Publications by authors named "Daniela Renzi"

30 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Free Fatty Acids Signature in Human Intestinal Disorders: Significant Association between Butyric Acid and Celiac Disease.

Nutrients 2021 Feb 26;13(3). Epub 2021 Feb 26.

Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, 50134 Florence, Italy.

Altered circulating levels of free fatty acids (FFAs), namely short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), and long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), are associated with metabolic, gastrointestinal, and malignant diseases. Hence, we compared the serum FFA profile of patients with celiac disease (CD), adenomatous polyposis (AP), and colorectal cancer (CRC) to healthy controls (HC). We enrolled 44 patients (19 CRC, 9 AP, 16 CD) and 16 HC. We performed a quantitative FFA evaluation with the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method (GC-MS), and we performed Dirichlet-multinomial regression in order to highlight disease-specific FFA signature. HC showed a different composition of FFAs than CRC, AP, and CD patients. Furthermore, the partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) confirmed perfect overlap between the CRC and AP patients and separation of HC from the diseased groups. The Dirichlet-multinomial regression identified only strong positive association between CD and butyric acid. Moreover, CD patients showed significant interactions with age, BMI, and gender. In addition, among patients with the same age and BMI, being male compared to being female implies a decrease of the CD effect on the (log) prevalence of butyric acid in FFA composition. Our data support GC-MS as a suitable method for the concurrent analysis of circulating SCFAs, MCFAs, and LCFAs in different gastrointestinal diseases. Furthermore, and notably, we suggest for the first time that butyric acid could represent a potential biomarker for CD screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13030742DOI Listing
February 2021

Granular Deposits of IgA in the Skin of Coeliac Patients Without Dermatitis Herpetiformis: A Prospective Multicentric Analysis.

Acta Derm Venereol 2021 Feb 2;101(2):adv00382. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Section of Dermatology, Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, IT-50125 Florence, Italy.

Granular deposits of IgA represent the specific cutaneous marker of dermatitis herpetiformis. The prevalence of IgA deposits in the skin of patients with coeliac disease without dermatitis herpetiformis remains unknown. In this prospective case-control study, skin biopsies from newly diagnosed coeliac patients without dermatitis herpetiformis were analysed by direct immunofluorescence. Controls included healthy volunteers and patients with both bowel symptoms and skin eruptions unrelated to coeliac disease. Clinical data and serum level of anti-tissue transglutaminase and anti-epidermal transglutaminase IgA antibodies were collected from patients and controls. Granular deposits of IgA or IgA1 in the skin were found in 29 out of 45 patients with coeliac disease (64.4%), and in none of the included controls (specificity 100%; sensitivity 64.4%). Positive direct immunofluorescence correlated significantly with an increased serum level of anti-epidermal transglutaminase IgA antibodies (p < 0.005). This study shows that granular deposits of IgA represent a low sensitive, but highly specific, cutaneous marker of coeliac disease independent of dermatitis herpetiformis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/00015555-3742DOI Listing
February 2021

Front-Line Therapy for Elderly Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients: Bendamustine Plus Rituximab or Chlorambucil Plus Rituximab? Real-Life Retrospective Multicenter Study in the Lazio Region.

Front Oncol 2020 10;10:848. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Institute of Hematology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Previous studies investigated the efficacy and the safety of bendamustine (B) vs. chlorambucil (Chl) associated with rituximab (R) in fludarabine-ineligible patients with treated and untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We conducted a retrospective multicenter study in the Lazio region to further evaluate and compare the efficacy and the toxicity of Chl-R and B-R regimen in CLL patients over the age of 65. We enrolled 192 untreated CLL patients: 111 treated with B-R and 81 with Chl-R. The overall response rates (ORR; 93.6% in B-R and 86.5% in Chl-R) were not statistically different between the two groups, such as progression-free survival (PFS), time to retreatment (TTR), and overall survival (OS). The B-R group showed a higher hematological ( = 0.007) and extra-hematological ( = 0.008) toxicity. When comparing the toxicities according to age, we noted that the extra-hematological toxicity was higher in patients over the age of 75 who were treated with B-R than those treated with Chl-R ( = 0.03). This retrospective study confirms the feasibility of B-R and Chl-R in elderly untreated CLL patients. Currently, patients who are over 75 and unfit are usually treated with Chl-R. This scheme allows achieving the same ORR, PFS, TTR, and OS when compared with B-R because of hematological and extra-hematological toxicities due to B, in which a greater dose reduction has been shown in comparison to Chl.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.00848DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298101PMC
June 2020

The Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid and α-Lipoic Acid as Prevention of Bortezomib-Related Neurotoxicity in Patients With Multiple Myeloma.

Integr Cancer Ther 2019 Jan-Dec;18:1534735419888584

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute IRCCS-IFO - Via Elio Chianesi 53, Rome, Italy.

