Publications by authors named "Carmen Fava"

78 Publications

Early low-molecular-weight heparin administration is associated with shorter time to SARS-CoV-2 swab negativity.

Antivir Ther 2021 Jan 18. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin at the Unit of Infectious Diseases, "Amedeo di Savoia" Hospital, Turin, Italy.

Background: Antiviral and immune-modulating properties of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) against coronaviridae have been reported by in vitro studies, but no in vivo evidence is yet available. We sought to know whether the timing of prophylactic doses of LMWH during the course of COVID-19 may affect the time to SARS-CoV-2 nasal-oropharyngeal swab negativization.

Methods: Retrospective monocentric cross-sectional study on patients requiring sub-intensive ward admission due to first SARS-CoV-2 infection and undergoing early (EH, within 7 days from COVID-19 signs and symptoms onset) versus delayed prophylactic LMWH (DH, after 7 days). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was measured by reverse transcription real-time PCR according to scheduled time-points: first swab after 2 weeks from COVID-19 onset, then at one-week intervals until negativity.

Results: Time to SARS-CoV-2 swab negativity was shorter in EH (38 patients) compared to DH (55 patients): 22 versus 37 days (p.004). The number of confirmative negative swabs in EH was significantly higher compared to DH at week 2 (21.1% vs 3.6%, p.017) and 4 (60.0% vs 19.6%, p<.001). At univariate, EH differed from DH for several diseases severity and clinical management parameters. Nevertheless, after accounting for the differences, Cox regression showed early LMWH administration (HR 2.91 [1.51-5.63], p.002) and higher lymphocytes nadir (HR 1.04 [1.01-1.08], p.020) as predictors of shorter time to swab negativity.

Conclusions: This potential antiviral and/or immune-modulating activity of LMWH need further in vivo confirmations by randomized controlled trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3851/IMP3377DOI Listing
January 2021

Genetic Screening for Potential New Targets in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Based on Drosophila Transgenic for Human BCR-ABL1.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 14;13(2). Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

Chronic myeloid leukemia is a myeloproliferative neoplasm characterized by the presence of the Philadelphia chromosome that originates from the reciprocal translocation t(9;22)(q34;q11.2) and encodes for the constitutively active tyrosine kinase protein BCR-ABL1 from the () sequence and the () gene. Despite BCR-ABL1 being one of the most studied oncogenic proteins, some molecular mechanisms remain enigmatic, and several of the proteins, acting either as positive or negative BCR-ABL1 regulators, are still unknown. The Drosophila melanogaster represents a powerful tool for genetic investigations and a promising model to study the BCR-ABL1 signaling pathway. To identify new components involved in BCR-ABL1 transforming activity, we conducted an extensive genetic screening using different Drosophila mutant strains carrying specific small deletions within the chromosomes 2 and 3 and the transgenic as the background. From the screening, we identified several putative candidate genes that may be involved either in sustaining chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) or in its progression. We also identified, for the first time, a tight connection between the BCR-ABL1 protein and Rab family members, and this correlation was also validated in CML patients. In conclusion, our data identified many genes that, by interacting with BCR-ABL1, regulate several important biological pathways and could promote disease onset and progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020293DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830713PMC
January 2021

A Retrospective Analysis about Frequency of Monitoring in Italian Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients after Discontinuation.

J Clin Med 2020 Nov 17;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.

Successful discontinuation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors has been achieved in patients with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Careful molecular monitoring after discontinuation warrants safe and prompt resumption of therapy. We retrospectively evaluated how molecular monitoring has been conducted in Italy in a cohort of patients who discontinued tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment per clinical practice. The outcome of these patients has recently been reported-281 chronic-phase CML patients were included in this subanalysis. Median follow-up since discontinuation was 2 years. Overall, 2203 analyses were performed, 17.9% in the first three months and 38.4% in the first six months. Eighty-six patients lost major molecular response (MMR) in a mean time of 5.7 months-65 pts (75.6%) during the first six months. We evaluated the number of patients who would experience a delay in diagnosis of MMR loss if a three-month monitoring schedule was adopted. In the first 6 months, 19 pts (29.2%) would have a one-month delay, 26 (40%) a 2-month delay. Very few patients would experience a delay in the following months. A less intense frequency of monitoring, particularly after the first 6 months off treatment, would not have affected the success of treatment-free remission (TFR) nor put patients at risk of progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113692DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7698481PMC
November 2020

