Publications by authors named "Francesco Cavazzini"

75 Publications

Ruxolitinib rechallenge in resistant or intolerant patients with myelofibrosis: Frequency, therapeutic effects, and impact on outcome.

Cancer 2021 Apr 1. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Unit of Hematology and Clinical Immunology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Background: After ruxolitinib discontinuation, the outcome of patients with myelofibrosis (MF) is poor with scarce therapeutic possibilities.

Methods: The authors performed a subanalysis of an observational, retrospective study (RUX-MF) that included 703 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib to investigate 1) the frequency and reasons for ruxolitinib rechallenge, 2) its therapeutic effects, and 3) its impact on overall survival.

Results: A total of 219 patients (31.2%) discontinued ruxolitinib for ≥14 days and survived for ≥30 days. In 60 patients (27.4%), ruxolitinib was rechallenged for ≥14 days (RUX-again patients), whereas 159 patients (72.6%) discontinued it permanently (RUX-stop patients). The baseline characteristics of the 2 cohorts were comparable, but discontinuation due to a lack/loss of spleen response was lower in RUX-again patients (P = .004). In comparison with the disease status at the first ruxolitinib stop, at its restart, there was a significant increase in patients with large splenomegaly (P < .001) and a high Total Symptom Score (TSS; P < .001). During the rechallenge, 44.6% and 48.3% of the patients had spleen and symptom improvements, respectively, with a significant increase in the number of patients with a TSS reduction (P = .01). Although the use of a ruxolitinib dose > 10 mg twice daily predicted better spleen (P = .05) and symptom improvements (P = .02), the reasons for/duration of ruxolitinib discontinuation and the use of other therapies before rechallenge were not associated with rechallenge efficacy. At 1 and 2 years, 33.3% and 48.3% of RUX-again patients, respectively, had permanently discontinued ruxolitinib. The median overall survival was 27.9 months, and it was significantly longer for RUX-again patients (P = .004).

Conclusions: Ruxolitinib rechallenge was mainly used in intolerant patients; there were clinical improvements and a possible survival advantage in many cases, but there was a substantial rate of permanent discontinuation. Ruxolitinib rechallenge should be balanced against newer therapeutic possibilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33541DOI Listing
April 2021

Efficacy of idelalisib and rituximab in relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated outside of clinical trials. A report of the Gimema Working Group.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Mar 19. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Medical Sciences, Hematology Section, University of Ferrara, Cona - Ferrara, Italy.

Because the efficacy of new drugs reported in trials may not translate into similar results when used in the real-life, we analyzed the efficacy of idelalisib and rituximab (IR) in 149 patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia treated at 34 GIMEMA centers. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival were 22.9 and 44.5 months, respectively; performance status (PS) ≥2 and ≥3 previous lines of therapy were associated with shorter PFS and overall survival (OS). 48% of patients were on treatment at 12 months; the experience of the centers (≥5 treated patients) and PS 0-1 were associated with a significantly longer treatment duration (p = 0.015 and p = 0.002, respectively). TP53 disruption had no prognostic significance. The overall response rate to subsequent treatment was 49.2%, with median OS of 15.5 months and not reached in patients who discontinued, respectively, for progression and for toxicity (p < 0.01). Treatment breaks ≥14 days were recorded in 96% of patients and adverse events mirrored those reported in trials. In conclusion, this real-life analysis showed that IR treatment duration was longer at experienced centers, that the ECOG PS and ≥3 lines of previous therapy are strong prognostic factor and that the overall outcome with this regimen was superimposable to that reported in a randomized trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2861DOI Listing
March 2021

Impact of comorbidities and body mass index on the outcome of polycythemia vera patients.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Feb 15. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Istituto di Ematologia "Seràgnoli", Bologna, Italy.

