Publications by authors named "Emilio Usala"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Integrated Genomic, Functional, and Prognostic Characterization of Atypical Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Hemasphere 2020 Dec 6;4(6):e497. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano - Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML) is a -negative clonal disorder, which belongs to the myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative group. This disease is characterized by recurrent somatic mutations in , and genes, as well as high genetic heterogeneity, thus posing a great therapeutic challenge. To provide a comprehensive genomic characterization of aCML we applied a high-throughput sequencing strategy to 43 aCML samples, including both whole-exome and RNA-sequencing data. Our dataset identifies , , and as the most frequently mutated genes with a total of 43.2%, 29.7 and 16.2%, respectively. We characterized the clonal architecture of 7 aCML patients by means of colony assays and targeted resequencing. The results indicate that variants occur early in the clonal evolution history of aCML, while mutations often represent a late event. The presence of actionable mutations conferred both ex vivo and in vivo sensitivity to specific inhibitors with evidence of strong in vitro synergism in case of multiple targeting. In one patient, a clinical response was obtained. Stratification based on RNA-sequencing identified two different populations in terms of overall survival, and differential gene expression analysis identified 38 significantly overexpressed genes in the worse outcome group. Three genes correctly classified patients for overall survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/HS9.0000000000000497DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7655091PMC
December 2020

Increased incidence of infection in patients with myelofibrosis and transfusion-associated iron overload in the clinical setting.

Int J Hematol 2020 May 23;111(5):614-618. Epub 2020 Mar 23.

SC Ematologia e CTMO, Ospedale Businco, AOB, Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Sanità Pubblica, Università di Cagliari, Via Jenner, sn, 09124, Cagliari, Italy.

Transfusion-associated iron overload may lead to increased risk of infection, but its role in myelofibrosis (MF) has been scarcely explored. We evaluated 106 consecutive patients with primary or secondary MF. Up to 38% of patients were transfusion-dependent (TD) with a median of 14 RBC units received. Median observation time was 36 months (range 3-203). Forty-five percent of patients experienced one or more infectious episodes for a total of 69 infectious events, 13 (19%) of which were severe. The 60-month cumulative incidence of infection was 64.1 ± 6.5%. TD patients showed a higher incidence of infection (HR = 2.13, p = 0.019). Transfusion burden was markedly greater in TD patients with infectious complication (median 24 RBC units vs 15 RBC units; p = 0.012). The 60-month overall survival was 40 ± 5.9%. Lower International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) risk (p < 0.0001) and ruxolitinib (p = 0.027) were significantly correlated with higher survival. This real-world study showed increased infections in patients with higher transfusion burden. It may therefore be interesting to further investigate the role of iron chelation in improving infection-free survival in MF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12185-020-02861-6DOI Listing
May 2020

Flow Cytometry Assessment of CD26 Leukemic Stem Cells in Peripheral Blood: A Simple and Rapid New Diagnostic Tool for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Cytometry B Clin Cytom 2019 07 3;96(4):294-299. Epub 2019 Feb 3.

Hematology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese, Siena, Italy.

Background: Recent investigations in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) have focused on the identification and characterization of leukemic stem cells (LSCs). These cells reside within the CD34 /CD38 /Lin fraction and score positive for CD26 (dipeptidylpeptidase IV) a marker, expressed in both bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) samples, that discriminates CML cells from normal hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) or from LSCs of other myeloid neoplasms. CD26 evaluation could be a useful tool to improve the identification of CML LCSs by using flow-cytometry assay.

Methods: CD26 LSCs have been isolated from EDTA PB and BM samples of patients with leucocytosis suspected for CML. Analysis of LSCs CML has been performed by using custom-made lyophilized pre-titrated antibody mixture test and control tube and a CD45 /CD34 /CD38 /CD26 panel as a strict flow cytometric gating strategy.