Standardization of BCR-ABL1 p210 Monitoring: From Nested to Digital PCR.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 6;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in 2001 as a targeted anticancer therapy has significantly improved the quality of life and survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. At the same time, with the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, the need for precise monitoring of the molecular response to therapy has emerged. Starting with a qualitative polymerase chain reaction, followed by the introduction of a quantitative polymerase chain reaction to determine the exact quantity of the transcript of interest-p210 BCR-ABL1, molecular monitoring in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia was internationally standardized. This enabled precise monitoring of the therapeutic response, unification of therapeutic protocols, and comparison of results between different laboratories. This review aims to summarize the steps in the diagnosis and molecular monitoring of p210 BCR-ABL1, as well as to consider the possible future application of a more sophisticated method such as digital polymerase chain reaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113287DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7694607PMC
November 2020

Deferasirox-Dependent Iron Chelation Enhances Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Restores p53 Signaling by Stabilization of p53 Family Members in Leukemic Cells.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Oct 16;21(20). Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

I is crucial to satisfy several mitochondrial functions including energy metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation. Patients affected by Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are frequently characterized by iron overload (IOL), due to continuous red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. This event impacts the overall survival (OS) and it is associated with increased mortality in lower-risk MDS patients. Accordingly, the oral iron chelator Deferasirox (DFX) has been reported to improve the OS and delay leukemic transformation. However, the molecular players and the biological mechanisms laying behind remain currently mostly undefined. The aim of this study has been to investigate the potential anti-leukemic effect of DFX, by functionally and molecularly analyzing its effects in three different leukemia cell lines, harboring or not p53 mutations, and in human primary cells derived from 15 MDS/AML patients. Our findings indicated that DFX can lead to apoptosis, impairment of cell growth only in a context of IOL, and can induce a significant alteration of mitochondria network, with a sharp reduction in mitochondrial activity. Moreover, through a remarkable reduction of Murine Double Minute 2 (MDM2), known to regulate the stability of p53 and p73 proteins, we observed an enhancement of p53 transcriptional activity after DFX. Interestingly, this iron depletion-triggered signaling is enabled by p73, in the absence of p53, or in the presence of a p53 mutant form. In conclusion, we propose a mechanism by which the increased p53 family transcriptional activity and protein stability could explain the potential benefits of iron chelation therapy in terms of improving OS and delaying leukemic transformation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21207674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589297PMC
October 2020

Clinical characteristics and risk factors associated with COVID-19 severity in patients with haematological malignancies in Italy: a retrospective, multicentre, cohort study.

Lancet Haematol 2020 Oct 13;7(10):e737-e745. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, University of Milano.

Background: Several small studies on patients with COVID-19 and haematological malignancies are available showing a high mortality in this population. The Italian Hematology Alliance on COVID-19 aimed to collect data from adult patients with haematological malignancies who required hospitalisation for COVID-19.

Methods: This multicentre, retrospective, cohort study included adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with diagnosis of a WHO-defined haematological malignancy admitted to 66 Italian hospitals between Feb 25 and May 18, 2020, with laboratory-confirmed and symptomatic COVID-19. Data cutoff for this analysis was June 22, 2020. The primary outcome was mortality and evaluation of potential predictive parameters of mortality. We calculated standardised mortality ratios between observed death in the study cohort and expected death by applying stratum-specific mortality rates of the Italian population with COVID-19 and an Italian cohort of 31 993 patients with haematological malignancies without COVID-19 (data up to March 1, 2019). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify factors associated with overall survival. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04352556, and the prospective part of the study is ongoing.