In 816 patients with 2016 World Health Organization-defined polycythemia vera (PV) enrolled in a multicenter retrospective study, we investigated the predictive value of Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) and body mass index (BMI) on thrombosis, progression to post-PV myelofibrosis (PPV-MF) and survival. Patients were subgrouped according to CCI = 0 (58.1%, no comorbidities) or CCI ≥ 1 (41.9%) and according to normal/underweight (BMI < 25, 54.5%) or overweight/obesity (BMI ≥ 25, 45.5%) at PV diagnosis. BMI was available for 529 patients. Patients with CCI ≥ 1 were older and more frequently presented cardiovascular risk factors compared to patients with CCI = 0 (p < 0.001), while overweight/obese patients were more frequently males (p < 0.001). Cumulative incidence of thromboses with death as competing risk was 13.3% at 10 years. Multivariable analysis with death as competing risk showed that previous thromboses (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR]: 2.1, p = 0.01) and hypertension (SHR: 1.77, p = 0.04) were significantly associated with a higher thrombotic risk, while BMI ≥ 25 lost statistical significance (SHR: 1.69, p = 0.05) and CCI ≥ 1 was excluded after evaluation of goodness of fit. After a median follow-up of 6.1 years, progression to PPV-MF occurred in 44 patients, and 75 patients died. BMI ≥ 25 was associated with a lower probability of progression to PPV-MF (SHR: 0.38, CI95%: 0.15-0.94, p = 0.04) and better survival (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.42, CI95%: 0.18-0.97, p = 0.04). CCI ≥ 1 did not affect progression to PPV-MF (p = 0.44) or survival (p = 0.71).  The evaluation of CCI and BMI may improve the prognostic definition of PV. In patients with hypertension an accurate evaluation of thrombotic risk is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2843DOI Listing
February 2021

A Tangle of Genomic Aberrations Drives Multiple Myeloma and Correlates with Clinical Aggressiveness of the Disease: A Comprehensive Review from a Biological Perspective to Clinical Trial Results.

Genes (Basel) 2020 Dec 3;11(12). Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Hematology Section, Department of Medical Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale S.Anna, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a genetically heterogeneous disease, in which the process of tumorigenesis begins and progresses through the appearance and accumulation of a tangle of genomic aberrations. Several are the mechanisms of DNA damage in MM, varying from single nucleotide substitutions to complex genomic events. The timing of appearance of aberrations is well studied due to the natural history of the disease, that usually progress from pre-malignant to malignant phase. Different kinds of aberrations carry different prognostic significance and have been associated with drug resistance in some studies. Certain genetic events are well known to be associated with prognosis and are incorporated in risk evaluation in MM at diagnosis in the revised International Scoring System (R-ISS). The significance of some other aberrations needs to be further explained. Since now, few phase 3 randomized trials included analysis on patient's outcomes according to genetic risk, and further studies are needed to obtain useful data to stratify the choice of initial and subsequent treatment in MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes11121453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7761770PMC
December 2020

Second primary malignancy in myelofibrosis patients treated with ruxolitinib.

Br J Haematol 2021 Apr 21;193(2):356-368. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, via Albertoni 15, Bologna, Italy.

Ruxolitinib (RUX), the first JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor approved for myelofibrosis (MF) therapy, has recently been associated with the occurrence of second primary malignancies (SPMs), mainly lymphomas and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). We analyzed the incidence, risk factors and outcome of SPMs in 700 MF patients treated with RUX in a real-world context. Median follow-up from starting RUX was 2·9 years. Overall, 80 (11·4%) patients developed 87 SPMs after RUX start. NMSCs were the most common SPMs (50·6% of the cases). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that male sex [hazard ratio (HR): 2·37, 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 1·22-4·60, P = 0·01] and thrombocytosis> 400 × 10 /l at RUX start (HR:1·98, 95%CI: 1·10-4·60, P = 0·02) were associated with increased risk for SPMs. Risk factors for NMSC alone were male sex (HR: 3·14, 95%CI: 1·24-7·92, P = 0·02) and duration of hydroxycarbamide and RUX therapy > 5 years (HR: 3·20, 95%CI: 1·17-8·75, P = 0·02 and HR: 2·93, 95%CI: 1·39-6·17, P = 0·005 respectively). In SPMs excluding NMSCs, male sex (HR: 2·41, 95%CI: 1·11-5·25, P = 0·03), platelet > 400 × 10 /l (HR: 3·30, 95%CI: 1·67-6·50, P = 0·001) and previous arterial thromboses (HR: 3·47, 95%CI: 1·48-8·14, P = 0·004) were shown to be associated with higher risk of SPMs. While it is reassuring that no aggressive lymphoma was documented, active skin surveillance is recommended in all patients and particularly after prolonged hydroxycaramide therapy; oncological screening should be triggered by thrombocytosis and arterial thrombosis, particularly in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17192DOI Listing
April 2021

In chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, SLAMF1 deregulation is associated with genomic complexity and independently predicts a worse outcome.

