Publications by authors named "Benedetto Bruno"

175 Publications

Insights into high-risk multiple myeloma from an analysis of the role of PHF19 in cancer.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Dec 2;40(1):380. Epub 2021 Dec 2.

Myeloma Research Program, NYU Langone Medical Center, Perlmutter Cancer Center, 522 1st Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, NY, 10016, USA.

Despite  improvements in outcome, 15-25% of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients have treatment resistant high-risk (HR) disease with a poor survival. The lack of a genetic basis for HR has focused attention on the role played by epigenetic changes. Aberrant expression and somatic mutations affecting genes involved in the regulation of tri-methylation of the lysine (K) 27 on histone 3 H3 (H3K27me3) are common in cancer. H3K27me3 is catalyzed by EZH2, the catalytic subunit of the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2). The deregulation of H3K27me3 has been shown to be involved in oncogenic transformation and tumor progression in a variety of hematological malignancies including MM. Recently we have shown that aberrant overexpression of the PRC2 subunit PHD Finger Protein 19 (PHF19) is the most significant overall contributor to HR status further focusing attention on the role played by epigenetic change in MM. By modulating both the PRC2/EZH2 catalytic activity and recruitment, PHF19 regulates the expression of key genes involved in cell growth and differentiation. Here we review the expression, regulation and function of PHF19 both in normal and the pathological contexts of solid cancers and MM. We present evidence that strongly implicates PHF19 in the regulation of genes important in cell cycle and the genetic stability of MM cells making it highly relevant to HR MM behavior. A detailed understanding of the normal and pathological functions of PHF19 will allow us to design therapeutic strategies able to target aggressive subsets of MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-021-02185-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8638425PMC
December 2021

GITMO REGISTRY STUDY ON ALLOGENEIC TRANSPLANTATION IN PATIENTS AGED OVER 60 FROM 2000 TO 2017. IMPROVEMENTS AND CRITICISMS.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Nov 21. Epub 2021 Nov 21.

Unit of Haematology and Stem Cell Transplant Centre, "San Camillo" Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: Nowadays, allogeneic stem cell transplantation (Allo-SCT) can be offered to patients up to the age of 70-72 years and represents one of the most effective curative treatments for many hematological malignancies.

Objectives: The primary objective of the study is to collect data from the allo-SCTs performed in Italy from 2000 to 2017 in patients over 60 years of age to evaluate the changes in safety and efficacy outcomes as well as their distribution and characteristics over time.

Study Design: The GITMO AlloEld study (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04469985) is a retrospective, analysis of the allo-SCTs performed 30 Italian transplant Centers on older patients (≥ 60 years) from 2000 to 2017 (n=1,996).

Results: For the purpose of analysis, patients were grouped into three time periods: time A: 2000-2005, n=256 (12%); time B: 2006-2011, n=584 (29%); and time C: 2012-2017, n=1156 (59%). After a median follow-up of 5.6 years, the 5-year Non Relapse Mortality (NRM) remained stable (time A: 32.8%; time B: 36.2%; and time C: 35.0%, p = 0.5); the Overall Survival (OS) improved (time A: 28.4%; time B: 31.8%; and time C: 37.3%, p = 0.012); and the Cumulative Incidence of Relapse (CIR) reduced (time A: 45.3%; time B: 38.2%; time C: 30.0%, p < 0.0001). The 2-year incidence of extensive cGVHD reduced significantly (time A: 17.2%; time B: 15.8%; and time C: 12.2%, p = 0.004). Considering times A and B together (2000-2011), the 2-year NRM was positively correlated to the HCT-CI score; patients with HCT-CI of 0, 1 or 2, or ≥3 had rates of NRM of 25.2%, 33.9%, and 36.1%, respectively, (p < 0.001). Meanwhile, after 2012, the HCT-CI score was not significantlly predictive of NRM.

Conclusions: The study shows that the transplant procedure in elderly patients became more effective over time. Relapse incidence remains the major problem and strategies to prevent it are under investigation (e.g. post-transplant maintenance). Today, the selection of patients aged over 60 could be improved by combining HCT-CI and frailty assessments to better predict NRM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.11.006DOI Listing
November 2021

Letermovir Prophylaxis for Cytomegalovirus Infection in Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Real-World Experience.

Front Oncol 2021 6;11:740079. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

UOC Ematologia con Trapianto CSE, AORN "Antonio Cardarelli", Napoli, Italy.