In cancer patients, a common complication during chemotherapy is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). For this reason, we decided to conduct a phase II prospective study on 33 patients with multiple myeloma at first diagnosis, to evaluate whether a nutraceutical compound given for 6 months during bortezomib (BTZ) treatment succeeded in preventing the onset of neurotoxicity. Neurological evaluation, electroneurography, and functional and quality of life (QoL) scales were performed at baseline and after 6 months. We administered a tablet containing docosahexaenoic acid 400 mg, α-lipoic acid 600 mg, vitamin C 60 mg, and vitamin E 10 mg bid for 6 months. Concerning the 25 patients who completed the study, at 6-month follow-up, 10 patients had no neurotoxicity (NCI-CTCAE [National Cancer Institute-Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events] = 0), while 13 progressed to NCI-CTCAE grade 1, 1 had NCI-CTCAE grade 1 with pain, and 1 experienced a NCI-CTCAE grade 2. Painful symptoms were reported only in 2 patients, and we observed stability on functional and QoL scales in all patients. None of the 25 patients stopped chemotherapy due to neurotoxicity. Our data seem to indicate that the co-administration of a neuroprotective agent during BTZ treatment can prevent the appearance/worsening of symptoms related to CIPN, avoiding the interruption of BTZ and maintaining valuable functional autonomy to allow normal daily activities. We believe that prevention remains the mainstay to preserve QoL in this particular patient population, and that future studies with a larger patient population are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534735419888584DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6928538PMC
May 2020

Preliminary results of a counselling programme for fertility preservation in female cancer patients: The experience of the GEMME DORMIENTI network.

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 2020 Jan 30;29(1):e13174. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

UOC Oncoematologia Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Objective: To describe a population of patients referred for fertility preservation (FP), how to efficiently provide FP care, and how FP care changed over time.

Methods: This longitudinal observational study enrolled 281 female cancer patients referred between 2013 and 2016 to the non-profit organisation Gemme Dormienti ONLUS (GD) for FP care. All patients underwent the same battery of instrumental and laboratory diagnostic tests. GnRHa therapy was started at least seven days before CTh treatment.

Results: From 2013 to 2016, we observed a progressive increase in the number of patients referred for FP care. Out of 251 eligible patients, 135 patients were treated with GnRHa only, and 72 patients underwent GnRHa therapy and cryopreservation. The median time from GD referral to oocyte and ovarian tissue cryopreservation was 11 and 5 days respectively. Tissue cryopreservation requests increased during our study period (from four cases in 2013 to 17 cases in 2016). During follow-up, 17β-estradiol and FSH levels were significantly increased (p < .0001), and AMH levels were significantly decreased (p < .0001).

Conclusion: The rapid increase in the number of patients who requested FP care and in the complexity of FP procedures overtime reflects the need to improve quality of life for cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecc.13174DOI Listing
January 2020

Efficacy and safety of low dose ponatinib in a case of Ph-positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Br J Haematol 2019 10 1;187(1):e15-e17. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16132DOI Listing
October 2019

Role of Pregabalin in Treatment of Polyneuropathy in Multiple Myeloma Patients: A Retrospective Study.

Clin Neuropharmacol 2019 Sep/Oct;42(5):167-171

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Unit.

Objectives: Polyneuropathy (PN) is a frequent and significant clinical manifestation of multiple myeloma that may be observed at onset of disease or induced during treatment as a therapy-related complication. Polyneuropathy may be a relevant issue in myeloma patients owing to its significant impact on the quality of life, considering that it may lead to dose reduction or treatment discontinuation. The present retrospective study intended to evaluate efficacy of pregabalin (PGB) in treatment of PN in multiple myeloma patients.

Materials And Methods: Medical charts of 108 consecutive PN myeloma patients were reviewed. Data regarding the tumor history and therapy as well as the clinical and neurophysiological examinations 6 months before and after initiation of PGB therapy were collected.

Results: Thirty-eight medical charts had all the requested information. All patients (n = 38) underwent bortezomib-based treatment; 19 were previously treated and 19 were treatment naive. At first neurologic visit, all patients had PN symptoms (grade 2 of National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria) without relevant pain. Neurophysiological evaluation showed a significant decrease in sensory nerve action potential amplitude (P = 0.006), conduction velocity (P = 0.006), and distal latency (P = 0.03) of sensory nerves between the first and the last neurological examination, in all patient population. Similar results were observed in treatment-naive patients, when the study cohort was stratified according to previous treatment. On the contrary, no significant differences were found between the first and the last neurophysiological follow-up evaluation in previously treated patients. Six months after PGB treatment, all patients reported disappearance of neurological symptoms (grade 0 National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria).

Conclusions: In this retrospective study, improvement in neurological symptoms during PGB therapy was observed in the total population, despite the presence of a distal, sensory axonal neuropathy, as evidenced by neurophysiological examination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/WNF.0000000000000360DOI Listing
March 2020

Association between CMV and Invasive Fungal Infections After Autologous Stem Cell Transplant in Lymphoproliferative Malignancies: Opportunistic Partnership or Cause-Effect Relationship?

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Mar 19;20(6). Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi, 53 00144 Rome, Italy.

Unlike allogeneic transplant, autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) represents a procedure with a low-risk of cytomegalovirus (CMV) symptomatic reactivation-infection/end-organ disease (CMV complications) and invasive fungal disease (IFD). However, novel drugs for the treatment of lymphoproliferative malignancies could cause an increase of such opportunistic infections, even after ASCT. To the best of our knowledge, there are no published data demonstrating an association between CMV and IFD in the autologous setting, while this association has been widely reported in allogeneic transplantation. We have reviewed our series of 347 ASCT in myeloma and lymphoma patients performed over a period of 14 years with the aim of investigating the descriptive and analytical epidemiology of bacterial, CMV and IFD complications, focusing on the association between CMV and IFD. Patients with myeloma have significantly fewer bacterial infections and IFD than patients with lymphoma, but a similar rate of CMV complications. Descriptive epidemiological data are consistent with the literature, indicating an overall incidence of 36%, 3.5% and 15.5% for bacterial infections, IFD and CMV complications, with a case mortality rate of 4%, 16.7% and 3.7%, respectively. A strong correlation between CMV and IFD exists, with 8 cases of IFD out of a total of 12 presenting a CMV complication. At multivariate analysis, a diagnosis of lymphoma, ≥3 previous treatment lines and age ≥60 years were found to be independent risk factors for IFD. Duration of neutropenia (ANC < 500/mm³) ≥7 days represents an independent risk factor for CMV complications, where neutropenia most likely represents a crude surrogate biomarker indicating a deeper and longer state of overall immunosuppression. From our data we conclude that (1) myeloma patients are at lower risk of bacterial infections and IFD as compared with lymphoma patients but are at equal risk of CMV complications, most likely as a consequence of a selective impact of bortezomib on Herpes Viruses infection control; (2) a significant association exists between CMV and IFD, although a possible cause-effect relationship remains to be determined; (3) IFD is a rare complication after ASCT but burdened by a mortality rate of about 17%, with peak rates in older lymphoma patients who underwent more intensive therapeutic regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061373DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471891PMC
March 2019