Results: The expression of CD26 on CD34 /CD38 population was detectable in 211/211 PB and 84/84 BM samples of subsequently confirmed BCR-ABL CP-CML patients. None of the 32 samples suspicious for CML but scoring negative for circulating CD26 LSCs were diagnosed as CML after conventional cytogenetic and molecular testing. To validate our results, we checked for PB CD26 LSCs in patients affected by other hematological disorders and they all scored negative for CD26 expression.

Conclusions: We propose flow cytometry evaluation of CD26 expression on PB CD34 /CD38 population as a new rapid, reproducible, and powerful diagnostic tool for the diagnosis of CML. © 2019 The Authors. Cytometry Part B: Clinical Cytometry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Clinical Cytometry Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cyto.b.21764DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6767040PMC
July 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

SETBP1 induces transcription of a network of development genes by acting as an epigenetic hub.

Nat Commun 2018 06 6;9(1):2192. Epub 2018 Jun 6.

Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca and San Gerardo hospital, 20900, Monza, Italy.

SETBP1 variants occur as somatic mutations in several hematological malignancies such as atypical chronic myeloid leukemia and as de novo germline mutations in the Schinzel-Giedion syndrome. Here we show that SETBP1 binds to gDNA in AT-rich promoter regions, causing activation of gene expression through recruitment of a HCF1/KMT2A/PHF8 epigenetic complex. Deletion of two AT-hooks abrogates the binding of SETBP1 to gDNA and impairs target gene upregulation. Genes controlled by SETBP1 such as MECOM are significantly upregulated in leukemias containing SETBP1 mutations. Gene ontology analysis of deregulated SETBP1 target genes indicates that they are also key controllers of visceral organ development and brain morphogenesis. In line with these findings, in utero brain electroporation of mutated SETBP1 causes impairment of mouse neurogenesis with a profound delay in neuronal migration. In summary, this work unveils a SETBP1 function that directly affects gene transcription and clarifies the mechanism operating in myeloid malignancies and in the Schinzel-Giedion syndrome caused by SETBP1 mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04462-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5989213PMC
June 2018

The BCR-ABL1 transcript type influences response and outcome in Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated frontline with imatinib.

Am J Hematol 2017 Aug 30;92(8):797-805. Epub 2017 May 30.

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

The most frequent BCR-ABL1 fusion transcripts in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are the e13a2 (b2a2) and the e14a2 (b3a2) ones. In the imatinib era few studies addressing the prognostic significance of the BCR-ABL1 transcript type in early chronic phase CML have been published. Overall, these studies suggest that in e14a2 patients the response to imatinib is faster and deeper. To evaluate if the BCR-ABL1 transcript type (e13a2 compared to e14a2) affect the response to imatinib and the clinical outcome in newly diagnosed adult CML patients, 559 patients enrolled in 3 prospective studies (NCT00514488, NCT00510926, observational study CML/023) were analyzed. A qualitative PCR was performed at baseline: 52% patients had a e14a2 transcript, 37% a e13a2 transcript, 11% co-expressed both transcripts and 1% had other rare transcripts. The median follow-up was 76 months (95% of the patients had at least a 5-year observation). The complete cytogenetic response rates were comparable in e14a2 and e13a2 patients. The median time to MR (6 and 12 months) and MR (41 and 61 months) was significantly shorter for e14a2 patients compared to e13a2 patients, with a higher cumulative probability of MR (88% and 83%, P < .001) and MR (67% and 52%, P = .001). The 7-year overall survival (90% and 83%, P = .017), progression-free survival (89% and 81%, P = .005) and failure-free survival (71% and 54%, P < .001) were significantly better in patients with e14a2 transcript. In conclusion, patients with e13a2 transcript had a slower molecular response with inferior response rates to imatinib and a poorer long-term outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24774DOI Listing
August 2017

Rotation of nilotinib and imatinib for first-line treatment of chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia.

Am J Hematol 2016 06 24;91(6):617-22. Epub 2016 Apr 24.

