Publications by authors named "Banu Aygun"

66 Publications

Effect of COVID-19 on anakinra-induced remission in homozygous STX11 hemophagocytosis lymphohistiocytosis.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 Jan 14:e28897. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology and Cellular Therapy, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28897DOI Listing
January 2021

Safety and benefits of automated red cell depletion-exchange compared to standard exchange in patients with sickle cell disease undergoing chronic transfusion.

Transfusion 2021 Feb 24;61(2):526-536. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, New York, USA.

Background: The Spectra Optia allows automated performance of red blood cell reduction and isovolemic hemodilution (IHD) prior to standard red cell exchange (RCE), and is primarily intended for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) undergoing chronic RCE. Data on the safety of inducing transient further anemia and the benefits of IHD-RCE is limited and occasionally contradictory.

Study Design And Methods: In this retrospective crossover analysis of six patients with SCD who underwent chronic exchange with standard RCE (Cobe Spectra) followed by IHD-RCE (Spectra Optia), we compared safety and benefit outcomes with IHD-RCE vs standard RCE.

Results: There were statistically but not clinically significant drops in blood pressure in the post-IHD phase. With IHD-RCE, there were significant reductions in red blood cell (RBC) usage and/or lower fraction of cells and significant increases in postprocedure hematocrit (Hct) associated with increased preprocedure Hct. There were no differences achieved in the time interval between procedures or in the net RBC gain with IHD-RCE. Overall, there were also no significant differences in pre- and postprocedure percentage of hemoglobin S, reticulocyte count, interval daily hemoglobin A decrement, or postprocedure white blood cell, neutrophil, or platelet counts.

Conclusions: Our study supports that IHD-RCE can be safely used in patients with stroke risk and compared to standard RCE, results in benefits of lower RBC usage and/or fraction of cells remaining and higher postprocedure Hct associated with higher preprocedure Hct. These findings support wider use of IHD-RCE, especially in the current environment with reduced availability of minority units.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.16225DOI Listing
February 2021

NT-proBNP levels and cardiopulmonary function in children with sickle cell disease.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2021 Feb 3;56(2):495-501. Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis, Department of Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York, USA.

Patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) are living longer and subsequently more apt to develop cardiopulmonary dysfunction. N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels have been used in adults with SCD to assess for pulmonary hypertension and mortality. While the incidence of PH is low in pediatrics, it is reasonable to presume that NT-proBNP levels can be used to assess risk for the development of cardiopulmonary morbidity. We hypothesized that NT-proBNP levels would be increased in patients with SCD compared to age-adjusted healthy children; additionally, these levels would be associated with labs indicative of hemolysis and would demonstrate evidence of obstructive lung disease and cardiac dysfunction. We retrospectively evaluated patients with SCD, 8-18 years old, at a large, tertiary care children's hospital. NT-proBNP levels were assessed in correlation with hemolytic lab work, spirometry, and echocardiographic data. The age group 8-14 years old, 75% of our cohort's population, had a median NT-proBNP of 70 pg/ml, greater than their age-adjusted counterparts (52 pg/ml). NT-proBNP levels were associated with an increased degree of hemolysis when compared with hemoglobin (Hb) (r = -0.43, p < .0001), reticulocyte count (r = .25, p = .01) and lactate dehydrogenase levels (r = .47, p < .0001). An inverse trend was found between NT-proBNP and spirometric data. Finally, a positive correlation was found between NT-proBNP and diastolic left ventricular size (r = .28, p = .047]. The correlations found suggest that NT-proBNP may be used prospectively to identify patients with SCD at increased risk for the development of cardiopulmonary dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ppul.25155DOI Listing
February 2021

Are children with SARS-CoV-2 infection at high risk for thrombosis? Viscoelastic testing and coagulation profiles in a case series of pediatric patients.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 12;67(12):e28737

Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplant, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York.

The coagulopathy of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is well documented in adults, with increases in D-dimer and prothrombin time found to be strong predictors of mortality, and anticoagulation shown to decrease this mortality. Viscoelastic parameters such as elevations in maximum clot firmness (MCF) on rotational thromboelastometry (ROTEM) have correlated with a hypercoagulable state in adults with SARS-CoV-2. We report our experience in children infected with SARS-CoV-2, with noted elevations in D-dimer and MCF on ROTEM (indicating hypercoagulability). Exploration of viscoelastic testing to provide additional laboratory-based evidence for pediatric-specific risk assessment for thromboprophylaxis in SARS-CoV-2 is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28737DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645957PMC
December 2020

A pilot study to screen for poor academic performance in children with sickle cell disease in the outpatient setting.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 05 21;67(5):e28196. Epub 2020 Feb 21.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, New York.

Background: Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) are at risk for neurocognitive deficits, which can lead to effects on academic performance and later job attainment. However, screening in children at high risk for poor academic performance (PAP) in a clinic setting has been limited. The goal was to identify young children with SCD at high risk for PAP via administration of a standardized screening tool at the clinic visit.

Procedure: Parents of 20 patients were asked to complete the Behavior Assessment System for Children, 3rd edition (BASC-3) Parent Rating Scale. Children ages six to nine years and all SCD genotypes were included. Those patients who scored at least 1 standard deviation below the mean were considered high risk. Statistics was used to associate demographic, academic, and laboratory data with risk status (RS).