Findings: We enrolled 536 patients with a median follow-up of 20 days (IQR 10-34) at data cutoff, 85 (16%) of whom were managed as outpatients. 440 (98%) of 451 hospitalised patients completed their hospital course (were either discharged alive or died). 198 (37%) of 536 patients died. When compared with the general Italian population with COVID-19, the standardised mortality ratio was 2·04 (95% CI 1·77-2·34) in our whole study cohort and 3·72 (2·86-4·64) in individuals younger than 70 years. When compared with the non-COVID-19 cohort with haematological malignancies, the standardised mortality ratio was 41·3 (38·1-44·9). Older age (hazard ratio 1·03, 95% CI 1·01-1·05); progressive disease status (2·10, 1·41-3·12); diagnosis of acute myeloid leukaemia (3·49, 1·56-7·81), indolent non-Hodgin lymphoma (2·19, 1·07-4·48), aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (2·56, 1·34-4·89), or plasma cell neoplasms (2·48, 1·31-4·69), and severe or critical COVID-19 (4·08, 2·73-6·09) were associated with worse overall survival.

Interpretation: This study adds to the evidence that patients with haematological malignancies have worse outcomes than both the general population with COVID-19 and patients with haematological malignancies without COVID-19. The high mortality among patients with haematological malignancies hospitalised with COVID-19 highlights the need for aggressive infection prevention strategies, at least until effective vaccination or treatment strategies are available.

Funding: Associazione italiana contro le leucemie, linfomi e mieloma-Varese Onlus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30251-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7426107PMC
October 2020

Bcl-xL represents a therapeutic target in Philadelphia negative myeloproliferative neoplasms.

J Cell Mol Med 2020 09 13;24(18):10978-10986. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are divided into essential thrombocythemia (ET), polycythemia vera (PV) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF). Although ruxolitinib was proven to be effective in reducing symptoms, patients rarely achieve complete molecular remission. Therefore, it is relevant to identify new therapeutic targets to improve the clinical outcome of patients. Bcl-xL protein, the long isoform encoded by alternative splicing of the Bcl-x gene, acts as an anti-apoptotic regulator. Our study investigated the role of Bcl-xL as a marker of severity of MPN and the possibility to target Bcl-xL in patients. 129 MPN patients and 21 healthy patients were enrolled in the study. We analysed Bcl-xL expression in leucocytes and in enriched CD34+ and CD235a+ cells. Furthermore, ABT-737, a Bcl-xL inhibitor, was tested in HEL cells and in leucocytes from MPN patients. Bcl-xL was found progressively over-expressed in cells from ET, PV and PMF patients, independently by JAK2 mutational status. Moreover, our data indicated that the combination of ABT-737 and ruxolitinib resulted in a significantly higher apoptotic rate than the individual drug. Our study suggests that Bcl-xL plays an important role in MPN independently from JAK2 V617F mutation. Furthermore, data demonstrate that targeting simultaneously JAK2 and Bcl-xL might represent an interesting new approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.15730DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7521327PMC
September 2020

Mitochondria: A Galaxy in the Hematopoietic and Leukemic Stem Cell Universe.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 May 30;21(11). Epub 2020 May 30.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano, 10043, Italy.

Mitochondria are the main fascinating energetic source into the cells. Their number, shape, and dynamism are controlled by the cell's type and current behavior. The perturbation of the mitochondrial inward system via stress response and/or oncogenic insults could activate several trafficking molecular mechanisms with the intention to solve the problem. In this review, we aimed to clarify the crucial pathways in the mitochondrial system, dissecting the different metabolic defects, with a special emphasis on hematological malignancies. We investigated the pivotal role of mitochondria in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and their main alterations that could induce malignant transformation, culminating in the generation of leukemic stem cells (LSCs). In addition, we presented an overview of LSCs mitochondrial dysregulated mechanisms in terms of (1) increasing in oxidative phosphorylation program (OXPHOS), as a crucial process for survival and self-renewal of LSCs,(2) low levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and (3) aberrant expression of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) with sustained mitophagy. Furthermore, these peculiarities may represent attractive new "hot spots" for mitochondrial-targeted therapy. Finally, we remark the potential of the LCS metabolic effectors to be exploited as novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21113928DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312164PMC
May 2020

Novel Multiplex Droplet Digital PCR Assays to Monitor Minimal Residual Disease in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients Showing Atypical Transcripts.

