Publications by authors named "Antonella Cingolani"

64 Publications

Time spent with viral load≤200 copies/mL in a cohort of people with HIV seen for care in Italy during the U=U prevention campaign era.

AIDS 2021 01 29. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medical, Surgical and Experimental Sciences, University of Sassari; Centre for Clinical Research, Epidemiology, Modelling and Evaluation (CREME) Institute for Global Health UCL, London, UK; Institute of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy; Division of Infectious Diseases, ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy; Department of Laboratory Medicine, Unit of Microbiology and Immunology, IRCCS Children Hospital Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy; HIV/AIDS Clinical Unit, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani IRCCS, Rome, Italy; ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, University of Milan, Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Department of Health Sciences, Milan, Italy; Department of Infectious Diseases, Policlinic Hospital, University of Bari 'Aldo Moro', Bari, Italy; Clinical Epidemiology Unit, National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Objective: Zero risk of linked HIV transmission in sero-discordant couples when the HIV-infected partner had viral load (VL) <200 copies/mL ('U status') was found in observational studies. We aimed at estimating the proportion of time in which 'U status' was maintained and identifying factors associated with the risk of losing it.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Methods: We included participants in the ICONA cohort who had reached an established 'U status' (VL≤200 copies/mL for >6 months) as of December 2010. The outcome was the number of person-days of follow up (PDFU) above a VL>200 copies/ml, relative to the total number of PDFU observed. A logistic regression model was used to identify factors independently associated with the risk of losing 'U status'.

Results: 8,241 persons living with HIV were included in the analysis who contributed 12,670,888 PDFU. Of these, 1,648 (20%) were female, 768 (9%) were people who inject drugs (PWID), and 2,066 (25%) were foreing-born. The median of VL measurements was 9 (IQR: 4-15). Overall, only 3.1% of PDFU were observed when VL was >200 copies/mL. The proportion of PDFU with VL>200 cp/ml was higher than average in females (5.3%), unemployed (5.4%), PWID (4.7%), and in people with>3 previous virologic failures (6.3%). These variables were significant predictors of losing 'U status' in the multivariable logistic regression.

Conclusions: Our results reinforce the validity of the U=U message in real-world setting. However, we identified subsets of our study population at higher risk of losing the 'U status' for whom additional efforts are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000002825DOI Listing
January 2021

HBcAb Positivity Increases the Risk of Severe Hepatic Fibrosis Development in HIV/HCV-Positive Subjects From the ICONA Italian Cohort of HIV-Infected Patients.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2021 Jan 18;8(1):ofaa566. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of anti-HBc (HBcAb) positivity on the progression of liver fibrosis (Fibrosis-4 score >3.25) in the Italian cohort of HIV-infected individuals naïve to antiretroviral treatment (ICONA).

Methods: All patients with FIB-4 <3.25 at baseline were evaluated prospectively: 6966 people with HIV (PWH) were screened and classified based on hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) serology.

Results: Patients who were HBcAb+/HCV-/HBs antigen (HBsAg)- and HCV+/HBcAb+/HBsAg- or HBsAg+/HBcAb+/HCV- had CD4+ cell counts below the nadir and significantly higher prevalence of AIDS diagnosis at baseline than the other groups ( < .0001). A Cox regression model adjusted for age, HIV transmission mode, country of birth, and alcohol consumption showed a higher relative risk (HR) of progression to FIB-4 >3.25 in HCV+/HBcAb+/HBsAg- patients (HR, 7.2; 95% CI, 3 8-13.64).

Conclusions: HBcAb+ contributes to liver damage in HIV+/HCV+/HBcAb+/HBsAg- subjects. A careful monitoring for signs of previous HBV infection is needed in this kind of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofaa566DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7781466PMC
January 2021

Heparin in COVID-19 Patients Is Associated with Reduced In-Hospital Mortality: the Multicenter Italian CORIST Study.

Authors:
Augusto Di Castelnuovo Simona Costanzo Andrea Antinori Nausicaa Berselli Lorenzo Blandi Marialaura Bonaccio Roberto Cauda Giovanni Guaraldi Lorenzo Menicanti Marco Mennuni Giustino Parruti Giuseppe Patti Francesca Santilli Carlo Signorelli Alessandra Vergori Pasquale Abete Walter Ageno Antonella Agodi Piergiuseppe Agostoni Luca Aiello Samir Al Moghazi Rosa Arboretti Marinella Astuto Filippo Aucella Greta Barbieri Alessandro Bartoloni Paolo Bonfanti Francesco Cacciatore Lucia Caiano Laura Carrozzi Antonio Cascio Arturo Ciccullo Antonella Cingolani Francesco Cipollone Claudia Colomba Crizia Colombo Francesca Crosta Gian Battista Danzi Damiano D'Ardes Katleen de Gaetano Donati Francesco Di Gennaro Giuseppe Di Tano Gianpiero D'Offizi Massimo Fantoni Francesco Maria Fusco Ivan Gentile Francesco Gianfagna Elvira Grandone Emauele Graziani Leonardo Grisafi Gabriella Guarnieri Giovanni Larizza Armando Leone Gloria Maccagni Ferruccio Madaro Stefano Maitan Sandro Mancarella Massimo Mapelli Riccardo Maragna Rossella Marcucci Giulio Maresca Silvia Marongiu Claudia Marotta Lorenzo Marra Franco Mastroianni Maria Mazzitelli Alessandro Mengozzi Francesco Menichetti Marianna Meschiari Jovana Milic Filippo Minutolo Beatrice Molena Arturo Montineri Cristina Mussini Maria Musso Daniela Niola Anna Odone Marco Olivieri Antonella Palimodde Roberta Parisi Emanuela Pasi Raffaele Pesavento Francesco Petri Biagio Pinchera Venerino Poletti Claudia Ravaglia Andrea Rognoni Marco Rossato Marianna Rossi Vincenzo Sangiovanni Carlo Sanrocco Laura Scorzolini Raffaella Sgariglia Paola Giustina Simeone Eleonora Taddei Carlo Torti Roberto Vettor Andrea Vianello Marco Vinceti Alexandra Virano Laura Vocciante Raffaele De Caterina Licia Iacoviello

Thromb Haemost 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Isernia, Italy.

Introduction:  A hypercoagulable condition was described in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and proposed as a possible pathogenic mechanism contributing to disease progression and lethality.

Aim:  We evaluated if in-hospital administration of heparin improved survival in a large cohort of Italian COVID-19 patients.

Methods:  In a retrospective observational study, 2,574 unselected patients hospitalized in 30 clinical centers in Italy from February 19, 2020 to June 5, 2020 with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection were analyzed. The primary endpoint in a time-to event analysis was in-hospital death, comparing patients who received heparin (low-molecular-weight heparin [LMWH] or unfractionated heparin [UFH]) with patients who did not. We used multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression models with inverse probability for treatment weighting by propensity scores.

Results:  Out of 2,574 COVID-19 patients, 70.1% received heparin. LMWH was largely the most used formulation (99.5%). Death rates for patients receiving heparin or not were 7.4 and 14.0 per 1,000 person-days, respectively. After adjustment for propensity scores, we found a 40% lower risk of death in patients receiving heparin (hazard ratio = 0.60; 95% confidence interval: 0.49-0.74; E-value = 2.04). This association was particularly evident in patients with a higher severity of disease or strong coagulation activation.

Conclusion:  In-hospital heparin treatment was associated with a lower mortality, particularly in severely ill COVID-19 patients and in those with strong coagulation activation. The results from randomized clinical trials are eagerly awaited to provide clear-cut recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/a-1347-6070DOI Listing
January 2021

"Early transfusion of convalescent plasma in older patients with COVID-19 to prevent disease progression: A structured summary of a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial".