Results: Four of 20 patients (20%) were found to be at risk by the BASC-3. A significant association was found between those with a history of PAP and RS (P = 0.001). A trend toward association was found between baseline hemoglobin, reticulocyte count, and RS. Children not at risk had a higher hemoglobin level and lower reticulocyte count (P = 0.37 and P = 0.20, respectively). Those on hydroxyurea were significantly less likely to score as at risk (P = 0.014), whereas those with siblings may be at greater risk (P = 0.037).

Conclusion(s): A parent-directed screening tool may identify children with SCD in need of additional school support. Further prospective studies are necessary to understand correlations found between hemoglobin, reticulocyte count, and hydroxyurea treatment and risk for PAP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28196DOI Listing
May 2020

Hydroxyurea for ALL children with sickle cell anemia: What can we learn from Africa?

Authors:
Banu Aygun

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 04 11;67(4):e28164. Epub 2020 Jan 11.

Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation, Department of Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28164DOI Listing
April 2020

HABIT efficacy and sustainability trial, a multi-center randomized controlled trial to improve hydroxyurea adherence in youth with sickle cell disease: a study protocol.

BMC Pediatr 2019 10 15;19(1):354. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Hydroxyurea (HU) is recommended as standard practice for youth with sickle cell disease (SCD). Yet, despite its efficacy, HU adherence in adolescents and young adults is often poor. Poor medication adherence increases disease burden, healthcare cost and widens health disparities. Adolescence is a critical time to improve adherence through improved chronic disease self-management. This study aims to test the efficacy of an intervention delivered to youth/parent dyads by community health workers (CHWs), augmented by tailored text messages on HU adherence (primary outcome). Secondary outcomes are intervention sustainability, youth health-related quality of life, self-management responsibility concordance, acute hospital use and self-reported disease symptoms.

Methods: Hydroxyurea Adherence for Personal Best in Sickle Cell Disease, "HABIT," is a 12 month multi-center randomized controlled trial. One hundred four youth, 10 to 18 years of age prescribed HU who meet eligibility criteria, enrolled with their parent as dyads, will be randomized 1:1 to either the HABIT intervention or to usual clinical care plus education handouts. All subjects will complete clinic visits at months 0, 2, 4, 6 (efficacy component), 9 and 12 (sustainability component) for assessment of HbF biomarker, other hematologic parameters, and to complete questionnaires. In addition, dyads assigned to the HABIT intervention will work with CHWs to identify a daily habit (e.g., brushing teeth) on which to build a HU adherence habit. Tailored daily text message reminders to support the habit will be developed by the dyad in collaboration with the CHWs and sent to parent and youth. At the 6 month visit, the intervention will end and the sustainability portion of the trial will begin. All data analyses will be based on intention to treat with all randomized subjects included in the analyses.

Discussion: Prior retrospective studies demonstrate that a majority of adolescents are poorly adherent to HU. If efficacious, the HABIT intervention has the potential to improve the lives of youth with SCD.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03462511 . Registered March 6, 2018, last updated July 26, 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-019-1746-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6792326PMC
October 2019

Management of vaso-occlusive episodes in the day hospital decreases admissions in children with sickle cell disease.

Br J Haematol 2019 09 31;186(6):855-860. Epub 2019 May 31.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY, USA.

Acute vaso-occlusive episodes (VOE) are the most common reason for presentation to the Emergency Department (ED) and inpatient admission in people living with sickle cell disease (SCD). The goal of this study was to compare the hospital admission rate for VOE from our centre's day hospital (Pediatric Ambulatory Chemotherapy and Transfusion Unit; PACT) versus the ED, and to determine which factors influence admission rate. The study included a total of 370 visits involving 140 children with SCD with a mean age of 10·9 ± 5·5 years. The timing from triage to the first analgesic was significantly different between the PACT and the ED (median, 32 vs. 70 min, P < 0·0001). The initial choice of opioid dosage adhered to our centre's guidelines 84% of the time in the PACT v. 45% in the ED for morphine (P = 0·0003) and 100% in the PACT vs. 43% (P = 0·002) for hydromorphone. The admission rate from the ED (57%) was significantly higher than that of the PACT (29%) even when accounting for differences in baseline variables (P = 0·0001). In conclusion, the odds of being admitted were 3·8 times higher if the patient was treated in the ED. Timely administration and appropriate dosing of intravenous opioids may change this outcome in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16002DOI Listing
September 2019

Elevated tricuspid regurgitation velocity in congenital hemolytic anemias: Prevalence and laboratory correlates.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 07 25;66(7):e27717. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Department of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.

Elevated tricuspid valve regurgitation jet velocity (TRV ≥ 2.5 m/s) is associated with mortality among adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), but correlative biomarkers are not studied according to treatment exposure or genotypes. To investigate the associations between biomarkers and TRV elevation, we examined the relationship between TRV and hemolytic, inflammatory, and cardiac biomarkers, stratified by disease-modifying treatments and SCD genotype. In total, 294 participants with SCD (mean age, 11.0 ± 3.7 years) and 49 hereditary spherocytosis (HS; mean age, 22.9 ± 19.75 years) were included for comparison and enrolled. TRV was elevated in 30.7% of children with SCD overall: 18.8% in HbSC/HbSβ -thalassemia, 28.9% in untreated HbSS/HbSβ -thalassemia, 34.2% in HbSS/HbSβ -thalassemia hydroxyurea-treated, and 57% in HbSS/HbSβ -thalassemia chronic transfusion treated. TRV was elevated in 10.7% and 27.8% in HS children and adults, respectively. In children with SCD, elevated TRV was correlated with hemoglobin (odds ratio [OR] = 0.78, P = 0.004), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; OR = 2.52, P = 0.005), and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-pro BNP; OR = 1.003, P = 0.004). In multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for genotype, sex, hemolytic index, and treatment, hemoglobin concentration remained the only significant variable associated with elevated TRV in untreated HbSS/HbSβ -thalassemia participants. TRV was not associated with inflammatory markers, other markers of hemolysis, or NT-pro BNP in untreated HbSS/HbSβ -thalassemia. Neither hemoglobin nor LDH was associated with TRV in HbSC/HbSβ -thalassemia. These results suggest that elevated TRV is influenced by the degree of anemia, possibly reflecting sickling as part of the disease pathophysiology. Prospective studies should monitor hemoglobin concentration as children with SCD age into adulthood, prompting initiation of TRV screening and monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27717DOI Listing
July 2019

