity through day 30 and acute GVHD. Secondary outcomes were chronic GVHD, overall survival and relapse free survival at one year. Stool and blood samples were collected from before and after HCT for analyses of stool microbiome, local inflammatory markers, and systemic inflammatory and metabolic markers. Results were compared with matched controls.

Results: Twenty-six patients received pasireotide and were compared to 52 matched contemporaneous controls using a 1-2 match. Grade 3-4 GI toxicity occurred in 21 (81%) patients who received pasireotide and 35 (67%) controls (p = 0.33). Acute GVHD occurred in 15 (58%) patients in the pasireotide group and 28 (54%) controls (p = 0.94). Chronic GVHD occurred in 16 patients in the pasireotide group (64%) versus 22 patients in the control group (42%) (p = 0.12). Overall survival at 1 year in the pasireotide group was 63% (95% CI: 47%,86%) versus 82% (95% CI: 72%, 93%) in controls (log-rank p = 0.006). Relapse-free survival rate at one year was 40% (95% CI: 25%, 65%) in the pasireotide group versus 78% (95% CI: 68%, 91%) in controls (log-rank p = 0.002). After controlling for the effect of relevant covariates, patients in the pasireotide group had attenuated post-HCT loss of microbial diversity. Analysis of systemic inflammatory markers and metabolomics demonstrated feasibility of such analyses in patients undergoing allogeneic HCT. Baseline level and pre-to-post transplant changes in several inflammatory markers (including MIP1a, MIP1b, TNFa, IL8Pro, and IL6) correlated with likelihood of survival.

Conclusions: Pasireotide did not prevent gastrointestinal toxicity or acute GVHD compared to contemporaneous controls. Pasireotide was associated with numerically higher chronic GVHD and significantly decreased OS and RFS compared to contemporaneous controls. Pasireotide may provide a locally protective effect in the stool microbiome and in local inflammation as measured by stool calprotectin, stool beta-defensin, and stool diversity index.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0252995PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232534PMC
June 2021

Female Sex Is Associated with Improved Long-Term Survival Following Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Sep 17;27(9):784.e1-784.e7. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Life expectancy for long-term survivors of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT), defined as those living ≥5 years post-transplantation, is significantly lower compared with that of the age-matched general population despite a relatively low primary disease relapse rate at >2 years post-transplantation. Among several factors, patient sex is increasingly recognized as a prognostic indicator of long-term survival. We examined the influence of patient sex and donor-recipient sex matching on overall survival (OS) in a landmark analysis of long-term survivors. Using our institutional database supplemented with individual patient record review, we retrospectively investigated the relative influence of recipient sex and donor-recipient sex matching on outcomes of long-term survivors of alloHSCT between 1994 and 2014. Over this 20-year period, 247 met inclusion criteria for analysis; males and females had similar demographic and treatment characteristics. However, significantly more deaths after the 5-year landmark occurred in male recipients. Interestingly, donor sex did not have a significant impact on OS in multivariate analysis, and differences in OS of donor-recipient sex pairs was driven by recipient sex. In addition to recipient sex, only chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) retained significance as a covariate with an impact on OS in multivariate analysis. Men experienced slightly higher, but statistically nonsignificant, rates and increased severity of cGVHD, and had higher cGVHD-related mortality compared with females. In this long-term survival analysis of adult alloHSCT recipients, one of the only to include follow-up to 15 years, our results show that women survive significantly longer than men irrespective of their age at transplantation. This outcome is independent of other common pretransplantation prognostic indicators, such as donor sex or performance status at transplantation. The inferior survival in males is consistent with survival outcomes described in the transplantation literature. Increasing evidence suggests a biological basis for long-term sex-determined outcomes, possibly owing to differing rates or severity of cGVHD or sustained alloimmune tolerance in females. Larger studies are warranted to validate these retrospective clinical results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.06.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403653PMC
September 2021

Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Probiotics To Eliminate COVID-19 Transmission in Exposed Household Contacts (PROTECT-EHC): a clinical trial protocol.

BMJ Open 2021 05 5;11(5):e047069. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be an unprecedented challenge to worldwide health, and strategies to mitigate the spread and severity of COVID-19 infection are urgently needed. Emerging evidence suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome and modification of microbial ecology via probiotics can affect susceptibility to a wide range of infections, including respiratory tract infections. In this study, we aim to evaluate the effects of the probiotic (LGG) versus placebo on COVID-19 infection status and the gut microbiome in subjects with a household contact who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Methods And Analysis: In this double-blinded, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, we will randomise 1132 subjects having a household contact who has recently (≤7 days) tested positive for COVID-19 to daily oral LGG or placebo for 28 days. We hypothesise that taking LGG as a probiotic will protect against COVID-19 infection and reduce the severity of disease in those who become infected (primary endpoint: decreased symptoms), and will be associated with beneficial changes in the composition of the gut microbiome. Stool samples and nasal swabs will be collected to evaluate the microbiome by 16S rRNA sequencing and the presence of SARS-CoV-2 by PCR, respectively. We will also conduct multivariate analysis of demographic, behavioural, temporal, and other variables that may predict development of symptoms and other outcomes.

Ethics And Dissemination: This trial is conducted under a Food and Drug Administration Investigational New Drug for LGG, has received ethics approval by the institutional review board of Duke University and enrolment has begun. We plan to disseminate the results in peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences.

Trial Registration Number: NCT04399252.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047069DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8102858PMC
May 2021

Breaking the Age Barrier: Physicians' Perceptions of Candidacy for Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation in Older Adults.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 07 6;27(7):617.e1-617.e7. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

City of Hope, Duarte, California.