Trials 2020 Oct 22;21(1):875. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: The primary objective is to demonstrate that COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) prevents progression to severe pneumonia in elderly COVID-19 pneumonia patients with chronic comorbidities. Secondary objectives are to demonstrate that CCP decreases the viral load in nasopharyngeal swabs and increases the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titre in recipients.

Trial Design: This is a randomized, open-label, parallel group, phase II/III study with a superiority framework. The trial starts with a screening phase II designed with two-tailed alpha=0.2. In case of positive results, the trial will proceed in a formally comparative phase III (alpha=0.05).

Participants: Adult patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who are at risk according to CDC definition are eligible. Inclusion criteria are all the following: age ≥ 65; pneumonia at CT scan; PaO2/FiO2 ≥300 mmHg; presence of one or more comorbidities; signed informed consent. Exclusion criteria are one of the following: age < 65; PaO2/FiO2 < 300 mmHg; pending cardiopulmonary arrest; refusal to blood product transfusions; severe IgA deficiency; any life-threatening comorbidity or any other medical condition which, in the opinion of the investigator, makes the patient unsuitable for inclusion. The trial is being conducted at three reference COVID-19 centres in the middle of Italy.

Intervention And Comparator: Intervention: COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) in addition to standard therapy. Patients receive three doses (200 ml/day on 3 consecutive days) of ABO matched CCP. Comparator: Standard therapy MAIN OUTCOMES: A. Primary outcome for Phase II: Proportion of patients without progression in severity of pulmonary disease, defined as worsening of 2 points in the ordinal scale of WHO by day 14. B. Primary outcome for Phase III: Proportion of patients without progression in severity of pulmonary disease, defined as worsening of 2 points in the ordinal scale of WHO by day 14. Secondary outcomes for Phase III: Decreased viral load on nasopharyngeal swab at days 6, 9 and 14; Decreased viremia at days 6 and 9; Increased antibody titer against SARS-CoV2 at days 30 and 60; Proportion of patients with negative of SARS-CoV2 nasopharyngeal swab at day 30; Length of hospital stay; Mortality rate at day 28; Total plasma related adverse event (day 60); Total non-plasma related adverse events (day 60); Severe adverse events (SAE) (day 60).

Randomisation: Treatment allocation is randomized with a ratio 1:1 in both phase II and phase III. Randomization sequences will be generated at Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli IRCCS through the RedCap web application. Randomized stratification is performed according to age (under/over 80 years), and sex.

Blinding (masking): None, this is an open-label trial.

Numbers To Be Randomised (sample Size): Phase II: 114 patients (57 per arm). Phase III: 182 patients (91 per arm) TRIAL STATUS: The trial recruitment started on May 27, 2020. The anticipated date of recruitment completion is April 30, 2021. The protocol version is 2 (May 10, 2020).

Trial Registration: The trial has been registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (May 5, 2020). The Identifier number is NCT04374526 FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04821-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7578576PMC
October 2020

Enhancing care for people living with HIV: current and future monitoring approaches.

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 2020 Oct 15:1-14. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Infectious Diseases Clinic, San Martino Hospital - IRCCS, Genoa, Italy - Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa , Genova, Italy.

Introduction: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the most significant advance in the medical management of HIV-1 infection. Given the fact that HIV cannot be eradicated from the body, ART has to be indefinitely maintained. New approaches need to be defined for monitoring HIV-infected individuals (PLWHIV), including clinical, virologic, immunological parameters and also ways to collect individual points of view and quality of life.

Areas Covered: We discuss which tests may be used to improve the management of PLWHIV and respond to a comprehensive health demand.

Expert Opinion: Viral load and CD4 counts are well-validated outcome measures and we still need them, but they do not completely depict the health status of PLWHIV. We need to better understand and to apply to clinical practice what happens in sanctuaries, what is the role of HIV DNA, what is the meaning of low-level viremia. Most of these questions do not yet have a definitive response. Further, we need to understand how to modify these variables in order to improve outcomes. Similar points may be raised for immunological measures and for tests exploring the tolerability of drugs. The goal must be the evolution from a viro/immunologic-based to a comprehensive quality-of-health-based evaluation of PLWHIV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14787210.2021.1823217DOI Listing
October 2020

Sarilumab use in severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia.

EClinicalMedicine 2020 Oct 2;27:100553. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche, Rome, Italy.

Background: Interleukin-6 signal blockade showed preliminary beneficial effects in treating inflammatory response against SARS-CoV-2 leading to severe respiratory distress. Herein we describe the outcomes of off-label intravenous use of Sarilumab in severe SARS-CoV-2-related pneumonia.

Methods: 53 patients with SARS-CoV-2 severe pneumonia received intravenous Sarilumab; pulmonary function improvement or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission rate in medical wards, live discharge rate in ICU treated patients and safety profile were recorded. Sarilumab 400 mg was administered intravenously on day 1, with eventual additional infusion based on clinical judgement, and patients were followed for at least 14 days, unless previously discharged or dead.

Findings: Of the 53 SARS-CoV-2 patients receiving Sarilumab, 39(73·6%) were treated in medical wards [66·7% with a single infusion; median PaO/FiO:146(IQR:120-212)] while 14(26·4%) in ICU [92·6% with a second infusion; median PaO/FiO: 112(IQR:100-141.5)].Within the medical wards, 7(17·9%) required ICU admission, 4 of whom were re-admitted to the ward within 5-8 days. At 19 days median follow-up, 89·7% of medical inpatients significantly improved (46·1% after 24 h, 61·5% after 3 days), 70·6% were discharged from the hospital and 85·7% no longer needed oxygen therapy. Within patients receiving Sarilumab in ICU, 64·2% were discharged from ICU to the ward and 35·8% were still alive at the last follow-up. Overall mortality rate was 5·7%.

Interpretation: IL-6R inhibition appears to be a potential treatment strategy for severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and intravenous Sarilumab seems a promising treatment approach showing, in the short term, an important clinical outcome and good safety.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100553DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7531933PMC
October 2020

Common cardiovascular risk factors and in-hospital mortality in 3,894 patients with COVID-19: survival analysis and machine learning-based findings from the multicentre Italian CORIST Study.

Authors:
Augusto Di Castelnuovo Marialaura Bonaccio Simona Costanzo Alessandro Gialluisi Andrea Antinori Nausicaa Berselli Lorenzo Blandi Raffaele Bruno Roberto Cauda Giovanni Guaraldi Ilaria My Lorenzo Menicanti Giustino Parruti Giuseppe Patti Stefano Perlini Francesca Santilli Carlo Signorelli Giulio G Stefanini Alessandra Vergori Amina Abdeddaim Walter Ageno Antonella Agodi Piergiuseppe Agostoni Luca Aiello Samir Al Moghazi Filippo Aucella Greta Barbieri Alessandro Bartoloni Carolina Bologna Paolo Bonfanti Serena Brancati Francesco Cacciatore Lucia Caiano Francesco Cannata Laura Carrozzi Antonio Cascio Antonella Cingolani Francesco Cipollone Claudia Colomba Annalisa Crisetti Francesca Crosta Gian B Danzi Damiano D'Ardes Katleen de Gaetano Donati Francesco Di Gennaro Gisella Di Palma Giuseppe Di Tano Massimo Fantoni Tommaso Filippini Paola Fioretto Francesco M Fusco Ivan Gentile Leonardo Grisafi Gabriella Guarnieri Francesco Landi Giovanni Larizza Armando Leone Gloria Maccagni Sandro Maccarella Massimo Mapelli Riccardo Maragna Rossella Marcucci Giulio Maresca Claudia Marotta Lorenzo Marra Franco Mastroianni Alessandro Mengozzi Francesco Menichetti Jovana Milic Rita Murri Arturo Montineri Roberta Mussinelli Cristina Mussini Maria Musso Anna Odone Marco Olivieri Emanuela Pasi Francesco Petri Biagio Pinchera Carlo A Pivato Roberto Pizzi Venerino Poletti Francesca Raffaelli Claudia Ravaglia Giulia Righetti Andrea Rognoni Marco Rossato Marianna Rossi Anna Sabena Francesco Salinaro Vincenzo Sangiovanni Carlo Sanrocco Antonio Scarafino Laura Scorzolini Raffaella Sgariglia Paola G Simeone Enrico Spinoni Carlo Torti Enrico M Trecarichi Francesca Vezzani Giovanni Veronesi Roberto Vettor Andrea Vianello Marco Vinceti Raffaele De Caterina Licia Iacoviello

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2020 10 31;30(11):1899-1913. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, IS, Italy; Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy. Electronic address:

Background And Aims: There is poor knowledge on characteristics, comorbidities and laboratory measures associated with risk for adverse outcomes and in-hospital mortality in European Countries. We aimed at identifying baseline characteristics predisposing COVID-19 patients to in-hospital death.