Br J Haematol 2021 Mar 24;192(6):1068-1072. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Hematology Section, Department of Medical Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale S. Anna, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

In a series of 349 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), we found lower levels of signalling lymphocytic activation molecule family member 1 (SLAMF1) expression in cases with highly complex karyotypes, as defined by the presence of five or more chromosomal abnormalities (CK5; P < 0·001) and with major chromosomal structural abnormalities (P < 0·001). SLAMF1 downregulation was significantly associated with advanced Binet Stage (P = 0·001), CD38 positivity (P < 0·001), high β -microglobulin levels (P < 0·001), immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region gene (IGHV) unmutated status (P < 0·001), 11q deletion (P < 0·001), tumour protein p53 (TP53) disruption (P = 0·011) and higher risk CLL International Prognostic Index categories (P < 0·001). Multivariate analysis showed that downregulated SLAMF1 levels had independent negative prognostic impact on time-to-first treatment (P < 0·001) and overall survival (P < 0·001).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16865DOI Listing
March 2021

Risk factors for progression to blast phase and outcome in 589 patients with myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib: Real-world data.

Hematol Oncol 2020 Aug 20;38(3):372-380. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Scienze Mediche, Chirurgiche e Tecnologie Avanzate "G.F. Ingrassia", University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

The impact of ruxolitinib therapy on evolution to blast phase (BP) in patients with myelofibrosis (MF) is still uncertain. In 589 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib, we investigated incidence and risk factors for BP and we described outcome according to disease characteristics and treatment strategy. After a median follow-up from ruxolitinib start of 3 years (range 0.1-7.6), 65 (11%) patients transformed to BP during (93.8%) or after treatment. BP incidence rate was 3.7 per 100 patient-years, comparably in primary and secondary MF (PMF/SMF) but significantly lower in intermediate-1 risk patients (2.3 vs 5.6 per 100 patient-years in intermediate-2/high-risk patients, P < .001). In PMF and SMF cohorts, previous interferon therapy seemed to correlate with a lower probability of BP (HR 0.13, P = .001 and HR 0.22, P = .02, respectively). In SMF, also platelet count <150 × 10 /l (HR 2.4, P = .03) and peripheral blasts ≥3% (HR 3.3, P = .004) were significantly associated with higher risk of BP. High-risk category according to dynamic International Prognostic Score System (DIPSS) and myelofibrosis secondary to PV and ET Collaboration Prognostic Model (MYSEC-PM predicted BP in patients with PMF and SMF, respectively. Median survival after BP was 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1-0.3) years. Therapy for BP included hypomethylating agents (12.3%), induction chemotherapy (9.2%), allogeneic transplant (6.2%) or supportive care (72.3%). Patients treated with supportive therapy had a median survival of 6 weeks, while 73% of the few transplanted patients were alive at a median follow-up of 2 years. Progression to BP occurs in a significant fraction of ruxolitinib-treated patients and is associated with DIPSS and MYSEC-PM risk in PMF and SMF, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2737DOI Listing
August 2020

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

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

Università Federico II, Naples, Italy.

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

Life after ruxolitinib: Reasons for discontinuation, impact of disease phase, and outcomes in 218 patients with myelofibrosis.

Cancer 2020 03 20;126(6):1243-1252. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Unit of Hematology and Clinical Immunology, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Background: After discontinuing ruxolitinib, the outcome of patients with myelofibrosis reportedly has been poor. The authors investigated whether disease characteristics before the receipt of ruxolitinib may predict drug discontinuation in patients with myelofibrosis and whether reasons for drug discontinuation, disease phase at discontinuation, and salvage therapies may influence the outcome.

Methods: A centralized electronic clinical database was created in 20 European hematology centers, including clinical and laboratory data for 524 patients who received ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis.