Despite effective treatments, cytomegalovirus (CMV) continues to have a significant impact on morbidity and mortality in allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT) recipients. This multicenter, retrospective, cohort study aimed to evaluate the reproducibility of the safety and efficacy of commercially available letermovir for CMV prophylaxis in a real-world setting. Endpoints were rates of clinically significant CMV infection (CSCI), defined as CMV disease or CMV viremia reactivation within day +100-+168. 204 adult CMV-seropositive allo-SCT recipients from 17 Italian centres (median age 52 years) were treated with LET 240 mg/day between day 0 and day +28. Overall, 28.9% of patients underwent a haploidentical, 32.4% a matched related, and 27.5% a matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplant. 65.7% were considered at high risk of CSCI and 65.2% had a CMV seropositive donor. Low to mild severe adverse events were observed in 40.7% of patients during treatment [gastrointestinal toxicity (36.3%) and skin rash (10.3%)]. Cumulative incidence of CSCI at day +100 and day +168 was 5.4% and 18.1%, respectively, whereas the Kaplan-Meier event rate was 5.8% (95% CI: 2.4-9.1) and 23.3% (95% CI: 16.3-29.7), respectively. Overall mortality was 6.4% at day +100 and 7.3% at day +168. This real-world experience confirms the efficacy and safety of CMV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.740079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8489185PMC
September 2021

Early Diagnosis of Neutropenic Enterocolitis by Bedside Ultrasound in Hematological Malignancies: A Prospective Study.

J Clin Med 2021 Sep 21;10(18). Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, UO Hematology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, University of Pisa, 56126 Pisa, Italy.

(1) Background: Neutropenic enterocolitis (NEC) is a life-threatening complication following chemotherapy with high mortality rates. Early diagnosis is crucial to improve outcomes. We designed a large prospective study employing bedside ultrasonography (US) as a novel approach to allow early diagnosis and prompt treatment to reduce mortality. (2) Methods: NEC was defined as US or computed tomography (CT)-proven bowel wall thickness ≥ 4 mm at the onset of at least one of the following symptoms: fever and/or abdominal pain and/or diarrhea during neutropenia. From 2007 to 2018, 1754 consecutive patients underwent baseline bedside US that was invariably repeated within 12 h from the onset of symptom(s) suggestive of NEC. (3) Results: Overall, 117 episodes of NEC were observed, and overall mortality was 9.4%. Bowel wall thickening was invariably absent in the negative control group. Abdominal pain associated with one or more symptoms correlated with the highest relative risk (17.33), sensitivity (89.7%), specificity (100%), and accuracy (96.2%) for diagnosis. The combination of abdominal pain and fever at onset significantly correlated with worse survival ( < 0.0001, OR 13.85). BWT ( = 0.046), type of therapy ( = 0.049) and blood culture positivity ( = 0.003) correlated with worse survival. (4) Conclusions: Bedside ultrasound is a non-invasive and radiation free imaging technique for early diagnosis of NEC and its prompt treatment significantly reduced mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10184277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8468879PMC
September 2021

Identifying and managing CAR T-cell-mediated toxicities: on behalf of an Italian CAR-T multidisciplinary team.

Expert Opin Biol Ther 2021 Sep 15:1-15. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Stem Cell Transplant Program CIC 587, Great Metropolitan Hospital "Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli", Reggio, Calabria, Italy.

Introduction: Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy is a new treatment for patients with hematologic malignancies in which other therapies have failed.

Areas Covered: The review provides an overview for recognizing and managing the most acute toxicities related to CAR-T cells.

Expert Opinion: The development of immune-mediated toxicities is a common challenge of CAR-T therapy. The mechanism that determines this toxicity is still unclear, although an unfavorable tumor microenvironment and a pro-inflammatory state put patients at risk. The monitoring, diagnosis, and treatment of post-CAR-T toxicities must be determined and based on international guidelines and internal clinical practice. It is urgent to identify biomarkers that can identify patients at greater risk of developing complications. The adoption of consistent grading criteria is necessary to improve toxicity management strategies continually. The first-line therapy consists of supportive care and treatment with tocilizumab or corticosteroids. An early start of cytokine blockade therapies could mitigate toxicity. The plan will include cytokine release prophylaxis, a risk-adapted treatment, prevention of on-target/off-tumor effect, and a switch on/off CAR-T approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14712598.2021.1974394DOI Listing
September 2021

Biomarkers for Early Complications of Endothelial Origin After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Do They Have a Potential Clinical Role?

Front Immunol 2021 19;12:641427. Epub 2021 May 19.

Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.

Endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction causes a number of early and life-threatening post hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) complications that result in a rapid clinical decline. The main early complications are graft-.-host disease (GVHD), transplant associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA), and sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS). Post-HCT endothelial dysfunction occurs as a result of chemotherapy, infections, and allogeneic reactivity. Despite major advances in transplant immunology and improvements in supportive care medicine, these complications represent a major obstacle for successful HCT. In recent years, different biomarkers have been investigated for early detection of post-transplant endothelial cell dysfunction, but few have been validated. In this review we will define GVHD, TA-TMA and SOS, summarize the current data available in HCT biomarker research and identify promising biomarkers for detection and diagnosis of early HCT complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.641427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8170404PMC
September 2021

Legionellosis after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 10 22;56(10):2555-2566. Epub 2021 May 22.