Metabolic Signature of Primary Biliary Cholangitis and Its Comparison with Celiac Disease.

J Proteome Res 2019 03 10;18(3):1228-1236. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences , University of Florence , Florence , 50139 Italy.

Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a chronic autoimmune liver disease characterized by ongoing inflammatory destruction of the interlobular bile ducts, eventually leading to chronic cholestasis and biliary cirrhosis. This study primarily aims to define the metabolomic signature of PBC after comparison with healthy controls (HC). Second, it aims to evaluate the possible metabolic association between PBC and celiac disease (CD), an immune-mediated disorder frequently associated with PBC. Serum and urine samples from 20 PBC, 21 CD, and 19 sex-matched HC subjects were collected. H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra for all samples were acquired, and multivariate statistics were used to evaluate the differences among the three groups and to provide information about the involved metabolites. The classification accuracies to discriminate PBC and HC groups were 78.9-84.6% for serum and 76.9% for urine. In comparison to HC, PBC patient sera were characterized by altered levels ( p value <0.05) of pyruvate, citrate, glutamate, glutamine, serine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and lactate. PBC patient urine showed lower levels ( p value <0.05) of trigonelline and hippurate with respect to HC. Furthermore, the NMR metabolomic fingerprint was able to cluster PBC with respect to CD patients, and the classification accuracies in the discriminations between these groups were 81.9-91.7% for serum and 77.7% for urine. Our results show that PBC displays a unique metabolomic fingerprint, which led to speculation about an impaired energy metabolism, probably associated with an altered gut microbiota. PBC and CD showed two distinct metabolic fingerprints. These data could provide clues for the comprehension of the PBC pathogenetic mechanisms and the detection of novel therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.8b00849DOI Listing
March 2019

Prevention of Bortezomib-Related Peripheral Neuropathy With Docosahexaenoic Acid and α-Lipoic Acid in Patients With Multiple Myeloma: Preliminary Data.

Integr Cancer Ther 2018 12 8;17(4):1115-1124. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

1 Center for Tumor-Related Epilepsy, UOSD Neurology, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Background And Aims: Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of chemotherapy that can induce marked disability that negatively affects the quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). The aim of this study was to prevent the onset or the worsening of peripheral neuropathy in MM patients treated with bortezomib (BTZ), using a new nutritional neuroprotective compound. We report preliminary results of 18 out of 33 patients who completed the study.

Methods: We administered a tablet of Neuronorm to patients, containing docosahexaenoic acid 400 mg, α-lipoic acid 600 mg, vitamin C 60 mg, and vitamin E 10 mg bid for the whole follow-up period. Neurological visit assessment, electroneurography, and evaluation scales were performed at baseline and after 6 months.

Results: At 6 months, 8 patients had no chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, while 10 patients experienced chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy of grade 1 according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, one of them with pain. Seventeen patients did not report painful symptoms; no limitation of functional autonomy and stability in quality of life domains explored was observed.

Conclusions: Our results seem to indicate that early introduction of a neuroprotective agent in our patients with MM treated with BTZ could prevent the onset or the worsening of neuropathic pain, avoiding the interruption of the therapy with BTZ, and maintaining a good functional autonomy to allow normal daily activities. Despite the limitations due to the fact that this is a preliminary study, in a small population, with short follow-up, our data seem to indicate that the nutraceutical may have some potential to be considered for a future trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534735418803758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6247541PMC
December 2018

Cervical lymphadenopathy: can the histogram analysis of apparent diffusion coefficient help to differentiate between lymphoma and squamous cell carcinoma in patients with unknown clinical primary tumor?

Radiol Med 2019 Jan 8;124(1):19-26. Epub 2018 Sep 8.

Medical Physics Laboratory, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi 53, 00144, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: To retrospectively evaluate the value of whole-lesion histogram analysis of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps in differentiating between lymphoma and metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of unknown clinical primary in neck nodes.

Methods: A total of 39 patients, 20 affected by lymphoma and 19 affected by metastatic non-nasopharyngeal SCC, were included in this retrospective study. All patients underwent MR imaging with a 1.5 T scanner system, including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) with three different b values (b = 0, 500 and 800 s/mm). The entire tumor volume was manually delineated on the ADC maps, using the T2-weighted images and DWIs with b = 800 s/mm as a guide to the lesion location. The Mann-Whitney rank-sum test for independent samples was performed to compare the histogram parameters of patients with lymphoma and SCC.