Methods And Results: Retrospective observational study on 3894 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection hospitalized from February 19th to May 23rd, 2020 and recruited in 30 clinical centres distributed throughout Italy. Machine learning (random forest)-based and Cox survival analysis. 61.7% of participants were men (median age 67 years), followed up for a median of 13 days. In-hospital mortality exhibited a geographical gradient, Northern Italian regions featuring more than twofold higher death rates as compared to Central/Southern areas (15.6% vs 6.4%, respectively). Machine learning analysis revealed that the most important features in death classification were impaired renal function, elevated C reactive protein and advanced age. These findings were confirmed by multivariable Cox survival analysis (hazard ratio (HR): 8.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.6-14.7 for age ≥85 vs 18-44 y); HR = 4.7; 2.9-7.7 for estimated glomerular filtration rate levels <15 vs ≥ 90 mL/min/1.73 m; HR = 2.3; 1.5-3.6 for C-reactive protein levels ≥10 vs ≤ 3 mg/L). No relation was found with obesity, tobacco use, cardiovascular disease and related-comorbidities. The associations between these variables and mortality were substantially homogenous across all sub-groups analyses.

Conclusions: Impaired renal function, elevated C-reactive protein and advanced age were major predictors of in-hospital death in a large cohort of unselected patients with COVID-19, admitted to 30 different clinical centres all over Italy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2020.07.031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833278PMC
October 2020

Social media as a tool for scientific updating at the time of COVID pandemic: Results from a national survey in Italy.

PLoS One 2020 3;15(9):e0238414. Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Dipartimento di Scienze di Laboratorio e Infettivologiche, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

In the face of the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals on the frontline are in urgent need of frequent updates in the accomplishment of their practice. Hence, clinicians started to search for prompt, valid information on sources that are parallel to academic journals. Aim of this work is to investigate the extent of this phenomenon. We administered an anonymous online cross-sectional survey to 645 Italian clinicians. Target of the survey were all medical figures potentially involved in the management of COVID-19 cases. 369 questionnaires were returned. 19.5% (n = 72) of respondents were younger than 30 years-old; 49,3% (n = 182) worked in Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine or Respiratory Medicine departments, 11.5% (n = 42) in Intensive Care Unit and 7.4% (n = 27) were general practitioner. 70% (n = 261) of respondents reported that their use of social media to seek medical information increased during the pandemic. 39.3% (n = 145) consistently consulted Facebook groups and 53.1% (n = 196) Whatsapp chats. 47% (n = 174) of respondents reported that information shared on social media had a consistent impact on their daily practice. In the present study, we found no difference in social media usage between age groups or medical specialties. Given the urgent need for scientific update during the present pandemic, these findings may help understanding how clinicians access new evidences and implement them in their daily practice.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238414PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7470601PMC
September 2020

Increased CD95 (Fas) and PD-1 expression in peripheral blood T lymphocytes in COVID-19 patients.

Br J Haematol 2020 10 18;191(2):207-211. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Dipartimento di Diagnostica per Immagini, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli, IRCCS, Radioterapia Oncologica ed Ematologia, Rome, Italy.

A low count of CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes is a hallmark laboratory finding in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Using flow cytometry, we observed significantly higher CD95 (Fas) and PD-1 expression on both CD4 T and CD8 T cells in 42 COVID-19 patients when compared to controls. Higher CD95 expression in CD4 cells correlated with lower CD4 counts. A higher expression of CD95 in CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes correlated with a lower percentage of naive events. Our results might suggest a shift to antigen-activated T cells, expressing molecules increasing their propensity to apoptosis and exhaustion during COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7405050PMC
October 2020

Comparative analysis of synovial inflammation after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Ann Rheum Dis 2020 Jul 6. Epub 2020 Jul 6.

Division of Rheumatology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia, Roma, Italy

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-218315DOI Listing
July 2020

Enhanced Immunological Recovery With Early Start of Antiretroviral Therapy During Acute or Early HIV Infection-Results of Italian Network of ACuTe HIV InfectiON (INACTION) Retrospective Study.

Pathog Immun 2020 24;5(1):8-33. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Infectious Diseases Unit; Department of Internal Medicine; IRCCS Ca' Granda Foundation Maggiore Hospital; Milan, Italy.

Background: Viral load peak and immune activation occur shortly after exposure during acute or early HIV infection (AEHI). We aimed to define the benefit of early start of antiretroviral treatment (ART) during AEHI in terms of immunological recovery, virological suppression, and treatment discontinuation.

Setting: Patients diagnosed with AEHI (Fiebig stages I-V) during 2008-2014 from an analysis of 20 Italian centers.

Methods: This was an observational, retrospective, and multicenter study. We investigated the effect of early ART (defined as initiation within 3 months from AEHI diagnosis) on time to virological suppression, optimal immunological recovery (defined as CD4 count ≥500/µL, CD4 ≥30%, and CD4/CD8 ≥1), and first-line ART regimen discontinuation by Cox regression analysis.

Results: There were 321 patients with AEHI included in the study (82.9% in Fiebig stage III-V). At diagnosis, the median viral load was 5.67 log copies/mL and the median CD4 count was 456 cells/µL. Overall, 70.6% of patients started early ART (median time from HIV diagnosis to ART initiation 12 days, IQR 6-27). Higher baseline viral load and AEHI diagnosis during 2012-2014 were independently associated with early ART. HBV co-infection, baseline CD4/CD8 ≥1, lower baseline HIV-RNA, and AEHI diagnosis in recent years (2012-2014) were independently associated with a shorter time to virological suppression. Early ART emerged as an independent predictor of optimal immunological recovery after adjustment for baseline CD4 (absolute and percentage count) and CD4/CD8 ratio. The only independent predictor of first-line ART discontinuation was an initial ART regimen including > 3 drugs.

Conclusions: In a large cohort of well-characterized patients with AEHI, we confirmed the beneficial role of early ART on CD4+ T-cell recovery and on rates of CD4/CD8 ratio normalization. Moreover, we recognized baseline CD4/CD8 ratio as an independent factor influencing time to virological response in the setting of AEHI, thus giving new insights into research of immunological markers associated with virological control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.20411/pai.v5i1.341DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7104556PMC
February 2020

Safety and efficacy of daclatasvir at doses other than 60 mg daily in HIV/HCV co-infected subjects: Data from the ICONA/HepaICONA foundation cohorts.

Dig Liver Dis 2020 04 17;52(4):447-451. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Health Sciences Department, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background: Daclatasvir (DCV) is a HCV NS5A inhibitor whose plasma exposure may be influenced by co-administration with inducers or inhibitors of CYP3A4 such as many antiretrovirals.

