Publications by authors named "Giancarlo Castaman"

141 Publications

Obstacles to Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Inherited von Willebrand Disease: Current Perspectives.

J Blood Med 2021 22;12:165-175. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Center for Bleeding Disorders and Coagulation, Department of Oncology, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.

Von Willebrand disease (VWD), the most common inherited bleeding disorder, is highly heterogeneous, and its early diagnosis may be difficult, especially for mild cases and in qualitative von Willebrand factor (VWF) defects. Appropriate VWD diagnosis requires the combination of personal and/or family history of bleeding and abnormal VWF laboratory testing. The use of bleeding assessment tools has been helpful in standardizing bleeding history collection and quantification of bleeding symptoms to select patients who may benefit of further hemostatic testing. Type 1 and 3 VWD which represent quantitative VWD variants are relatively easy to diagnose. The diagnosis of type 2 VWD requires multiple assessments to evaluate the effects induced by the responsible abnormality on the heterogeneous functions of VWF. Sensitive and reproducible tests are needed to evaluate different VWF activities, starting from measuring VWF-platelet interaction. In the recent years, several increasingly sensitive, rapid and automated assays have been developed, but they are not widely available so far. Genetic testing for VWD diagnosis is not a common practice because VWF gene is very large and highly polymorphic and therefore it is used only in specific cases. It is evident that the early and correct VWD diagnosis allows optimal management of bleeding and situations at risk. Tranexamic acid, desmopressin, replacement therapy with plasma-derived concentrates with a variable content of VWF and FVIII, or the new recombinant VWF are the different therapeutic options available. Careful VWD classification guides treatment because desmopressin is widely used in type 1 while replacement therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for type 2 and 3 variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/JBM.S232758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7997550PMC
March 2021

B cell activating factor modulates the factor VIII immune response in hemophilia A.

J Clin Invest 2021 Mar 2. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Colket Translational Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States of America.

Inhibitors to factor VIII (FVIII) remain the most challenging complication of FVIII protein replacement therapy in hemophilia A (HA). Understanding the mechanisms that guide FVIII-specific B cell development could help identify therapeutic targets. The B cell activating factor (BAFF) cytokine family is a key regulator of B cell differentiation in normal homeostasis and immune disorders. Thus, we used patient samples and mouse models to investigate the potential role of BAFF in modulating FVIII inhibitors. BAFF levels were elevated in pediatric and adult HA inhibitor patients and decreased to levels similar to non-inhibitor controls after successful immune tolerance induction (ITI). Moreover, elevations in BAFF levels were seen in patients who failed to achieve FVIII tolerance with anti-CD20 mediated B-cell depletion. In naïve HA mice, prophylactic anti-BAFF therapy prior to FVIII immunization prevented inhibitors and this tolerance was maintained despite FVIII exposure after immune reconstitution. In preimmunized HA mice, combination therapy with anti-CD20 and anti-BAFF antibodies dramatically reduced FVIII inhibitors via inhibition of FVIII-specific plasma cells. Our data suggest that BAFF may regulate the generation and maintenance of FVIII inhibitors and/or anti-FVIII B cells. Finally, anti-CD20/anti-BAFF combination therapy may be clinically useful for ITI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI142906DOI Listing
March 2021

Characterization of the neutralizing anti-emicizumab antibody in a patient with hemophilia A and inhibitor.

J Thromb Haemost 2021 Mar 1;19(3):711-718. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Angelo Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center and Fondazione Luigi Villa, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Background: The genetically engineered, humanized, bispecific monoclonal antibody emicizumab (Hemlibra) that mimics the cofactor activity of activated factor VIII (FVIII) has been approved for treatment of hemophilia A patients with and without inhibitor. In the pivotal premarketing clinical trials, emicizumab prophylaxis significantly reduced bleeding rates compared with previous treatments and was well tolerated. However, a consequence of this novel therapy may be the host immune response to a foreign protein.

Objective: Characterization of the neutralizing anti-emicizumab antibody associated with the loss of treatment efficacy.

