Publications by authors named "Emanuela Messa"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effects of different doses of erythropoietin in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: A propensity score-matched analysis.

Cancer Med 2019 12 27;8(18):7567-7576. Epub 2019 Oct 27.

Fondazione Italiana Sindromi Mielodisplastiche (FISM), Bologna, Italy.

Background: Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents effectively improve the hemoglobin levels in a fraction of anemic patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Higher doses (HD) of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) have been proposed to overcome suboptimal response rates observed in MDS patients treated with lower "standard doses" (SD) of rhEPO. However, a direct comparison between the different doses of rhEPO is lacking.

Methods: A cohort of 104 MDS patients treated with HD was retrospectively compared to 208 patients treated with SD in a propensity score-matched analysis to evaluate hematological improvement-erythroid (HI-E) rate induced by the different doses of rhEPO. The impact of rhEPO doses on survival and progression to leukemia was also investigated.

Results: Overall HI-E rate was 52.6%. No difference was observed between different rhEPO doses (P = .28) in matched cohorts; in a subgroup analysis, transfusion-dependent patients and patients with higher IPSS-R score obtained a higher HI-E rate with HD, although without significant impact on overall survival (OS). Achievement of HI-E resulted in superior OS. At univariate analysis, a higher HI-E rate was observed in transfusion-independent patients (P < .001), with a lower IPSS-R score (P < .001) and lower serum EPO levels (P = .027). Multivariate analysis confirmed that rhEPO doses were not significantly related to HI-E (P = .26). There was no significant difference in OS or progression to leukemia in patients treated with HD vs SD.

Conclusion: SD are substantially equally effective to HD to improve anemia and influencing survival in MDS patients stratified according to similar propensity to be exposed to rhEPO treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2638DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912022PMC
December 2019

Core binding factor acute myeloid leukaemia and c-KIT mutations.

Oncol Rep 2013 May 5;29(5):1867-72. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, Section of Pathology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Core binding factor (CBF) acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) represents 5-8% of all AMLs and has a relatively favourable prognosis. However, activating c-KIT mutations are reported to be associated with higher risk of relapse and shorter survival. To verify the incidence and prognostic value of c-KIT mutations in CBF AML, we retrospectively analysed bone marrow samples of 23 consecutive adult patients with de novo CBF AML [14 inv(16) and 9 t(8;21)] treated at a single institution from 2000 to 2011. All patients received standard induction chemotherapy with cytarabine, idarubicin and etoposide; 13 underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation. c-KIT mutations in exons 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 17 were assessed by PCR amplification in combination with direct sequencing. c-KIT mutations (3 in exon 10 and 4 in exon 17) were detected in 7/23 (30.4%) patients, 3 with t(8;21) and 4 with inv(16). No difference in c-KIT mutation status was observed between cases with inv(16) or t(8;21) alone and cases with additional cytogenetic abnormalities. No association between gender, age, white blood cell and platelet count, peripheral blood and bone marrow blast cells at diagnosis, achievement of complete remission, cytogenetic risk groups and Wilms tumour gene 1 (WT1) levels was found. On the contrary, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) values were higher in mutated than in non-mutated patients (p=0.01). Overall survival (OS) rates were longer in CBF compared to the other types of AML and disease-free survival (DFS) was longer in inv(16) than in t(8;21) AML. OS and DFS were similar in mutated and non-mutated CBF AML patients. Our results confirm a better prognosis for CBF AML than all other AML categories, and for inv(16) than t(8;21) AML. However, no prognostic value for c-KIT mutational status was found in our series. The association between LDH levels and c-KIT mutation would indicate a more active proliferation for mutated CBF AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/or.2013.2328DOI Listing
May 2013

Arsenic trioxide and ascorbic acid interfere with the BCL2 family genes in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: an ex-vivo study.