Results: At 3 years, 40.8% of patients had stopped ruxolitinib. Baseline predictors of drug discontinuation were: intermediate-2-risk/high-risk category (Dynamic International Prognostic Score System), a platelet count <100 ×10 per liter, transfusion dependency, and unfavorable karyotype. At last contact, 268 patients (51.1%) had discontinued therapy, and the median drug exposure was 17.5 months. Fifty patients (18.7%) died while taking ruxolitinib. The reasons for discontinuation in the remaining 218 patients were the lack (22.9%) or loss (11.9%) of a spleen response, ruxolitinib-related adverse events (27.5%), progression to blast phase (23.4%), ruxolitinib-unrelated adverse events (9.2%), and allogeneic transplantation during response (5.1%). The median survival after ruxolitinib was 13.2 months and was significantly better in the 167 patients who discontinued ruxolitinib in chronic phase (27.5 vs 3.9 months for those who discontinued in blast phase; P < .001). No survival differences were observed among patients who discontinued ruxolitinib in chronic phase because of lack of response, loss of response, or ruxolitinib-related adverse events. The use of investigational agents and/or ruxolitinib rechallenge were associated with improved outcome.

Conclusions: The survival of patients with myelofibrosis after discontinuation of ruxolitinib is poor, particularly for those who discontinue in blast phase. Salvage therapies can improve outcome, emphasizing the need for novel therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32664DOI Listing
March 2020

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

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

Institute of Hematology, Università Cattolica SacroCuore, Rome, Italy.

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

The combination of complex karyotype subtypes and IGHV mutational status identifies new prognostic and predictive groups in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Br J Cancer 2019 07 18;121(2):150-156. Epub 2019 Jun 18.

Hematology and Clinical Immunology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Background: Complex karyotype (CK) is a heterogeneous category with a negative impact in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Our group has recently reported that CK patients with major structural abnormalities (i.e. CK2) are characterised by a worse prognosis, as compared to other lesions within CK(CK1).

Methods: We performed a multicentre retrospective study to test whether the combination of CK subtypes with IGHV status could be a relevant prognostic and predictive tool.

Results: Among 522 patients 13% harboured CK2, 41% CK1 and/or U-IGHV (U-CK1) and 46% M-IGHV without any CK subtypes (M-noCK). After a median follow-up of 5.8 years, CK2 patients had the shortest TTFT (5-year TTFT 31%, 39 and 81%, p < 0.0001) and OS (5-year OS 67%, 85 and 93%, p < 0.0001) as compared to U-CK1 or M-noCK cases, regardless of TP53 abnormalities. CK2 patients also had the worst outcome after chemoimmunotherapy. In fact, the median TTNT after FCR or BR was 1.86 and 4.79 years for CK2 and U-CK1, but not reached for M-noCK patients (p < 0.0005).

Conclusions: We herein suggest that the combined assessment of the IGHV mutational status and CK subtypes refines the prognostication of CLL, allowing to identify M-IGHV patients without any CK subtypes who are characterised by an indolent disease and excellent outcome after chemoimmunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0502-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6738078PMC
July 2019

Impact of 2016 WHO diagnosis of early and overt primary myelofibrosis on presentation and outcome of 232 patients treated with ruxolitinib.

Hematol Oncol 2019 Oct 7;37(4):418-423. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

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

The 2016 WHO criteria identified early primary myelofibrosis (PMF) as an individual entity with milder clinical features and better outcome compared with overt PMF. Here, we compared early and overt PMF patients treated with ruxolitinib in terms of baseline clinical/laboratory characteristics, response, and toxicity to treatment. We observed that early-PMF patients achieve better and more stable spleen and symptoms responses, with significantly lower rates of hematological toxicities. No differences in overall and leukemia-free survival were detected between the two cohorts. The application of 2016 WHO criteria is crucial to identify those PMF patients who deserve a stricter monitoring during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2619DOI Listing
October 2019

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

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

Chair and Hematology Section, Ferrarotto Hospital, Catania.

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

Differences in presenting features, outcome and prognostic models in patients with primary myelofibrosis and post-polycythemia vera and/or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib. New perspective of the MYSEC-PM in a large multicenter study.