Results: The SCCs showed significantly higher median ADC (ADC) and mean ADC (ADC) values, compared to lymphomas (p < 0.001), while they exhibited lower kurtosis and skewness without reaching significance (p = 0.066 and 0.148, respectively). The ADC and ADC had the best discriminative powers for differentiating lymphoma and SCC, with an area under the curve of 87% and 85%, respectively. The optimal cutoff values for ADC and ADC as predictors for lymphoma were ≤ 0.83 × 10 mm/s and ≤ 0.73 × 10 mm/s, respectively.

Conclusions: The whole-lesion ADC histogram analysis of cervical lymphadenopathy may help to discriminate lymphomas from non-nasopharyngeal SCC in patients with unknown clinical primary tumor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11547-018-0940-1DOI Listing
January 2019

Intestinal Candida parapsilosis isolates from Rett syndrome subjects bear potential virulent traits and capacity to persist within the host.

BMC Gastroenterol 2018 May 2;18(1):57. Epub 2018 May 2.

Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via Madonna del Piano 6, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy.

Background: Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurological disorder mainly caused by mutations in MeCP2 gene. It has been shown that MeCP2 impairments can lead to cytokine dysregulation due to MeCP2 regulatory role in T-helper and T-reg mediated responses, thus contributing to the pro-inflammatory status associated with RTT. Furthermore, RTT subjects suffer from an intestinal dysbiosis characterized by an abnormal expansion of the Candida population, a known factor responsible for the hyper-activation of pro-inflammatory immune responses. Therefore, we asked whether the intestinal fungal population of RTT subjects might contribute the sub-inflammatory status triggered by MeCP2 deficiency.

Methods: We evaluated the cultivable gut mycobiota from a cohort of 50 RTT patients and 29 healthy controls characterizing the faecal fungal isolates for their virulence-related traits, antifungal resistance and immune reactivity in order to elucidate the role of fungi in RTT's intestinal dysbiosis and gastrointestinal physiology.

Results: Candida parapsilosis, the most abundant yeast species in RTT subjects, showed distinct genotypic profiles if compared to healthy controls' isolates as measured by hierarchical clustering analysis from RAPD genotyping. Their phenotypical analysis revealed that RTT's isolates produced more biofilm and were significantly more resistant to azole antifungals compared to the isolates from the healthy controls. In addition, the high levels of IL-1β and IL-10 produced by peripheral blood mononuclear cells and the mixed Th1/Th17 cells population induced by RTT C. parapsilosis isolates suggest the capacity of these intestinal fungi to persist within the host, being potentially involved in chronic, pro-inflammatory responses.

Conclusions: Here we demonstrated that intestinal C. parapsilosis isolates from RTT subjects hold phenotypic traits that might favour the previously observed low-grade intestinal inflammatory status associated with RTT. Therefore, the presence of putative virulent, pro-inflammatory C. parapsilosis strains in RTT could represent an additional factor in RTT's gastrointestinal pathophysiology, whose mechanisms are not yet clearly understood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12876-018-0785-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5930502PMC
May 2018

Lenograstim 5 µg/kg is not superior to biosimilar filgrastim 10 µg/kg in lymphoma patients undergoing peripheral blood stem cell mobilization after chemotherapy: preliminary results from a prospective randomized study.

Transfusion 2018 05 15;58(5):1143-1148. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit.

Background: Randomized trials comparing chemomobilization efficiency between lenograstim and biosimilar filgrastim are lacking. Our previous retrospective study suggested that lenograstim could be more effective than biosimilar filgrastim when used at the same conventional dosage (5 µg/kg) only in lymphoma patients undergoing peripheral blood stem cell mobilization. We planned a prospective randomized study comparing lenograstim 5 µg/kg with biosimilar filgrastim 10 µg/kg to verify the hypothesis of lenograstim superiority even at half the dosage (stress test). Herein we report data after enrolling 60% of planned patients.

Study Design And Methods: From October 2014 to November 2017, a total of 42 of 70 planned patients with lymphoma were randomly assigned to receive lenograstim 5 µg/kg (21) or biosimilar filgrastim 10 µg/kg (21). Patients were stratified according to treatment line at the time of mobilization (1 or ≥2). Primary endpoint was the rate of achievement of the CD34+ cell collection target dose (≥ 4 × 10 /kg). An improvement by 23% was expected to validate the hypothesis of lenograstim superiority.

Results: The two cohorts were balanced for all the baseline features. We observed an identical rate of patients able to reach the targeted CD34+ cell dose and of mobilization failures (90.4 and 4.8% in both cohorts) and a perfect equivalence in any of the secondary collection outcomes. The hypothesis of lenograstim superiority was not corroborated at interim analysis.

Conclusion: Lenograstim at conventional dosage has failed to demonstrate its superiority over biosimilar filgrastim at double the dosage at interim analysis in their first head-to-head trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.14533DOI Listing
May 2018

The gliadin peptide 31-43 exacerbates kainate neurotoxicity in epilepsy models.

Sci Rep 2017 11 9;7(1):15146. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Drug Research and Child Health (NeuroFarBa), Viale G. Pieraccini 6, 50139, Florence, Italy.