Despite continuing increases in the use of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) in older adults, no standardized geriatric assessment (GA) has been established to risk stratify for transplantation-related morbidity. We conducted a survey of transplant physicians to determine perceptions of the impact of older age (≥60 years) on alloHCT candidacy, and utilization of tools to gauge candidacy. This 23-item online cross-sectional survey was distributed to HCT physicians caring for adults in the United States between May and July 2019. Of the 770 invited HCT physicians, 175 (22.7%) completed the survey. The majority of respondents were age 41 to 60 years and male and practiced in a higher-volume teaching hospital. When considering regimen intensity, 29 physicians (17%) stated they would consider a myeloablative regimen for patients age ≥70 years, and 141 (82%) would consider reduced-intensity/nonmyeloablative conditioning for patients age ≥70 years. Almost all (90%) endorsed the need for a specialized assessment of pre-HCT vulnerabilities to guide candidacy decisions for older adults. Most physicians reported that their centers rarely (33%) or never (46%) use a dedicated geriatrician/geriatric-oncologist to assess alloHCT candidates age ≥60 years. Common barriers to performing a GA included uncertainty about which tools to use, lack of knowledge and training, and lack of appropriate clinical support staff. Many alloHCT physicians will consider alloHCT in patients up to age 75 years and not uncommonly in patients older than that. However, the application of tools and domains to assess candidacy in older adults varies widely. Incorporation of a standardized pretransplantation health assessment tool for risk stratification is a significant unmet need.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.028DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8254775PMC
July 2021

Assessing the Feasibility of a Novel mHealth App in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Patients.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 02 13;27(2):181.e1-181.e9. Epub 2020 Dec 13.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is a curative treatment option for patients with hematologic conditions but presents many complications that must be managed as a complex, chronic condition. Mobile health applications (mHealth apps) may permit tracking of symptoms in HCT. In seeking strategies to manage the complexities of HCT, our team collaborated with Sicklesoft, Inc., to develop an mHealth app specifically for HCT patients to allow for daily evaluation of patient health, Technology Recordings to better Understand Bone Marrow Transplantation (TRU-BMT). The primary value of this application is that of potentially enhancing the monitoring of symptoms and general health of patients undergoing HCT, with the ultimate goal of allowing earlier detection of adverse events, earlier intervention, and improving outcomes. To first evaluate patient interest in mHealth apps, we designed and administered an interest survey to patients at the 2017 BMT-InfoNet reunion. As a follow-up to the positive feedback received, we began testing the TRU-BMT app in a Phase 1 pilot study. Thirty patients were enrolled in this single-arm study and were given the TRU-BMT mHealth app on a smartphone device in addition to a wearable activity tracker. Patients were followed for up to 180 days, all the while receiving daily app monitoring. Adherence to TRU-BMT was approximately 30% daily and 44% weekly, and greater adherence was associated with increased meal completion, decreased heart rate, and shorter hospital stay. TRU-BMT assessments of symptom severity were significantly associated with duration of hospital stay and development of chronic graft-versus-host disease. Our findings suggest that using TRU-BMT throughout HCT is feasible for patients and established a proof-of-concept for a future randomized control trial of the TRU-BMT application in HCT. © 2021 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.10.017DOI Listing
February 2021

Mobile Application to Identify Cancer Treatment-Related Financial Assistance: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial.

JCO Oncol Pract 2021 Apr 2:OP2000757. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC.

Purpose: Insured patients with cancer face high treatment-related, out-of-pocket (OOP) costs and often cannot access financial assistance. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of Bridge, a patient-facing app designed to identify eligible financial resources for patients. We hypothesized that patients using Bridge would experience greater OOP cost reduction than controls.

Methods: We enrolled patients with cancer who had OOP expenses from January 2018 to March 2019. We randomly assigned patients 1:1 to intervention (Bridge) versus control (financial assistance educational websites). Primary and secondary outcomes were self-reported OOP costs and subjective financial distress 3 months postenrollment. In analyses, we analyzed application for and receipt of financial assistance at 3 months postenrollment. We used chi-square, Mann-Whitney tests, and logistic regression to compare study arms.

Results: We enrolled 200 patients. The median age was 57 years (IQR, 47.0-63.0). Most patients had private insurance (71%), and the median household income was $62,000 in US dollars (USD) (IQR, $36,000-$100,000 [USD]). Substantial missing data precluded assessment of primary and secondary outcomes. In analyses, patients in the Bridge arm were more likely than controls to both apply for and receive financial assistance.

Conclusion: We were unable to test our primary outcome because of excessive missing follow-up survey data. In exploratory post hoc analyses, patients who received a financial assistance app were more likely to apply for and receive financial assistance. Ultimately, our study highlights challenges faced in identifying measurable outcomes and retaining participants in a randomized, controlled trial of a mobile app to alleviate financial toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.20.00757DOI Listing
April 2021

Chlorhexidine Gluconate Bathing Reduces the Incidence of Bloodstream Infections in Adults Undergoing Inpatient Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 03 7;27(3):262.e1-262.e11. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Bloodstream infections (BSIs) occur in 20% to 45% of inpatient autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) patients. Daily bathing with the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) has been shown to reduce the incidence of BSIs in critically ill patients, although very few studies include HCT patients or have evaluated the impact of compliance on effectiveness. We conducted a prospective cohort study with historical controls to assess the impact of CHG bathing on the rate of BSIs and gut microbiota composition among adults undergoing inpatient HCT at the Duke University Medical Center. We present 1 year of data without CHG bathing (2016) and 2 years of data when CHG was used on the HCT unit (2017 and 2018). Because not all patients adhered to CHG, patients were grouped into four categories by rate of daily CHG usage: high (>75%), medium (50% to 75%), low (1% to 49%), and none (0%). Among 192 patients, univariate trend analysis demonstrated that increased CHG usage was associated with decreased incidence of clinically significant BSI, defined as any BSI requiring treatment by the medical team (high, 8% BSI; medium, 15.2%; low, 15.6%; no CHG, 30.3%; P = .003), laboratory-confirmed BSI (LCBI; P = .03), central line-associated BSI (P = .04), and mucosal barrier injury LCBI (MBI-LCBI; P = .002). Multivariate analysis confirmed a significant effect of CHG bathing on clinically significant BSI (P = .023) and MBI-LCBI (P = .007), without consistently impacting gut microbial diversity. Benefits of CHG bathing were most pronounced with >75% daily usage, and there were no adverse effects attributable to CHG. Adherence to daily CHG bathing significantly decreases the rate of bloodstream infection following HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.01.004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8010223PMC
March 2021

Fecal microbiota diversity disruption and clinical outcomes after auto-HCT: a multicenter observational study.