Hydroxyurea for Children with Sickle Cell Anemia in Sub-Saharan Africa.

N Engl J Med 2019 01 1;380(2):121-131. Epub 2018 Dec 1.

From Centre Hospitalier Monkole, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (L.T.); the Department of Medicine, University Health Network and Mt. Sinai Hospital, and the University of Toronto, Toronto (G.T.); the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Program, Kilifi, Kenya (T.N.W.); the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London (T.N.W.); Hospital Pediátrico David Bernardino, Luanda, Angola (B.S.); Mbale Clinical Research Institute and Mbale Regional Referral and Teaching Hospital-Busitema University, Mbale, Uganda (P.O.-O.); the Division of Hematology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital (A.L., S.E.S., T.S.L., P.T.M., R.E.W.), University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (A.L., P.T.M., R.E.W.), and the Global Health Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (S.E.S., P.T.M., R.E.W.), Cincinnati; and Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, and the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Hempstead - both in New York (B.A.).

Background: Hydroxyurea is an effective treatment for sickle cell anemia, but few studies have been conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, where the burden is greatest. Coexisting conditions such as malnutrition and malaria may affect the feasibility, safety, and benefits of hydroxyurea in low-resource settings.

Methods: We enrolled children 1 to 10 years of age with sickle cell anemia in four sub-Saharan countries. Children received hydroxyurea at a dose of 15 to 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day for 6 months, followed by dose escalation. The end points assessed feasibility (enrollment, retention, and adherence), safety (dose levels, toxic effects, and malaria), and benefits (laboratory variables, sickle cell-related events, transfusions, and survival).

Results: A total of 635 children were fully enrolled; 606 children completed screening and began receiving hydroxyurea at a mean (±SD) dose of 17.5±1.8 mg per kilogram per day. The retention rate was 94.2% at 3 years of treatment. Hydroxyurea therapy led to significant increases in both the hemoglobin and fetal hemoglobin levels. Dose-limiting toxic events regarding laboratory variables occurred in 5.1% of the participants, which was below the protocol-specified threshold for safety. During the treatment phase, 20.6 dose-limiting toxic effects per 100 patient-years occurred, as compared with 20.7 events per 100 patient-years before treatment. As compared with the pretreatment period, the rates of clinical adverse events decreased with hydroxyurea use, including rates of vaso-occlusive pain (98.3 vs. 44.6 events per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37 to 0.56), nonmalaria infection (142.5 vs. 90.0 events per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.72), malaria (46.9 vs. 22.9 events per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.66), transfusion (43.3 vs. 14.2 events per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.23 to 0.47), and death (3.6 vs. 1.1 deaths per 100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.88).

Conclusions: Hydroxyurea treatment was feasible and safe in children with sickle cell anemia living in sub-Saharan Africa. Hydroxyurea use reduced the incidence of vaso-occlusive events, infections, malaria, transfusions, and death, which supports the need for wider access to treatment. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; REACH ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01966731 .).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1813598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6454575PMC
January 2019

Realizing effectiveness across continents with hydroxyurea: Enrollment and baseline characteristics of the multicenter REACH study in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Am J Hematol 2018 08 27;93(4):537-545. Epub 2018 Jan 27.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Despite its well-described safety and efficacy in the treatment of sickle cell anemia (SCA) in high-income settings, hydroxyurea remains largely unavailable in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 75% of annual SCA births occur and many comorbidities exist. Realizing Effectiveness Across Continents with Hydroxyurea (REACH, ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01966731) is a prospective, Phase I/II open-label trial of hydroxyurea designed to evaluate the feasibility, safety, and benefits of hydroxyurea treatment for children with SCA in four sub-Saharan African countries. Following comprehensive training of local research teams, REACH was approved by local Ethics Committees and achieved full enrollment ahead of projections with 635 participants enrolled over a 30-month period, despite half of families living >12 km from their clinical site. At enrollment, study participants (age 5.4 ± 2.4 years) had substantial morbidity, including a history of vaso-occlusive pain (98%), transfusion (68%), malaria (85%), and stroke (6%). Significant differences in laboratory characteristics were noted across sites, with lower hemoglobin concentrations (P < .01) in Angola (7.2 ± 1.0 g/dL) and the DRC (7.0 ± 0.9 g/dL) compared to Kenya (7.4 ± 1.1 g/dL) and Uganda (7.5 ± 1.1 g/dL). Analysis of known genetic modifiers of SCA demonstrated a high frequency of α-thalassemia (58.4% with at least a single α-globin gene deletion) and G6PD deficiency (19.7% of males and 2.4% of females) across sites. The CAR β-globin haplotype was present in 99% of participants. The full enrollment to REACH confirms the feasibility of conducting high-quality SCA research in Africa; this study will provide vital information to guide safe and effective dosing of hydroxyurea for children with SCA living in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870803PMC
August 2018

A clinically meaningful fetal hemoglobin threshold for children with sickle cell anemia during hydroxyurea therapy.