Aims: Describe the use of different DCV dosages; assess if dose prescription complies with Summaries of Product Characteristics (SmPC); evaluate safety and efficacy of 60 versus 30/90 mg and adequate (i.e. concordant with SmPC) versus incorrect prescriptions.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of patients included in ICONA/HepaICONA starting a DCV-including treatment. Incidence rates of liver adverse events (LAE) were calculated; Poisson regression model was used to identify factors associated with LAE.

Results: 311 patients were included: 250 (80.4%) received DCV at a dosage of 60 mg, 52 (16.7%) 30 mg and 9 (2.9%) 90 mg. An inadequate dosage was used in 18 individuals (5.8%). No difference in SVR was observed (93.8% with 60 mg and 94.2% with 30/90 mg, p = 0.910; 93.5% with adequate and 100% with incorrect dosage, p = 0.277). There were 36 LAE with no differences in the two-paired groups. Decompensated liver disease was a risk factor for LAE (aRR = 2.37; p = 0.034), while HIV RNA < 50 copies/ml resulted protective (aRR = 0.22; p = 0.003).

Conclusions: DCV use resulted in high SVR rate regardless of dosage and correctness of prescription.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2019.12.007DOI Listing
April 2020

Is the rate of virological failure to cART continuing to decline in recent calendar years?

J Clin Virol 2019 07 3;116:23-28. Epub 2019 May 3.

University College London, UK.

Background: Despite the high rate of virological success of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV infected individuals continue to fail. In this contest, it is unclear whether having previously experienced virological failure (VF) of cART remains an important predictor of future risk of VF in people receiving cART in modern times. We investigated the rate of VF and factors potentially associated with this event in 9220 HIV-1 infected patients enrolled in the Icona Cohort who showed a stable viral suppression on modern cART regimens after January 1, 2006.

Methods: We investigated two main exposure factors: current calendar period (2006-2009; 2010-2013; 2014-2017) and number of VFs (0; 1-3; >3) prior to baseline. Relative rates of VF were estimated from fitting a Poisson regression model.

Results: Seven-hundred-seventy-nine patients experienced VF over follow-up for an overall rate of 2.08 per 100 person years of follow-up (PYFU, 95%CI: 1.93-2.22). The rate of VF increased with higher numbers of previous VFs: patients with >3 previous VFs had a rate of 4.87 (4.10-5.78), 2.75-fold higher than that observed in patients without any previous VF (p < 0.001). The rate of VF was lower in recent years: 3.81 (3.36, 4.32) in 2006-2009; 1.36 (1.20-1.53) in 2014-2017 (p < 0.001). Other factors independently associated with lower risk of VF were Italian origin, longer history of virological suppression, and university education level.

Conclusions: In HIV-infected patients virologically suppressed after January 2006, the rate of VF continues to show a decline even in the most recent years. Previous VFs should be carefully considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2019.04.009DOI Listing
July 2019

Determinants of patient and health care services delays for tuberculosis diagnosis in Italy: a cross-sectional observational study.

BMC Infect Dis 2018 Dec 20;18(1):690. Epub 2018 Dec 20.

Division of Infectious Diseases, "San Gerardo" Hospital, Via GB Pergolesi 33, Monza, Italy.

Background: Prompt diagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB) has paramount importance to reduce TB morbidity and mortality and to prevent the spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Few studies so far have assessed the diagnostic delay of TB and its risk factors in low-incidence countries.

Methods: We present a cross-sectional multicentre observational study enrolling all consecutive patients diagnosed with TB in seven referral centres in Italy. Information on demographic and clinical characteristics, health-seeking trajectories and patients' knowledge and awareness of TB were collected. Diagnostic delay was assessed as patient-related (time between symptoms onset and presentation to care) and healthcare-related (time between presentation to care and TB diagnosis). Factors associated with patient-related and healthcare-related delays in the highest tertile were explored using uni- and multivariate logistic regression analyses.

Results: We enrolled 137 patients, between June 2011 and May 2012. The median diagnostic delay was 66 days (Interquartile Range [IQR] 31-146). Patient-related and healthcare-related delay were 14.5 days (IQR 0-54) and 31 days (IQR: 7.25-85), respectively. Using multivariable analysis, patients living in Italy for < 5 years were more likely to have longer patient-related delay (> 3 weeks) than those living in Italy for > 5 years (Odds Ratio [OR] 3.47; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.09-11.01). The most common self-reported reasons to delay presentation to care were the mild nature of symptoms (82%) and a good self-perceived health (76%). About a quarter (26%) of patients had wrong beliefs and little knowledge of TB, although this was not associated with longer diagnostic delay. Regarding healthcare-related delay, multivariate analysis showed that extra-pulmonary TB (OR 4.3; 95% CI 1.4-13.8) and first contact with general practitioner (OR 5.1; 95% CI 1.8-14.5) were both independently associated with higher risk of healthcare-related delay > 10 weeks.

Conclusions: In this study, TB was diagnosed with a remarkable delay, mainly attributable to the healthcare services. Delay was higher in patients with extra-pulmonary disease and in those first assessed by general practitioners. We suggest the need to improve knowledge and raise awareness about TB not only in the general population but also among medical providers. Furthermore, specific programs to improve access to care should be designed for recent immigrants, at significantly high risk of patient-related delay.

Trial Registration: The study protocol was registered under the US National Institute of Health ClinicalTrials.gov register, reference number: NCT01390987 . Study start date: June 2011.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-018-3609-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302482PMC
December 2018

Incidence and predictors of single drug discontinuation according to the presence of HCV coinfection in HIV patients from the ICONA Foundation Cohort Study.

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2018 May 9;37(5):871-881. Epub 2018 Jan 9.

Department of Health Sciences, Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

To evaluate incidence rates of and predictors for any antiretroviral (ART) drug discontinuation by HCV infection status in a large Italian cohort of HIV infected patients. All patients enrolled in ICONA who started combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) containing abacavir or tenofovir or emtricitabine or lamivudine plus efavirenz or rilpivirine or atazanavir/r or darunavir/r (DRV/r) or lopinavir/r or dolutegravir or elvitegravir or raltegravir were included. Multivariate Poisson regression models were used to determine factors independently associated with single ART drug discontinuation. Inverse probability weighting method to control for potential informative censoring was applied. Data from 10,637 patients were analyzed and 1,030 (9.7%) were HCV-Ab positive. Overall, there were 15,464 ART discontinuations due to any reason in 82,415.9 person-years of follow-up (PYFU) for an incidence rate (IR) of 18.8 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 18.5-19.1) per 100 PYFU. No difference in IR of ART discontinuation due to any reason between HCV-infected and -uninfected patients was found. In a multivariable Poisson regression model, HCV-infected participants were at higher risk of darunavir/r discontinuation due to any reason (adjusted incidence rate ratio = 1.5, 95%CI 1.01-2.22, p value = 0.045) independently of demographics, HIV-related, ART and life-style factors. Among DRV/r treated patients, we found that HCV-viremic patients had twice the risk of ART discontinuation due to any reason than HCV-aviremic patients. In conclusion, HIV/HCV coinfected patients had a marginal risk increase of DRV/r discontinuation due to any reason compared with those without coinfection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10096-017-3180-8DOI Listing
May 2018

Survival and predictors of death in people with HIV-associated lymphoma compared to those with a diagnosis of lymphoma in general population.

PLoS One 2017 31;12(10):e0186549. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani, Roma, Italy.

Objectives: to compare overall survival in HIV-associated lymphoma (HIV-L) and lymphoma raising in HIV-negative population (nHIV-L) and to identify predictors of increased risk of death.

Methods: All HIV+ patients with HIV-associated lymphoma (Hodgkin lymphoma, HL; non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, NHL) observed between 1.2000 and 12.2013 in the ICONA Foundation Study cohort or in three collaborating centres, and, as control group, nHIV-L individuals followed in one of the four collaborating centres over the same time period, were included. Survival estimates were calculated by use of Kaplan-Meier (KM) and multivariable Cox regression models.