Department of Hematology and Oncology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

The introduction of second-generation tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has generated a lively debate on the choice of first-line TKI in chronic phase, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Despite the TKIs have different efficacy and toxicity profiles, the planned use of two TKIs has never been investigated. We report on a phase 2 study that was designed to evaluate efficacy and safety of a treatment alternating nilotinib and imatinib, in newly diagnosed BCR-ABL1 positive, chronic phase, CML patients. One hundred twenty-three patients were enrolled. Median age was 56 years. The probabilities of achieving a complete cytogenetic response, a major molecular response, and a deep molecular response (MR 4.0) by 2 years were 93%, 87%, and 61%, respectively. The 5-year overall survival and progression-free survival were 89%. Response rates and survival are in the range of those reported with nilotinib alone. Moreover, we observed a relatively low rate of cardiovascular adverse events (5%). These data show that the different efficacy and toxicity profiles of TKIs could be favorably exploited by alternating their use. Am. J. Hematol. 91:617-622, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24362DOI Listing
June 2016

Adherence and future discontinuation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia. A patient-based survey on 1133 patients.

Leuk Res 2015 Oct 14;39(10):1055-9. Epub 2015 Jul 14.

Hematology, Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Therapeutic approach for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients has undergone a revolutionary change with the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which improved overall survival and quality of life. Optimal therapy adherence has become of paramount importance to maximize the benefits in the long-term outcome. Several evidences have been reported that personal factors, such as social support, psychological and subjective perceptions about the drug used and the future, could influence adherence. We here report the results of a questionnaire specifically designed to evaluate factors influencing adherence and perceptions about the future, distributed to patients during regional Italian meetings. Overall, 1133 patients compiled the questionnaire: median age was 57 years. High rate of adherence was reported, but 42% of interviewed patients admitted that they had occasionally postponed a dose and 58% had discontinued therapy mainly for forgetfulness. The majority of patients discussed with personal physician about the importance of adherence and received sufficient information about illness and treatment, but would like to have discussed more about discomfort, anxiety and fear of the future. Summarizing personal drug compliance and estimating how many days a month, on average, the patients did not take the drug, the majority answered that it was less than 3 days (55%) and only a minority (4%) admitted that it was more than 7 days. Interviewed about discontinuation, 49% of patients answered that wouldn't interrupt because of fear of losing all the results achieved so far. This study suggests a higher level of satisfaction with more information received but the need of improving communication about possible future treatment free remission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2015.07.004DOI Listing
October 2015

Long-term outcome of a phase 2 trial with nilotinib 400 mg twice daily in first-line treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.

Haematologica 2015 Sep 25;100(9):1146-50. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

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

Nilotinib is a second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has been approved for the first-line treatment of chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia, based on the results of a prospective randomized study of nilotinib versus imatinib (ENESTnd). Apart from this registration study, very few data are currently available on first-line nilotinib treatment. We report here the long-term, 6-year results of the first investigator-sponsored, GIMEMA multicenter phase 2, single-arm trial with nilotinib 400 mg twice daily as first-line treatment in 73 patients with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia. Six-year overall survival and progression-free survival rates were 96%, with one death after progression to blast phase. At 6 years, 75% of the patients were still on nilotinib. The cumulative incidence of major molecular response was 98%; only one patient had a confirmed loss of major molecular response. The cumulative incidence of deep molecular response (MR 4.0) was 76%. Deep molecular response was stable (≥ 2 years) in 34% of these patients. Cardiovascular adverse events, mainly due to arterial thrombosis, occurred in 11/73 patients (15%), after 24 to 76 months of therapy. They were more frequent in elderly patients, and in those with baseline cardiovascular risk factors. None was fatal, although there was a relevant morbidity. This is the study with the longest follow-up of a high dose of nilotinib (400 mg twice daily): it highlights the high efficacy and the cardiovascular toxicity of the drug (CTG.NCT.00481052).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2015.129221DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4800682PMC
September 2015

Reproducibility of liver iron concentration measured on a biopsy sample: a validation study in vivo.

Am J Hematol 2015 Feb 19;90(2):87-90. Epub 2014 Nov 19.