University Hospital, Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Limited data are available on legionellosis after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The aim of this study was to report the cases of legionellosis and to identify predictors of legionellosis, legionellosis-associated death, and non-relapse mortality (NRM). All cases of post-HSCT legionellosis from the EBMT registry were included and matched with controls in a 3:1 ratio for the analyses of risk factors. In the years 1995-2016, 80 cases from 52 centers in 14 countries were identified (mainly from France, Italy, and Spain). Median time from HSCT to legionellosis was 203 days (range, 0-4099); 19 (23.8%) patients developed early legionellosis (within-day +30 post-HSCT). Patients were mainly male (70%), after allogeneic HSCT (70%), with acute leukemia (27.5%), lymphoma (23.8%), or multiple myeloma (21.3%), and the median age of 46.6 (range, 7.2-68.2). Predictors of legionellosis were allogeneic HSCT (OR = 2.27, 95%CI:1.08-4.80, p = 0.03) and recent other infection (OR = 2.96, 95%CI:1.34-6.52, p = 0.007). Twenty-seven (33.8%) patients died due to legionellosis (44% after early legionellosis), NRM was 50%. Predictors of NRM were female sex (HR = 2.19, 95%CI:1.13-4.23, p = 0.02), early legionellosis (HR = 2.24, 95%CI:1.13-4.46, p = 0.02), and south-eastern geographical region (HR = 2.16, 95%CI:1.05-4.44, p = 0.036). In conclusion, legionellosis is a rare complication after HSCT, mainly allogeneic, occurring frequently within 30 days after HSCT and associated with high mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01333-7DOI Listing
October 2021

Allelic HLA Matching and Pair Origin Are Favorable Prognostic Factors for Unrelated Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Neoplastic Hematologic Diseases: An Italian Analysis by the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto di Cellule Staminali e Terapie Cellulari, Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and Associazione Italiana di Immunogenetica e Biologia dei Trapianti.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 05 16;27(5):406.e1-406.e11. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapies Unit, Department of Hemato-Oncology and Radiotherapy, Grande Ospedale Metropolitano "Bianchi-Melacrino-Morelli", Reggio Calabria, Italy.

HLA molecules are important for immunoreactivity in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The Gruppo Italiano Trapianto di Cellule Staminali e Terapie Cellulari, Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and Associazione Italiana di Immunogenetica e Biologia dei Trapianti promoted a retrospective observational study to evaluate HLA matching and the impact of allelic HLA mismatching and non-HLA factors on unrelated Italian HSCT outcomes. From 2012 to 2015, 1788 patients were enrolled in the study. The average donor age was 29 years and the average recipient age was 49 years. As a conditioning regimen, 71% of the patients received myeloablative conditioning. For GVHD prophylaxis, 76% received either antithymocyte or anti-T lymphocyte globulin, cyclosporine A, and methotrexate. Peripheral blood was the stem cell source in 80%. The median duration of follow-up was 53 months. Regarding HLA matching, 50% of donor-recipient pairs were 10/10 matched, 38% had 1 mismatch, and 12% had 2 or more mismatches. A total of 302 pairs shared Italian origin. Four-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival, GVHD-free relapse-free survival, and relapse rates were 49%, 40%, 22%, and 34%, respectively. The 4-year NRM was 27%, and the 100-day cumulative incidence of grade ≥II acute GVHD (aGVHD) was 26%. In multivariate analysis, 9/10 and ≤8/10 HLA allele-matched pairs were associated with worse OS (P = .04 and .007, respectively), NRM (P = .007 and P < .0001, respectively), and grade III-IV aGVHD (P = .0001 and .01, respectively). Moreover, the incidences of grade II-IV aGVHD (P = .001) and chronic GVHD (P = .002) were significantly lower in Italian pairs. In conclusion, 10/10 HLA matching is a favorable prognostic factor for unrelated HSCT outcome in the Italian population. Moreover, the presence of 2 HLA-mismatched loci was associated with a higher NRM (P < .0001) and grade II-IV aGVHD (P = .006) and a poorer OS (P = .001) compared with 1 HLA-mismatched locus in early or intermediate disease phases. Finally, we found that Italian donor and recipient origin is a favorable prognostic factor for GVHD occurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.11.021DOI Listing
May 2021

Chromothripsis as a pathogenic driver of multiple myeloma.

Semin Cell Dev Biol 2021 May 3. Epub 2021 May 3.

Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:

Analysis of the genetic basis for multiple myeloma (MM) has informed many of our current concepts of the biology that underlies disease initiation and progression. Studying these events in further detail is predicted to deliver important insights into its pathogenesis, prognosis and treatment. Information from whole genome sequencing of structural variation is revealing the role of these events as drivers of MM. In particular, we discuss how the insights we have gained from studying chromothripsis suggest that it can be used to provide information on disease initiation and that, as a consequence, it can be used for the clinical classification of myeloma precursor diseases allowing for early intervention and prognostic determination. For newly diagnosed MM, the integration of information on the presence of chromothripsis has the potential to significantly enhance current risk prediction strategies and to better characterize patients with high-risk disease biology. In this article we summarize the genetic basis for MM and the role played by chromothripsis as a critical pathogenic factor active at early disease phases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcdb.2021.04.014DOI Listing
May 2021

Impact of anti-thymocyte globulin dose for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation from matched unrelated donors: a multicenter experience.