J Clin Med 2020 May 13;9(5). Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

fusion transcript is the minimal residual disease marker in chronic myeloid leukemia; 2% of patients show unusual breakpoints generating atypical transcripts, not quantifiable by standardized real-time PCR (RT-PCR). Response monitoring is performed by non-quantitative NESTED PCR, useless for evaluating patients' molecular remission, excluding them from treatment-free-remission protocols. Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is highly sensitive technology, allowing an absolute quantification independent of standard curves. Based on this, we have developed assays able to evaluate the molecular response in atypical patients. We designed new ddPCR-based molecular assays able to quantify atypical transcripts, with a detection limit of 0.001%, validated in a cohort of 65 RNA from 11 patients. Fifty samples were identified congruently by ddPCR and NESTED PCR (40 positives and 10 negatives for atypical transcript), while 11 positive samples were detected only by ddPCR. Our results highlight ddPCR usefulness, primarily when the level is less than 1.5% and NESTED PCR results are often inaccurate. Furthermore, we identified 3 patients who maintained a deep molecular response for at least one year, who could be considered good candidates for treatment-free remission approaches. Here, we describe a new promising molecular approach, highly sensitive, to monitor atypical patients, paving the foundation to include them in treatment-free remission protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7290999PMC
May 2020

Clone wars: co-occurrence of IDH2 R140Q and R172K in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Ann Hematol 2020 Apr 4;99(4):891-893. Epub 2020 Feb 4.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 ORBASSANO, Turin, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-020-03913-xDOI Listing
April 2020

Highly Sensitive Detection of Mutations in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

J Clin Med 2020 Jan 19;9(1). Epub 2020 Jan 19.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano (Turin), Italy.

Background: Acute myeloid leukemia is a heterogeneous hematological disease, characterized by karyotypic and molecular alterations. Mutations in have a role in diagnosis and as a minimal residue disease marker. Often the variant allele frequency during follow up is less than 20%, which represents the limit of detection of Sanger sequencing. Therefore, the development of sensitive methodologies to identify mutations might help to monitor patients' response to therapy. We compared three different methods to identify and monitor mutations in patients' specimens.

Methods: Performances of PNA-PCR clamping, droplet digital PCR and Sanger for status identification were evaluated and compared in 96 DNA patients' specimens.

Results: In contrast with Sanger sequencing, our results highlighted the concordance between PNA clamping and digital PCR. Furthermore, PNA-PCR clamping was able to detect more mutated DNA with respect to Sanger sequencing that showed several false negatives independently from the allelic frequency.

Conclusions: We found that PNA-PCR clamping and digital PCR identified mutations in DNA samples with comparable results in a percentage significantly higher compared to Sanger sequencing. PNA-PCR clamping can be used even in laboratories not equipped for sophisticated analyses, decreasing cost and time for characterization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9010271DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019902PMC
January 2020

Managing chronic myeloid leukemia for treatment-free remission: a proposal from the GIMEMA CML WP.

Blood Adv 2019 12;3(24):4280-4290

Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Several papers authored by international experts have proposed recommendations on the management of BCR-ABL1+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Following these recommendations, survival of CML patients has become very close to normal. The next, ambitious, step is to bring as many patients as possible into a condition of treatment-free remission (TFR). The Gruppo Italiano Malattie EMatologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA; Italian Group for Hematologic Diseases of the Adult) CML Working Party (WP) has developed a project aimed at selecting the treatment policies that may increase the probability of TFR, taking into account 4 variables: the need for TFR, the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), the characteristics of leukemia, and the patient. A Delphi-like method was used to reach a consensus among the representatives of 50 centers of the CML WP. A consensus was reached on the assessment of disease risk (EUTOS Long Term Survival [ELTS] score), on the definition of the most appropriate age boundaries for the choice of first-line treatment, on the choice of the TKI for first-line treatment, and on the definition of the responses that do not require a change of the TKI (BCR-ABL1 ≤10% at 3 months, ≤1% at 6 months, ≤0.1% at 12 months, ≤0.01% at 24 months), and of the responses that require a change of the TKI, when the goal is TFR (BCR-ABL1 >10% at 3 and 6 months, >1% at 12 months, and >0.1% at 24 months). These suggestions may help optimize the treatment strategy for TFR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000865DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6929396PMC
December 2019