Am J Hematol 2017 Dec 28;92(12):1333-1339. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

Department of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.

Hydroxyurea has proven clinical benefits and is recommended to be offered to all children with sickle cell anemia (SCA), but the optimal dosing regimen remains controversial. Induction of red blood cell fetal hemoglobin (HbF) by hydroxyurea appears to be dose-dependent. However, it is unknown whether maximizing HbF% improves clinical outcomes. HUSTLE (NCT00305175) is a prospective observational study with a primary goal of describing the long-term clinical effects of hydroxyurea escalated to maximal tolerated dose (MTD) in children with SCA. In 230 children, providing 610 patient-years of follow up, the mean attained HbF% at MTD was >20% for up to 4 years of follow-up. When HbF% values were ≤20%, children had twice the odds of hospitalization for any reason (P < .0001), including vaso-occlusive pain (P < .01) and acute chest syndrome (ACS) (P < .01), and more than four times the odds of admission for fever (P < .001). Thirty day readmission rates were not affected by HbF%. Neutropenia (ANC <1000 × 10 /L) was rare (2.3% of all laboratory monitoring), transient, and benign. Therefore, attaining HbF >20% was associated with fewer hospitalizations without significant toxicity. These data support the use of hydroxyurea in children, and suggest that the preferred dosing strategy is one that targets a HbF endpoint >20%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675769PMC
December 2017

Transfusion-transmitted babesiosis leading to severe hemolysis in two patients with sickle cell anemia.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2018 Jan 2;65(1). Epub 2017 Aug 2.

Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Department of Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, New York.

The intracellular parasites Babesia microti and Babesia duncani can be transmitted by blood transfusion and cause severe life-threatening hemolytic anemia in high-risk patients, including those with sickle cell disease. The rarity of the diagnosis, as well as its similar clinical presentation to delayed hemolytic transfusion reaction, may lead to a delay in diagnosis, as well as inappropriate treatment with steroids or other immunosuppressive agents. The morbidity caused by this disease in especially vulnerable populations justifies the need for a universal blood-screening program in endemic areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26734DOI Listing
January 2018

The clinical severity of hemoglobin S/Black ( γδβ) -thalassemia.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2017 Nov 28;64(11). Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Department of Hematology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.

Hemoglobin S/Black ( γδβ) -thalassemia is a rare sickle cell disease (SCD) variant. On the basis of limited descriptions in the literature, the disease is reported as a mild microcytic anemia with an uncomplicated course. We report the clinical and laboratory data of nine patients whose diagnoses were confirmed by DNA-based techniques. Despite having mild anemia and high fetal hemoglobin level postinfancy, these patients developed many of the classic complications of SCD, including vaso-occlusive crisis, acute chest syndrome, avascular necrosis, and cholelithiasis. On the basis of these findings, we recommend that patients with this rare disorder receive specialized hematology care according to SCD guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26596DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6615052PMC
November 2017

Genetic Modifiers of White Blood Cell Count, Albuminuria and Glomerular Filtration Rate in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia.

PLoS One 2016 6;11(10):e0164364. Epub 2016 Oct 6.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, United States of America.

Discovery and validation of genetic variants that influence disease severity in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) could lead to early identification of high-risk patients, better screening strategies, and intervention with targeted and preventive therapy. We hypothesized that newly identified genetic risk factors for the general African American population could also impact laboratory biomarkers known to contribute to the clinical disease expression of SCA, including variants influencing the white blood cell count and the development of albuminuria and abnormal glomerular filtration rate. We first investigated candidate genetic polymorphisms in well-characterized SCA pediatric cohorts from three prospective NHLBI-supported clinical trials: HUSTLE, SWiTCH, and TWiTCH. We also performed whole exome sequencing to identify novel genetic variants, using both a discovery and a validation cohort. Among candidate genes, DARC rs2814778 polymorphism regulating Duffy antigen expression had a clear influence with significantly increased WBC and neutrophil counts, but did not affect the maximum tolerated dose of hydroxyurea therapy. The APOL1 G1 polymorphism, an identified risk factor for non-diabetic renal disease, was associated with albuminuria. Whole exome sequencing discovered several novel variants that maintained significance in the validation cohorts, including ZFHX4 polymorphisms affecting both the leukocyte and neutrophil counts, as well as AGGF1, CYP4B1, CUBN, TOR2A, PKD1L2, and CD163 variants affecting the glomerular filtration rate. The identification of robust, reliable, and reproducible genetic markers for disease severity in SCA remains elusive, but new genetic variants provide avenues for further validation and investigation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0164364PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5053442PMC
June 2017

Hydroxycarbamide treatment and brain MRI/MRA findings in children with sickle cell anaemia.

Br J Haematol 2016 Oct 8;175(2):331-338. Epub 2016 Sep 8.