Ann Hematol 2021 Jul 4;100(7):1837-1847. Epub 2021 May 4.

Department of Oncology, SSD Trapianto Allogenico di Cellule Staminali, A.O.U. Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Via Genova 3, 10126, Torino, Italy.

Despite the widespread use of rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) to prevent acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD, cGVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT), convincing evidence about an optimal dose is lacking. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical impact of two different ATG doses (5 vs 6-7.5 mg/kg) in 395 adult patients undergoing HSCT from matched unrelated donors (MUD) at 3 Italian centers. Cumulative incidence of aGVHD and moderate-severe cGVHD did not differ in the 2 groups. We observed a trend toward prolonged overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) with lower ATG dose (5-year OS and DFS 56.6% vs. 46.3%, p=0.052, and 46.8% vs. 38.6%, p=0.051, respectively) and no differences in relapse incidence and non-relapse mortality. However, a significantly increased infection-related mortality (IRM) was observed in patients who received a higher ATG dose (16.7% vs. 8.8% in the lower ATG group, p=0.019). Besides, graft and relapse-free survival (GRFS) was superior in the lower ATG group (5-year GRFS 43.1% vs. 32.4%, p=0.014). The negative impact of higher ATG dose on IRM and GRFS was confirmed by multivariate analysis. Our results suggest that ATG doses higher than 5 mg/kg are not required for MUD allo-HCT and seem associated with worse outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04521-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8195753PMC
July 2021

Comparing outcomes of a second allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant using HLA-matched unrelated versus T-cell replete haploidentical donors in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a study of the Acute Leukemia Working Party of EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 09 30;56(9):2194-2202. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Hematology, Hôpital Saint Antoine, Sorbonne University and INSERM UMRs 938, Paris, France.

Optimal donor choice for a second allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT) in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) remains undefined. We compared outcomes using HLA-matched unrelated donors (MUD) versus haploidentical donors in this population. Primary endpoint was overall survival (OS). The MUD allo-HCT group comprised 104 patients (male = 56, 54%), median age 36 years, mostly (76%) with B-cell phenotype in complete remission (CR) (CR2/CR3 + = 76, 73%). The 61 patients (male = 38, 62%) in the haploidentical group were younger, median age 30 years (p = 0.002), had mostly (79%) a B-cell phenotype and the majority were also in CR at time of the second allo-HCT (CR2/CR3 + = 40, 66%). Peripheral blood stem cells was the most common cell source in both, but a significantly higher number in the haploidentical group received bone marrow cells (26% vs. 4%, p < 0.0001). A haploidentical donor second allo-HCT had a 1.5-fold higher 2-year OS (49% vs. 31%), albeit not statistically significant (p = 0.13). A longer time from first allo-HCT to relapse was associated with improved OS, leukemia-free survival, graft-versus-host disease-free-relapse-free survival, and lower cumulative incidences of relapse and non-relapse mortality. Results suggest no major OS difference when choosing either a MUD or haploidentical donor for ALL patients needing a second allo-HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01317-7DOI Listing
September 2021

Impact of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation on Testicular and Sexual Function.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 02 14;27(2):182.e1-182.e8. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Transition Unit for Childhood Cancer Survivors, Città della Salute e della Scienza Hospital, Turin, Italy. Electronic address:

High-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy, administered as a conditioning regimen before stem cell transplantation, are known to negatively impact testicular function and sexuality. However, to date, only a few studies have simultaneously analyzed the real prevalence of these complications in this clinical setting. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the prevalence of testicular dysfunction and sexual impairment in a cohort of males who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation in adulthood. This observational, cross-sectional, single-center study consecutively enrolled 105 subjects on outpatient follow-up. Testicular function and sexuality were evaluated through a hormonal profile (testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and inhibin B) and the IIEF-15 questionnaire, respectively. We found a higher prevalence of hypogonadism (21%), impaired spermatogenesis (87%), and erectile dysfunction (72%) compared with the general population. Chronic graft-versus-host disease, especially of moderate/severe grade, was associated with an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction (odds ratio, 6.338). Moreover, a high proportion of patients presented with alterations in all domains of sexual function, even after complete clinical remission of hematologic disease. Our data confirm both testicular function and sexuality alterations as frequent complications after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. A multidisciplinary approach is advisable for early diagnosis and adequate treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.10.020DOI Listing
February 2021

European Myeloma Network perspective on CAR T-Cell therapies for multiple myeloma.

Haematologica 2021 08 1;106(8):2054-2065. Epub 2021 Aug 1.

Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino and Department of Oncology, Division of Hematology, A.O.U. Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Presidio Molinette, Torino.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells (CAR-T) have dramatically changed the treatment landscape of B-cell malignancies, providing a potential cure for relapsed/refractory patients. Long-term responses in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non Hodgkin lymphomas have encouraged further development in myeloma. In particular, B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-targeted CAR-T have established very promising results in heavily pre-treated patients. Moreover, CAR-T targeting other antigens (i.e., SLAMF7 and CD44v6) are currently under investigation. However, none of these current autologous therapies have been approved, and despite high overall response rates across studies, main issues such as long-term outcome, toxicities, treatment resistance, and management of complications limit as yet their widespread use. Here, we critically review the most important pre-clinical and clinical findings, recent advances in CAR-T against myeloma, as well as discoveries in the biology of a still incurable disease, that, all together, will further improve safety and efficacy in relapsed/refractory patients, urgently in need of novel treatment options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.276402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8327729PMC
August 2021

Prognostic factors for neutrophil engraftment after haploidentical cell transplantation with PT-Cy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia in complete remission, on behalf of the ALWP-EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 08 5;56(8):1842-1849. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Department of Haematology and EBMT Paris Study Office/CEREST-TC, Saint Antoine Hospital, Paris, France.

The use of haplo-HCT with posttransplant cyclophosphamide (PT-Cy) is a new standard in the treatment of hematological diseases. A paucity of data exists on risk factors for engraftment failure in haplo-HCT with PT-Cy. We analyzed 1939 adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who received a first haplo-HCT from 2010 to 2019. Status at haplo-HCT was first complete remission (CR1) in 72.5% of patients, secondary AML was reported in 9.9%. Median follow-up was 24.4 months and median age at haplo-HCT was 51 years. Stem cell source was bone marrow (BM) in 42% and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) in 58%, and 64% of patients received a myeloablative conditioning (MAC) regimen. Cumulative incidence of primary graft failure (GF) was 6%; GF was reported in 110 patients and 54 died before day +30 with no sign of cell recovery. Overall, 33 patients underwent a second HCT in a median time of 45 days and 13 were alive at last follow-up, the 2-year overall survival (OS) after second HCT being 32.4%. In multivariate analysis, factors independently associated with the risk of nonengraftment were: secondary AML (HR 1.30, p = 0.003), use of RIC (HR 1.22, p < 0.001), and use of BM (HR 1.21, p < 0.001). At 2 years, leukemia-free survival (LFS) and OS for the entire population was 55.2% (95% CI: 52.6-57.6) and 60.9% (95% CI: 58.4-63.3), respectively. Incidence of GF after haplo-HCT with PT-Cy is lower than reported T-cell-depleted haplo-HCT. Optimization of conditioning regimen and graft source should be considered for reducing the risk of GF in haplo-HCT recipients using PT-Cy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01248-3DOI Listing
August 2021

Addition of Rituximab in Reduced Intensity Conditioning Regimens for B-Cell Malignancies Does Not Influence Transplant Outcomes: EBMT Registry Analyses Following Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation for B-Cell Malignancies.

Front Immunol 2020 2;11:613954. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Rituximab (R) is increasingly incorporated in reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens for allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) in patients with B-cell malignancies, not only to improve disease control, but also to prevent graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). There are no randomized prospective data to validate this practice, although single center data and the CIBMTR analysis have shown promising results. We aimed at validation of these findings in a large registry study. We conducted a retrospective analysis using the EBMT registry of 3,803 adult patients with B-cell malignancies undergoing alloHCT (2001-2013) with either rituximab (R-RIC-9%) or non-rituximab (RIC-91%) reduced intensity regimens respectively. Median age and median follow up were 55 years (range 19.1-77.3) and 43.2 months (range 0.3-179.8), respectively. There was no difference in transplant outcomes (R-RIC vs RIC), including 1-year overall survival (69.9% vs 70.7%), 1-year disease-free survival (64.4% vs 62.2%), 1-year non-relapse mortality (21% vs 22%), and day-100 incidence of acute GVHD 2-4° (12% vs 12%). In summary, we found that addition of rituximab in RIC regimens for B-cell malignancies had no significant impact on major transplant outcome variables. Of note, data on chronic GVHD was not available, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn from the present study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.613954DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884746PMC
June 2021

Haplotype Motif-Based Models for KIR-Genotype Informed Selection of Hematopoietic Cell Donors Fail to Predict Outcome of Patients With Myelodysplastic Syndromes or Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Front Immunol 2020 19;11:584520. Epub 2021 Jan 19.

Hopital Saint-Louis, APHP, Université de Paris, Paris, France.