The Q-LAMP Method Represents a Valid and Rapid Alternative for the Detection of the Rearrangement in Philadelphia-Positive Leukemias.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Dec 4;20(24). Epub 2019 Dec 4.

Department of Molecular Medicine and Biotechnology, University Federico II, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Molecular detection of the fusion transcripts is necessary for the genetic confirmation of a chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis and for the risk classification of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. mRNAs are usually identified using a conventional RT-PCR technique according to the BIOMED-1 method. In this study, we evaluated 122 -positive samples with the Q-LAMP assay to establish if this technology may represent a valid alternative to the qualitative BIOMED-1 PCR technique usually employed for the detection and the discrimination of the common transcripts (p190 and p210 isoforms). We found a 100% concordance rate between the two methods. Specifically, the p190- and p210-positive samples were amplified by Q-LAMP with a median threshold time (Tt) of 26.70 min (range: 24.45-31.80 min) and 20.26 min (range: 15.25-34.57 min), respectively. A median time of 19.63 was observed in samples displaying both (e13a2/e14a2) p210 isoforms. Moreover, the Q-LAMP assay allowed recognition of the e13a2 and e14a2 isoforms (median Tts 18.48 for e13a2 vs. 26.08 min for e14a2; < 0.001). Finally, 20 samples harboring rare isoforms (e1a3, e13a3, e14a3, and e19a2) were correctly identified by the Q-LAMP assay. We conclude that the Q-LAMP assay may represent a faster and valid alternative to the qualitative BIOMED-1 RT-PCR for the diagnosis at -positive leukemias, especially when samples are analyzed in centers with restricted resources and/or limited technical expertise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6941015PMC
December 2019

Philadelphia-positive lymphoblastic lymphoma: a case report and review of the literature.

Stem Cell Investig 2019 9;6:17. Epub 2019 Jul 9.

Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria San Luigi Gonzaga, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy.

Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia is well documented nowadays but very little is known about Philadelphia positive lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL). Only two cases are available in literature and both of them died during treatment whereas the patient treated in our center is still alive 3 years after the initial diagnosis. A chemo-free regimen was used in induction with dasatinib plus steroids with local radiotherapy on the mass, and then the patient underwent bone marrow transplant. Philadelphia positive lymphoblastic lymphoma is a difficult diagnosis to make and the management of this extremely rare disease is very challenging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/sci.2019.06.06DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691076PMC
July 2019

Outcome of very elderly chronic myeloid leukaemia patients treated with imatinib frontline.

Ann Hematol 2019 Oct 7;98(10):2329-2338. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

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

Very elderly (> 75 years) chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) patients at diagnosis are sometimes treated with different doses of imatinib (IM) based on concomitant diseases and physicians' judgement. However, data on long-term follow-up of these patients are still lacking. To investigate treatment response and outcome, we retrospectively revised an Italian database of 263 very elderly CML patients receiving IM from the time of diagnosis. Median age at diagnosis was 78.5 years and 56% of patients had 2 or 3 comorbidities. A complete haematological and cytogenetic response were achieved in 244 (92.8%) and 184 (69.9%) patients, respectively. In 148 cases (56.2%), a major molecular response was observed, which was deep in 63 cases (24%). A blastic phase occurred in 11 patients (4.2%). After a median follow-up of 45.0 months, 93 patients have died (9 from disease progression) and 104 (39.5%) are still in treatment with IM. Incidence of grades 3-4 haematological and non-haematological toxicity was similar to those reported in younger patients. Five-year event-free survival was 54.5% and 45.2% in patients ≤ 80 years and > 80 years, respectively (p = 0.098). Five years OS was 75.7% and 61.6% in patients ≤80 years and > 80 years, respectively (p = 0.003). These findings show that IM plays an important role in frontline treatment of very elderly CML patients without increased toxicity and any effort to treat these patients with standard doses should be made in order to achieve responses as in younger subjects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-019-03767-yDOI Listing
October 2019

Reduced Expression of Sprouty1 Contributes to the Aberrant Proliferation and Impaired Apoptosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells.