Patient: A pediatric hemophilia A patient with inhibitor enrolled in the HAVEN2 (Study of Emicizumab Administered Subcutaneously (SC) in Pediatric Participants With Hemophilia A and Factor VIII (FVIII) Inhibitors) clinical trial.

Methods: The anti-emicizumab antibody has been characterized with Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The antibody was affinity purified and sequenced. Binding affinity to full-length and papain-digested emicizumab was analyzed using surface plasmon resonance and byo-layer interferometry.

Results: The neutralizing anti-emicizumab antibody was highly polyclonal with high-affinity binding mainly to the Fab portion of emicizumab with a small amount of binding to the Fc portion. Molecular interaction experiments between emicizumab and the purified antibody indicated the presence of at least two components with similar affinities.

Conclusions: Although the incidence of neutralizing anti-emicizumab antibody is rare, this study highlights the importance of a close monitoring and the need of a simple laboratory assay to promptly detect these antibodies in patients with a history of poor drug efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.15226DOI Listing
March 2021

Management of patients with severe haemophilia a without inhibitors on prophylaxis with emicizumab: AICE recommendations with focus on emergency in collaboration with SIBioC, SIMEU, SIMEUP, SIPMeL and SISET.

Haemophilia 2020 Nov 23;26(6):937-945. Epub 2020 Oct 23.

President of AICE; Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre, Haematology, Ospedale del Mare, ASL Napoli 1 Centro, Naples, Italy.

Introduction: The factor VIII (FVIII)-mimetic bispecific monoclonal antibody, emicizumab, previously approved for prophylaxis in haemophilia A with inhibitors, has been recently licensed in several countries also in patients with severe haemophilia A (PWSHA) without inhibitors. The introduction of this innovative agent requires the development of specific pathways at Haemophilia Treatment Centres (HTC), particularly regarding laboratory testing and treatment of breakthrough bleeds and invasive procedures/surgeries, even more critical when patients are managed by non-specialist professionals. Limited literature data and clinical experience in PWSHA without inhibitors on emicizumab are currently available.

Aim: To promote awareness and overcome these challenges, the Italian Association of Haemophilia Centres (AICE) issued a guidance on the management of PWSHA without inhibitors on emicizumab prophylaxis, focused on emergency and shared with other National Scientific Societies in the field.

Methods: The document, drafted by an AICE expert panel and approved through online consultation, was further revised by a multidisciplinary working group, including members of 5 haemostasis, laboratory and emergency scientific societies. The final version was approved by the Council of each society.

Results: General recommendations about use of FVIII concentrates for the treatment of bleeding or haemostatic coverage of invasive procedures/surgeries and laboratory monitoring in PWSHA without inhibitors on emicizumab are provided. Specific issues of the management in the emergency room are focused, highlighting the need for direct involvement or formalized supervision by specialist HTC physicians.

Conclusions: This guidance provides a reference pathway to be implemented in the different healthcare organizations, especially for the challenging emergency management in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hae.14172DOI Listing
November 2020

Joint replacement for the management of haemophilic arthropathy in patients with inhibitors: A long-term experience at a single Haemophilia centre.

Haemophilia 2021 Jan 30;27(1):e93-e101. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital of Florence, Florence, Italy.

Introduction: The association between haemophilia and the so-called 'inhibitors', alloantibodies against the infused factor able to neutralize its clotting activity, is a very rare condition. Those sporadic patients suffer of an even more severe arthropathy and performing primary or revision arthroplasty become truly challenging. Literature about this topic is scarce, consisting in small case series, high rates of complications and mid-term follow-ups.

Aim: The purpose of this study is the assessment of the long-term outcomes of primary and revision arthroplasty performed in a population of patients with inhibitors, the more consistent to date reported at a single haemophilia centre.

Methods: We reviewed the records of 18 patients with inhibitors (26 procedures) between 1999 and 2017, divided in two groups. Group A [primary total Knee-Hip arthroplasty (TKA-THA)]: 13 patients underwent 19TKA and 2THA; and B (revision): 5 subjects underwent 3rTKA and 2rTHA. All patients received the same haematological prophylaxis (rFVIIa). Haemophilic Joint Health score and VAS, and X-rays were recorded pre- and postoperatively. The survival rate of all primary implants was assessed.