Blood 2021 03;137(11):1527-1537

Department of Genomic Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

We previously described clinically relevant reductions in fecal microbiota diversity in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). Recipients of high-dose chemotherapy and autologous HCT (auto-HCT) incur similar antibiotic exposures and nutritional alterations. To characterize the fecal microbiota in the auto-HCT population, we analyzed 1161 fecal samples collected from 534 adult recipients of auto-HCT for lymphoma, myeloma, and amyloidosis in an observational study conducted at 2 transplantation centers in the United States. By using 16S ribosomal gene sequencing, we assessed fecal microbiota composition and diversity, as measured by the inverse Simpson index. At both centers, the diversity of early pretransplant fecal microbiota was lower in patients than in healthy controls and decreased further during the course of transplantation. Loss of diversity and domination by specific bacterial taxa occurred during auto-HCT in patterns similar to those with allo-HCT. Above-median fecal intestinal diversity in the periengraftment period was associated with decreased risk of death or progression (progression-free survival hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.82; P = .008), adjusting for disease and disease status. This suggests that further investigation into the health of the intestinal microbiota in auto-HCT patients and posttransplant outcomes should be undertaken.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006923DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7976512PMC
March 2021

The gut microbiota is associated with immune cell dynamics in humans.

Nature 2020 12 25;588(7837):303-307. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Computational and Systems Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

The gut microbiota influences development and homeostasis of the mammalian immune system, and is associated with human inflammatory and immune diseases as well as responses to immunotherapy. Nevertheless, our understanding of how gut bacteria modulate the immune system remains limited, particularly in humans, where the difficulty of direct experimentation makes inference challenging. Here we study hundreds of hospitalized-and closely monitored-patients with cancer receiving haematopoietic cell transplantation as they recover from chemotherapy and stem-cell engraftment. This aggressive treatment causes large shifts in both circulatory immune cell and microbiota populations, enabling the relationships between the two to be studied simultaneously. Analysis of observed daily changes in circulating neutrophil, lymphocyte and monocyte counts and more than 10,000 longitudinal microbiota samples revealed consistent associations between gut bacteria and immune cell dynamics. High-resolution clinical metadata and Bayesian inference allowed us to compare the effects of bacterial genera in relation to those of immunomodulatory medications, revealing a considerable influence of the gut microbiota-together and over time-on systemic immune cell dynamics. Our analysis establishes and quantifies the link between the gut microbiota and the human immune system, with implications for microbiota-driven modulation of immunity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2971-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7725892PMC
December 2020

Multi-omics analyses of radiation survivors identify radioprotective microbes and metabolites.

Science 2020 10;370(6516)

Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Ionizing radiation causes acute radiation syndrome, which leads to hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and cerebrovascular injuries. We investigated a population of mice that recovered from high-dose radiation to live normal life spans. These "elite-survivors" harbored distinct gut microbiota that developed after radiation and protected against radiation-induced damage and death in both germ-free and conventionally housed recipients. Elevated abundances of members of the bacterial taxa and were associated with postradiation restoration of hematopoiesis and gastrointestinal repair. These bacteria were also found to be more abundant in leukemia patients undergoing radiotherapy, who also displayed milder gastrointestinal dysfunction. In our study in mice, metabolomics revealed increased fecal concentrations of microbially derived propionate and tryptophan metabolites in elite-survivors. The administration of these metabolites caused long-term radioprotection, mitigation of hematopoietic and gastrointestinal syndromes, and a reduction in proinflammatory responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aay9097DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7898465PMC
October 2020

Clinical and Neuroimaging Correlates of Post-Transplant Delirium.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 12 19;26(12):2323-2328. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Delirium is common among adults undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT), although the clinical and neuroimaging correlates of post-HCT delirium have not been adequately delineated. We therefore examined the frequency of delirium and neuroimaging correlates of post-transplant delirium in a retrospective cohort of 115 adults undergoing neuroimaging after allogeneic HCT. Delirium was established using previously validated methods for retrospective identification of chart-assessed postprocedural delirium. Chart reviews were independently conducted by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in HCT, psychiatry, and psychology on consecutive allogeneic HCT patients who underwent neuroimaging assessments and transplantation at a single center between January 2009 and December 2016. Neuroimaging markers of white matter damage and brain volume loss were also recorded. In total, 115 patients were included, ranging in age from 20 to 74 years (mean [SD] age, 49 [13]). Fifty-three patients (46%) developed post-HCT delirium. In an adjusted model, delirium incidence was associated with older age (odds ratio [OR], 1.92 [1.28, 2.87] per decade, P = .002), greater severity of white matter hyperintensities (OR, 1.95 [1.06, 3.57], P = .031), and conditioning intensity (OR, 6.37 [2.20, 18.45], P < .001) but was unrelated to cortical atrophy (P = .777). Delirium was associated with fewer hospital-free days (P = .023) but was not associated with overall survival (hazard ratio, 0.95 [0.56, 1.61], P = .844). Greater incidence of delirium following HCT was associated with greater age, microvascular burden, and conditioning intensity. Pre-HCT consideration of microvascular burden and other neuroimaging biomarkers of risk may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.09.016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7977594PMC
December 2020

Pre-transplant hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) is associated with chronic graft-vs-host disease but not mortality.

PLoS One 2020 11;15(9):e0238824. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cell Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, United States of America.