Results from registry studies suggest that harnessing Natural Killer (NK) cell reactivity mediated through Killer cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) could reduce the risk of relapse after allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT). Several competing models have been developed to classify donors as KIR-advantageous or disadvantageous. Basically, these models differ by grouping donors based on distinct KIR-KIR-ligand combinations or by haplotype motif assignment. This study aimed to validate different models for unrelated donor selection for patients with Myelodysplatic Syndromes (MDS) or secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia (sAML). In a joint retrospective study of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) registry data from 1704 patients with secondary AML or MDS were analysed. The cohort consisted mainly of older patients (median age 61 years) with high risk disease who had received chemotherapy-based reduced intensity conditioning and anti-thymocyte globulin prior to allogeneic HCT from well-matched unrelated stem cell donors. The impact of the predictors on Overall Survival (OS) and relapse incidence was tested in Cox regression models adjusted for patient age, a modified disease risk index, performance status, donor age, HLA-match, sex-match, CMV-match, conditioning intensity, type of T-cell depletion and graft type. genes were typed using high-resolution amplicon-based next generation sequencing. In univariable and multivariable analyses none of the models predicted OS and the risk of relapse consistently. Our results do not support the hypothesis that optimizing NK-mediated alloreactivity is possible by KIR-genotype informed selection of HLA-matched unrelated donors. However, in the context of allogeneic transplantation, NK-cell biology is complex and only partly understood. KIR-genes are highly diverse and current assignment of haplotype motifs based on the presence or absence of selected KIR genes is over-simplistic. As a consequence, further research is highly warranted and should integrate cutting edge knowledge on KIR genetics, and NK-cell biology into future studies focused on homogeneous groups of patients and treatment modalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.584520DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851088PMC
June 2021

Classification and Personalized Prognostic Assessment on the Basis of Clinical and Genomic Features in Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

J Clin Oncol 2021 04 4;39(11):1223-1233. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Purpose: Recurrently mutated genes and chromosomal abnormalities have been identified in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We aim to integrate these genomic features into disease classification and prognostication.

Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 2,043 patients. Using Bayesian networks and Dirichlet processes, we combined mutations in 47 genes with cytogenetic abnormalities to identify genetic associations and subgroups. Random-effects Cox proportional hazards multistate modeling was used for developing prognostic models. An independent validation on 318 cases was performed.

Results: We identify eight MDS groups (clusters) according to specific genomic features. In five groups, dominant genomic features include splicing gene mutations (, , and ) that occur early in disease history, determine specific phenotypes, and drive disease evolution. These groups display different prognosis (groups with mutations being associated with better survival). Specific co-mutation patterns account for clinical heterogeneity within - and -related MDS. MDS with complex karyotype and/or gene abnormalities and MDS with acute leukemia-like mutations show poorest prognosis. MDS with 5q deletion are clustered into two distinct groups according to the number of mutated genes and/or presence of mutations. By integrating 63 clinical and genomic variables, we define a novel prognostic model that generates personally tailored predictions of survival. The predicted and observed outcomes correlate well in internal cross-validation and in an independent external cohort. This model substantially improves predictive accuracy of currently available prognostic tools. We have created a Web portal that allows outcome predictions to be generated for user-defined constellations of genomic and clinical features.

Conclusion: Genomic landscape in MDS reveals distinct subgroups associated with specific clinical features and discrete patterns of evolution, providing a proof of concept for next-generation disease classification and prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01659DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078359PMC
April 2021

CMV retinitis in a stem cell transplant recipient treated with foscarnet intravitreal injection and CMV specific immunoglobulins.

Ther Adv Hematol 2020 10;11:2040620720975651. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Stem Cell Transplant Center, AOU Citta' della Salute e della Scienza, Corso Bramante 88, Turin, 10126, Italy.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis (CMVR) has been reported rarely in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In addition, little is known about strategies for ophthalmic surveillance and adequate antiviral treatment of CMVR. A case of CMVR in an allogeneic HSCT recipient is described, including clinical signs and therapy. An adult patient received HSCT from a matched unrelated donor for treatment of a Burkitt lymphoma. Donor and recipients were both CMV positive. Starting on day +40, the patient presented multiple CMV reactivation, treated with valganciclovir, foscarnet and a combination of both. On day +160, the patient started complaining of conjunctival hyperaemia and a decrease in visual acuity. Fundoscopy revealed retinal lesions consistent with CMVR, although whole blood CMV DNAemia was negative. Aqueous humor biopsy showed the presence of CMV infection (CMV DNA 230400 UI/ml). CMVR was treated with foscarnet (180 mg i.v. and 1.2 mg intravitreal injection) combined with anti CMV immunoglobulin at 0.5 ml/kg every 2 weeks. After 4 weeks of systemic therapy, 20 weekly doses of intravitreal foscarnet and six cycles of immunoglobulins, a significant improvement of visual acuity was observed. The treatment was well tolerated with no side effect. In conclusion, our case suggests that systemic and local antiviral treatment combined with CMV-specific-IVIG, may reduce CMV load in the eye of patients with CMVR, leading to a consistent improvement of visual acuity. Systematic ophthalmologic examination should be recommended in HSCT recipients with multiple CMV reactivations and high peak CMV DNA levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2040620720975651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7734499PMC
December 2020

Response assessment to venetoclax in relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia by ultrasonography.