Semin Hematol 2018 10 5;55(4):248-255. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Unit of Hematology and Clinical Immunology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Recently, the myelofibrosis secondary to PV and ET prognostic model (MYSEC-PM) was introduced to assess prognosis in myelofibrosis (MF) secondary to polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia (post-PV and post-ET MF), replacing the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) and/or Dynamic IPSS (DIPSS) that was applied for primary MF (PMF). In a cohort of 421 ruxolitinib (RUX)-treated patients (post-PV and post-ET MF: 44.2%), we evaluated the following: (1) disease phenotype, responses, and toxicity to RUX; and (2) performance of the MYSEC-PM in post-PV or post-ET MF. While the IPSS failed to correctly stratify post-PV or post-ET MF patients at diagnosis, the MYSEC-PM identified 4 risk categories projected at significantly different survival probability (P < .001). Additionally, the MYSEC-PM maintained a prognostic value in post-PV and post-ET MF also when used over time, at RUX start. Notably, the MYSEC-PM reclassified 41.8% and 13.6% of patients into a lower and higher risk category, respectively. Finally, patients at intermediate-1 risk had significantly higher spleen responses and lower hematological toxicities compared to higher risk patients. Compared to PMF, post-PV and post-ET MF presented a more hyperproliferative disease, with higher leukocyte and/or platelet count and hemoglobin levels both at diagnosis and at RUX start. Despite comparable response rates, post-PV and post-ET MF had lower rate of RUX-induced anemia and thrombocytopenia at 3 and 6 months. The study validates MYSEC-PM in post-PV and post-ET MF prognostication. Post-PV or post-ET MF represents a separate entity compared to PMF in terms of clinical manifestations and toxicity to RUX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.seminhematol.2018.05.013DOI Listing
October 2018

Impact of comorbidities and body mass index in patients with myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib.

Ann Hematol 2019 Apr 4;98(4):889-896. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", Sant'Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Comorbidities defined by the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) and body mass index (BMI) are significantly associated with outcome in patients who receive continuous treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We evaluated the impact of CCI and BMI on responses, drug-related toxicities, and outcome in a cohort of 402 patients with myelofibrosis (MF) treated with ruxolitinib in 23 European Hematology Centers. Comorbidities were evaluable in all 402 patients. A higher (≥ 3) CCI did not correlate with a lower spleen reduction at any time (p = 0.68) or symptoms' response (p = 0.11), but influenced the onset of anemia during the first 3 months of treatment and later (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively) in patients without anemia baseline. BMI was evaluable in 380 patients and did not correlate with differences in spleen and symptoms response (p = 0.57 and p = 0.49, respectively). A higher CCI and a lower BMI correlated also with a reduced overall survival (p < 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively). The achievement of a spleen response at 6 months could counterbalance the negative impact of comorbidities, while patients who were underweight when starting ruxolitinib and did not achieve a spleen response at 6 months were projected to the worse outcome. In MF patients treated with ruxolitinib, BMI and comorbidities did not influence the achievement of spleen/symptom responses, but they contributed to the early identification of patients who deserve a strict monitoring during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-018-3569-1DOI Listing
April 2019

Ibrutinib and Rituximab in Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia.

N Engl J Med 2018 11;379(20):1974-5

University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc1809505DOI Listing
November 2018

Biological significance and prognostic/predictive impact of complex karyotype in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Oncotarget 2018 Sep 28;9(76):34398-34412. Epub 2018 Sep 28.

Hematology Section, Department of Medical Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale S. Anna, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

The complex karyotype (CK) is an established negative prognostic marker in a number of haematological malignancies. After the introduction of effective mitogens, a growing body of evidence has suggested that the presence of 3 or more aberrations by conventional banding analysis (CBA) is associated with an unfavorable outcome in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Thus, the importance of CBA was recognized by the 2018 guidelines of the International Workshop on CLL, which proposed the introduction of CBA in clinical trials to validate the value of karyotype aberrations. Indeed, a number of observational studies showed that cytogenetic aberrations and, particularly, the CK may have a negative independent impact on objective outcome measures (i.e. time to first treatment, progression free survival, time to chemorefractoriness and overall survival) both in patients treated with chemoimmunotherapy and, possibly, in patients receiving novel mechanism-based treatment. Here, we set out to present the scientific evidence supporting the significance of CK as a prognostic marker in CLL and to discuss the biological basis showing that the CK is a consequence of genomic instability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26146DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6188145PMC
September 2018

Ruxolitinib in elderly patients with myelofibrosis: impact of age and genotype. A multicentre study on 291 elderly patients.