Allogeneic-HCT (allo-HCT), while potentially curative, can result in significant complications including graft versus host disease (GVHD). Prior studies suggest that metabolic syndrome may be one risk factor for GVHD. We hypothesized that hepatic steatosis on pre-HCT computed tomography (CT) scans may be a marker for development of GVHD and poor outcomes in allo-HCT. In this retrospective study, we reviewed the pre-HCT CT scans and transplant outcome data of patients who underwent allo-HCT at Duke University Medical Center from 2009 to 2017. The presence of steatosis was confirmed using CT attenuation measurements. We then assessed the association between pre-HCT hepatic steatosis and HCT-related outcomes including GVHD. 80 patients who had pre-HCT CT scans were included in the study. Pre-transplant hepatic steatosis was associated with the development of chronic GVHD (OR 4.2, p = 0.02), but was not associated with acute GVHD (OR 1.3, p = 0.7), non-relapse mortality (p = 0.81) or overall survival (p = 0.74). Based on this single center retrospective study, pre-transplant hepatic steatosis is associated with development of chronic GVHD. Further, prospective study with other imaging modalities including non-contrasted CT scans is needed to determine if this association is reproducible.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238824PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7485815PMC
November 2020

Fibrinogen-Coated Albumin Nanospheres Prevent Thrombocytopenia-Related Bleeding.

Radiat Res 2020 08;194(2):162-172

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, and Duke Cancer Institute.

Thrombocytopenia (TCP) may cause severe and life-threatening bleeding. While this may be prevented by platelet transfusions, transfusions are associated with potential complications, do not always work (platelet refractory) and are not always available. There is an urgent need for a synthetic alternative. We evaluated the ability of fibrinogen-coated nanospheres (FCNs) to prevent TCP-related bleeding. FCNs are made of human albumin polymerized into a 100-nm sphere and coated with fibrinogen. We hypothesized that FCNs would bind to platelets through fibrinogen-GPIIb/IIIa interactions, contributing to hemostasis in the setting of TCP. We used two murine models to test these effects: in the first model, BALB/c mice received 7.25 Gy total-body irradiation (TBI); in the second model, lower dose TBI (7.0 Gy) was combined with an anti-platelet antibody (anti-CD41) to induce severe TCP. Deaths in both models were due to gastrointestinal or intracranial bleeding. Addition of antiplatelet antibody to 7.0 Gy TBI significantly worsened TCP and increased mortality compared to 7.0 Gy TBI alone. FCNs significantly improved survival compared to saline control in both models, suggesting it ameliorated TCP-related bleeding. Additionally, in a saphenous vein bleeding model of antibody-induced TCP, FCNs shortened bleeding times. There were no clinical or histological findings of thrombosis or laboratory findings of disseminated intravascular coagulation after FCN treatment. In support of safety, fluorescence microscopy suggests that FCNs bind to platelets only upon platelet activation with collagen, limiting activity to areas of endothelial damage. To our knowledge, this is the first biosynthetic agent to demonstrate a survival advantage in TCP-related bleeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1667/RADE-20-00016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7802826PMC
August 2020

Anaerobic Antibiotics and the Risk of Graft-versus-Host Disease after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 11 17;26(11):2053-2060. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Certain anaerobic bacteria are important for maintenance of gut barrier integrity and immune tolerance and may influence the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). We conducted a single-center retrospective cohort study of allogeneic HSCT recipients to evaluate associations between receipt of antibiotics with an anaerobic spectrum of activity and GVHD outcomes. We identified 1214 children and adults who developed febrile neutropenia between 7 days before and 28 days after HSCT and compared GVHD risk and mortality among patients who received anaerobic antibiotics (piperacillin-tazobactam or carbapenems; n = 491) to patients who received only antibiotics with minimal activity against anaerobes (aztreonam, cefepime, or ceftazidime; n = 723). We performed metagenomic sequencing of serial fecal samples from 36 pediatric patients to compare the effects of specific antibiotics on the gut metagenome. Receipt of anaerobic antibiotics was associated with higher hazards of acute gut/liver GVHD (hazard ratio [HR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.54) and acute GVHD mortality (HR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.08 to 2.46), but not chronic GVHD diagnosis (HR, 1.04; 95% CI: .84 to 1.28) or chronic GVHD mortality (HR, .88; 95% CI, .53 to 1.45). Anaerobic antibiotics resulted in decreased gut bacterial diversity, reduced abundances of Bifidobacteriales and Clostridiales, and loss of bacterial genes encoding butyrate biosynthesis enzymes from the gut metagenome. Acute gut/liver GVHD was preceded by a sharp decline in bacterial butyrate biosynthesis genes with antibiotic treatment. Our findings demonstrate that exposure to anaerobic antibiotics is associated with increased risks of acute gut/liver GVHD and acute GVHD mortality after allogeneic HSCT. Use of piperacillin-tazobactam or carbapenems should be reserved for febrile neutropenia cases in which anaerobic or multidrug-resistant infections are suspected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.07.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7609492PMC
November 2020

Phase I dose escalation study of naive T-cell depleted donor lymphocyte infusion following allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 01 5;56(1):137-143. Epub 2020 Jul 5.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.

Prophylactic donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) are used to augment post-transplant immune recovery to reduce both infectious complications and disease recurrence. Preclinical studies implicate the naive T-cell subset as the primary driver of graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). In this phase I dose escalation study, we assessed the safety of a DLI that was depleted of CD45RA+ naive T cells. Sixteen adult patients received a prophylactic DLI at a median of 113 days (range 76-280 days) following an HLA-identical, non-myeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Three patients each received the naive T-cell depleted DLI with a CD3+ dose of 1 × 10/kg, 1 × 10/kg, and 5 × 10/kg. The maximum dose of 1 × 10/kg was expanded to 7 patients. No dose-limiting grade III/IV acute GvHD or adverse events attributable to the DLI were observed at any dose level. One patient developed grade 2 acute GvHD of skin and upper intestines, and another developed moderate chronic GvHD of the lungs following the DLI. With a median follow-up of 2.8 years, 2-year progression-free and overall survival is 50.0% and 68.8%, respectively. In conclusion, these data suggest that a DLI that has been depleted of CD45RA+ naive T cells is feasible and carries a low risk of acute or chronic GvHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-020-0991-5DOI Listing
January 2021

House calls for stem cell transplant patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood 2020 07;136(3):370-371

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365917PMC
July 2020

The microbe-derived short-chain fatty acids butyrate and propionate are associated with protection from chronic GVHD.