Crs4, Biomedicine, Pula (Cagliari), Italy.

Determination of liver iron concentration is essential to predict iron related tissue damage and to guide chelation therapy. To assess the reliability of a single biopsy iron concentration determination in representing the whole liver iron concentration, we conducted a prospective study performing two immediately successive liver biopsies from 61 noncirrhotic, iron overloaded thalassemia patients, directing the needle to different direction from the same skin cut. The correlation among sample biopsies was determined by both regression analysis and the Bland-Altman method. The results showed that overall correlation between the two samples was high (Pearson's coefficient of correlation r = 0.970, P < 0.0001; 95% CI 0.951-0.981; R(2) = 0.941). To evaluate if sample dimension had an impact on the analysis we analyzed separately biopsy couples were both sample gross weight were ≥1 mg dry weight (n = 16) from the others [one or both had a specimen gross weight <1 mg dry weight (n = 45)]. In the first case, correlation coefficient r was equal to 0.998 (P < 0.0001; 95% CI: 0.995-0.999; R(2) = 0.996) while in the latter was 0.960 (P < 0.0001; 95% CI: 0.928-0.977; R(2) = 0.921). In no instance second specimen prediction interval was outside the interval implying different prognostic and therapeutic decision if both liver samples gross weight were ≥1 mg dry weight. The Bland-Altman plot analysis showed the same trend observed using Pearson's correlation coefficient in the analyzed sample categories. Hepatic iron concentration determined in "good quality" biopsy specimen (i.e. sample gross weight ≥1 mg dry weight) is a reliable indicator of whole liver iron concentration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.23878DOI Listing
February 2015

Recurrent ETNK1 mutations in atypical chronic myeloid leukemia.

Blood 2015 Jan 24;125(3):499-503. Epub 2014 Oct 24.

Department of Health Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy;

Despite the recent identification of recurrent SETBP1 mutations in atypical chronic myeloid leukemia (aCML), a complete description of the somatic lesions responsible for the onset of this disorder is still lacking. To find additional somatic abnormalities in aCML, we performed whole-exome sequencing on 15 aCML cases. In 2 cases (13.3%), we identified somatic missense mutations in the ETNK1 gene. Targeted resequencing on 515 hematological clonal disorders revealed the presence of ETNK1 variants in 6 (8.8%) of 68 aCML and 2 (2.6%) of 77 chronic myelomonocytic leukemia samples. These mutations clustered in a small region of the kinase domain, encoding for H243Y and N244S (1/8 H243Y; 7/8 N244S). They were all heterozygous and present in the dominant clone. The intracellular phosphoethanolamine/phosphocholine ratio was, on average, 5.2-fold lower in ETNK1-mutated samples (P < .05). Similar results were obtained using myeloid TF1 cells transduced with ETNK1 wild type, ETNK1-N244S, and ETNK1-H243Y, where the intracellular phosphoethanolamine/phosphocholine ratio was significantly lower in ETNK1-N244S (0.76 ± 0.07) and ETNK1-H243Y (0.37 ± 0.02) than in ETNK1-WT (1.37 ± 0.32; P = .01 and P = .0008, respectively), suggesting that ETNK1 mutations may inhibit the catalytic activity of the enzyme. In summary, our study shows for the first time the evidence of recurrent somatic ETNK1 mutations in the context of myeloproliferative/myelodysplastic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2014-06-579466DOI Listing
January 2015

Low impact of cardiovascular adverse events on anagrelide treatment discontinuation in a cohort of 232 patients with essential thrombocythemia.