Department of Diagnostic Imaging, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Silent cerebral infarction (SCI) is the most common neurological abnormality among children with sickle cell anaemia (SCA). The effect of hydroxycarbamide (also termed hydroxyurea) on the development and progression of SCI is unclear. We evaluated brain magnetic resonance imaging/angiography (MRI/MRA) in children with SCA receiving long-term hydroxycarbamide therapy. Fifty participants (median 9·4 years, range 1·1-17·3) enrolled in the Hydroxyurea Study of Long-Term Effects (HUSTLE; NCT00305175) underwent brain MRI/MRA and laboratory evaluations before hydroxycarbamide initiation and after 3 and 6 years of treatment to maximum tolerated dose. SCI and vascular stenosis were evaluated. At baseline, 3 and 6 years, SCI were present in 19/50 (38%), 20/49 (41%), and 7/17 (41%), respectively. At 3 years, one child developed a SCI lesion, and another progressed (single lesion to multiple). Lower haemoglobin (Hb) (80 g/l vs. 86 g/l, P = 0·049), fetal Hb (5·0% vs. 10·4%, P < 0·001) and oxygen saturation (97% vs. 98%, P = 0·027) before hydroxycarbamide initiation were associated with SCI. No patients had vascular stenosis identified on MRA, transient ischaemic attack or stroke. Our data indicate that children receiving hydroxycarbamide over a 3- to 6-year period have a low rate of new or worsening cerebrovascular disease. Further studies are needed to confirm that hydroxycarbamide can prevent the onset and progression of SCI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14235DOI Listing
October 2016

Ghrelin action on GnRH neurons and pituitary gonadotropes might be mediated by GnIH-GPR147 system.

Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig 2016 Feb;25(2):121-8

Acylated ghrelin (AG) effect on GnRH secretion is mediated, at least in part, by GH secreta-gogue receptor (GHS-R) which is present in the GnRH neurons. As the acylation is mandatory for binding to GHS-R, unacylated isoform of ghrelin (UAG) action on gonadotropin secretion is likely to be mediated by other receptors or mediators that have not been identified yet. UAG, therefore, may act partially via a GHS-R-independent mechanism and inhibitory impact of UAG on GnRH neurons may be executed via modulation of other neuronal networks. Ghrelin and gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH), two agonistic peptides, have been known as important regulators of reproductive events. Potential impact of ghrelin on the activity of GnIH neurons is not exactly known. Both GnIH and ghrelin are potent stimulators of food intake and inhibitors of gonadotropin release. By binding G-protein coupled GnIH receptor (GnIH-R), GPR147, which is located in the human gonadotropes and GnRh neurons, GnIH exerts an inhibitory effect on both GnRH neurons and the gonadotropes. The GnIH-GPR147 system receives information regarding the status of energy reservoir of body from circulating peptides and then transfers them to the kisspeptin-GnIH-GnRH network. Due to wide distribution of this network in brain GnIH neurons may project on ghrelin neurons in the arcuate nucleus and contribute to the regulation of UAG's central effects or vice versa. Together, the unidentified ghrelin receptor in the hypothalamus and hypophysis may be GnIH-R. Therefore, it is reasonable that ghrelin may act on both hypothalamus and hypophysis via GnIH-GPR147 system to block gonadotropin synthesis and secretion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2015-0050DOI Listing
February 2016

Great migration: epigenetic reprogramming and germ cell-oocyte metamorphosis determine individual ovarian reserve.

Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig 2016 Jan;25(1):45-63

Emigration is defined as a synchronized movement of germ cells between the yolk sack and genital ridges. The miraculous migration of germ cells resembles the remigration of salmon traveling from one habitat to other. This migration of germ cells is indispensible for the development of new generations. It is not, however, clear why germ cells differentiate during migration but not at the place of origin. In order to escape harmful somatic signals which might disturb the proper establishment of germ cells forced germ cell migration may be necessary. Another reason may be to benefit from the opportunities of new habitats. Therefore, emigration may have powerful effects on the population dynamics of the immigrant germ cells. While some of these cells do reach their target, some others die or reach to wrong targets. Only germ cell precursors with genetically, and structurally powerful can reach their target. Likewise, epigenetic reprogramming in both migratory and post-migratory germ cells is essential for the establishment of totipotency. During this journey some germ cells may sacrifice themselves for the goodness of the others. The number and quality of germ cells reaching the genital ridge may vary depending on the problems encountered during migration. If the aim in germ cell specification is to provide an optimal ovarian reserve for the continuity of the generation, then this cascade of events cannot be only accomplished at the same level for every one but also are manifested by several outcomes. This is significant evidence supporting the possibility of unique individual ovarian reserve.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2015-0049DOI Listing
January 2016

Hydroxycarbamide versus chronic transfusion for maintenance of transcranial doppler flow velocities in children with sickle cell anaemia-TCD With Transfusions Changing to Hydroxyurea (TWiTCH): a multicentre, open-label, phase 3, non-inferiority trial.

Lancet 2016 Feb 6;387(10019):661-70. Epub 2015 Dec 6.

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.

Background: For children with sickle cell anaemia and high transcranial doppler (TCD) flow velocities, regular blood transfusions can effectively prevent primary stroke, but must be continued indefinitely. The efficacy of hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea) in this setting is unknown; we performed the TWiTCH trial to compare hydroxyurea with standard transfusions.