Blood 2020 07;136(1):130-136

Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.

Studies of the relationship between the gastrointestinal microbiota and outcomes in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT) have thus far largely focused on early complications, predominantly infection and acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). We examined the potential relationship of the microbiome with chronic GVHD (cGVHD) by analyzing stool and plasma samples collected late after allo-HCT using a case-control study design. We found lower circulating concentrations of the microbe-derived short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) propionate and butyrate in day 100 plasma samples from patients who developed cGVHD, compared with those who remained free of this complication, in the initial case-control cohort of transplant patients and in a further cross-sectional cohort from an independent transplant center. An additional cross-sectional patient cohort from a third transplant center was analyzed; however, serum (rather than plasma) was available, and the differences in SCFAs observed in the plasma samples were not recapitulated. In sum, our findings from the primary case-control cohort and 1 of 2 cross-sectional cohorts explored suggest that the gastrointestinal microbiome may exert immunomodulatory effects in allo-HCT patients at least in part due to control of systemic concentrations of microbe-derived SCFAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019003369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7332893PMC
July 2020

Microtransplantation in older patients with AML: A pilot study of safety, efficacy and immunologic effects.

Am J Hematol 2020 06 30;95(6):662-671. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA.

Older AML patients have low remission rates and poor survival outcomes with standard chemotherapy. Microtransplantation (MST) refers to infusion of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cells without substantial engraftment. MST has been shown to improve clinical outcomes compared with chemotherapy alone. This is the first trial reporting on broad correlative studies to define immunologic mechanisms of action of MST in older AML patients. Older patients with newly diagnosed AML were eligible for enrollment, receiving induction chemotherapy with cytarabine (100 mg/m2) on days 1-7 and idarubicin (12 mg/m2) on days 1-3 (7 + 3). MST was administered 24 hours later. Patients with complete response (CR) were eligible for consolidation with high dose cytarabine (HiDAC) and a second cycle of MST. Responses were evaluated according to standard criteria per NCCN. Immune correlative studies were performed. Sixteen patients were enrolled and received 7 + 3 and MST (median age 73 years). Nine (56%) had high-risk and seven (44%) had standard-risk cytogenetics. Ten episodes of CRS were observed. No cases of GVHD or treatment-related mortality were reported. Event-free survival (EFS) was 50% at 6 months and 19% at 1 year. Overall survival (OS) was 63% at 6 months and 44% at 1 year. Donor microchimerism was not detected. Longitudinal changes were noted in NGS, TCR sequencing, and cytokine assays. Addition of MST to induction and consolidation chemotherapy was well tolerated in older AML patients. Inferior survival outcomes in our study may be attributed to a higher proportion of very elderly patients with high-risk features. Potential immunologic mechanisms of activity of MST include attenuation of inflammatory cytokines and emergence of tumor-specific T cell clones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25781DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433709PMC
June 2020

Microbiota as Predictor of Mortality in Allogeneic Hematopoietic-Cell Transplantation.

N Engl J Med 2020 02;382(9):822-834

From the Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service (J.U.P., M.M., A.G.C., K.A.M., N.K., D.G.B., M.S.-E., N.C.F., A.A.T., R.J.L., L.Y.S.S., G.L.S., C.C., M.S., I.P., B.G., D.M.P., J.N.B., M.-A.P., S.A.G., M.R.M.B.) and the Infectious Disease Service (Y.T., E.F., L.A.A., R.J.W., E.G.P.), Department of Medicine, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (S.M.D.), the Department of Immunology, Sloan Kettering Institute (A.L.C.G., E.R.L., A.E.S., J.B.S., C.K.S.-T., M.D.D., M.B.S., G.K.A., Y.S., M.R.M.B.), and the Program for Computational and Systems Biology (J.B.X.), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College (J.U.P., Y.T., K.A.M., M.D.D., R.J.L., G.L.S., C.C., M.S., I.P., B.G., D.M.P., J.N.B., M.-A.P., S.A.G., M.R.M.B.) - both in New York; Duchossois Family Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago (E.R.L., E.G.P.); the Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center (A.D.S., M.V.L., A.B., L.B., N.J.C.), the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Duke University (J.A.M.), and the Duke Office of Clinical Research, Duke University School of Medicine (K.R.) - all in Durham, NC; the Department of Hematology and Oncology, Internal Medicine III, University Medical Center (D.W., E.H.), the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 221 (D.W., A.G., E.H.), and Institute of Clinical Microbiology and Hygiene, University Hospital Regensburg (A.G.) - all in Regensburg, Germany; the Department of Hematology, Hokkaido University Faculty of Medicine (D.H., Y.H., T.T.), and the Division of Laboratory and Transfusion Medicine, Hokkaido University Hospital (K.H., T.T.) - both in Sapporo, Japan; Research Institute Marqués de Valdecilla-IDIVAL (M.S.-E.) and the Department of Hematology, Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla-IDIVAL, University of Cantabria (L.Y.S.S.), Santander, and Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Madrid (A.A.T.) - all in Spain; and the Departments of Genomic Medicine and Stem Cell Transplantation Cellular Therapy, Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (R.R.J.).

Background: Relationships between microbiota composition and clinical outcomes after allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation have been described in single-center studies. Geographic variations in the composition of human microbial communities and differences in clinical practices across institutions raise the question of whether these associations are generalizable.