Results: 1,331 pts were included (465 HIV-L, 866 nHIV-L): 909 (68%) NHL, 422 (32%) HL. 3 years-cumulative probability (95% confidence interval, CI) of death was higher in HIV-L compared to nHIV-L in NHL (38% (33-44) vs. 22% (19-26); p<0.001), and HL (22% [15-29] vs. 10% (6-13), p<0.001). Among HL, HIV was associated with an increased risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.37 [95% CI: 1.24-4.55], p = 0.009) independently of calendar year, age, gender, type of chemotherapy and stage; in NHL, HIV was no longer an independent predictor of death after controlling for rituximab use and IPI (HR = 1.26 (0.97-1.63), p = 0.08).

Conclusions: Our analysis shows a reduced overall survival in HIV+ patients diagnosed with lymphoma compared to HIV-negative controls. Whereas in HIV people with HL, the increased risk of death was confirmed even after adjustment for main confounders, the association between HIV status and survival in NHL appears to be somewhat attenuated after controlling for more aggressive presentation and lower frequency of rituximab use in HIV-+ people.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186549PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663375PMC
November 2017

Access and response to direct antiviral agents (DAA) in HIV-HCV co-infected patients in Italy: Data from the Icona cohort.

PLoS One 2017 17;12(5):e0177402. Epub 2017 May 17.

Department of Infectious Diseases, ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy.

Background: Real-life data on access and response to direct antiviral agents (DAA) in HIV-HCV coinfected individuals are lacking.

Methods: HCV viremic, HIV-positive patients from Icona and Hepaicona cohorts naïve to DAA by January 2013 were included. Access and predictors of starting DAA were evaluated. Switches of antiretroviral drugs at starting DAA were described. We calculated sustained virological response (SVR12) in those reaching 12 weeks after end-of-treatment (EOT), and defined treatment failure (TF) as discontinuation of DAA before EOT or non-SVR12. Statistical analyses included Kaplan-Meier curves, univariable and multivariable analyses evaluating predictors of access to DAA and of treatment outcome (non-SVR and TF).

Results: 2,607 patients included. During a median follow-up of 38 (IQR:30-41) months, 920 (35.3%) patients started DAA. Eligibility for reimbursement was the strongest predictor to access to treatment: 761/1,090 (69.8%) eligible and 159/1,517 (10.5%) non-eligible to DAA reimbursement. Older age, HIV-RNA≤50 copies/mL were associated to faster DAA initiation, higher CD4 count and HCV-genotype 3 with delayed DAA initiation in those eligible to DAA reimbursement. Up to 28% of patients (36% of those on ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors, PI/r) underwent antiretroviral (ART) modification at DAA initiation. 545/595 (91.6%) patients reaching EOT achieved SVR12. Overall, TF occurred in 61/606 patients (10.1%), with 11 discontinuing DAA before EOT. Suboptimal DAA was the only independent predictor of both non-SVR12 (AHR 2.52, 95%CI:1.24-5.12) and TF (AHR: 2.19; 95%CI:1.13-4.22).

Conclusions: Only 35.3% had access to HCV treatment. Despite excellent rates of SVR12 rates (91.6%), only 21% (545/2,607) of our HIV-HCV co-infected patients are cured.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0177402PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435319PMC
September 2017

Long-acting agents for HIV infection: biological aspects, role in treatment and prevention, and patient's perspective.

New Microbiol 2017 Apr 3;40(2):75-79. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Istituto Clinica Malattie Infettive, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Policlinico "A. Gemelli", Roma, Italia.

Current cART regimens are highly potent and well tolerated, but long-term toxicities, drug-drug interactions, lifetime costs and scarce option for multiclass failed patients could limit the efficacy of treatment itself. Long-acting formulations of antiretrovirals, which could potentially replace daily tablets, have been developed and are under investigation for prevention and treatment of HIV infection. Cabotegravir and rilpivirine represent the first drugs studied in this context. The aim of this review is to summarize the biological bases, the available information on completed and ongoing clinical trials and the potential development of long-acting regimens for the treatment and prevention of HIV infection.
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April 2017

[Treating HIV disease: back to the patient?]

Recenti Prog Med 2016 Oct;107(10):525-550

Coordinamento Regionale Unico sul Farmaco, Verona.

HIV disease has dramatically changed in the last two decades from a progressive, lethal disease to a chronic manageable condition. These changes are due to the availability of potent antiretroviral combination therapy, which also have the potential to contribute significantly to the control of the epidemic. Among persons living with HIV, incidence of immunosuppression-related opportunistic illnesses has clearly decreased, while an increase was observed in the prevalence of age-related noncommunicable comorbidities, including cardiovascular, metabolic, renal, bone and hepatic disease, due to chronic inflammatory state and to an overall aging of the population of persons with HIV. It has been predicted that by 2030 more than 80% of older persons with HIV will have at least one comorbidity, compared to 19% of non HIV-infected persons, and that one fourth of these persons will have three or more comorbidities. Among persons with HIV, the prevalence of frailty is increasing. Choice of therapeutic approach to HIV disease should take into account, in addition to the ability of drug combination to suppress viral replication, the potential for long term adherence to treatment, the lack of long term toxicity, the possibility to fully restore immune function and prevent immune activation, thus reducing the risk of chronic inflammation related disease. In addition the overall impact of treatment on patients' well-being must be considered, and patients related outcomes should be used to measure this impact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1701/2454.25704DOI Listing
October 2016

High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels and risk of cancer in HIV-infected subjects: Data from the ICONA Foundation Cohort.

Medicine (Baltimore) 2016 Sep;95(36):e4434

Infectious Diseases Clinic, San Gerardo Hospital, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza Infectious Diseases Department, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan Unit of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari Infectious and Tropical Diseases Unit I, Department of Infectious Diseases, Amedeo di Savoia Hospital, Torino Clinical Department, National Institute of Infectious Diseases 'L.Spallanzani', Rome Division of Infectious Diseases, Padova Hospital, Padova Division of Infectious Diseases, Azienda Ospedaliera Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo Department of Publich Health, Infectious Diseases, Catholic University, Rome Department of Health Sciences, Clinic of Infectious Diseases, 'San Paolo' Hospital, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Investigation of the relationship between high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) and the risk of developing cancer in a prospective cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.The Italian Cohort of Antiretroviral-naïve Patients Foundation Cohort is an Italian multicenter observational study recruiting HIV-positive patients while still antiretroviral treatment-naïve, regardless of the reason since 1997.Patients with at least 1 HDL-c value per year since enrollment and one such value before antiretroviral treatment initiation were included. HDL-c values were categorized as either low (<39 mg/dL in males or <49 mg/dL in females) or normal. Cancer diagnoses were classified as AIDS-defining malignancies (ADMs) or non-AIDS-defining malignancies (NADMs). Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional-hazards regression models were used.Among 4897 patients (13,440 person-years of follow-up [PYFU]), 104 diagnoses of cancer were observed (56 ADMs, 48 NADMs) for an overall incidence rate of 7.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.3-9.2) per 1000 PYFU.Low HDL-c values at enrollment were associated with higher risk both of cancer (crude hazard ratio [HR] 1.72, 95% CI 1.16-2.56, P = 0.007) and of NADM (crude HR 2.50, 95% CI 1.35-4.76, P = 0.003). Multivariate analysis showed that the risk of cancer diagnosis was higher in patients with low HDL-c values (adjusted HR [AHR] 1.87, 95% CI 1.18-2.95, P = 0.007) in older patients, those patients more recently enrolled, and in those with low current cluster of differentiation 4+ levels, and/or high current HIV-ribonucleic acid.The multivariate model confirmed an association between HDL-c (AHR 2.61, 95% CI 1.40-4.89, P = 0.003) and risk of NADM.Low HDL-c is an independent predictor of cancer in HIV-1-infected subjects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000004434DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023860PMC
September 2016

CD4/CD8 ratio normalisation and non-AIDS-related events in individuals with HIV who achieve viral load suppression with antiretroviral therapy: an observational cohort study.