Leuk Res 2011 Dec 20;35(12):1557-63. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Hematology Institute L e A Seragnoli, University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

This retrospective study of the thrombocythemia Italian registry (RIT) documented that 71 (30.6%) out of 232 ET patients experienced 88 cardiovascular adverse events (CV-AEs) during anagrelide treatment (522 pt-y). The rate of CV-AEs was: 24.1% for palpitations, 4.3% for angina, 3.5% for arterial hypertension, 3.0% for congestive heart failure, 1.8% for arrhythmia, 0.9% for AMI, 0.4% for pericardial effusion. CV-AEs led to treatment discontinuation in nine (3.9%) patients, while in the remaining cases they were managed by pharmacological intervention and/or patient life style improvement. CV-AEs had no relationship with patient characteristics (including older age). A significant relationship was found only with a higher anagrelide induction dose. In the absence of any agreed protocol, a cardiovascular instrumental evaluation (CV-IE) was performed in 102 (44%) patients before commencement of anagrelide (with higher rate after the anagrelide/Xagrid EMA approval of 2004), and in 84 (36%) patients during treatment. Patients with and without CV-IEs, who resulted completely balanced for all their characteristics, did not significantly differ in the occurrence of CV-AEs. In conclusion, this study on ET patients treated with anagrelide shows that CV-AEs, equally distributed in younger and older subjects, were mostly mild and easily manageable, allowing safe treatment continuation in the majority of cases. Moreover, routinely performing a CV-IE did not appear to anticipate the occurrence of CV-AEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2011.06.030DOI Listing
December 2011

Safety and efficacy of everolimus, a mTOR inhibitor, as single agent in a phase 1/2 study in patients with myelofibrosis.

Blood 2011 Aug 1;118(8):2069-76. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Department of Medical and Surgical Care, Section of Hematology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

In addition to dysregulated JAK/STAT signaling, activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway occurs in myelofibrosis, a myeloproliferative neoplasm with no approved therapies. We conducted a phase 1/2 study with everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, in 39 high- or intermediate-risk primary or postpolycythemia vera/postessential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis subjects. Responses were evaluated in 30 patients of phase 2. No dose-limiting toxicity was observed in phase 1 up to 10 mg/d. When this dose was used in phase 2, grade ≥ 3 toxicities were infrequent; the commonest toxicity was grade 1-2 stomatitis. Rapid and sustained splenomegaly reduction of > 50% and > 30% occurred in 20% and 44% of subjects, respectively. A total of 69% and 80% experienced complete resolution of systemic symptoms and pruritus. Response in leukocytosis, anemia, and thrombocytosis occurred in 15%-25%. Clinical responses were not associated with reduced JAK2V617F burden, circulating CD34(+) cells, or cytokine levels, whereas CCDN1 mRNA and phospho-p70S6K level, known targets of mTOR, and WT1 mRNA were identified as possible biomarkers associated with response. Response rate was 60% when European Network for Myelofibrosis criteria were used (8 major, 7 moderate, 3 minor responses) or 23% when IWG-MRT criteria (1 partial response, 6 clinical improvements) were used. These results provide proof-of-concept that targeting mTOR pathway in myelofibrosis may be clinically relevant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2011-01-330563DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365876PMC
August 2011

p57Kip2 is a downstream effector of BCR-ABL kinase inhibitors in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells.

Carcinogenesis 2011 Jan 15;32(1):10-8. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics "Francesco Cedrangolo", Second University of Naples, Italy.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is characterized by the expression of BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase, which results in increased cell proliferation and inhibition of apoptosis. In this study, we show that BCR-ABL-positive CML cell lines treated with imatinib (STI571) undergo G₁ cell cycle arrest associated with the accumulation of p57(Kip)², a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CKI). Interestingly, p57(Kip)² increase precedes the reported STI571-dependent upregulation of p27(Kip)¹. A number of complementary approaches allow the demonstration that p57(Kip)² buildup is due to the transcriptional activation of CDKN1C, the p57(Kip)²-encoding gene, while neither p57(Kip)² half-life elongation nor its cell relocalization were observed. We also identified a heretofore undescribed pattern of p57(Kip)² phosphorylated isoforms which, however, did not change in response to STI571 cell treatment. The imatinib-dependent p57(Kip)² upregulation occurs only in STI571-responsive cells, while the CKI accumulation was not evidenced in an imatinib-resistant clone. Nilotinib and dasatinib (second-generation BCR-ABL inhibitors), at concentrations comparable to those used in therapy, increase the CKI but do not affect p27(Kip)¹ level. Finally, CD34(+) cells from CML patients display a clear imatinib-dependent p57(Kip)² upregulation, which was not observed in CD34(+) cells from control subjects. In conclusion, our study points to p57(Kip)² as a novel and precocious effector of BCR-ABL targeting drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgq211DOI Listing
January 2011