Methods: The microbiota composition of fecal samples obtained from patients who were undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation at four centers was profiled by means of 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. In an observational study, we examined associations between microbiota diversity and mortality using Cox proportional-hazards analysis. For stratification of the cohorts into higher- and lower-diversity groups, the median diversity value that was observed at the study center in New York was used. In the analysis of independent cohorts, the New York center was cohort 1, and three centers in Germany, Japan, and North Carolina composed cohort 2. Cohort 1 and subgroups within it were analyzed for additional outcomes, including transplantation-related death.

Results: We profiled 8767 fecal samples obtained from 1362 patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation at the four centers. We observed patterns of microbiota disruption characterized by loss of diversity and domination by single taxa. Higher diversity of intestinal microbiota was associated with a lower risk of death in independent cohorts (cohort 1: 104 deaths among 354 patients in the higher-diversity group vs. 136 deaths among 350 patients in the lower-diversity group; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.55 to 0.92; cohort 2: 18 deaths among 87 patients in the higher-diversity group vs. 35 deaths among 92 patients in the lower-diversity group; adjusted hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.90). Subgroup analyses identified an association between lower intestinal diversity and higher risks of transplantation-related death and death attributable to graft-versus-host disease. Baseline samples obtained before transplantation already showed evidence of microbiome disruption, and lower diversity before transplantation was associated with poor survival.

Conclusions: Patterns of microbiota disruption during allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation were similar across transplantation centers and geographic locations; patterns were characterized by loss of diversity and domination by single taxa. Higher diversity of intestinal microbiota at the time of neutrophil engraftment was associated with lower mortality. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1900623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534690PMC
February 2020

Incidence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes of Patients Who Develop Mucosal Barrier Injury-Laboratory Confirmed Bloodstream Infections in the First 100 Days After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 01 3;3(1):e1918668. Epub 2020 Jan 3.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Importance: Patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) are at risk for bloodstream infection (BSI) secondary to translocation of bacteria through the injured mucosa, termed mucosal barrier injury-laboratory confirmed bloodstream infection (MBI-LCBI), in addition to BSI secondary to indwelling catheters and infection at other sites (BSI-other).

Objective: To determine the incidence, timing, risk factors, and outcomes of patients who develop MBI-LCBI in the first 100 days after HSCT.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A case-cohort retrospective analysis was performed using data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research database on 16 875 consecutive pediatric and adult patients receiving a first allogeneic HSCT from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2016. Patients were classified into 4 categories: MBI-LCBI (1481 [8.8%]), MBI-LCBI and BSI-other (698 [4.1%]), BSI-other only (2928 [17.4%]), and controls with no BSI (11 768 [69.7%]). Statistical analysis was performed from April 5 to July 17, 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Demographic characteristics and outcomes, including overall survival, chronic graft-vs-host disease, and transplant-related mortality (only for patients with malignant disease), were compared among groups.

Results: Of the 16 875 patients in the study (9737 [57.7%] male; median [range] age, 47 [0.04-82] years) 13 686 (81.1%) underwent HSCT for a malignant neoplasm, and 3189 (18.9%) underwent HSCT for a nonmalignant condition. The cumulative incidence of MBI-LCBI was 13% (99% CI, 12%-13%) by day 100, and the cumulative incidence of BSI-other was 21% (99% CI, 21%-22%) by day 100. Median (range) time from transplant to first MBI-LCBI was 8 (<1 to 98) days vs 29 (<1 to 100) days for BSI-other. Multivariable analysis revealed an increased risk of MBI-LCBI with poor Karnofsky/Lansky performance status (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21 [99% CI, 1.04-1.41]), cord blood grafts (HR, 2.89 [99% CI, 1.97-4.24]), myeloablative conditioning (HR, 1.46 [99% CI, 1.19-1.78]), and posttransplant cyclophosphamide graft-vs-host disease prophylaxis (HR, 1.85 [99% CI, 1.38-2.48]). One-year mortality was significantly higher for patients with MBI-LCBI (HR, 1.81 [99% CI, 1.56-2.12]), BSI-other (HR, 1.81 [99% CI, 1.60-2.06]), and MBI-LCBI plus BSI-other (HR, 2.65 [99% CI, 2.17-3.24]) compared with controls. Infection was more commonly reported as a cause of death for patients with MBI-LCBI (139 of 740 [18.8%]), BSI (251 of 1537 [16.3%]), and MBI-LCBI plus BSI (94 of 435 [21.6%]) than for controls (566 of 4740 [11.9%]).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this cohort study, MBI-LCBI, in addition to any BSIs, were associated with significant morbidity and mortality after HSCT. Further investigation into risk reduction should be a clinical and scientific priority in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.18668DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6991246PMC
January 2020

Cytomegalovirus in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Transplantation: Impact on Costs and Clinical Outcomes Using a Preemptive Strategy.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 03 9;26(3):568-580. Epub 2019 Nov 9.

Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) results in significant morbidity and mortality following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Establishing the cost and clinical impact is imperative to the selection of appropriate CMV preventative strategies. This is a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients undergoing their first allogeneic HCT between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013. Detailed clinical and institutional cost data were obtained from the start of conditioning through 1-year post-transplantation. Baseline characteristics, resource utilization, costs, and outcomes were compared between patients with and without clinically significant CMV infection (csCMVi). One hundred seventy out of 388 patients (44%) developed csCMVi within 1 year after HCT. Within the first year post-HCT, patients with csCMVi had a significantly longer transplantation-related length of stay (mean, 91.7 days versus 78.3 days; P < .0001) and more frequent and prolonged hospitalizations (mean, 2.4 versus 1.7 admissions [P < .0001]; mean, 39.1 versus 31.5 inpatient days [P = .001]) without significantly more admissions to the intensive care unit (28.2% versus 21.6%; P = .408). The use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor was greater in patients with csCMVi (73.5% versus 54.1%; P = .0001), although no significant differences were demonstrated in mean platelet or red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Total costs were also higher in patients with csCMVi (mean cost difference, $45,811; 95% CI, $26,385 to $67,544). However, the incidence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and selected infectious complications was not significantly different between the 2 groups. There were no significant differences in 1-year and 5-year post-transplantation overall survival (OS) or nonrelapse mortality (NRM) between those with and those without csCMVi, although relapse of underlying disease was significantly lower in the csCMVi group. Overall, our data show that allogeneic HCT recipients with csCMVi had significantly greater medical resource utilization and costs than those without csCMVi. However, clinical outcomes, including GVHD, infections, and mortality, were similar in the 2 groups. Further study is needed to determine the cost-effectiveness of CMV preventive modalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.11.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7418947PMC
March 2020

Interrater Reliability of Clinical Grading Measures for Cutaneous Chronic Graft-vs-Host Disease.