Results: The median follow-up was 12.2 years (3-21) for group A, 8.6 years (4-12) for B. Few complications have been reported; the overall survival rate was 94.7% at 15 years. All patients reported satisfaction, pain reduction and improved functional ability.

Conclusion: Primary and revision TKA/THA in haemophilic subjects and inhibitors may be nowadays considered safe and effective if performed in dedicated multidisciplinary centres. The use of continuous infusion of rFVIIa showed an adequate haemostatic effect and low rate of complications. As expected, revisions are more prone to complications compared to primary arthroplasty.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hae.14169DOI Listing
January 2021

Factors VIII and Von Willebrand Levels in Women Undergoing Assisted Reproduction: Are Their Levels Associated with Clinical Pregnancy Outcome?

Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 2020 1;12(1):e2020058. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.4084/MJHID.2020.058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7485478PMC
September 2020

The factor VIII treatment history of non-severe hemophilia A.

J Thromb Haemost 2020 12 28;18(12):3203-3210. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

The Royal London Haemophilia Centre, QMUL, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.

Background: In patients with non-severe hemophilia A, we lack detailed knowledge on the timing of treatment with factor VIII (FVIII) concentrates. This knowledge could provide information about the expected treatment timing in patients with severe hemophilia A treated with non-replacement therapies.

Objective: To assess the FVIII treatment history in patients with non-severe hemophilia A.

Methods: Patients with non-severe hemophilia (baseline FVIII activity [FVIII:C] 2-40 IU/dL) were included from the INSIGHT study. The primary outcome was median age at first FVIII exposure (ED1). In a subgroup of patients for whom more detailed information was available, we analyzed the secondary outcomes: median age at first 20 EDs, annualized bleeding rate for all bleeds (ABR), joint bleeds (AJBR), and major spontaneous bleeds (ASmBR).

Results: In the total cohort (n = 1013), median baseline FVIII activity was 8 IU/dL (interquartile range [IQR] 4-15) and the median age at ED1 was 3.7 years (IQR 1.4-7.7). Median age at ED1 rose from 2.5 years (IQR 1.2-5.7) in patients with FVIII:C 2-5 IU/dL to 9.7 years (IQR 4.8-16.0) in patients with FVIII:C 25-40 IU/dL. In the subgroup (n = 104), median age at ED1, ED5, ED10, and ED20 was 4.0 years (IQR 1.4-7.6), 5.6 years (IQR 2.9-9.3), 7.5 years (IQR 4.4-11.3), and 10.2 years (IQR 6.5-14.2), respectively. Median ABR, AJBR, and ASmBR were 1.1 (IQR 0.5-2.6), 0.3 (IQR 0.1-0.7), and 0 (IQR 0-0), respectively.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that in non-severe hemophilia A, the age at first FVIII exposure increases with baseline FVIII:C and that major spontaneous bleeds rarely occur.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.15076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756346PMC
December 2020

Low bone mass and hypovitaminosis D in haemophilia: A single-centre study in patients with severe and moderate haemophilia A and B.

Haemophilia 2020 Sep 25;26(5):898-906. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Center for Bleeding Disorders and Coagulation, Careggi University Hospital, Firenze, Italy.

Introduction: Haemophilia (H) is frequently associated with a multifactorial reduction in bone mineral density (BDM), but little is known about possible differences between HA and HB according to their severity.

Aim: To evaluate the association between low bone mineral density (BMD), 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations and bone turnover markers in patients with HA and HB younger or older than 50 years.

Methods: In 78 patients <50 years and 33 patients >50 years with severe (S) or moderate (M) HA and HB, BMD was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at femoral neck (FN) and lumbar spine and then correlated to annual bleeding rate (ABR), World Federation of Haemophilia orthopaedic joint scale (WFH score), 25(OH)D concentrations, parathyroid hormone (PTH), amino-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (NTx), urinary pyridinolines, osteocalcin and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase.