Many neurological disorders of gluten-related diseases (GRD), not directly referable to the gastrointestinal tract, have been reported in association with celiac disease (CD), including ataxia, neuropathy and epilepsy. In particular, people with epilepsy diagnosed with CD seems to be characterized by intractable seizure. In these patients, gluten restriction diet has resulted in a reduction of both seizure frequency and antiepileptic medication. Many hypotheses have been suggested, however, molecular mechanisms that associates GRD and epileptogenesis are yet unknown. In this study, we examined the effects of the toxic gliadin peptide 31-43 in in vivo and in vitro models of kainate-induced-epilepsy. We observed that p31-43 exacerbates kainate neurotoxicity in epilepsy models, through the involvement of the enzymatic activity of transglutaminases. Moreover, electrophysiological recordings in CA3 pyramidal neurons of organotypic hippocampal slices show that p31-43 increases the inward current induced by kainate, the average sEPSC amplitude and the total number of evoked action potentials when applicated alone, thus suggesting that p31-43 is able to influence CA3-CA1 neurotransmission and can potentiate postsynaptic kainate receptors. Our results suggest a possible mechanism underlying the relationship between GRD and epilepsy through a potentiation of kainate-induced neurotoxicity and links the toxic effects of gluten to epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14845-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5680182PMC
November 2017

New evidences on the altered gut microbiota in autism spectrum disorders.

Microbiome 2017 02 22;5(1):24. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Institute of Agriculture Biology and Biotechnology, National Research Council (CNR), Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy.

Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social and behavioural impairments. In addition to neurological symptoms, ASD subjects frequently suffer from gastrointestinal abnormalities, thus implying a role of the gut microbiota in ASD gastrointestinal pathophysiology.

Results: Here, we characterized the bacterial and fungal gut microbiota in a cohort of autistic individuals demonstrating the presence of an altered microbial community structure. A fraction of 90% of the autistic subjects were classified as severe ASDs. We found a significant increase in the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in autistic subjects due to a reduction of the Bacteroidetes relative abundance. At the genus level, we observed a decrease in the relative abundance of Alistipes, Bilophila, Dialister, Parabacteroides, and Veillonella in the ASD cohort, while Collinsella, Corynebacterium, Dorea, and Lactobacillus were significantly increased. Constipation has been then associated with different bacterial patterns in autistic and neurotypical subjects, with constipated autistic individuals characterized by high levels of bacterial taxa belonging to Escherichia/Shigella and Clostridium cluster XVIII. We also observed that the relative abundance of the fungal genus Candida was more than double in the autistic than neurotypical subjects, yet due to a larger dispersion of values, this difference was only partially significant.

Conclusions: The finding that, besides the bacterial gut microbiota, also the gut mycobiota contributes to the alteration of the intestinal microbial community structure in ASDs opens the possibility for new potential intervention strategies aimed at the relief of gastrointestinal symptoms in ASDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40168-017-0242-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5320696PMC
February 2017

Ponatinib Induces a Persistent Molecular Response and Graft-versus-Host Disease/Graft-versus-Leukemia Effect in a Patient with Philadelphia-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with a T315I Mutation following Early Relapse after Allogeneic Transplant.

Chemotherapy 2017 10;62(1):58-61. Epub 2016 Sep 10.

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

We describe the case of a patient with a Philadelphia-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with dasatinib plus steroids as the first-line therapy who achieved a molecular complete remission and then underwent a matched, unrelated donor allogeneic transplant. Five months after the transplant, he experienced a disease relapse with an T315I mutation, which was resistant to salvage chemotherapy. Once the details of the T315I mutation were acquired, we initiated ponatinib treatment at a standard dosage and observed a rapid decrease of minimal residual disease (MRD) at molecular assessment. The bone marrow evaluation after 2, 3, 6, 10 and 13 months was negative for MRD. After starting ponatinib, the patient experienced a skin graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), whereas no occurrence of GVHD was observed after transplant, suggesting that the efficacy of ponatinib could be related not only to the direct antileukemic effect, but also to its ability to promote an indirect graft-versus-leukemia effect. Ponatinib was well tolerated but a thyroid dysfunction mimicking a cardiovascular toxicity was observed and solved with hormonal substitutive treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000448750DOI Listing
February 2017

Altered gut microbiota in Rett syndrome.

Microbiome 2016 07 30;4(1):41. Epub 2016 Jul 30.

Institute of Biometeorology (IBIMET), National Research Council (CNR), Via Giovanni Caproni 8, I-50145, Florence, Italy.

Background: The human gut microbiota directly affects human health, and its alteration can lead to gastrointestinal abnormalities and inflammation. Rett syndrome (RTT), a progressive neurological disorder mainly caused by mutations in MeCP2 gene, is commonly associated with gastrointestinal dysfunctions and constipation, suggesting a link between RTT's gastrointestinal abnormalities and the gut microbiota. The aim of this study was to evaluate the bacterial and fungal gut microbiota in a cohort of RTT subjects integrating clinical, metabolomics and metagenomics data to understand if changes in the gut microbiota of RTT subjects could be associated with gastrointestinal abnormalities and inflammatory status.

Results: Our findings revealed the occurrence of an intestinal sub-inflammatory status in RTT subjects as measured by the elevated values of faecal calprotectin and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. We showed that, overall, RTT subjects harbour bacterial and fungal microbiota altered in terms of relative abundances from those of healthy controls, with a reduced microbial richness and dominated by microbial taxa belonging to Bifidobacterium, several Clostridia (among which Anaerostipes, Clostridium XIVa, Clostridium XIVb) as well as Erysipelotrichaceae, Actinomyces, Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Eggerthella, Escherichia/Shigella and the fungal genus Candida. We further observed that alterations of the gut microbiota do not depend on the constipation status of RTT subjects and that this dysbiotic microbiota produced altered short chain fatty acids profiles.