Br J Haematol 2018 10 16;183(1):35-46. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Unit of Haematology and Clinical Immunology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Ruxolitinib is a JAK1/2 inhibitor that may control myelofibrosis (MF)-related splenomegaly and symptoms and can be prescribed regardless of age. While aging is known to correlate with worse prognosis, no specific analysis is available to confirm that ruxolitinib is suitable for use in older populations. A clinical database was created in 23 European Haematology Centres and retrospective data on 291 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib when aged ≥65 years were analysed in order to assess the impact of age and molecular genotype on responses, toxicities and survival. Additional mutations were evaluated by a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach in 69 patients with available peripheral blood samples at the start of ruxolitinib treatment. Compared to older (age 65-74 years) patients, elderly (≥75 years) showed comparable responses to ruxolitinib, but higher rates of drug-induced anaemia and thrombocytopenia and worse survival. Nonetheless, the ruxolitinib discontinuation rate was comparable in the two age groups. Number and types of molecular abnormalities were comparable across age groups. However, the presence of high molecular risk (HMR) mutations significantly affected survival, counterbalancing the effect of aging. Indeed, elderly patients with <2 HMR mutated genes had a comparable survival to older patients with ≥2 HMR mutations. Given that responses were not influenced by age, older age per se should not be a limitation for ruxolitinib administration. NGS analysis of HMR mutations also confirmed a strong predictive value in elderly patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15497DOI Listing
October 2018

Epidemiology, outcome, and risk factors for infectious complications in myelofibrosis patients receiving ruxolitinib: A multicenter study on 446 patients.

Hematol Oncol 2018 Apr 6. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", Sant'Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Infections represent one of the major concerns regarding the utilization of ruxolitinib (RUX) in patients with myelofibrosis. With the aim to investigate epidemiology, outcome and risk factors for infections in RUX-exposed patients, we collected clinical and laboratory data of 446 myelofibrosis patients treated with RUX between June 2011 and November 2016 in 23 European Hematology Centers. After a median RUX exposure of 23.5 months (range, 1-56), 123 patients (28%) experienced 161 infectious events (grades 3-4 32%, fatal 9%), for an incidence rate of 17 cases per 100 pts/y. The rate of infections tended to decrease over time: 14% of patients developed the first infection within 6 months, 5% between 6 and 12 months, 3.7% between 12 and 18 months, 3.4% between 18 and 24 months, and 7.9% thereafter (P < .0001). Respiratory tract infections were more frequently observed (81 events, 50%), and bacteria were the most frequent etiological agents (68.9%). However, also viral (14.9%) and fungal infections (2.5%) were observed. In multivariate analysis, previous infectious event (HR 2.54; 95% CI, 1.51-4.28; P = .0005) and high international prognostic score system category (IPSS) (HR 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07-2.20; P = .021) significantly correlated with higher infectious risk. On the contrary, spleen reduction ≥50% from baseline after 3 months of treatment (P = .02) was associated with better infection-free survival. Taken together, these findings reinforce the concept of disease severity as the most important risk factor for infections, and describe, for the first time, that a positive therapeutic effect in reducing splenomegaly may also reduce subsequent infectious complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2509DOI Listing
April 2018

In chronic lymphocytic leukaemia with complex karyotype, major structural abnormalities identify a subset of patients with inferior outcome and distinct biological characteristics.

Br J Haematol 2018 04 2;181(2):229-233. Epub 2018 Apr 2.

Haematology Section, Department of Medical Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale S. Anna, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Complex karyotype (CK) is a negative prognostic factor in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). However, CK is a heterogeneous cytogenetic category. Unbalanced rearrangements were present in 73·3% of 90 CLL patients with CK (i.e. ≥3 chromosome aberrations in the same clone), and were associated with a shorter overall survival (P = 0·025) and a shorter time to first treatment (P = 0·043) by multivariate analysis. Patients with unbalanced rearrangements presented a distinct mRNA expression profile. In conclusion, CLL patients with unbalanced rearrangements might represent a subset of very high-risk CLL patients with distinct clinical and biological characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15174DOI Listing
April 2018

Baseline factors associated with response to ruxolitinib: an independent study on 408 patients with myelofibrosis.

Oncotarget 2017 Oct 27;8(45):79073-79086. Epub 2017 Jun 27.