Results: Overall, a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was diagnosed. In patients <50 years, low FN-BMD was significantly more frequent in HA than in HB, while PTH, pyridinolines, ABR and WFH score were associated with H type and severity. In patients >50 years, similarly low FN-BMD was observed in HA and HB, while ABR and WFH score were associated with H type and severity, being milder in HB.

Conclusions: Low bone mass is a frequent comorbidity in haemophilic patients of all ages, apart from those with MHB. Clinical and laboratory assessments confirm a higher bone impairment and faster bone resorption in HA compared with HB. Looking at H type and severity, MHB seems to have a normal bone metabolism and a less severe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hae.14127DOI Listing
September 2020

How I treat von Willebrand disease.

Thromb Res 2020 12 3;196:618-625. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Center for Bleeding Disorders and Coagulation, Department of Oncology, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

The deficiency or abnormal activity of von Willebrand factor, a multi-adhesive protein which binds platelets to exposed subendothelium and carries factor VIII in circulation, is responsible for von Willebrand disease, the most frequent inherited bleeding disorder. Clinical symptoms are characterized by mucous membrane and soft tissue bleeding, bleeding after surgery and rarely joint and gastrointestinal bleeding. Intriguingly, also factor VIII, the protein deficient in hemophilia A, may be variably reduced because VWF stabilizes it into circulation. Treatment strategies are well designed for patients with levels of VWF activity <30 U/dL, while the diagnosis and the magnitude of risk may be difficult to be assessed accurately for subjects with levels between 30 and 50 U/dL. Three types of the disorder have been identified according to partial (type 1) or severe VWF quantitative deficiency (type 3) while patients who present variable abnormality of VWF structure are categorized as type 2. The aim of treatment is to correct either the abnormal/reduced von Willebrand factor and the associated deficiency of factor VIII, when present. Desmopressin is able to transiently correct the deficiency of FVIII and VWF for up to 8-12 h in a significant proportion of patients with type 1 von Willebrand disease and factor VIII and von Willebrand factor levels ≥10 U/dL. When desmopressin is not usual (mainly in patients with type 2 and 3 VWD) or correction is required cannot be used for an extended time (e.g., major surgery), von Willebrand factor-containing concentrates, with or without FVIII, must be used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.thromres.2020.07.051DOI Listing
December 2020

Noncanonical type 2B von Willebrand disease associated with mutations in the VWF D'D3 and D4 domains.

Blood Adv 2020 07;4(14):3405-3415

Dipartimento di Medicina e Chirurgia Traslazionale, Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia Agostino Gemelli, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Rome, Italy.

We observed a 55-year-old Italian man who presented with mucosal and cutaneous bleeding. Results of his blood analysis showed low levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) antigen and VWF activity (both VWF ristocetin cofactor and VWF collagen binding), mild thrombocytopenia, increased ristocetin-induced platelet aggregation, and a deficiency of high-molecular-weight multimers, all typical phenotypic hallmarks of type 2B von Willebrand disease (VWD). The analysis of the VWF gene sequence revealed heterozygous in cis mutations: (1) c.2771G>A and (2) c.6532G>T substitutions in the exons 21 and 37, respectively. The first mutation causes the substitution of an Arg residue with a Gln at position 924, in the D'D3 domain. The second mutation causes an Ala to Ser substitution at position 2178 in the D4 domain. The patient's daughter did not present the same fatherly mutations but showed only the heterozygous polymorphic c.3379C>T mutation in exon 25 of the VWF gene causing the p.P1127S substitution, inherited from her mother. The in vitro expression of the heterozygous in cis VWF mutant rVWFWT/rVWF924Q-2178S confirmed and recapitulated the ex vivo VWF findings. Molecular modeling showed that these in cis mutations stabilize a partially stretched and open conformation of the VWF monomer. Transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy showed in the heterozygous recombinant form rVWFWT/rVWF924Q-2178S a stretched conformation, forming strings even under static conditions. Thus, the heterozygous in cis mutations 924Q/2178S promote conformational transitions in the VWF molecule, causing a type 2B-like VWD phenotype, despite the absence of typical mutations in the A1 domain of VWF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002334DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391138PMC
July 2020

Comparison of von Willebrand factor platelet-binding activity assays: ELISA overreads type 2B with loss of HMW multimers.