J Clin Med 2019 Jul 4;8(7). Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

In most of the acute myeloid leukemia patients there is an aberrant tyrosine kinase activity. The prototype of Sprouty proteins was originally identified in as antagonists of Breathless, the mammalian ortholog of fibroblast growth factor receptor. Usually, SPRY family members are inhibitors of RAS signaling induced by tyrosine kinases receptors and they are implicated in negative feedback processes regulating several intracellular pathways. The present study aims to investigate the role of a member of the Sprouty family, Sprouty1, as a regulator of cell proliferation and growth in patients affected by acute myeloid leukemia. Sprouty1 mRNA and protein were both significantly down-regulated in acute myeloid leukemia cells compared to the normal counterpart, but they were restored when remission is achieved after chemotherapy. Ectopic expression of Sprouty1 revealed that it plays a key role in the proliferation and apoptotic defect that represent a landmark of the leukemic cells. Our study identified Sprouty1 as negative regulator involved in the aberrant signals of adult acute myeloid leukemia. Furthermore, we found a correlation between Sprouty1 and FoxO3a delocalization in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients at diagnosis, suggesting a multistep regulation of RAS signaling in human cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070972DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678378PMC
July 2019

Digital PCR in Myeloid Malignancies: Ready to Replace Quantitative PCR?

Int J Mol Sci 2019 May 7;20(9). Epub 2019 May 7.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Turin, Italy.

New techniques are on the horizon for the detection of small leukemic clones in both, acute leukemias and myeloproliferative disorders. A promising approach is based on digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Digital PCR (dPCR) is a breakthrough technology designed to provide absolute nucleic acid quantification. It is particularly useful to detect a low amount of target and therefore it represents an alternative method for detecting measurable residual disease (MRD). The main advantages are the high precision, the very reliable quantification, the absolute quantification without the need for a standard curve, and the excellent reproducibility. Nowadays the main disadvantages of this strategy are the costs that are still higher than standard qPCR, the lack of standardized methods, and the limited number of laboratories that are equipped with instruments for dPCR. Several studies describing the possibility and advantages of using digital PCR for the detection of specific leukemic transcripts or mutations have already been published. In this review we summarize the available data on the use of dPCR in acute myeloid leukemia and myeloproliferative disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092249DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6540058PMC
May 2019

Precision tyrosine kinase inhibitor dosing in chronic myeloid leukemia?

Haematologica 2019 05;104(5):862-864

Haematology Research Center, Division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.214445DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6518890PMC
May 2019

Curcumin induces apoptosis in JAK2-mutated cells by the inhibition of JAK2/STAT and mTORC1 pathways.

J Cell Mol Med 2019 06 29;23(6):4349-4357. Epub 2019 Apr 29.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms are chronic myeloid cancers divided in Philadelphia positive and negative. The JAK2 V617F is the most common mutation in Philadelphia negative patients and results in a constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT pathway, conferring a proliferative advantage and apoptosis inhibition. Recent studies identified a functional crosstalk between the JAK/STAT and mTOR pathways. The identification of an effective therapy is often difficult, so the availability of new therapeutic approaches might be attractive. Previous studies showed that curcumin, the active principle of the Curcuma longa, can suppress JAK2/STAT pathways in different type of cancer and injuries. In this study, we investigated the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of curcumin in JAK2 V617F-mutated cells. HEL cell line and cells from patients JAK2 V617F mutated have been incubated with increasing concentrations of curcumin for different time. Apoptosis and proliferation were evaluated. Subsequently, JAK2/STAT and AKT/mTOR pathways were investigated at both RNA and protein levels. We found that curcumin induces apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation in HEL cells. Furthermore, we showed that curcumin inhibits JAK2/STAT and mTORC1 pathways in JAK2 V617F-mutated cells. This inhibition suggests that curcumin could represent an alternative strategy to be explored for the treatment of patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcmm.14326DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6533565PMC
June 2019

Observational study of chronic myeloid leukemia Italian patients who discontinued tyrosine kinase inhibitors in clinical practice.