Leuk Res 2021 01 30;100:106488. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, UO Hematology, University of Pisa, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2020.106488DOI Listing
January 2021

Biomarkers for acute and chronic graft versus host disease: state of the art.

Expert Rev Hematol 2021 01 24;14(1):79-96. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Department of Oncology/Hematology, Stem Cell Transplant Program, A.O.U. Città Della Salute E Della Scienza Di Torino, Presidio Molinette , Torino, Italy.

Introduction: Despite significant advances in treatment and prevention, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) still represents the main cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Thus, considerable research efforts have been made to find and validate reliable biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and risk stratification of GVHD.

Areas Covered: In this review the most recent evidences on different types of biomarkers studied for GVHD, such as genetic, plasmatic, cellular markers, and those associated with microbiome, were summarized. A comprehensive search of peer-review literature was performed in PubMed including meta-analysis, preclinical and clinical trials, using the terms: cellular and plasma biomarkers, graft-versus-host disease, cytokines, and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Expert Opinion: In the near future, several validated biomarkers will be available to help clinicians in the diagnosis of GVHD, the identification of patients at high risk of GVHD development and in patients' stratification according to its severity. Then, immunosuppressive treatment could be tailored to each patient's real needs. However, more efforts are needed to achieve this goal. Although most of the proposed biomarkers currently lack validation with large-scale clinical data, their study led to improved knowledge of the biological basis of GVHD, and ultimately to implementation of GHVD treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17474086.2021.1860001DOI Listing
January 2021

Rescue treatment with eltrombopag in refractory cytopenias after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

Ther Adv Hematol 2020 20;11:2040620720961910. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

A.O.U. Città della Salute e della Scienza, Dipartimento di Oncologia, SSD Trapianto allogenico di cellule staminali, Turin, Italy.

Background: Patients with post-transplant cytopenias due to poor graft function or primary engraftment failure show poor prognosis with a high mortality rate mainly because of graft host disease (GVHD), infection and/or bleeding. Treatment options are scarce and a CD34+ stem cell boost or a second bone marrow transplantation may be required to restore adequate haematopoiesis.

Methods: In the present study patients with primary engraftment failure ( = 1) and refractory poor graft function ( = 11) were treated with eltrombopag in a single centre. The reason for eltrombopag treatment was trilineage cytopenia in six patients, bilineage cytopenia in three patients and single lineage cytopenia in three patients. Eltrombopag was initiated at a median of 214 (range: 120-877) days after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCST) and administered for a median time of 114 (range: 12 days to >490) days. In 8/12 patients eltrombopag was introduced at a dose of 75 mg/day and then increased to 150 mg/day after 1 week; 1 patient was given 50 mg eltrombopag per day, and 3 patients received 75 mg daily.

Results: In 10/12 patients eltrombopag significantly enhanced blood count values and patients became transfusion independent. Once stable haematological response was obtained, treatment was tapered until final discontinuation in 9/10 responding patients. No grade 3 or 4 toxicities were observed. At time of last follow up, 3/12 patients were dead, 2 due to disease relapse, 1 due to GVHD and pneumonia. All patients except one maintained their complete response and remain transfusion independent at a median of 858 (range: 429-1119) days.

Conclusion: These preliminary data confirm that eltrombopag is able to rescue multilineage haematopoiesis in patients with treatment-refractory cytopenias after allogeneic HSCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2040620720961910DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7594218PMC
October 2020

Editorial: CAR T-Cell Therapies in Hematologic Tumors.

Front Oncol 2020 16;10:588134. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.588134DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596269PMC
October 2020

Donor Lymphocyte Infusions After Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Acute Leukemia: A Survey From the Gruppo Italiano Trapianto Midollo Osseo (GITMO).

Front Oncol 2020 15;10:572918. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Ematologia, Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