J Thromb Haemost 2020 10 27;18(10):2513-2523. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Department of Internal Medicine and Hematology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Background: A number of new assays with different measuring principles are available to measure von Willebrand factor (VWF) glycoprotein Ib (GPIb)-binding activity, but little is known about how these assays might behave differently for subtypes of von Willebrand disease (VWD).

Objectives: The Comparison of Assays to Measure VWF Activity (COMPASS-VWF) study was designed to compare all available VWF GPIb-binding activity assays for VWF. We specifically searched for particular assay behavior differences.

Patients/methods: To sort out random differences from systematic assay behavior deviations, all assays were performed in different laboratories on the same samples in a blinded fashion. Samples from 53 normal controls and 42 well-characterized VWD patients were reanalyzed in this study to dissect assay-specific discrepancies.

Results: No assay behavior differences were found for 53 normal controls. For VWD patients, we found the following systematic assay behavior patterns: (a) All ELISA assays for VWF:GPIbR as well as VWF:GPIbM are insensitive to detect the low VWF activity of VWD type 2B patients with loss of high molecular weight multimers; (b) VWF:Ab assay reports higher activity for the p.V1665E mutation than all other assays; and (c) all ristocetin-based assays (including VWF:RCo using fixed platelets) but the AcuStar assay report discrepantly low VWF activity for the p.P1467S polymorphism. No systematic assay-specific difference was observed for either the particle agglutination VWF:GPIbM assay or the AcuStar assay using magnetic beads.

Conclusions: Different assay principles may lead to discrepant results for certain VWD types or mutations. Therefore, a more extensive study for a large number of patients is needed to better characterize the incidence and relevance of such assay-specific differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.14971DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722054PMC
October 2020

Concomitant Use of rFVIIa and Emicizumab in People with Hemophilia A with Inhibitors: Current Perspectives and Emerging Clinical Evidence.

Ther Clin Risk Manag 2020 22;16:461-469. Epub 2020 May 22.

Department of Oncology, Center for Bleeding Disorders and Coagulation, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy.

Emicizumab, a humanized, bi-specific, monoclonal antibody subcutaneously administered, mimicking the function of FVIIIa, represents a milestone in treatment of patients affected by hemophilia A complicated with inhibitors. The HAVEN 1 and 2 studies have clearly established its superiority compared to bypassing agents for routine prophylaxis in preventing or reducing bleeding episodes in adult and pediatric patients with inhibitors. However, its protection against bleeding is only partial, and concomitant use of a bypassing agent may be required with potential prothrombotic risk. The emicizumab Phase III trials (HAVEN 1, 2 and 4) have shown that the traditional bypassing agents, activated prothrombin complex concentrates or recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa), may be necessary for the treatment of breakthrough bleeds or surgery management. A post hoc analysis in particular has shown that the concomitant use of emicizumab and rFVIIa is safe and no thrombotic events have been described. The review describes the state of the art of the concomitant use of emicizumab and rFVIIa for treating acute bleeding and surgeries, its efficacy and safety and the lack of thrombotic events associated with this treatment modality. Data still derive mainly from HAVEN trials; however, the availability of emicizumab in clinical practice is progressively increasing the number of patients treated and no adverse events directly attributed to this agent have occurred. The availability of guidelines for the use and dosing of rFVIIa during emicizumab prophylaxis is useful in clinical practice for managing suspected or ongoing bleeding, emergency situations and elective invasive procedures. In the next years, careful prospective post-licensure surveillance to monitor safety of rFVIIa use during prophylaxis with emicizumab is highly recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S205310DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7251291PMC
May 2020

Bleeding symptoms in patients diagnosed as type 3 von Willebrand disease: Results from 3WINTERS-IPS, an international and collaborative cross-sectional study.