Lancet HIV 2015 Mar 6;2(3):e98-106. Epub 2015 Feb 6.

Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Department of Health Sciences, San Paolo Hospital, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Background: In patients with HIV, immune reconstitution after antiretroviral therapy (ART) is often incomplete. We assessed the probability of patients reaching a CD4/CD8 ratio of 1 or more after the start of ART and its association with the onset of non-AIDS-defining events and death.

Methods: We did an analysis of the ICONA cohort, which recruited treatment-naive patients with HIV in Italy. We included participants in the cohort who started ART, reached an undetectable viral load (≤80 copies per mL), and had a CD4/CD8 ratio of less than 0·8 at the time of an undetectable viral load. We defined ratio normalisation in patients as two consecutive values of 1 or more. We used Kaplan-Meier curves to estimate the cumulative probability of ratio normalisation. We then used Poisson regression models to identify factors independently associated with normalisation and with progression to non-AIDS-defining events or death.

Findings: We included 3236 participants, enrolled between Jan 22, 1997, and Feb 25, 2013. At the start of ART, median CD4/CD8 ratio in our population was 0·39 (IQR 0·26-0·55). 458 (14%) patients reached a CD4/CD8 ratio of 1 or more; the estimated probability of normalisation was 4·4% (95% CI 3·7-5·2) by 1 year from baseline, 11·5% (10·2-13·0) by 2 years, and 29·4% (26·7-32·4) by 5 years. Factors associated with normalisation were high pre-ART CD4 cell counts, a high CD4/CD8 ratio at baseline, and negative cytomegalovirus serological findings. The incidence rate of non-AIDS-defining events for patients with a CD4/CD8 ratio of less than 0·30 (4·2 per 100 patient-years, 95% CI 3·4-5·3) was double that for those with a ratio of 0·30-0·45 (2·3, 2·1-2·5) or more than 0·45 (2·2, 1·7-2·9). A ratio of less than 0·30 was independently associated with an increased risk of non-AIDS-defining events or death compared with one of more than 0·45.

Interpretation: Few patients had normalised CD4/CD8 ratios, even though they had viral suppression. Low ratios were associated with increased risk of serious events and deaths. The CD4/CD8 ratio could be used by clinicians to identity patients at risk of non-AIDS-related events.

Funding: AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Janssen, Merck Sharp & Dohme, ViiV Italy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(15)00006-5DOI Listing
March 2015

Relationship between self-reported adherence, antiretroviral drug concentration measurement and self-reported symptoms in patients treated for HIV-1 infection.

Infect Dis (Lond) 2016 2;48(1):48-55. Epub 2015 Sep 2.

a From the Institute of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Catholic University of Sacred Heart , Rome , Italy.

Background: The aim of the study was to explore relationships between self-reported adherence, antiretroviral drug concentration measurement (TDM) and self-reported symptoms.

Methods: We systematically administered to human immunodeficiency (HIV)-infected outpatients a questionnaire evaluating measures of self-reported adherence (missing doses during last week, deviations from the prescribed timing of therapy, self-initiated discontinuations for > 24 or 48 h, exhausting drugs and present sense of how patients are taking therapy) and a panel of referred symptoms (a symptom score was built summing self-reported scores for each listed symptom). We selected patients who completed the questionnaire and also had a TDM (mainly reflecting adherence in the past few days or weeks), thus comparing these two tools as measures of adherence.

Results: A total of 130 patients (64.6% males, median age 44 years, 76.2% with HIV RNA < 50 copies/ml, median CD4 540 cells/μl) were included. Mean self-reported adherence (on a 0-100 visual analogue scale) was 80% (standard deviation, 18.7). Drug concentration was subtherapeutic in 16 patients (12.3%), of which 7 (5.4%) had undetectable drug levels (< 0.05 mg/L). Of these last seven patients, five (71.4%) reported an adherence below 80%. In a multivariable analysis, females and patients with undetectable drug levels (mean change -18.43%, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) -31.83 to -5.03, p = 0.007) showed a lower self-reported adherence, while those with HIV RNA < 50 copies/ml showed a higher adherence. Lower self-reported adherence (odds ratio 0.62 per 10% increase, 95% CI = 0.43-0.89, p = 0.009) and longer time from last drug intake were independently related to the development of undetectable drug levels. We also found that a higher symptom score was associated with a lower self-reported adherence and with a higher proportion of undetectable drug levels.

Conclusions: Self-reported adherence and TDM showed a correlation and seemed to be comparable tools for adherence estimation. Self-reported symptoms were associated with lower adherence and undetectable drug levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/23744235.2015.1082034DOI Listing
July 2016

Durability of lopinavir/ritonavir dual-therapies in individuals with viral load <50 copies/mL in the observational setting.

J Int AIDS Soc 2014 2;17(4 Suppl 3):19799. Epub 2014 Nov 2.

Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, San Paolo University Hospital Milan, Milano, Italy.

Introduction: We aimed at evaluating the efficacy and durability of a lopinavir/ritonavir-based dual regimen (LPV/r-DR) in virologically controlled HIV-infected individuals in current clinical practice.

Methods: Patients who have initiated for the first time a LPV/r-DR with HIV-RNA<50 copies/mL were included in this observational study. The main endpoints were: time to virological rebound [VR=time of first of two consecutive viral loads (VL)>50 copies/mL] and time to experience either a single VL>200 copies/mL or discontinuation/intensification (= treatment failure, TF). Individuals' follow-up accrued from the date of starting the LPV/r-DR to event or last available VL. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression analysis were used. Covariates included in the multivariable analysis were gender, age, route of transmission, hepatitis co-infection, calendar year of starting the DR, nadir CD4+ count, VL at initiation of first cART, previous failures to protease inhibitors (PIs), time with undetectable VL before starting the DR and the type of DR [nucleoside reverse transcriptase (NRTI), non-NRTI (NNRTI), raltegravir or maraviroc, with NRTI as reference group]. RESULTS are presented as median (Q1, Q3) or frequency (%) as appropriate.

Results: 108 individuals followed for 18 (7, 30) months were included; baseline (BL) characteristics are detailed in Table 1.

Conclusions: A LPV/r-DR can be considered a valuable option in patients with HIV-RNA<50 copies/mL and ongoing toxicity from the third drug of the regimen, although up to 17% of patients showed viral rebound by 3 years. Older patients are at lower risk of failure with this strategy, but larger sample size is needed to identify who might benefit from this strategy instead of others.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4225267PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.7448/IAS.17.4.19799DOI Listing
January 2016

An observational comparison of first-line combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) with 2NRTI and ATV/r or DRV/r in HIV-infected patients in Italy.

J Int AIDS Soc 2014 2;17(4 Suppl 3):19771. Epub 2014 Nov 2.

Infectious Diseases, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Introduction: In a recent clinical trial (ACTG 5257), no difference in viral failure (VF) of a first-line cART containing atazanavir/r (ATV/r) or darunavir/r (DRV/r) was found [1]. For the endpoint of discontinuation due to intolerance, the regimen with DRV/r was superior to that of ATV/r (49% of the stops of ATV/r were attributed to jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia). These and other intolerances to ATV/r remain a concern for clinicians.