Haematologica 2019 08 28;104(8):1589-1596. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Orbassano.

It is judged safe to discontinue treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in experimental trials on treatment-free remission (TFR). We collected a total of 293 Italian patients with chronic phase CML who discontinued TKI in deep molecular response. Seventy-two percent of patients were on treatment with imatinib, and 28% with second generation TKI at the time of discontinuation. Median duration of treatment with the last TKI was 77 months [Interquartile Range (IQR) 54;111], median duration of deep molecular response was 46 months (IQR 31;74). Duration of treatment with TKI and duration of deep molecular response were shorter with second generation TKI than with imatinib (<0.001). Eighty-eight percent of patients discontinued as per clinical practice, and reasons for stopping treatment were: toxicity (20%), pregnancy (6%), and shared decision between treating physician and patient (62%). After a median follow up of 34 months (range, 12-161) overall estimated TFR was 62% (95%CI: 56;68). At 12 months, TFR was 68% (95%CI: 62;74) for imatinib, 73% (95%CI: 64;83) for second generation TKI. Overall median time to restart treatment was six months (IQR 4;11). No progressions occurred. Although our study has the limitation of a retrospective study, our experience within the Italian population confirms that discontinuation of imatinib and second generation TKI is feasible and safe in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.205054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669161PMC
August 2019

Residual Peripheral Blood CD26 Leukemic Stem Cells in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients During TKI Therapy and During Treatment-Free Remission.

Front Oncol 2018 30;8:194. Epub 2018 May 30.

Hematology Unit, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients in sustained "deep molecular response" may stop TKI treatment without disease recurrence; however, half of them lose molecular response shortly after TKI withdrawing. Well-defined eligibility criteria to predict a safe discontinuation up-front are still missing. Relapse is probably due to residual quiescent TKI-resistant leukemic stem cells (LSCs) supposedly transcriptionally low/silent and not easily detectable by BCR-ABL1 qRT-PCR. Bone marrow Ph+ CML CD34/CD38 LSCs were found to specifically co-express CD26 (dipeptidylpeptidase-IV). We explored feasibility of detecting and quantifying CD26 LSCs by flow cytometry in peripheral blood (PB). Over 400 CML patients (at diagnosis and during/after therapy) entered this cross-sectional study in which CD26 expression was evaluated by a standardized multiparametric flow cytometry analysis on PB CD45/CD34/CD38 stem cell population. All 120 CP-CML patients at diagnosis showed measurable PB CD26 LSCs (median 19.20/μL, range 0.27-698.6). PB CD26 LSCs were also detectable in 169/236 (71.6%) CP-CML patients in first-line TKI treatment (median 0.014 cells/μL; range 0.0012-0.66) and in 74/112 (66%), additional patients studied on treatment-free remission (TFR) (median 0.015/μL; range 0.006-0.76). Notably, no correlation between BCR-ABL/ABL ratio and number of residual LSCs was found both in patients on or off TKIs. This is the first evidence that "circulating" CML LSCs persist in the majority of CML patients in molecular response while on TKI treatment and even after TKI discontinuation. Prospective studies evaluating the dynamics of PB CD26 LSCs during TKI treatment and the role of a "stem cell response" threshold to achieve and maintain TFR are ongoing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988870PMC
May 2018

The and polymorphisms do not influence the pharmacodynamics of nilotinib in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Oncotarget 2017 Oct 30;8(50):88021-88033. Epub 2017 Sep 30.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Pharmacology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