J Thromb Haemost 2020 09 25;18(9):2145-2154. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Hematology and Transfusion Medicine, Department of Oncology and Oncohematology, L. Sacco University Hospital, University of Milan, Milano, Italy.

Background: Type 3 von Willebrand's disease (VWD) patients present markedly reduced levels of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII. Because of its rarity, the bleeding phenotype of type 3 VWD is poorly described, as compared to type 1 VWD.

Aims: To evaluate the frequency and the severity of bleeding symptoms across age and sex groups in type 3 patients and to compare these with those observed in type 1 VWD patients to investigate any possible clustering of bleeding symptoms within type 3 patients.

Methods: We compared the bleeding phenotype and computed the bleeding score (BS) using the MCMDM-1VWD bleeding questionnaire in patients enrolled in the 3WINTERS-IPS and MCMDM-1VWD studies.

Results: In 223 unrelated type 3 VWD patients, both the BS and the number of clinically relevant bleeding symptoms were increased in type 3 as compared to type 1 VWD patients (15 versus 6 and 5 versus 3). Intracranial bleeding, oral cavity, hemarthroses, and deep hematomas were at least five-fold over-represented in type 3 VWD. A more severe bleeding phenotype was evident in patients having von Willebrand factor antigen levels < 20 IU/dL at diagnosis in the two merged cohorts. In type 3 patients, there was an apparent clustering of hemarthrosis with gastrointestinal bleeding and epistaxis, whereas bleeding after surgery or tooth extraction clusters with oral bleeding and menorrhagia.

Conclusions: In the largest cohort of type 3 VWD patients, we were able to describe a distinct clinical phenotype that is associated with the presence of a more severe hemostatic defect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.14886DOI Listing
September 2020

Hemophilia management: Huge impact of a tiny difference.

Res Pract Thromb Haemost 2020 Mar 28;4(3):377-385. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Pediatric Hematology Amsterdam UMC Emma Children's Hospital University of Amsterdam Amsterdam The Netherlands.

Hemophilia A and B are inherited X-linked disorders of hemostasis, associated with an increased bleeding tendency. Patients with severe hemophilia have undetectable clotting factor levels and experience spontaneous bleeds. In patients with nonsevere hemophilia, the clotting factor levels are 2% to 40% of normal and bleeds predominantly occur after provocative events such as trauma and surgery. Despite this milder phenotype, patients with nonsevere hemophilia may suffer from considerable morbidity and have an increased mortality risk. However, many aspects of the course of disease and treatment remain unclear. Information on the factors influencing interindividual differences in bleeding phenotype is lacking, and misdiagnosis may occur due to assay discrepancies in the diagnostic workup. Desmopressin is the preferred treatment modality, but some patients and indications require treatment with clotting factor concentrates. This may elicit inhibitor formation, which is associated with an increased burden of disease and a higher mortality rate. It has been found that patients with nonsevere hemophilia A carry a lifelong risk for this serious complication. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge of the diagnosis and management of nonsevere hemophilia. A report of science presented at the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2019 Annual Congress is also provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rth2.12314DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7086468PMC
March 2020

Product type and the risk of inhibitor development in nonsevere haemophilia A patients: a case-control study.

Br J Haematol 2020 06 22;189(6):1182-1191. Epub 2020 Mar 22.

Department of Pediatric Hematology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Inhibitor development is a major complication of treatment with factor VIII concentrates in nonsevere haemophilia A. It has been suggested that plasma-derived factor VIII (FVIII) concentrates elicit fewer inhibitors than recombinant FVIII concentrates, but studies in severe haemophilia A patients have shown conflicting results. We designed a case-control study to investigate the clinical and genetic risk factors for inhibitor development in nonsevere haemophilia A patients. We investigated whether the type of FVIII concentrate was associated with inhibitor development in nonsevere haemophilia A patients. This nested case-control study includes 75 inhibitor patients and 223 controls, from a source population of the INSIGHT study, including all nonsevere haemophilia A patients (FVIII:C 2-40%) that were treated with FVIII concentrates in 33 European and one Australian centre. Cases and controls were matched for date of birth and cumulative number of exposure days (CED) to FVIII concentrate. A conditional logistic regression model was used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios. No increased risk for inhibitor development was found for any type of FVIII concentrate; either when comparing recombinant FVIII concentrates to plasma-derived FVIII concentrates (adjusted odds ratio 0·96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·36-2·52) or for specific types of FVIII concentrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318706PMC
June 2020