J Hematol Oncol 2012 Sep 10;5:53. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Department of Oncology, Transplant, New Advances in Medicine, Section of Hematology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Background: Arsenic Trioxide (ATO) is effective in about 20% of patients with myelodysplasia (MDS); its mechanisms of action have already been evaluated in vitro, but the in vivo activity is still not fully understood. Since ATO induces apoptosis in in vitro models, we compared the expression of 93 apoptotic genes in patients' bone marrow before and after ATO treatment. For this analysis, we selected 12 patients affected by MDS who received ATO in combination with Ascorbic Acid in the context of the Italian clinical trial NCT00803530, EudracT Number 2005-001321-28.

Methods: Real-time PCR quantitative assays for genes involved in apoptosis were performed using TaqMan® Assays in 384-Well Microfluidic Cards "TaqMan® Human Apoptosis Array".Quantitative RT-PCR for expression of EVI1 and WT1 genes was also performed. Gene expression values (Ct) were normalized to the median expression of 3 housekeeping genes present in the card (18S, ACTB and GAPDH).

Results: ATO treatment induced up-regulation of some pro-apoptotic genes, such as HRK, BAK1, CASPASE-5, BAD, TNFRSF1A, and BCL2L14 and down-regulation of ICEBERG. In the majority of cases with stable disease, apoptotic gene expression profile did not change, whereas in cases with advanced MDS more frequently pro-apoptotic genes were up-regulated. Two patients achieved a major response: in the patient with refractory anemia the treatment down-regulated 69% of the pro-apoptotic genes, whereas 91% of the pro-apoptotic genes were up-regulated in the patient affected by refractory anemia with excess of blasts-1. Responsive patients showed a higher induction of BAD than those with stable disease. Finally, WT1 gene expression was down-regulated by the treatment in responsive cases.

Conclusions: These results represent the basis for a possible association of ATO with other biological compounds able to modify the apoptotic pathways, such as inhibitors of the BCL2 family.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-8722-5-53DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3465246PMC
September 2012

Iron chelation therapy in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Adv Hematol 2010 20;2010:756289. Epub 2010 Jun 20.

Division of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano (To), Italy.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous disorder of the hematopoietic stem cells, frequently characterized by anemia and transfusion dependency. In low-risk patients, transfusion dependency can be long lasting, leading to iron overload. Iron chelation therapy may be a therapeutic option for these patients, especially since the approval of oral iron chelators, which are easier to use and better accepted by the patients. The usefulness of iron chelation in MDS patients is still under debate, mainly because of the lack of solid prospective clinical trials that should take place in the future. This review aims to summarize what is currently known about the incidence and clinical consequences of iron overload in MDS patients and the state-of the-art of iron chelation therapy in this setting. We also give an overview of clinical guidelines for chelation in MDS published to date and some perspectives for the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/756289DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2905902PMC
July 2011

Deferasirox is a powerful NF-kappaB inhibitor in myelodysplastic cells and in leukemia cell lines acting independently from cell iron deprivation by chelation and reactive oxygen species scavenging.

Haematologica 2010 Aug 9;95(8):1308-16. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

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

Background: Usefulness of iron chelation therapy in myelodysplastic patients is still under debate but many authors suggest its possible role in improving survival of low-risk myelodysplastic patients. Several reports have described an unexpected effect of iron chelators, such as an improvement in hemoglobin levels, in patients affected by myelodysplastic syndromes. Furthermore, the novel chelator deferasirox induces a similar improvement more rapidly. Nuclear factor-kappaB is a key regulator of many cellular processes and its impaired activity has been described in different myeloid malignancies including myelodysplastic syndromes.

Design And Methods: We evaluated deferasirox activity on nuclear factor-kappaB in myelodysplastic syndromes as a possible mechanism involved in hemoglobin improvement during in vivo treatment. Forty peripheral blood samples collected from myelodysplastic syndrome patients were incubated with 50 muM deferasirox for 18h.

Results: Nuclear factor-kappaB activity dramatically decreased in samples showing high basal activity as well as in cell lines, whereas no similar behavior was observed with other iron chelators despite a similar reduction in reactive oxygen species levels. Additionally, ferric hydroxyquinoline incubation did not decrease deferasirox activity in K562 cells suggesting the mechanism of action of the drug is independent from cell iron deprivation by chelation. Finally, incubation with both etoposide and deferasirox induced an increase in K562 apoptotic rate.