Methods: TWiTCH was a multicentre, phase 3, randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial done at 26 paediatric hospitals and health centres in the USA and Canada. We enrolled children with sickle cell anaemia who were aged 4-16 years and had abnormal TCD flow velocities (≥ 200 cm/s) but no severe vasculopathy. After screening, eligible participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to continue standard transfusions (standard group) or hydroxycarbamide (alternative group). Randomisation was done at a central site, stratified by site with a block size of four, and an adaptive randomisation scheme was used to balance the covariates of baseline age and TCD velocity. The study was open-label, but TCD examinations were read centrally by observers masked to treatment assignment and previous TCD results. Participants assigned to standard treatment continued to receive monthly transfusions to maintain 30% sickle haemoglobin or lower, while those assigned to the alternative treatment started oral hydroxycarbamide at 20 mg/kg per day, which was escalated to each participant's maximum tolerated dose. The treatment period lasted 24 months from randomisation. The primary study endpoint was the 24 month TCD velocity calculated from a general linear mixed model, with the non-inferiority margin set at 15 cm/s. The primary analysis was done in the intention-to-treat population and safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of assigned treatment. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01425307.

Findings: Between Sept 20, 2011, and April 17, 2013, 159 patients consented and enrolled in TWiTCH. 121 participants passed screening and were then randomly assigned to treatment (61 to transfusions and 60 to hydroxycarbamide). At the first scheduled interim analysis, non-inferiority was shown and the sponsor terminated the study. Final model-based TCD velocities were 143 cm/s (95% CI 140-146) in children who received standard transfusions and 138 cm/s (135-142) in those who received hydroxycarbamide, with a difference of 4·54 (0·10-8·98). Non-inferiority (p=8·82 × 10(-16)) and post-hoc superiority (p=0·023) were met. Of 29 new neurological events adjudicated centrally by masked reviewers, no strokes were identified, but three transient ischaemic attacks occurred in each group. Magnetic resonance brain imaging and angiography (MRI and MRA) at exit showed no new cerebral infarcts in either treatment group, but worsened vasculopathy in one participant who received standard transfusions. 23 severe adverse events in nine (15%) patients were reported for hydroxycarbamide and ten serious adverse events in six (10%) patients were reported for standard transfusions. The most common serious adverse event in both groups was vaso-occlusive pain (11 events in five [8%] patients with hydroxycarbamide and three events in one [2%] patient for transfusions).

Interpretation: For high-risk children with sickle cell anaemia and abnormal TCD velocities who have received at least 1 year of transfusions, and have no MRA-defined severe vasculopathy, hydroxycarbamide treatment can substitute for chronic transfusions to maintain TCD velocities and help to prevent primary stroke.

Funding: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01041-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5724392PMC
February 2016

Effects of hydroxyurea treatment for patients with hemoglobin SC disease.

Am J Hematol 2016 Feb;91(2):238-42

Division of Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Although hemoglobin SC (HbSC) disease is usually considered less severe than sickle cell anemia (SCA), which includes HbSS and HbS/β(0) -thalassemia genotypes, many patients with HbSC experience severe disease complications, including vaso-occlusive pain, acute chest syndrome, avascular necrosis, retinopathy, and poor quality of life. Fully 20 years after the clinical and laboratory efficacy of hydroxyurea was proven in adult SCA patients, the safety and utility of hydroxyurea treatment for HbSC patients remain unclear. Recent NHLBI evidence-based guidelines highlight this as a critical knowledge gap, noting HbSC accounts for ∼30% of sickle cell patients within the United States. To date, only 5 publications have reported short-term, incomplete, or conflicting laboratory and clinical outcomes of hydroxyurea treatment in a total of 71 adults and children with HbSC. We now report on a cohort of 133 adult and pediatric HbSC patients who received hydroxyurea, typically for recurrent vaso-occlusive pain. Hydroxyurea treatment was associated with a stable hemoglobin concentration; increased fetal hemoglobin (HbF) and mean corpuscular volume (MCV); and reduced white blood cell count (WBC), absolute neutrophil count (ANC), and absolute reticulocyte count (ARC). Reversible cytopenias occurred in 22% of patients, primarily neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Painful events were reduced with hydroxyurea, more in patients >15 years old. These multicenter data support the safety and potentially salutary effects of hydroxyurea treatment for HbSC disease; however, a multicenter, placebo-controlled, Phase 3 clinical trial is needed to determine if hydroxyurea therapy has efficacy for patients with HbSC disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24255DOI Listing
February 2016

Organ iron accumulation in chronically transfused children with sickle cell anaemia: baseline results from the TWiTCH trial.

Br J Haematol 2016 Jan 2;172(1):122-30. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnnati, OH, USA.

Transcranial Doppler (TCD) With Transfusions Changing to Hydroxyurea (TWiTCH) trial is a randomized, open-label comparison of hydroxycarbamide (also termed hydroxyurea) versus continued chronic transfusion therapy for primary stroke prevention in patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) and abnormal TCD. Severity and location of iron overload is an important secondary outcome measure. We report the baseline findings of abdominal organ iron burden in 121 participants. At enrollment, patients were young (9·8 ± 2·9 years), predominantly female (60:40), and previously treated with transfusions (4·1 ± 2·4 years) and iron chelation (3·1 ± 2·1 years). Liver iron concentration (LIC; 9·0 ± 6·6 mg/g dry weight) and serum ferritin were moderately elevated (2696 ± 1678 μg/l), but transferrin was incompletely saturated (47·2 ± 23·6%). Spleen R2* was 509 ± 399 Hz (splenic iron ~13·9 mg/g) and correlated with LIC (r(2)  = 0·14, P = 0·0008). Pancreas R2* was increased in 38·3% of patients but not to levels associated with endocrine toxicity. Kidney R2* was increased in 80·7% of patients; renal iron correlated with markers of intravascular haemolysis and was elevated in patients with increased urine albumin-creatinine ratios. Extra-hepatic iron deposition is common among children with SCA who receive chronic transfusions, and could potentiate oxidative stress caused by reperfusion injury and decellularized haemoglobin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13791DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715688PMC
January 2016

The effects of polycystic ovary syndrome on gestational diabetes mellitus.