Conclusions: We demonstrated for the first time that RTT is associated with a dysbiosis of both the bacterial and fungal component of the gut microbiota, suggesting that impairments of MeCP2 functioning favour the establishment of a microbial community adapted to the costive gastrointestinal niche of RTT subjects. The altered production of short chain fatty acids associated with this microbiota might reinforce the constipation status of RTT subjects and contribute to RTT gastrointestinal physiopathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40168-016-0185-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967335PMC
July 2016

Flow cytometry remission by Ig light chains ratio is a powerful marker of outcome in multiple myeloma after tandem autologous transplant: a real-life study.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2016 Mar 19;35:49. Epub 2016 Mar 19.

Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Background: The achievement of complete response (CR) significantly correlates with a better clinical outcome in multiple myeloma (MM) patients treated with autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT). The depth of response is one of the most relevant factors to predict patient's outcome, however the definition of CR through standard criteria has shown several limitations.

Methods: In this study we evaluated the minimal residual disease (MRD) in 50 consecutive MM patients who underwent an up-front tandem ASCT in our center, using a single-tube six-colors flow cytometry assay (FC) based on intra-cytoplasmic immunoglobulin (cy-Ig) light chains ratio evaluated on patient-specific plasma cells (PC) immune profile, in a real-life setting.

Results: With a sensitivity up to 10(-5), clonal-PC were documented by FC in 36.4% (12/33) of patients in conventional CR after second transplant. The number of flow MRD-negative patients significantly increased after induction and first ASCT, but not between first and second transplant. The 5-years progression-free survival (5ys-PFS) of flow MRD-negative patients after second transplant was significantly better than patients who remained MRD-positive considering both all patients (5ys-PFS: 70% vs 5%) and patients in CR according to standard criteria (5ys-PFS: 67% vs 0%).

Conclusions: FC remission through cy-Ig light ratio on PC sub-populations is a sensitive, highly informative, low-cost and routinely applicable MRD assay, a powerful tool in treatment response evaluation and a crucial marker of outcome in MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-016-0324-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799564PMC
March 2016

Cytomegalovirus reactivation after autologous stem cell transplantation in myeloma and lymphoma patients: A single-center study.

World J Transplant 2015 Sep;5(3):129-36

Francesco Marchesi, Svitlana Gumenyuk, Daniela Renzi, Francesca Palombi, Francesco Pisani, Atelda Romano, Antonio Spadea, Elena Papa, Andrea Mengarelli, Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Aim: To determine the incidence of and the risk factors for cytomegalovirus (CMV) symptomatic infection and end-organ disease after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).

Methods: A total of 327 consecutive non CD34(+) selected autografts performed from the Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation Unit of Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome (Italy) in the period comprised between January 2003 to January 2015, were reviewed. Over the 327 autografts, 201 were performed in patients with multiple myeloma, whereas the remaining 126 in patients affected by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma. The patients who underwent an ASCT for an acute leukemia (n = 20) in the same period were excluded from this analysis. CMV DNA load in the blood has been determined by polymerase-chain reaction in the case of a clinical suspicion of reactivation, therefore, no routine monitoring strategy was adopted. In the presence of signs and symptoms of CMV reactivation an antiviral treatment was performed.

Results: Overall, 36 patients (11%) required a specific antiviral treatment for a symptomatic CMV reactivation (n = 32) or an end-organ disease (n = 4). We observed 20 and 16 cases of CMV reactivation among lymphoma (16%) and myeloma patients (8%), respectively. Among cases of end-organ disease, 3 were diagnosed as interstitial pneumonia and one remaining case as hemorrhagic enteritis. All cases of CMV reactivation were observed in IgG seropositive patients, with no documented cases of primary CMV infection. All patients were treated with a specific antiviral therapy, with a global rate of hospitalization of 55%; four patients received intravenous immunoglobulins. Transplant-related mortality was significantly higher in patients who experienced a CMV reactivation (8.4% ± 4.7% vs 1.7% ± 0.8%; P = 0.047). In univariate analysis, a pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity, a diagnosis of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and higher median age at transplant were significantly associated with the risk of developing a clinically relevant CMV infection requiring specific antiviral therapy (P < 0.001, P = 0.042 and P = 0.004, respectively). In multivariate analysis, only a pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity (OR = 8.928, 95%CI: 1.991-33.321; P = 0.023) and a diagnosis of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (OR = 4.739, 95%CI: 1.511-11.112; P = 0.042) proved to be independent predictors of a post-transplant clinically relevant CMV reactivation.

Conclusion: A symptomatic CMV infection can occur in about 11% of adult patients with lymphoma or myeloma undergoing ASCT. A pre-transplant HBcIgG seropositivity and a diagnosis of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma should be considered as independent predictor factors of CMV reactivation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5500/wjt.v5.i3.129DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4580927PMC
September 2015

Synthetic peptides reproducing tissue transglutaminase-gliadin complex neo-epitopes as probes for antibody detection in celiac disease patients' sera.

J Med Chem 2015 Feb 26;58(3):1390-9. Epub 2015 Jan 26.

Laboratory of Peptide and Protein Chemistry and Biology, University of Florence , I-50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.