Conclusions: Nuclear factor-kappaB inhibition by deferasirox is not seen from other chelators and is iron and reactive oxygen species scavenging independent. This could explain the hemoglobin improvement after in vivo treatment, such that our hypothesis needs to be validated in further prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2009.016824DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913079PMC
August 2010

Emerging drugs for chronic myeloid leukemia.

Expert Opin Emerg Drugs 2010 Jun;15(2):175-84

University of Turin, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, S. Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano Turin, Italy.

Importance Of The Field: The deregulated tyrosine kinase activity of BCR-ABL has been demonstrated to be necessary and sufficient to maintain leukemia phenotype of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) which, therefore, represents a unique model for the development of molecular targeted therapy and the first disease in which the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) completely changed the therapeutical approach. The impressive results of TKIs in this model have been overshadowed by the development of clinical resistance.

Areas Covered In This Review: This review focuses on clinical results with imatinib therapy and second generation TKIs. Furthermore, a summary of the guidelines for the management of TKI resistant patients is provided together with a description of the new drugs in clinical or preclinical phases which are developing to overcome resistance.

What The Reader Will Gain: Future perspective for the 'cure' of CML patients and new drugs designed for this purpose are suggested.

Take Home Message: CML therapy has dramatically changed in the last few years due to the introduction of targeted therapy. Studies on new drugs targeting different pathways other than BCR-ABL are ongoing to improve the clinical results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/14728211003621220DOI Listing
June 2010

Early prediction of treatment outcome in acute myeloid leukemia by measurement of WT1 transcript levels in peripheral blood samples collected after chemotherapy.

Haematologica 2008 Jun 28;93(6):921-4. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Dept. of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano, Turin, Italy.

The Wilms' tumor gene WT1 is a reliable marker for minimal residual disease assessment in acute leukemia patients. The study was designed to demonstrate the potential use of WT1 to establish quality of remission in acute leukemia patients for early identification of patients at high risk of relapse. A prospective study based on a quantitative Real-Time PCR (TaqMan) assay in 562 peripheral blood samples collected from 82 acute leukemia patients at diagnosis and during follow-up was established. The evaluation of WT1 in peripheral blood samples after induction chemotherapy can distinguish the continuous complete remission patients from those who obtain only an "apparent" complete remission and who could relapse within a few months. WT1 helps identify patients at high risk of relapse soon after induction chemotherapy allowing post-induction therapy in high risk patients to be intensified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.12165DOI Listing
June 2008

Imatinib mesylate in the treatment of newly diagnosed or refractory/resistant c-KIT positive acute myeloid leukemia. Results of an Italian Multicentric Phase II Study.

Haematologica 2007 Dec;92(12):1721-2

Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology L. and A. Seràgnoli, S. Orsola Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.

We evaluated safety and efficacy of imatinib (600 mg) in 36 c-KIT+ acute myeloid leukemia patients not amenable to receive conventional chemotherapy. No patient achieved complete remission. One patient obtained a hematologic improvement (platelet increase with transfusion independence). Median overall survival was 3 months (0.5-44+). Non-hematologic toxicity was overall mild.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.11345DOI Listing
December 2007

Genetic abnormalities as targets for molecular therapies in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2006 Nov;1089:411-23

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano-Torino, Italy.

Recent advances in molecular genetics have increased knowledge regarding the mechanisms leading to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and therapy-induced MDS. Many genetic defects underlying MDS and AML have been identified thereby allowing the development of new molecular-targeted therapies. Several new classes of drugs have shown promise in early clinical trials and may probably alter the standard of care of these patients in the near future. Among these new drugs are farnesyltransferase inhibitors and receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors including FLT3 and VEGF inhibitors. These agents have been tested in patients with solid tumors and hematologic malignancies such as AML and MDS. Most of the studies in MDS are still in early stages of development. The DNA hypomethylating compounds azacytidine and decitabine may reduce hypermethylation and induce re-expression of key tumor suppressor genes in MDS. Biochemical compounds with histone deacetylase inhibitory activity, such as valproic acid (VPA), have been tested as antineoplastic agents. Finally, new vaccination strategies are developing in MDS patients based on the identification of MDS-associated antigens. Future therapies will attempt to resolve cytopenias in MDS, eliminate malignant clones, and allow differentiation by attacking specific mechanisms of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1386.030DOI Listing
November 2006

Increase in platelet count in older, poor-risk patients with acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome treated with valproic acid and all-trans retinoic acid.