Dexamethasone plus rituximab yields higher sustained response rates than dexamethasone monotherapy in adults with primary immune thrombocytopenia.

Blood 2010 Apr 3;115(14):2755-62. Epub 2010 Feb 3.

Department of Hematology Dipartimento Ricerche Mediche Morfologiche, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria S Maria della Misericordia, Udine, Italy.

Previous observational studies suggest that rituximab may be useful in the treatment of primary immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). This randomized trial investigated rituximab efficacy in previously untreated adult ITP patients with a platelet count of 20 x 10(9)/L or less. One hundred three patients were randomly assigned to receive 40 mg/d dexamethasone for 4 days with or without 375 mg/m(2) rituximab weekly for 4 weeks. Patients who were refractory to dexamethasone alone received salvage therapy with dexamethasone plus rituximab. Sustained response (ie, platelet count > or = 50 x 10(9)/L at month 6 after treatment initiation), evaluable in 101 patients, was greater in patients treated with dexamethasone plus rituximab (n = 49) than in those treated with dexamethasone alone (n = 52; 63% vs 36%, P = .004, 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.079-0.455). Patients in the experimental arm showed increased incidences of grade 3 to 4 adverse events (10% vs 2%, P = .082, 95% CI, -0.010 to 0.175), but incidences of serious adverse events were similar in both arms (6% vs 2%, P = .284, 95% CI, -0.035 to 0.119). Dexamethasone plus rituximab was an effective salvage therapy in 56% of patients refractory to dexamethasone. The combination of dexamethasone and rituximab improved platelet counts compared with dexamethasone alone. Thus, combination therapy may represent an effective treatment option before splenectomy. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00770562.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2009-07-229815DOI Listing
April 2010

Outcome of 122 pregnancies in essential thrombocythemia patients: A report from the Italian registry.

Am J Hematol 2009 Oct;84(10):636-40

Hematology Unit, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.

Pregnancy is a high-risk event in women with essential thrombocythemia (ET). This observational study evaluated pregnancy outcome in ET patients focusing on the potential impact of aspirin (ASA) or interferon alpha (IFN) treatment during pregnancy. We retrospectively analyzed 122 pregnancies in 92 women consecutively observed in the last 10 years in 17 centers of the Italian thrombocythemia registry (RIT). The live birth rate was 75.4% (92/122 pregnancies). The risk of spontaneous abortion was 2.5-fold higher than in the control population (P < 0.01). ASA did not affect the live birth rate (71/93, 76.3% vs. 21/29, 72.4%, P = 0.67). However, IFN treatment during pregnancy was associated with a better outcome than was management without IFN (live births 19/20, 95% vs. 73/102, 71.6%, P = 0.025), and this finding was supported by multivariate analysis (OR: 0.10; 95% CI: 0.013-0.846, P = 0.034). The JAK2 V617F mutation was associated with a poorer outcome (fetal losses JAK2 V617F positive 9/25, 36% vs. wild type 2/24, 8.3%, P = 0.037), and this association was still significant after multivariate analysis (OR: 6.19; 95% CI: 1.17-32.61; P = 0.038). No outcome concordance between first and second pregnancies was found (P = 0.30). Maternal complications occurred in 8% of cases. In this retrospective study, in consecutively observed pregnant ET patients, IFN treatment was associated with a higher live birth rate, while ASA treatment was not. In addition, the JAK2 V617F mutation was confirmed to be an adverse prognostic factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.21504DOI Listing
October 2009