Celiac disease (CD) patients usually present high levels of circulating IgA antibodies directed to different antigens, in particular tissue transglutaminase (tTG), gliadin (Glia), and endomysium. A series of synthetic peptide constructs containing cross-linked tTG and Glia deamidated peptides have been synthesized. Peptides were tested in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays against celiac disease patients' sera versus normal blood donors, and their conformational features were evaluated by molecular modeling techniques. Four peptides were recognized as epitopes by autoantibodies (IgG class) circulating in CD patients' sera before gluten-free diet. The peptide II, containing Ac-tTG(553-564)-NH2 sequence cross-linked with deamidated Ac-α2-Glia(63-71)-NH2, was able to identify specific disease antibodies with a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 94.4%. Structural conformations of the linear fragments Ac-tTG(553-564)-NH2 and Ac-α2-Glia(63-71)-NH2 and the corresponding cross-linked peptide II were calculated by molecular modeling. Results showed that cross-linking is determinant to assume conformations, which are not accessible to the linear fragments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm5017126DOI Listing
February 2015

Regulatory T cells as well as IL-10 are reduced in the skin of patients with dermatitis herpetiformis.

J Dermatol Sci 2015 Jan 18;77(1):54-62. Epub 2014 Nov 18.

Department of Surgery and Translational Medicine, Section of Dermatology, University of Florence, Viale Michelangelo 41, 50125 Florence, Italy.

Background: Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) and celiac disease (CD) are considered as autoimmune diseases that share a defined trigger (gluten) and a common genetic background (HLA-DQ2/DQ8). However, the pathogenesis of DH is not fully understood and no data are available about the immune regulation in such a disease.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess if alterations in the pattern of the immune response and, in particular, impairments of regulatory T (Tregs) cells may contribute to the phenotypic differences between DH and CD.

Methods: We investigated the presence of Tregs cell markers, in the skin, the duodenum and the blood of patients with DH by immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. As controls, we included patients with bullous pemphigoid, patients with CD without skin lesions, as well as healthy subjects (HS).

Results: In the skin of DH patient, we found a significantly lower proportion of FOXP3(+) Tregs and IL-10(+) cells than in HS (p < 0.001 for both cell populations). In duodenal samples, no differences where found in the proportion of Tregs between patients with DH and patients with CD without skin manifestations. Finally, the frequency of CD25(bright)FOXP3(+) cells within the CD4(+) subset was significantly reduced in CD patients either with or without DH with respect to HS (p = 0.029 and p = 0.017, respectively).

Conclusions: Our findings suggested that a reduction of Tregs may play a major role in the skin, leading to a defective suppressive function and thus to the development of the lesions. By contrast, no differences could be detected about Tregs between patients with DH and patients with CD in the duodenum, suggesting that the mechanisms of the intestinal damage are similar in both diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdermsci.2014.11.003DOI Listing
January 2015

Are patients with potential celiac disease really potential? The answer of metabonomics.

J Proteome Res 2011 Feb 13;10(2):714-21. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Magnetic Resonance Center (CERM), University of Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.

Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder caused by a permanent sensitivity to gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. Accurate diagnosis of CD at an early stage and its treatment with a gluten-free diet (GFD) are important for optimum treatment and prognosis. Recently, by employing a noninvasive metabonomic approach, we have shown that CD has a well-defined metabonomic signature. Here we address potential CD patients, defined as subjects who do not have, and have never had, a jejunal biopsy consistent with clear CD, and yet have immunological abnormalities similar to those found in celiac patients. Sixty-one overt CD patients at diagnosis, 29 patients with potential CD, and 51 control subjects were examined by (1)H NMR of their serum and urine: out of 29 potential CD patients, 24 were classified as CD and 5 as control subjects. Potential CD largely shares the metabonomic signature of overt CD. Most metabolites found to be significantly different between control and CD subjects were also altered in potential CD. Our results demonstrate that metabolic alterations may precede the development of small intestinal villous atrophy and provide a further rationale for early institution of GFD in patients with potential CD, as recently suggested by prospective clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr100896sDOI Listing
February 2011

Social participation and independent mobility in children: the effects of two implementations of "we go to school alone".

J Prev Interv Community 2010 ;38(1):8-25

Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy.

The aim of this research was to determine the outcomes of the "We go to school alone" program in two Districts of Rome through a longitudinal study involving 392 children (mean age = 8.37 years) and 270 parents. The outcomes of the program in the two Districts were very different. Only one resulted in an increase in children's autonomous mobility on the home-school journey, a reduction in the number of times a child was taken to school by car, and, even more important, in an increase in the general level of children's independent mobility in their neighborhood. The findings are discussed in terms of a process evaluation that enabled us to understand the differing results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10852350903393392DOI Listing
July 2010

The metabonomic signature of celiac disease.

J Proteome Res 2009 Jan;8(1):170-7

Magnetic Resonance Center (CERM), University of Florence, Via L.Sacconi 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.

Celiac disease (CD) is a multifactorial disorder involving genetic and environmental factors, thus, having great potential impact on metabolism. This study aims at defining the metabolic signature of CD through Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) of urine and serum samples of CD patients. Thirty-four CD patients at diagnosis and 34 healthy controls were examined by (1)H NMR of their serum and urine. A CD patients' subgroup was also examined after a gluten-free diet (GFD). Projection to Latent Structures provided data reduction and clustering, and Support Vector Machines provided pattern recognition and classification. The classification accuracy of CD and healthy control groups was 79.7-83.4% for serum and 69.3% for urine. Sera of CD patients were characterized by lower levels (P < 0.01) of several metabolites such as amino acids, lipids, pyruvate and choline, and by higher levels of glucose and 3-hydroxybutyric acid, while urines showed altered levels (P < 0.05) of, among others, indoxyl sulfate, meta-[hydroxyphenyl]propionic acid and phenylacetylglycine. After 12 months of GFD, all but one of the patients were classified as healthy by the same statistical analysis. NMR thus reveals a characteristic metabolic signature of celiac disease. Altered serum levels of glucose and ketonic bodies suggest alterations of energy metabolism, while the urine data point to alterations of gut microbiota. Metabolomics may thus provide further hints on the biochemistry of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/pr800548zDOI Listing
January 2009

Evaluation of the prognostic relevance of L-selectin and ICAM1 expression in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Eur J Haematol 2008 Feb 17;80(2):107-14. Epub 2007 Nov 17.