Cancer 2005 Jul;104(1):101-9

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

Background: The authors investigated the efficacy and safety of the histone deacetylase inhibitors valproic acid (VPA) and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) as differentiation agents in a cohort of older, poor-risk patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Methods: Twenty older patients with recurrent or refractory AML or MDS were treated in a Phase II protocol with sequential VPA and ATRA therapy. VPA was started at a dose of 10 mg/kg per day and then escalated to achieve the serum concentration of 45-100 microg/mL. ATRA was added at 45 mg/square meters (sm) per day when VPA reached the target serum concentration. Only patients treated continuously for > or = 2 months were considered evaluable.

Results: Hematologic improvement, according to World Health Organization criteria, was observed in 6 of 20 patients enrolled in the protocol but in 6 of 11 considered evaluable. In five patients, a major platelet response was observed, achieving platelet transfusion independence. Three of these five patients also exhibited a minor erythroid response. A sixth patient showed both a minor erythroid response and a platelet response. The median duration of response was 189 days (range, 63-550 days). No significant reduction in the blast count was observed. Grade 3 neurocortical toxicity was observed in four patients. Severe bone pain was experienced by 4 patients (2 Grade 4 and 2 Grade 3) and was associated with an increase in the peripheral blast cell count. Treatment with ATRA did not modify the response observed with VPA alone.

Conclusions: Differentiation therapy with VPA was of clinical benefit in approximately 30% of elderly patients with AML and MDS of the refractory anemia with excess of blast type with unfavorable prognostic features. A striking platelet transfusion independence lasting several months may be obtained in some patients, reducing the burden of palliative care and improving the quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.21132DOI Listing
July 2005

Rational approaches to the design of therapeutics targeting molecular markers: the case of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004 Dec;1028:423-31

Dept. of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Gonzole 10, 10043, Orbassano-Torino, Italy.

Progress in understanding the molecular basis of signal transmission and transduction has contributed substantially to clarifying the mechanisms of leukemogenesis and of leukemia progression and has led to the identification of a number of specific molecular targets for treatment. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has provided one of the best models, as the identification of a leukemia-specific hybrid tyrosine kinase (BCR-ABL, p210, p190) has led to the identification and the successful therapeutic application of a powerful tyrosine kinase inhibitor, imatinib. The BCR-ABL fusion gene is the result of a reciprocal translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 9 and 22, t(9;22)(q34;q11), which characterizes more than 95% of the cases of CML. The resulting chimeric proteins (P210 and P190), which retain a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase activity, have a causative role in the genesis of the leukemia process. In agreement with this observation, BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors have recently emerged as powerful new therapeutic tools, obtaining extraordinary results in early chronic-phase CML as well as in more advanced phases of the disease. Although these results represent a remarkable breakthrough, there are still numerous issues, such as the emergence of resistance, that remain unsolved and that will need further investigation. In spite of its low incidence, CML remains a paradigmatic model for understanding the pathogenesis and therapeutic options of human leukemias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1322.050DOI Listing
December 2004

Myelodysplastic syndromes.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004 Dec;1028:400-8

Dept. of Clinical and Biological Sciences of the University of Turin, San Luigi Hospital, Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano-Torino, Italy.