Gynecol Endocrinol 2016 19;32(2):139-42. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

b Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology , Istanbul Bezmialem Vakif University, Istanbul, Turkey.

The aim of this study was to explore the inter-relationship between polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes mellitus, and demonstrate maternal and fetal outcomes. This was a case-control study in 1360 pregnant women who received a diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus between 24 and 28 weeks of gestational age. Among all diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus, 150 pregnant women had received a polycystic ovary syndrome, and 160 women who did not have polycystic ovary syndrome were designated as controls. The incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension was 26.3% and 12% in the case and control groups, respectively. Preeclampsia was seen at an incidence of 12% and 6% in case and in control groups, respectively. The difference in neonatal hypoglycemia between the two groups was statistically significant, with an incidence of 17% and 5% in the case and in control groups, respectively. This study demonstrated that the presence of polycystic ovary syndrome along with gestational diabetes mellitus increases the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension by 2.4 fold, preeclampsia by 2 fold and neonatal hypoglycemia by 3.2 fold, compared to gestational diabetes mellitus alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09513590.2015.1101438DOI Listing
December 2016

Prevention of conversion to abnormal transcranial Doppler with hydroxyurea in sickle cell anemia: A Phase III international randomized clinical trial.

Am J Hematol 2015 Dec 17;90(12):1099-105. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Division of Hematology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) and conditional transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound velocities (170-199 cm/sec) may develop stroke. However, with limited available clinical data, the current standard of care for conditional TCD velocities is observation. The efficacy of hydroxyurea in preventing conversion from conditional to abnormal TCD (≥200 cm/sec), which confers a higher stroke risk, has not been studied prospectively in a randomized trial. Sparing Conversion to Abnormal TCD Elevation (SCATE #NCT01531387) was a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded Phase III multicenter international clinical trial comparing alternative therapy (hydroxyurea) to standard care (observation) to prevent conversion from conditional to abnormal TCD velocity in children with SCA. SCATE enrolled 38 children from the United States, Jamaica, and Brazil [HbSS (36), HbSβ(0) -thalassemia (1), and HbSD (1), median age = 5.4 years (range, 2.7-9.8)]. Because of the slow patient accrual and administrative delays, SCATE was terminated early. In an intention-to-treat analysis, the cumulative incidence of abnormal conversion was 9% (95% CI = 0-35%) in the hydroxyurea arm and 47% (95% CI = 6-81%) in observation arm at 15 months (P = 0.16). In post hoc analysis according to treatment received, significantly fewer children on hydroxyurea converted to abnormal TCD velocities when compared with observation (0% vs. 50%, P = 0.02). After a mean of 10.1 months, a significant change in mean TCD velocity was observed with hydroxyurea treatment (-15.5 vs. +10.2 cm/sec, P = 0.02). No stroke events occurred in either arm. Hydroxyurea reduces TCD velocities in children with SCA and conditional velocities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4715740PMC
December 2015

Hydroxyurea Therapy for Children With Sickle Cell Anemia in Sub-Saharan Africa: Rationale and Design of the REACH Trial.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2016 Jan 14;63(1):98-104. Epub 2015 Aug 14.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Background: Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is an inherited hematological disorder that causes a large but neglected global health burden, particularly in Africa. Hydroxyurea represents the only available disease-modifying therapy for SCA, and has proven safety and efficacy in high-resource countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, there is minimal use of hydroxyurea, due to lack of data, absence of evidence-based guidelines, and inexperience among healthcare providers.

Procedure: A partnership was established between investigators in North America and sub-Saharan Africa, to develop a prospective multicenter research protocol designed to provide data on the safety, feasibility, and benefits of hydroxyurea for children with SCA.

Results: The Realizing Effectiveness Across Continents with Hydroxyurea (REACH, ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01966731) trial is a prospective, phase I/II open-label dose escalation study of hydroxyurea that will treat a total of 600 children age 1-10 years with SCA: 150 at each of four different clinical sites within sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Uganda). The primary study endpoint will be severe hematological toxicities that occur during the fixed-dose treatment phase. REACH has an adaptive statistical design that allows for careful assessment of toxicities to accurately identify a safe hydroxyurea dose.

Conclusions: REACH will provide data that address critical gaps in knowledge for the treatment of SCA in sub-Saharan Africa. By developing local expertise with the use of hydroxyurea and helping to establish treatment guidelines, the REACH trial results will have the potential to transform care for children with SCA in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.25705DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4825070PMC
January 2016

Humanism and professionalism education for pediatric hematology-oncology fellows: A model for pediatric subspecialty training.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015 02 12;62(2):335-340. Epub 2014 Oct 12.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Background: Humanism and professionalism are virtues intrinsic to the practice of medicine, for which we lack a standard, evidence-based approach for teaching and evaluation. Pediatric hematology-oncology (PHO) fellowship training brings new and significant stressors, making it an attractive setting for innovation in humanism and professionalism training.

Procedure: We electronically surveyed a national sample of PHO fellows to identify fellows' educational needs in humanism and professionalism. Next, we developed a case-based, faculty-facilitated discussion curriculum to teach this content within pilot fellowship programs. We assessed whether fellowships would decide to offer the curriculum, feasibility of administering the curriculum, and satisfaction of fellow and faculty participants.