JAMA Dermatol 2019 07;155(7):833-837

Department of Dermatology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Importance: Cutaneous chronic graft-vs-host disease (cGVHD) is common after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant and is often associated with poor patient outcomes. A reliable and practical method for assessing disease severity and response to therapy among these patients is urgently needed.

Objective: To evaluate the interrater agreement and reliability of skin-specific and range of motion (ROM) variables of the 2014 National Institutes of Health (NIH) response criteria for cGVHD and a skin sclerosis grading scale (SSG).

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this observational study performed at a single tertiary academic center, 6 academic blood and marrow transplant specialists and 4 medical dermatologists examined 8 patients with diagnosed cutaneous cGVHD on July 10, 2015. The patient cohort was enriched for patients with sclerotic features. Each patient was evaluated by using the skin-specific and ROM criteria of the 2014 NIH response criteria for cGVHD and an SSG ranging from 0 to 3. Each patient was also asked to complete quality-of-life scoring instruments. Interrater agreement and reliability were estimated by calculating the Krippendorff α and Cohen κ statistics. Data were analyzed from September 29, 2015, through November 22, 2018.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Estimation of interrater agreement by interclass coefficient (Krippendorff α and Cohen κ statistics) for the skin-specific and ROM components of the 2014 NIH Response Criteria for Chronic GVHD and for the SSG.

Results: The median age of the patients evaluated was 54 years (range, 46-58 years). Patients were predominantly male (6 [75%]). Six of the 8 patients had a predominantly sclerotic cutaneous phenotype. Interrater agreement among our experts was acceptable for NIH skin feature score (0.68; 95% CI, 0.30-0.86) and good for NIH ROM scoring (0.80; 95% CI, 0.68-0.86). Dermatologists had acceptable agreement for NIH skin GVHD score (0.69; 95% CI, 0.25-0.82) and skin feature score (0.78; 95% CI, 0.17-0.98), good agreement in ROM grading (0.85; 95% CI, 0.69-0.90), and near perfect agreement in identifying sclerosis (0.82; 95% CI, 0.27-0.97).

Conclusions And Relevance: Although dermatologists had acceptable agreement in NIH skin GVHD score and skin features score, near perfect agreement in identifying cutaneous sclerosis, better agreement in grading severity of cutaneous cGVHD, especially in the intermediate grades, appears to be needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.5459DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6583829PMC
July 2019

Molecular Measurable Residual Disease Testing of Blood During AML Cytotoxic Therapy for Early Prediction of Clinical Response.

Front Oncol 2018 15;8:669. Epub 2019 Jan 15.

Laboratory of Myeloid Malignancies, Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD, United States.

Measurable residual disease (MRD) testing after initial chemotherapy treatment can predict relapse and survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, it has not been established if repeat molecular or genetic testing during chemotherapy can offer information regarding the chemotherapy sensitivity of the leukemic clone. Blood from 45 adult AML patients at day 1 and 4 of induction ( = 35) or salvage ( = 10) cytotoxic chemotherapy was collected for both quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assessment () and next generation sequencing (>500 × depth) of 49 gene regions recurrently mutated in MDS/AML. The median age of subjects was 62 (23-78); 42% achieved a complete response. was overexpressed in most patients tested but was uninformative for very early MRD assessment. A median of 4 non-synonymous variants (range 0-7) were detected by DNA sequencing of blood on day 1 of therapy [median variant allele frequency (VAF): 29%]. Only two patients had no variants detectable. All mutations remained detectable in blood on day 4 of intensive chemotherapy and remarkably the ratio of mutated to wild-type sequence was often maintained. This phenomenon was not limited to variants in , and . The kinetics of and variant burden early during chemotherapy appeared to be exceptions and exhibited consistent trends in this cohort. In summary, molecular testing of blood on day 4 of chemotherapy is not predictive of clinical response to cytotoxic induction therapy in AML. The observed stability in variant allele frequency suggests that cytotoxic therapy may have a limited therapeutic index for clones circulating in blood containing these mutations. Further validation is required to confirm the utility of monitoring and kinetics in blood during cytotoxic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00669DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6341003PMC
January 2019

Reduction in Mortality after Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation in Children Over a 20-Year Period (1995-2014).

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 04 24;25(4):756-763. Epub 2018 Nov 24.

Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Infections and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) have historically resulted in high mortality among children undergoing umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT). However, recent advances in clinical practice have likely improved outcomes of these patients. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of children (<18years of age) undergoing UCBT at Duke University between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2014. We compared 2-year all-cause and cause-specific mortality during 3 time periods based on year of transplantation (1995 to 2001, 2002 to 2007, and 2008 to 2014). We used multivariable Cox regression to identify demographic and UCBT characteristics that were associated with all-cause mortality, transplantation-related mortality, and death from invasive aspergillosis after adjustment for time period. During the 20-year study period 824 children underwent UCBT. Two-year all-cause mortality declined from 48% in 1995 to 2001 to 30% in 2008 to 2014 (P = .0002). White race and nonmalignant UCBT indications were associated with lower mortality. Black children tended to have a higher risk of death for which GVHD (18% versus 11%; P = .06) or graft failure (9% versus 3%; P = .01) were contributory than white children. Comparing 2008 to 2014 with 1995 to 2001, more than half (59%) of the reduced mortality was attributable to a reduction in infectious mortality, with 45% specifically related to reduced mortality from invasive aspergillosis. Antifungal prophylaxis with voriconazole was associated with lower mortality from invasive aspergillosis than low-dose amphotericin B lipid complex (hazard ratio, .09; 95% confidence interval, .01 to .76). With the decline in mortality from invasive aspergillosis, adenovirus and cytomegalovirus have become the most frequentinfectious causes of death in children after UCBT. Advances in clinical practice over the past 20years improved survival of children after UCBT. Reduced mortality from infections, particularly invasive aspergillosis, accounted for the largest improvement in survival and was associated with use of voriconazole for antifungal prophylaxis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2018.11.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6453734PMC
April 2019