Methods: Participants in the ICONA Foundation Study who started cART with 2NRTI+ ATV/r or DRV/r while ART-naïve were included. Several endpoints were evaluated: confirmed VF>200 copies/mL after six months of therapy, discontinuation of DRV/r or ATV/r for any reasons or because of intolerance/toxicity (as reported by the treating physician) and the combined endpoint of VF or stop. Survival analysis with Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression model stratified by clinical site was used. Patients' follow-up accrued from cART initiation to the date of the event or to the date of last available visit/viral load.

Results: 894 patients starting 2NRTI+ATV/r and 686 2NRTI+DRV/r when ART-naïve on average in 2011 (IQR: 2010-2012) were studied. Most common NRTIs used were FTC/TDF (84%) and ABC/3TC (12%). Median age was 40 years, 22% females, 44% heterosexuals. Patients starting ATV/r were more likely to be hepatitis B/C infected (2% and 14% vs 1% and 9%, p=0.001), they started one year earlier (2011 vs 2012, p=0.001), were more likely to be enrolled in sites located in the north of Italy (63% vs 54%, p=0.04), started cART less promptly after HIV diagnosis (5 vs 2 months, p=0.02) and less likely to have started TDF/FTC (83% vs 85%, p=0.02). By two years of cART, 9.8% (95% CI 7.6-12.0) of those starting ATV/r experienced discontinuation due to intolerance/toxicity vs 6.5% in DRV/r group (95% CI 4.2-8.8, p=0.04). After controlling for several potential confounders (age, gender, nation of birth, mode of HIV transmission, hepatitis co-infection status, AIDS diagnosis, nucleoside pair started, baseline CD4 count and viral load and year of starting cART) the relative hazard (RH) for ATV/r vs DRV/r was 2.01 (95% CI 1.23, 3.28, p=0.005). There were no statistical differences detected for any of the other outcomes.

Conclusions: Although unmeasured confounding cannot be ruled out, our results seem to be consistent with those of the ACTG 5257. When all cause discontinuations were considered, or the composite endpoint of treatment failure, there was no difference between ATV/r- and DRV/r-based regimens.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4225250PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.7448/IAS.17.4.19771DOI Listing
January 2016

Increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in the recent years: data from the ICONA cohort.

J Int AIDS Soc 2014 2;17(4 Suppl 3):19653. Epub 2014 Nov 2.

Nadir Foundation Onlus, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) data collected in HIV+ patients could be used as indicator of risky sexual behaviour possibly linked to HIV transmission. We described the STDs incidence over time and identified higher incidence factors.

Methodology: All patients in the ICONA Foundation Study enrolled after 1998 were included. STDs considered: any-stage syphilis, human papilloma virus (HPV) diseases, gonococcal and non-gonococcal urethritis, herpes simplex virus (HSV) genital ulcers, vaginitis and acute hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis A virus (HAV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections (only for non-IVDU (intravenous drug user) patients). STDs incidence rate (IR): number of STDs divided by person years of follow-up (PYFU). Calendar periods: 1998-2002, 2003-2007 and 2008-2012. Predictors of STDs occurrence were identified using Poisson regression and sandwich estimates for the standard errors were used for multiple STD events.

Results: Data of 9,168 patients were analyzed (median age 37.3 (SD=9.3), 74% male, 30% MSM). Over 46,736 PYFU, 996 episodes of STDs were observed (crude IR 17.3/1,000 PYFU). Median (IQR) CD4/mmc and HIV-RNA/mL at STD: 433 (251-600) and 10,900 (200-63,000). Highest crude IRs were observed for any-stage syphilis (3.95, 95% CI 3.59-4.35), HPV diseases (1.96, 1.71-2.24) and acute hepatitis (1.72, 1.49-1.99). At multivariable analysis (variables of adjustment shown in Figure 1), age (IRR 0.82 per 10 years younger, 95% CI 0.77-0.89), MSM contacts (IRR 3.03, 95% CI 2.52-3.64 vs heterosexual) and calendar period (IRR 1.67, 95% CI 1.42-1.96, comparing 2008-2012 with 1998-2002) significantly increased the risk of acquiring STDs. Moreover, having a HIV-RNA >50 c/mL (IRR 1.44, 95% CI 1.19-1.74 vs HIV-RNA <50 c/mL) and current CD4+ cell count <100/mmc (IRR 4.66, 95% CI 3.69-5.89, p<0.001 vs CD4+ cell count >500) showed an increased risk of STDs. Being on ARV treatment significantly reduced the risk of developing an STD (IRR 0.37, 95% CI 0.32-0.43) compared to ART-naïve people, even in the situation of temporary interruption of treatment (IRR 0.51, 95% CI 0.39-0.43) (see Figure 1).

Conclusions: The overall incidence of STDs has been increasing in the recent years. Interventions to prevent STDs and potential further spread of HIV infection should target the recently HIV diagnosed, the young population and MSM. Being on ARV treatment (potentially an indicator of whether a person is regularly seen for care) seems to reduce the risk of acquiring STDs independently of its viro-immunological effect.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224872PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.7448/IAS.17.4.19653DOI Listing
January 2016

Pregnancy outcomes among ART-naive and ART-experienced HIV-positive women: data from the ICONA foundation study group, years 1997-2013.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014 Nov;67(3):258-67

*Department of Health Sciences, Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; †Infectious Diseases, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy; ‡Infectious Diseases, Bagno a Ripoli Hospital, Florence, Italy; §Department of Health and Infectious Diseases, University La Sapienza, Polo Pontino, Rome, Italy; ‖Infectious Diseases, INMI "L. Spallanzani," I.R.C.C.S, Rome, Italy; ¶Infectious Diseases, Galliera Hospital, Genova, Italy; #Infectious Diseases, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy; **Clinical Immunology, University of Ancona, Ancona, Italy; ††Infectious Diseases, University Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; ‡‡Division of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Spedali Civili, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy; and §§INMI "L. Spallanzani," I.R.C.C.S, Epidemiology, Rome, Italy.

Background: We analyzed antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens and pregnancy outcomes in naive and ART-experienced HIV-positive women from Italian Cohort Naive Antiretrovirals cohort and investigated frequency and predictors of detectable viral load (VL) at delivery.

Methods: All pregnancies resulting in live births were included. Based on ART at the beginning of pregnancy, pregnancies were allocated either to the ART-naive or ART-experienced group. Analyses were stratified according to calendar periods. Multivariate logistic regression was used to describe predictors of detectable VL at delivery.

Results: One hundred fifty-eight of 2862 women experienced 169 pregnancies (88 in naives and 81 in 70 ART-experienced women). ART regimens varied according to calendar periods; mono-dual combination regimens progressively decreased over time (P value for trend <0.0001). Protease inhibitor-including regimens were the most frequently used regimens at delivery (71.6% vs 63.0% in naives and in ART experienced, P = 0.2). VL was detectable in 35.6% of women at delivery; this was less likely with increasing calendar periods (adjusted odds ratio per 1-year longer: 0.8, 95% confidence interval: 0.7 to 0.9, P = 0.007) and more likely in women with HIV RNA >50 copies per milliliter at pregnancy ascertainment (adjusted odds ratio: 7.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.9 to 33.3, P = 0.006). Nevertheless, no cases of vertical transmission were diagnosed. Preterm birth rate of 17.3% (11.9% vs 22.6% naive and ART experienced, P = 0.1) was reported; this was not associated with ART duration or protease inhibitor-including regimens; 27.2% of infants had <2500 g birth weight.

Conclusions: Antiretroviral regimens prescribed during pregnancy changed over time according to guidelines. Although undetectable VL was not always achieved, no vertical transmission occurred; preterm delivery and low birth weight occurred in some cases and still remain key issues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000000297DOI Listing
November 2014

Timing of antiretroviral therapy initiation after a first AIDS-defining event: temporal changes in clinical attitudes in the ICONA cohort.