Efforts made during the last few years have helped unravel the complex pathogenesis of the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). A large number of studies, made possible by the introduction of newer technologies, have led to major progress in understanding the heterogeneous genetic and biological abnormalities contributing to the development and progression of myelodysplasia. Better insights into these pathogenetic processes will aid the development of newer and more successful therapies for MDS patients. The identification of specific genes involved in the emergence and progression of the myelodysplastic clone has extended biological findings into the clinic. Recently, several clinical trials have used selective compounds to target and inhibit the disrupted signal transduction pathway in myelodysplastic patients. The demonstration of genetic abnormalities present not only in MDS patients but also in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients or in chronic myeloproliferative disorders (CMPD) has prompted extension of a number of clinical trials from AML and CMPD to MDS patients. In spite of this, the more complex and heterogeneous pathogenesis underlying the myelodysplastic process is responsible for the often different and in same cases worse clinical results obtained in MDS patients. Finally, the identification of myelodysplasia-associated antigens that may be targeted by an immunotherapeutic approach represents a future perspective in tailored therapy for MDS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1196/annals.1322.048DOI Listing
December 2004

Sensitivity to imatinib therapy may be predicted by testing Wilms tumor gene expression and colony growth after a short in vitro incubation.

Cancer 2004 Sep;101(5):979-88

Division of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.

Background: The objective of the current study was to verify the ability to predict response to imatinib therapy using in vitro assays to evaluate the inhibition of Wilms tumor gene (WT1) expression and colony growth after samples obtained from patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) before the start of treatment were subjected to short-term incubation with imatinib.

Methods: WT1 transcript levels and colony growth in bone marrow (BM) samples from 23 patients with CML that was later identified as being responsive to imatinib and from 13 patients with CML that was later identified as not being responsive to imatinib were evaluated after incubation of these samples with imatinib at a concentration of 1 microM for 18 hours. In addition, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) analysis of WT1 expression was performed during follow-up, and the results were analyzed for associations with cytogenetic response and with BCR/ABL transcript levels as determined using RQ-PCR analysis.

Results: Before treatment, it was found that WT1 expression was elevated in BM samples obtained from all patients with CML. WT1 expression and colony growth were reduced significantly after an 18-hour incubation with imatinib in samples obtained from patients who were later identified as responders to treatment, but not in samples obtained from patients who did not experience responses to treatment. Inhibition of WT1 expression in vitro was associated with inhibition of imatinib-induced BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase activity, a finding that also has been made in studies involving certain Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive and Ph-negative cell lines.

Conclusions: Inhibition of WT1 transcript levels after a short period of in vitro exposure of pretherapy BM samples to imatinib was correlated with inhibition of colony growth and may represent the basis for an easy test that is capable of predicting the sensitivity of CML to treatment with imatinib for individual patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.20457DOI Listing
September 2004

Imatinib and pegylated human recombinant interferon-alpha2b in early chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2004 Dec 19;104(13):4245-51. Epub 2004 Aug 19.

Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology L. and A. Seràgnoli, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 9-40138 Bologna, Italy.

Since interferon-alpha and imatinib (IM; STI571, Glivec, Gleevec) are effective for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and their mechanisms of action are different, we designed an exploratory study investigating the effects of a standard IM dose (400 mg/d) and a variable pegylated interferon-alpha (PegIFN) dose (50 microg/wk, 100 microg/wk, and 150 microg/wk). The criteria for dose adjustment were designed so as to ensure the delivery of the IM dose and to protect life quality. There were 76 patients with previously untreated Philadelphia (Ph)-positive CML enrolled in the study. There were 3 patients who discontinued IM and 45 patients who discontinued PegIFN. The severity of adverse events increased with increasing PegIFN dose. The IM dose could be administered to the patients who were assigned to receive 50 microg/wk or 100 microg/wk PegIFN but not to those who were assigned to receive 150 microg/wk. The median administered dose of PegIFN ranged between 32 microg/wk and 36 microg/wk. The cytogenetic response was 70% complete (Ph-neg 100%) and 83% major (Ph-neg > 65%). The BCR/ABL transcript was reduced by at least 3 logs in 68% of complete cytogenetic responders. These data of toxicity, compliance, and efficacy may assist in the design and preparation of prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-03-0826DOI Listing
December 2004