Clinical and Genomic Characterization of Recurrent Enterococcal Bloodstream Infection in Patients With Acute Leukemia.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2018 Jun 5;5(6):ofy107. Epub 2018 May 5.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Rates and risk factors for recurrent enterococcal bloodstream infection (R-EBSI) and whether the same genetic lineage causes index EBSI and R-EBSI are unknown in patients with acute leukemia (AL) receiving chemotherapy.

Methods: Ninety-two AL patients with EBSI from 2010 to 2015 were included. Enterococcal bloodstream infection was defined by 31 positive blood cultures for or and fever, hypotension, or chills. Clearance was defined by 31 negative cultures 324 hours after last positive culture and defervescence. Recurrent enterococcal bloodstream infection was defined by a positive blood culture for 324 hours after clearance. Categorical variables were reported as proportions and compared by the χ test. Continuous variables were summarized by median and interquartile range (IQR) and compared by the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney Test. values <.05 were considered significant. Whole-genome sequencing was performed on available paired BSI isolates from 7 patients.

Results: Twenty-four patients (26%) had 31 episodes of R-EBSI. Median time to R-EBSI (IQR) was 26 (13-50) days. Patients with R-EBSI had significantly longer durations of fever and metronidazole exposure during their index EBSI. Thirty-nine percent of R-EBSI isolates became daptomycin-nonsusceptible (DNSE) following daptomycin therapy for index EBSI. Whole-genome sequencing analysis confirmed high probability of genetic relatedness of index EBSI and R-EBSI isolates for 4/7 patients.

Conclusions: Recurrent enterococcal bloodstream infection and DNSE are common in patients with AL and tend to occur within the first 30 days of index EBSI. Duration of fever and metronidazole exposure may be useful in determining risk for R-EBSI. Whole-genome sequencing analysis demonstrates that the same strain causes both EBSI and R-EBSI in some patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofy107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016419PMC
June 2018

Brincidofovir (CMX001) Toxicity Associated With Epithelial Apoptosis and Crypt Drop Out in a Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Patient: Challenges in Distinguishing Drug Toxicity From GVHD.

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2018 08;40(6):e364-e368

Departments of Pathology.

Brincidofovir (CMX001) is an oral agent with activity against double-strand DNA viruses undergoing clinical trials in immunocompromised patients. We report a patient clinically diagnosed with brincidofovir-related gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity and his histologic findings. A 2-year-old boy with medulloblastoma undergoing autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation developed adenovirus viremia 9 days posttransplant. After initial treatment with intravenous cidofovir he was started on oral brincidofovir as part of a clinical trial. He developed hematochezia, anorexia, and emesis 11 weeks later. Sigmoid colon biopsy showed marked crypt drop out, moderate epithelial apoptosis, and lamina propria edema. The pathologic diagnosis was drug-related injury versus infection. Brincidofovir toxicity was diagnosed clinically and the drug was discontinued. His GI symptoms improved in 2 weeks with supportive care and octreotide. Brincidofovir causes GI toxicity and histologically demonstrates epithelial apoptosis and crypt injury, similar to graft versus host disease and mycophenolate mofetil toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MPH.0000000000001227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6059994PMC
August 2018

Use of the National Institutes of Health Consensus Guidelines Improves the Diagnostic Sensitivity of Gastrointestinal Graft-Versus-Host Disease.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2018 09 26;142(9):1098-1105. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

From the Departments of Pathology (Drs Cardona, Detweiler, Shealy, and Howell) and Internal Medicine (Drs Sung, Wild, Poleski, Balmadrid, and Sullivan), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; and the Department of Biostatistics (Ms Cirrincione), Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina.

Context: - Graft-versus-host disease of the gastrointestinal tract is a common complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplant associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Accurate diagnosis can be difficult and is a truly clinicopathologic endeavor.

Objectives: - To assess the diagnostic sensitivity of gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease using the 2015 National Institutes of Health (NIH) histology consensus guidelines and to analyze histologic findings that support the guidelines.

Design: - Patients with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants were identified via a retrospective search of our electronic medical records from January 1, 2005, to January 1, 2011. Endoscopies with available histology were reviewed by 2 pathologists using the 2015 NIH guidelines. The clinical diagnosis was used as the gold standard. A nontransplant set of endoscopic biopsies was used as a control.

Results: - Of the 250 total endoscopies, 217 (87%) had a clinical diagnosis of gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease. Use of the NIH consensus guidelines showed a sensitivity of 86% and a specificity of 65%. Thirty-seven of 58 (64%) cases with an initial false-negative histopathologic diagnosis were diagnosed as graft-versus-host disease on our review.

Conclusions: - Use of the NIH histology consensus guidelines results in a high sensitivity and specificity, thereby decreasing false-negatives. Additionally, use of the NIH guidelines aids in creating uniformity and diagnostic clarity. Correlation with clinical and laboratory findings is critical in evaluating the differential diagnosis and to avoid false-positives. As expected, increased apoptosis with decreased inflammation was associated with a pathologic diagnosis of graft-versus-host disease and supports the NIH guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2017-0054-OADOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8057297PMC
September 2018
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