First-line nilotinib in chronic myeloid leukemia is more effective than imatinib to achieve early and deep molecular responses, despite poor tolerability or failure observed in one-third of patients. The toxicity and efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitors might depend on the activity of transmembrane transporters. However, the impact of transporters genes polymorphisms in nilotinib setting is still debated. We investigated the possible correlation between single nucleotide polymorphisms of (rs683369 [c.480C>G]) and (rs1128503 [c.1236C>T], rs2032582 [c.2677G>T/A], rs1045642 [c.3435C>T]) and nilotinib efficacy and toxicity in a cohort of 78 patients affected by chronic myeloid leukemia in the context of current clinical practice. The early molecular response was achieved by 81% of patients while 64% of them attained deep molecular response (median time, 26 months). The 36-month event-free survival was 86%, whereas 58% of patients experienced toxicities. Interestingly, and polymorphisms alone or in combination did not influence event-free survival or the adverse events rate. Therefore, n contrast to data obtained in patients treated with imatinib, and polymorphisms do not impact on nilotinib efficacy or toxicity. This could be relevant in the choice of the first-line therapy: patients with polymorphisms that negatively condition imatinib efficacy might thus receive nilotinib as first-line therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.21406DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5675690PMC
October 2017

Pleural effusion and molecular response in dasatinib-treated chronic myeloid leukemia patients in a real-life Italian multicenter series.

Ann Hematol 2018 Jan 2;97(1):95-100. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli," Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, "S. Orsola-Malpighi" University Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Pleural effusion (PE) represents the leading cause of dasatinib (DAS) discontinuation. However, the pathogenic mechanism of this adverse event (AE) is unknown and its management unclear. We investigated if a DAS dose reduction after the first PE would prevent the recurrence of this AE. We retrospectively collected data on all the cases of PE in CML-chronic phase (CP) DAS-treated patients from November 2005 to February 2017 in 21 Italian hematological centers. We identified 196 cases of PE in a series of 853 CML-CP DAS-treated patients (incidence 23.0%). DAS starting dose was 100 mg/day in 70.4% of patients, less than 100 mg/day in 14.3%, and more than 100 mg/day in the remaining cases. Median time from DAS start to PE was 16.6 months. At first PE development, 28.6% of patients were in MMR, and 37.8% in deep molecular response (DMR). DAS was temporary interrupted in 71.9% of cases, with a dose reduction in 59.2%. Recurrence was observed in 59.4% of the cases. Treatment was definitively discontinued due to PE in 29.1% of the cases. Interestingly, among patients whose DAS dosage was reduced, 59.5% experienced PE recurrence. DAS dose reduction after the first episode of PE did not prevent recurrence of this AE. Therefore, once a MMR or a DMR is achieved, different strategies of DAS dose management can be proposed prior to the development of PE, such as daily dose reduction or, as an alternative option, an on/off treatment with a weekend drug holiday.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-017-3144-1DOI Listing
January 2018

CALR-positive myeloproliferative disorder in a patient with Ph-positive chronic myeloid leukemia in durable treatment-free remission: a case report.

Stem Cell Investig 2017 23;4:57. Epub 2017 Jun 23.

Department of Clinical and Biological Science, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Current diagnostic criteria for Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasia (MPN) have been redefined by the discovery of Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), myeloproliferative leukemia (MPL) and calreticulin (CALR) genetic alterations. Only few cases of coexistence of CALR-mutated MPN and Philadelphia-positive chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have been described so far. Here we report the case of a patient with CML diagnosed in 2001, treated with imatinib and pegylated interferon (IFN) frontline. She reached complete molecular remission (CMR) and discontinued imatinib, maintaining treatment free remission. Due to persistent thrombocytosis, we repeated bone marrow (BM) analysis and diagnosed CARL-mutated essential thrombocythemia (ET). A CALR-positive clone was found to be present since 2001, and was unaffected by imatinib treatment, possibly representing a molecular abnormality arising at stem cell level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/sci.2017.06.02DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5503914PMC
June 2017