Results: Surveys were completed by 187 fellows (35%). A minority (29%) reported that their training program offers a formal curriculum in humanism and/or professionalism. A majority desires more formal teaching on balancing clinical practice and research (85%), coping with death/dying (85%), bereavement (78%), balancing work and personal life (75%), navigating challenging relationships with patients (74%), and depression/burn out (71%). These six topics were condensed into four case-based modules, which proved feasible to deliver at all pilot sites. Ten fellowship programs agreed to administer the novel curriculum. The majority (90%) of responding fellows and faculty reported the sessions touched on issues important for training, stimulated reflective communication, and were valuable.

Conclusions: Pediatric hematology-oncology fellows identify numerous gaps in their training related to humanism and professionalism. This curriculum offers an opportunity to systematically address these educational needs and can serve as a model for wider implementation. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2015;62:335-340. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.25253DOI Listing
February 2015

Therapeutic phlebotomy is safe in children with sickle cell anaemia and can be effective treatment for transfusional iron overload.

Br J Haematol 2015 Apr 22;169(2):262-6. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY, USA.

Serial phlebotomy was performed on sixty children with sickle cell anaemia, stroke and transfusional iron overload randomized to hydroxycarbamide in the Stroke With Transfusions Changing to Hydroxyurea trial. There were 927 phlebotomy procedures with only 33 adverse events, all of which were grade 2. Among 23 children completing 30 months of study treatment, the net iron balance was favourable (-8·7 mg Fe/kg) with significant decrease in ferritin, although liver iron concentration remained unchanged. Therapeutic phlebotomy was safe and well-tolerated, with net iron removal in most children who completed 30 months of protocol-directed treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13280DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4631316PMC
April 2015

From infancy to adolescence: fifteen years of continuous treatment with hydroxyurea in sickle cell anemia.

Medicine (Baltimore) 2014 Dec;93(28):e215

From the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN (JSH, KN, MPS, WCW); Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY (BA); Duke University, Durham, NC (CT); and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH (REW).

Despite documented laboratory and clinical benefits of hydroxyurea for children with sickle cell anemia (SCA), the drug's long-term safety and efficacy remains poorly defined. The HUSOFT trial and extension study examined feasibility, toxicity, and hematological efficacy of hydroxyurea in infants with SCA. This report describes HUSOFT participants who have continued hydroxyurea therapy for 15 years. With IRB approval, medical records were reviewed for clinical, laboratory, and growth parameters. Twenty-eight infants enrolled in the original 2-year HUSOFT study received open-label liquid hydroxyurea at 20 mg/kg/day; 17 completed the extension study with dose escalation to 30 mg/kg/day. Eight of these 17 (6 girls and 2 boys, all HbSS) have continued on daily hydroxyurea for at least 15 years (median age at last follow-up 17.6 years) without interruption. All hematologic indices (Hb concentration, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), fetal hemoglobin) showed sustained effect after 15 years. The median maximum tolerated dose of hydroxyurea has decreased from 30 to 26 mg/kg/day (range 19.5-31.2); neutropenia [absolute neutrophil count (ANC)<1.0×10⁹/L] prompting temporary drug discontinuation occurred a total of 10 times in 4 subjects and there was no severe neutropenia (ANC<0.5×10⁹/L). Growth rates over 15 years continued at the 50th percentile for both height and weight, and puberty occurred without delay (age range 10-14 years). There were 5.1 vaso-occlusive events (pain and acute chest syndrome)/100 patient years, 7.3 packed red blood cell transfusions/100 patient years. No malignancies, strokes, or deaths occurred. At last follow up, all subjects were at appropriate grade level (10-12 grade) with no history of repeated grades. A cohort of young teenagers with SCA who initiated treatment in infancy have had sustained and continued hematological benefits for a decade and a half. Growth and sexual development are normal and comparable to the general pediatric population. Continuous hydroxyurea therapy since infancy appears safe and efficacious in SCA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000000215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4603125PMC
December 2014

Whole exome sequencing identifies novel genes for fetal hemoglobin response to hydroxyurea in children with sickle cell anemia.

PLoS One 2014 31;9(10):e110740. Epub 2014 Oct 31.

Hematology Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Hydroxyurea has proven efficacy in children and adults with sickle cell anemia (SCA), but with considerable inter-individual variability in the amount of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) produced. Sibling and twin studies indicate that some of that drug response variation is heritable. To test the hypothesis that genetic modifiers influence pharmacological induction of HbF, we investigated phenotype-genotype associations using whole exome sequencing of children with SCA treated prospectively with hydroxyurea to maximum tolerated dose (MTD). We analyzed 171 unrelated patients enrolled in two prospective clinical trials, all treated with dose escalation to MTD. We examined two MTD drug response phenotypes: HbF (final %HbF minus baseline %HbF), and final %HbF. Analyzing individual genetic variants, we identified multiple low frequency and common variants associated with HbF induction by hydroxyurea. A validation cohort of 130 pediatric sickle cell patients treated to MTD with hydroxyurea was genotyped for 13 non-synonymous variants with the strongest association with HbF response to hydroxyurea in the discovery cohort. A coding variant in Spalt-like transcription factor, or SALL2, was associated with higher final HbF in this second independent replication sample and SALL2 represents an outstanding novel candidate gene for further investigation. These findings may help focus future functional studies and provide new insights into the pharmacological HbF upregulation by hydroxyurea in patients with SCA.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110740PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215999PMC
June 2015