Cost-Effectiveness and Budget Impact of Emicizumab Prophylaxis in Haemophilia A Patients with Inhibitors.

Thromb Haemost 2020 Feb 30;120(2):216-228. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Research Centre on Public Health (CESP), University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

Recent evidence demonstrated that weekly prophylaxis with subcutaneous bispecific antibody (emicizumab) has shown higher efficacy in adolescent and adults patients affected by haemophilia A (HA) with inhibitor, compared with patients treated on demand or on prophylaxis with bypassing agents (BPAs). However, no economic evaluations assessing the value and sustainability of emicizumab prophylaxis have been performed in Europe. This study assessed the cost-effectiveness of emicizumab prophylaxis compared with BPA prophylaxis and its possible budget impact from the Italian National Health Service (NHS) perspective. A Markov model and a budget impact model were developed to estimate the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of emicizumab prophylaxis in HA patients with inhibitors. The model was populated using treatment efficacy from clinical trials and key clinical, cost and epidemiological data retrieved through an extensive literature review. Compared with BPAs prophylaxis, emicizumab prophylaxis was found to be more effective (0.94 quality adjusted life-years) and cost saving (-€19.4/-€24.4 million per patient lifetime) in a cohort of 4-year-old patients with HA and inhibitors who failed immune tolerance induction. In the probabilistic sensitivity analysis, emicizumab prophylaxis had always 100% probability of being cost-effective at any threshold. Further, the use of emicizumab prophylaxis was associated to an overall budget reduction of €45.4 million in the next 3 years. In conclusion, the clinically effective emicizumab prophylaxis can be considered a cost-saving treatment for HA with inhibitor patients. Furthermore, emicizumab treatment is also associated to a significant reduction of the health care budget, making this new treatment a sustainable and convenient health care option for Italian NHS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-3401822DOI Listing
February 2020

High rate of sustained virological response with direct-acting antivirals in haemophiliacs with HCV infection: A multicenter study.

Liver Int 2020 05 6;40(5):1062-1068. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Division of Internal Medicine and Hepatology, Humanitas Research Hospital IRCCS, Rozzano, Italy.

Background And Aims: Chronic hepatitis C is the main co-morbidity in adult patients with haemophilia (PwH). It causes progressive liver damage leading to end-stage liver disease and/or hepatocellular carcinoma. Eradication of HCV was possible with interferon (IFN)-based regimens in the past and direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) more recently. PwH have been considered "difficult-to-treat" because of several bad predictors of response. The advent of DAAs has provided high rates of sustained virological response (SVR) despite bad prognostic factors. Here, we present the results of antiviral treatment with DAAs in PwH treated in 2 large Italian Hemophilia Treatment Centers.

Methods: PwH and chronic hepatitis C sustained by any HCV genotype were eligible for therapy with DAAs, including those with compensated cirrhosis, HIV infection and/or previous failure to IFN-based antiviral therapy. Patients received DAAs for 8-24 weeks according to existing guidelines. SVR was defined as persistent negative serum HCV-RNA at 12 weeks after treatment completion (SVR12).

Results: Between January 2015 and November 2018, 200 patients aged 21-84 years (median: 50.5) received DAAs. HCV genotype 1 was the most prevalent (158, 79%). Forty patients (20%) were HIV positive, 56 (28%) had cirrhosis and 91 (46%) previously failed interferon-based treatment. Ribavirin was used in 70 (35%). HCV-RNA was undetectable at week 4 in 124/192 (65%) and SVR12 was achieved in 193/195 (99%). No patient had serious side effects related to DAAs.