Division of Hematology and BMT, Azienda Sanitaria Universitaria Integrata di Udine, Udine, Italy.

In patients with Myelofibrosis (MF) treated with ruxolitinib (RUX), the response is unpredictable at therapy start. We retrospectively evaluated the impact of clinical/laboratory factors on responses in 408 patients treated with RUX according to prescribing obligations in 18 Italian Hematology Centers. At 6 months, 114 out of 327 (34.9%) evaluable patients achieved a spleen response. By multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression model, pre-treatment factors negatively correlating with spleen response were: high/intermediate-2 IPSS risk (=0.024), large splenomegaly (=0.017), transfusion dependency (=0.022), platelet count <200×10/l (=0.028), and a time-interval between MF diagnosis and RUX start >2 years (=0.048). Also, patients treated with higher (≥10 mg BID) average RUX doses in the first 12 weeks achieved higher response rates (=0.019). After adjustment for IPSS risk, patients in spleen response at 6 months showed only a trend for better survival compared to non-responders. At 6 months, symptoms response was achieved by 85.5% of 344 evaluable patients; only a higher (>20) Total Symptom Score significantly correlated with lower probability of response (<0.001). Increased disease severity, a delay in RUX start and titrated doses <10 mg BID were associated with patients achievinglower response rates. An early treatment and higher RUX doses may achieve better therapeutic results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18674DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5668021PMC
October 2017

Incidence of second primary malignancies and related mortality in patients with imatinib-treated chronic myeloid leukemia.

Haematologica 2017 09 1;102(9):1530-1536. Epub 2017 Jun 1.

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

The majority of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia are successfully managed with life-long treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. In patients in chronic phase, other malignancies are among the most common causes of death, raising concerns on the relationship between these deaths and the off-target effects of tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We analyzed the incidence of second primary malignancies, and related mortality, in 514 chronic myeloid leukemia patients enrolled in clinical trials in which imatinib was given as first-line treatment. We then compared the observed incidence and mortality with those expected in the age- and sex-matched Italian general population, calculating standardized incidence and standardized mortality ratios. After a median follow-up of 74 months, 5.8% patients developed second primary malignancies. The median time from chronic myeloid leukemia to diagnosis of the second primary malignancies was 34 months. We did not find a higher incidence of second primary malignancies compared to that in the age- and sex-matched Italian general population, with standardized incidence ratios of 1.06 (95% CI: 0.57-1.54) and 1.61 (95% CI: 0.92-2.31) in males and females, respectively. Overall, 3.1% patients died of second primary malignancies. The death rate in patients with second primary malignancies was 53% (median overall survival: 18 months). Among females, the observed cancer-related mortality was superior to that expected in the age- and sex-matched Italian population, with a standardized mortality ratio of 2.41 (95% CI: 1.26 - 3.56). In conclusion, our analysis of patients with imatinib-treated chronic myeloid leukemia did not reveal a higher incidence of second primary malignancies; however, the outcome of second primary malignancies in such patients was worse than expected. Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00514488, NCT00510926.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2017.169532DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685244PMC
September 2017

Efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib in intermediate-1 IPSS risk myelofibrosis patients: Results from an independent study.

Hematol Oncol 2018 Feb 17;36(1):285-290. Epub 2017 May 17.

Department of Hematology, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Patients with myelofibrosis at intermediate-1 risk according to the International Prognostic Score System are projected to a relatively long survival; nonetheless, they may carry significant splenomegaly and/or systemic constitutional symptoms that hamper quality of life and require treatment. Since registrative COMFORT studies included only patients at intermediate-2/high International Prognostic Score System risk, safety and efficacy data in intermediate-1 patients are limited. We report on 70 intermediate-1 patients treated with ruxolitinib according to standard clinical practice that were evaluated for response using the 2013 IWG-MRT criteria. At 6 months, rates of spleen and symptoms response were 54.7% and 80% in 64 and 65 evaluable patients, respectively. At 3 months, ruxolitinib-induced grade 3 anemia and thrombocytopenia occurred in 40.6% and 2.9% of evaluable patients, respectively. Notably, 11 (15.9%) patients experienced at least one infectious event ≥grade 2. Most (82.6%) patients were still on therapy after a median follow-up of 27 months. These data support the need for standardized guidelines that may guide the decision to initiate ruxolitinib therapy in this risk category, balancing benefit expectations and potential adverse effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2429DOI Listing
February 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

An extensive molecular cytogenetic characterization in high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia identifies karyotype aberrations and TP53 disruption as predictors of outcome and chemorefractoriness.