We conducted a retrospective multicenter study including pediatric and adult patients with acute leukemia (AL) who received donor lymphocyte infusions (DLIs) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2015, in order to determine the efficacy and toxicity of the immune treatment. Two hundred fifty-two patients, median age 45.1 years (1.6-73.4), were enrolled from 34 Italian transplant centers. The underlying disease was acute myeloid leukemia in 180 cases (71%). Donors were HLA identical or 1 locus mismatched sibling (40%), unrelated (40%), or haploidentical (20%). The first DLI was administered at a median time of 258 days (55-3,784) after HCT. The main indication for DLI was leukemia relapse (73%), followed by mixed chimerism (17%), and pre-emptive/prophylactic use (10%). Ninety-six patients (38%) received one single infusion, whereas 65 (26%), 42 (17%), and 49 patients (19%) received 2, 3, or ≥4 infusions, respectively, with a median of 31 days between two subsequent DLIs. Forty percent of evaluable patients received no treatment before the first DLI, whereas radiotherapy, conventional chemotherapy or targeted treatments were administered in 3, 39, and 18%, respectively. In informative patients, a few severe adverse events were reported: grade III-IV graft versus host disease (GVHD) (3%), grade III-IV hematological toxicity (11%), and DLI-related mortality (9%). Forty-six patients (18%) received a second HCT after a median of 232 days (32-1,390) from the first DLI. With a median follow-up of 461 days (2-3,255) after the first DLI, 1-, 3-, and 5- year overall survival (OS) of the whole group from start of DLI treatment was 55, 39, and 33%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, older recipient age, and transplants from haploidentical donors significantly reduced OS, whereas DLI for mixed chimerism or as pre-emptive/prophylactic treatment compared to DLI for AL relapse and a schedule including more than one DLI significantly prolonged OS. This GITMO survey confirms that DLI administration in absence of overt hematological relapse and multiple infusions are associated with a favorable outcome in AL patients. DLI from haploidentical donors had a poor outcome and may represent an area of further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.572918DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593406PMC
October 2020

Impact of donor age and kinship on clinical outcomes after T-cell-replete haploidentical transplantation with PT-Cy.

Blood Adv 2020 08;4(16):3900-3912

Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Rozzano, Italy.

Donor selection contributes to improve clinical outcomes of T-cell-replete haploidentical stem cell transplantation (haplo-SCT) with posttransplant cyclophosphamide (PT-Cy). The impact of donor age and other non-HLA donor characteristics remains a matter of debate. We performed a multicenter retrospective analysis on 990 haplo-SCTs with PT-Cy. By multivariable analysis, after adjusting for donor/recipient kinship, increasing donor age and peripheral blood stem cell graft were associated with a higher risk of grade 2 to 4 acute graft-versus-host-disease (aGVHD), whereas 2-year cumulative incidence of moderate-to-severe chronic GVHD was higher for transplants from female donors into male recipients and after myeloablative conditioning. Increasing donor age was associated with a trend for higher nonrelapse mortality (NRM) (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; P = .057) but with a significant reduced risk of disease relapse (HR, 0.92; P = .001) and improved progression-free survival (PFS) (HR, 0.97; P = .036). Increasing recipient age was a predictor of worse overall survival (OS). Risk of relapse was higher (HR, 1.39; P < .001) in patients aged ≤40 years receiving a transplant from a parent as compared with a sibling. Moreover, OS and PFS were lower when the donor was the mother rather than the father. Pretransplant active disease status was an invariably independent predictor of worse clinical outcomes, while recipient positive cytomegalovirus serostatus and hematopoietic cell transplant comorbidity index >3 were associated with worse OS and PFS. Our results suggest that younger donors may reduce the incidence of aGVHD and NRM, though at higher risk of relapse. A parent donor, particularly the mother, is not recommended in recipients ≤40 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7448598PMC
August 2020

Immunomodulatory and clinical effects of daratumumab in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Br J Haematol 2020 10 19;191(1):e28-e32. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Division of Haematology, Department of Oncology, A.O.U. Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Presidio Molinette, Torino, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16960DOI Listing
October 2020

Impact of total body irradiation- vs chemotherapy-based myeloablative conditioning on outcomes of haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplantation for acute myelogenous leukemia.

Am J Hematol 2020 Jul 13. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Saint Antoine Hospital, INSERM UMR 938, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France and EBMT Paris study office / CEREST-TC, Paris, France.

The optimal myeloablative conditioning (MAC) for patients undergoing haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplantation (haplo-HCT) is unknown. We studied the outcomes of total body irradiation (TBI) vs chemotherapy (CT) based MAC regimens in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. The study included 1008 patients who underwent first haplo-HCT with post-transplant cyclophosphamide, following TBI (N = 89, 9%) or CT (n = 919, 91%) based MAC. Patients in the TBI cohort were younger (median age, 38 vs 47 years, P < .01) and more likely to receive BM graft (57% vs 43%, P = .01). Two-year overall chronic GVHD (cGVHD) incidence was 42% vs 27% (P < .01) and extensive cGVHD incidence was 9% vs 12% (P = .33) in TBI and CT cohorts, respectively. Graft failure was reported in two (2%) TBI- and 65 (7%) CT-MAC recipients (P = .08). Death from veno-occlusive disease was reported in one (3%) TBI and 11 (3%) CT patients who died during the study period. In the multivariate analysis, TBI was associated with increased risk for overall cGVHD (hazard ratio = 1.95, 95% confidence interval:1.2-3.1, P < .01) compared to CT-based MAC. The choice of conditioning regimen did not impact relapse incidence, leukemia-free survival, non-relapse mortality, overall survival or GVHD-relapse-free survival in multivariate analysis. In conclusion, major transplant outcomes were not statistically different between TBI-based MAC and CT-based MAC in patients with AML after haplo-HCT/PTCy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25934DOI Listing
July 2020
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