PLoS One 2014 27;9(2):e89861. Epub 2014 Feb 27.

Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry University of Milan Clinic of Infectious Diseases, "San Paolo" Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Background: Time of starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) after diagnosis of specific AIDS-defining event (ADE) is a crucial aspect. Objectives of this study were to evaluate if in patients diagnosed with ADE the time to ART initiation may vary according to year of diagnosis and type of ADE.

Methods: All HIV+ persons diagnosed with an ADE over the 6 months prior to or after enrolment in the Icona Foundation study cohort and while ART-naive were grouped according to type of diagnosis: Those with ADE requiring medications interacting with ART [group A], those with ADE treatable only with ART [B] and other ADE [C]. Survival analysis by Kaplan-Meier was used to estimate the percentage of people starting ART, overall and after stratification for calendar period and ADE group. Multivariable Cox regression model was used to investigate association between calendar year of specific ADE and time to ART initiation.

Results: 720 persons with first ADE were observed over 1996-2013 (group A, n=171; B, n=115; C, n=434). By 30 days from diagnosis, 27% (95% CI: 22-32) of those diagnosed in 1996-2000 had started ART vs. 32% (95% CI: 24-40) in 2001-2008 and 43% (95% CI: 33-47) after 2008 (log-rank p=0.001). The proportion of patients starting ART by 30 days was 13% (95% CI 7-19), 40% (95% CI: 30-50) and 38% (95% CI 33-43) in ADE groups A, B and C (log-rank p=0.0001). After adjustment for potential confounders, people diagnosed after 2008 remained at increased probability of starting ART more promptly than those diagnosed in 1996-1999 (AHR 1.72 (95% CI 1.16-2.56).

Conclusions: In our "real-life" setting, the time from ADE to ART initiation was significantly shorter in people diagnosed in more recent years, although perhaps less prompt than expected.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089861PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3937396PMC
October 2014

Safety and feasibility of treatment simplification to atazanavir/ritonavir + lamivudine in HIV-infected patients on stable treatment with two nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors + atazanavir/ritonavir with virological suppression (Atazanavir and Lamivudine for treatment Simplification, AtLaS pilot study).

J Antimicrob Chemother 2013 Jun 30;68(6):1364-72. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Institute of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: To explore 48 week safety and efficacy of treatment simplification to atazanavir/ritonavir + lamivudine in HIV-infected patients with virological suppression on a stable atazanavir/ritonavir-based standard triple regimen.

Methods: This was a single-arm pilot study, enrolling 40 patients on atazanavir/ritonavir + two nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), without previous treatment failure, with HIV-RNA <50 copies/mL for >3 months and CD4 >200 cells/mm(3). At baseline, patients were switched to 300/100 mg of atazanavir/ritonavir + 300 mg of lamivudine once daily. Laboratory parameters, atazanavir plasma levels, self-reported adherence, quality of life, neurocognitive performance, bone composition and body fat distribution were monitored. Virological failure was defined as HIV-RNA >50 copies/mL on two consecutive determinations or a single level >1000 copies/mL.

Results: After 48 weeks, 4/40 (10%) regimen discontinuations occurred: 1 death (brain haemorrhage), 1 study withdrawal (inadequate atazanavir plasma levels), 1 re-induction with two NRTIs due to pregnancy and 1 virological failure without development of resistance. Seven moderate to severe adverse events were recorded (including four renal colics, possibly treatment-related) in six patients. At week 48, increases in total (mean change +17 mg/dL, P = 0.001), high-density lipoprotein (+6 mg/dL, P < 0.001) and low-density lipoprotein (+8 mg/dL, P = 0.052) cholesterol were observed. The glomerular filtration rate improved (+7 mL/min/1.73 m(2), P < 0.001), as did scores exploring self-reported physical and mental health (+11, P = 0.009 and +13, P < 0.001 on a 0-100 scale), neuropsychological performance (-1 pathological task, P = 0.002) and total bone mineral density (+0.03 g/cm(2), P = 0.026). There were no significant changes in CD4 cell count, bilirubin, atazanavir plasma levels, adherence and body fat distribution over time.

Conclusions: Simplification to atazanavir/ritonavir + lamivudine was apparently safe and associated with rare virological failure, without resistance selection. This strategy deserves further investigation in a randomized trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkt007DOI Listing
June 2013

Virological Response in Cerebrospinal Fluid to Antiretroviral Therapy in a Large Italian Cohort of HIV-Infected Patients with Neurological Disorders.

AIDS Res Treat 2012 26;2012:708456. Epub 2012 Aug 26.

Clinical Department, National Institute for Infectious Diseases "Lazzaro Spallanzani" IRCCS, Via Portuense, 292, 00149 Rome, Italy.

The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and single antiretroviral drugs on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) HIV-RNA burden in HIV-infected patients affected by neurological disorders enrolled in a multicentric Italian cohort. ARVs were considered "neuroactive" from literature reports. Three hundred sixty-three HIV-positive patients with available data from paired plasma and CSF samples, were selected. One hundred twenty patients (33.1%) were taking ARVs at diagnosis of neurological disorder. Mean CSF HIV-RNA was significantly higher in naïve than in experienced patients, and in patients not taking ARV than in those on ARV. A linear correlation between CSF HIV-RNA levels and number of neuroactive drugs included in the regimen was also found (r = -0.44, P < 0.001). Low -plasma HIV-RNA and the lack of neurocognitive impairment resulted in independently associated to undetectable HIV-RNA. Taking nevirapine or efavirenz, or regimen including NNRTI, NNRTI plus PI or boosted PI, was independently associated to an increased probability to have undetectable HIV-RNA in CSF. The inclusion of two or three neuroactive drugs in the ARV regimen was independently associated to undetectable viral load in CSF. Our data could be helpful in identifying ARV regimens able to better control HIV replication in the CNS sanctuary, and could be a historical reference for further analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/708456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432519PMC
September 2012

Impaired CD4 T-cell count response to combined antiretroviral therapy in antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected patients presenting with tuberculosis as AIDS-defining condition.

Clin Infect Dis 2012 Mar 12;54(6):853-61. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Catholic University, Roma, Italy.

Background: The impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated tuberculosis on CD4 T-cell count response to combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) is poorly investigated.

Methods: A collaborative analysis including HIV-infected patients prospectively enrolled in 4 Italian clinical cohorts was conducted. Patients were grouped according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stage at the start of cART as having tuberculosis, having AIDS but not tuberculosis (nontuberculosis AIDS), and not having AIDS (AIDS free). Time to CD4 T-cell count of at least 100, 200, and 300 cells/μL above pre-cART levels and to CD4 T-cell count of >500 cells/μL were major end points. Survival analysis with time-fixed and time-dependent covariates was used.

Results: A total of 6528 patients were eligible; 125 patients (2%) had tuberculosis, 1062 (16%) had nontuberculosis AIDS, and 5341 (82%) were AIDS free. Patients with tuberculosis had a significantly reduced chance of CD4 T-cell count increase compared with AIDS-free patients as well as those with nontuberculosis AIDS, regardless of the primary outcome considered for a given value of confounders measured at baseline (eg, for >200 cells/μL above baseline; relative hazard, 0.71; P = .02), although it was no longer significant after further adjustment for current level of viral load suppression (relative hazard, 0.80; P = .11). There was a trend for reduced virological response in patients treated concomitantly for tuberculosis and HIV infection compared with those who were treated separately in time (P = .09).

Conclusions: HIV-infected patients starting cART with a tuberculosis diagnosis showed an impaired immune recovery to cART compared with AIDS-free patients and those with nontuberculosis AIDS. It seems to be driven mainly by a delay in achieving viral suppression. Whether this may be due to interactions between antituberculosis drugs and antiretrovirals needs to be investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir900DOI Listing
March 2012