Oncotarget 2017 Apr;8(17):28008-28020

Hematology Section, Department of Medical Sciences, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, Arcispedale S. Anna, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

We investigated whether karyotype analysis and mutational screening by next generation sequencing could predict outcome in 101 newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with high-risk features, as defined by the presence of unmutated IGHV gene and/or 11q22/17p13 deletion by FISH and/or TP53 mutations. Cytogenetic analysis showed favorable findings (normal karyotype and isolated 13q14 deletion) in 30 patients, unfavorable (complex karyotype and/or 17p13/11q22 deletion) in 34 cases and intermediate (all other abnormalities) in 36 cases. A complex karyotype was present in 21 patients. Mutations were detected in 56 cases and were associated with unmutated IGHV status (p = 0.040) and complex karyotype (p = 0.047). TP53 disruption (i.e. TP53 mutations and/or 17p13 deletion by FISH) correlated with the presence of ≥ 2 mutations (p = 0.001) and a complex karyotype (p = 0.012). By multivariate analysis, an advanced Binet stage (p < 0.001) and an unfavorable karyotype (p = 0.001) predicted a shorter time to first treatment. TP53 disruption (p = 0.019) and the unfavorable karyotype (p = 0.028) predicted a worse overall survival. A shorter time to chemorefractoriness was associated with TP53 disruption (p = 0.001) and unfavorable karyotype (p = 0.025). Patients with both unfavorable karyotype and TP53 disruption presented a dismal outcome (median overall survival and time to chemorefractoriness of 28.7 and 15.0 months, respectively). In conclusion, karyotype analysis refines risk stratification in high-risk CLL patients and could identify a subset of patients with highly unfavorable outcome requiring alternative treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15883DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438626PMC
April 2017

Detection of inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (ciHHV-6) in a marker chromosome.

Eur J Haematol 2017 Jun 31;98(6):635-637. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

Section of Haematology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.

Objectives: Inherited chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus-6 (ciHHV-6) is characterised by the complete HHV-6 genome integration into the host germ line genome and is vertically transmitted with a Mendelian inheritance. By now, the only relationship between ciHHV-6 and diseases seems to be with angina pectoris.

Methods: We report a case of an 82-year-old man diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) on October 2014. To substantiate the suspicion of ciHHV-6, we analysed peripheral blood mononuclear cells, bone marrow biopsy and pleural effusion-derived mesothelial cells with PCR, RT-PCR and FISH.

Results: Virological routine screening by PCR showed the absence of HHV-8 and EBV infections, while the presence of HHV-6 DNA (ie, U22, U42 and U94 HHV-6 genes), with a viral load of about 1.0 genome per cell, strongly suggests ciHHV-6. The RT-PCR showed the positivity only for the immediate-early U94, at low levels of transcription (100±15 transcripts/1 μg RNA). FISH analysis reported a case of inherited ciHHV-6 in 17p chromosome region and, for the first time, in a marker chromosome.

Conclusions: This is the first case of inherited ciHHV-6 in a marker chromosome, possibly elucidating the role of this abnormality in the biology of DLBCL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12872DOI Listing
June 2017

"Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis after EBV reactivation and ibrutinib treatment in relapsed/refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia".

Leuk Res Rep 2017 22;7:11-13. Epub 2017 Jan 22.

Hematology Section, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Arcispedale S. Anna, Ferrara, Italy.

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare syndrome characterized by ineffective T-cell and NK response. We report the clinical course of a patient with relapsed CLL who developed acute symptoms soon after starting ibrutinib. Hyperpyrexia, splenomegaly, hyperferritinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, cytopenias, and a typical cytokine pattern, i.e. high interleukin (IL)-6, IL10 and IL18, were consistent with a diagnosis of HLH. Coexistent Epstein Barr virus reactivation was documented. Ibrutinib-induced impairment of NK degranulation, associated with EBV reactivation and CLL-related immunodeficiency may have contributed to the development of HLH in our patient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrr.2017.01.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5288319PMC
January 2017