Department of Biopatologia e Diagnostica per Immagini, Policlinico Tor Vergata and Ospedale S.Eugenio, Rome, Italy.

Objectives: An aberrant pattern of expression of L-selectin and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1) may characterise CD34+ blast cells in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and secondary acute myeloid leukaemia (sAML).

Methods: In a three-colour flow cytometric assay, we evaluated the expression of L-selectin and ICAM1 on CD34+ blast cells from the bone marrow (BM) of 66 MDS patients; for the purpose of comparison CD34+ blast cells of 18 sAML and CD34+ stem cells of 17 normal donors were also analysed.

Results: The ratio of L-selectin/ICAM1 expression was identified as a parameter correlated with the percentage of BM blast infiltration and the time to leukaemic progression among MDS patients. In fact, the values of L-selectin/ICAM1 ratio were inversely correlated with the BM blast infiltration (r = -0.34, P = 0.004). Furthermore, MDS patients with a baseline ratio <1 had a higher leukaemic progression rate (41% vs. 19%, P = 0.008); the actuarial risk of disease progression for this subgroup of MDS patients was also higher (64% vs. 11% at 2 yr, P = 0.002). Furthermore, in two patients a decrease of the ratio was observed when overt leukaemic transformation occurred; conversely, restoration of a normal ratio was observed in two patients after a chemotherapy-induced remission.

Conclusion: (i) L-selectin is defective in the stem cell compartment of MDS and sAML, whereas ICAM1 is overexpressed; (ii) the ratio of their expression has a prognostic role; and (iii) a ratio <1 significantly predicts progression to overt leukaemia in MDS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0609.2007.00986.xDOI Listing
February 2008

Usefulness of the organ culture system in the in vitro diagnosis of coeliac disease: a multicentre study.

Scand J Gastroenterol 2006 Feb;41(2):186-90

Department of Clinical Sciences, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Objective: Diagnosis of coeliac disease is based on the presence of villous atrophy which recovers following a gluten-free diet. The presence of circulating antiendomysial antibodies as well as their disappearance after a gluten-free diet supports the diagnosis. It has also been demonstrated that antiendomysial antibodies are detectable in supernatants of cultured intestinal biopsies from patients with coeliac disease. The objective of this study was to compare the histology and antiendomysial antibodies in culture supernatants of intestinal biopsies to validate the in vitro organ culture system as a future diagnostic tool for coeliac disease.

Material And Methods: Seventy-five antiendomysial serum-positive patients on a gluten-containing diet were evaluated. Patients underwent endoscopy with 5 biopsy fragments: 3 for histology, 1 cultured with and the other without gliadin-peptide activator. Antiendomysial antibodies were evaluated in all culture supernatants.

Results: Sixty-eight patients had evidence of villous atrophy, while 73 out of 75 were positive to the organ culture system. The agreement rate between organ culture and histology results was 94%.

Conclusions: As all the centres participating in the study obtained good agreement between organ culture and histology results, the new system could be considered a reliable tool for the diagnosis of coeliac disease. Nevertheless, it is possible to highlight cases with an organ culture-positive and -negative histology. This feature could be of considerable interest because, as the sensitivity of organ culture seems to be greater than the initial histology, the new system might be useful in uncertain cases where the risk of missing the diagnosis of coeliac disease is high.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00365520510024151DOI Listing
February 2006

Quantitative evaluation of somatostatin receptor subtype 2 expression in sporadic colorectal tumor and in the corresponding normal mucosa.

Clin Cancer Res 2002 Feb;8(2):419-27

Clinical Biochemistry Unit, Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy.

Purpose: The somatostatin (SS) receptor subtype 2 (sst2) is the principal mediator of the antiproliferative effects of SS and has the highest affinity for the commercially available SS analogues. The purpose of this study was to evaluate sst2 mRNA expression by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) in colon cancers and in corresponding normal tissues.

Experimental Design: The expression of sst2 mRNA was measured with a quantitative method based on real time RT-PCR with TaqMan assay in 100 colon cancers and in the corresponding normal tissues. In a limited number of patients, these results were compared with those obtained by in situ hybridization (n = 26) and by in vivo imaging with (111)In-pentetreotide (n = 17).

Results: Results obtained by quantitative RT-PCR on sst2 expression in colorectal cancer were significantly related to those obtained by in situ hybridization and (111)In-pentetreotide scintigraphy. Sst2 was expressed in all of the tumors investigated without any relationship with localization, grading, and stage of disease. Although the paired, unaffected mucosa tends to express a higher abundance of sst2 than the corresponding cancer samples, this difference did not reach a statistical significance. However, in patients with elevated carcinoembryonic antigen levels (>5 ng/ml) there was a significant loss of sst2 mRNA in the tumor when compared with its paired normal tissue.

Conclusions: In this study we confirmed, by a quantitative method, that colorectal cancer does not express higher concentrations of sst2 mRNA than the corresponding unaffected tissue. Conversely, a loss of sst2 was found in patients with elevated preoperative concentrations of carcinoembryonic antigen, an unfavorable prognostic marker for colorectal cancer.
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February 2002