Conclusions: DAAs were safe and highly effective in PwH irrespective of HIV status, stage of liver disease severity and/or previous failure to IFN-based therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14337DOI Listing
May 2020

Etranacogene dezaparvovec (AMT-061 phase 2b): normal/near normal FIX activity and bleed cessation in hemophilia B.

Blood Adv 2019 11;3(21):3241-3247

Department of Pediatrics and Pathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Etranacogene dezaparvovec (AMT-061) is a recombinant AAV5 vector including a gene cassette containing the factor IX (FIX) Padua variant under the control of a liver-specific promoter. A phase 2b study was conducted to confirm that a single dose of 2 × 1013 genome copies per kilogram of etranacogene dezaparvovec will result in FIX activity ≥5% 6 weeks after dosing. Secondary end points included FIX activity at other time points, bleed frequency, FIX replacement, and safety. Etranacogene dezaparvovec was administered as a single IV infusion to 3 adults with severe to moderately severe hemophilia B. Before treatment, participants had low levels of preexisting neutralizing antibodies to AAV5. This article reports a planned 26-week interim assessment. At week 6, mean FIX activity was 31% (23.9%-37.8%), increasing to 47% (33.2%-57.0%) at 26 weeks, with 2 subjects exhibiting sustained activity >40%. Consistent with the FIX activity, etranacogene dezaparvovec was associated with a complete bleed cessation with no need for FIX replacement therapy up to 26 weeks. Etranacogene dezaparvovec was generally well tolerated. No clinically significant elevations in levels of liver enzymes or inflammatory markers were observed, and no use of corticosteroids related to treatment was required. In individuals with severe to moderately severe hemophilia B, etranacogene dezaparvovec resulted in clinically relevant increases in FIX activity, cessation of bleeds, and abrogation of the need for FIX replacement, despite the presence of preexisting anti-AAV5 neutralizing antibodies detected by using a highly sensitive luciferase assay. Consistency of results in the 3 participants supported an expanded evaluation of the safety/efficacy of etranacogene dezaparvovec in the HOPE-B (Health Outcomes With Padua Gene; Evaluation in Hemophilia-B) phase 3 trial. The current trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03489291.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000811DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6855101PMC
November 2019

Emergency management in patients with haemophilia A and inhibitors on prophylaxis with emicizumab: AICE practical guidance in collaboration with SIBioC, SIMEU, SIMEUP, SIPMeL and SISET.

Blood Transfus 2020 03 18;18(2):143-151. Epub 2019 Oct 18.

Haemophilia Centre, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Emicizumab has been approved in several countries for regular prophylaxis in patients with congenital haemophilia A and FVIII inhibitors because it substantially reduces their bleeding risk and improves quality of life. However, although significantly less frequent, some breakthrough bleeds may still occur while on emicizumab, requiring treatment with bypassing or other haemostatic agents. Thrombotic complications have been reported with the associated use of activated prothrombin complex concentrates. In addition, when surgery/invasive procedures are needed while on emicizumab, their management requires multidisciplinary competences and direct supervision by experts in the use of this agent. Given this, and in order to expand the current knowledge on the use of emicizumab and concomitant haemostatic agents, and reduce the risk of complications in this setting, the Italian Association of Haemophilia Centres (AICE) here provides guidance on the management of breakthrough bleeds and surgery in emergency situations in patients with haemophilia A and inhibitors on emicizumab prophylaxis. This paper has been shared with other National Scientific Societies involved in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2450/2019.0186-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7141940PMC
March 2020

Subcutaneous concizumab prophylaxis in hemophilia A and hemophilia A/B with inhibitors: phase 2 trial results.

Blood 2019 11;134(22):1973-1982

Department of Immunohematology and.

Results from the main parts (24 weeks) of 2 concizumab phase 2 trials are presented: explorer4 in hemophilia A (HA) or B (HB) with inhibitors (HAwI/HBwI) and explorer5 in HA. The trials aimed to evaluate the efficacy of daily subcutaneous concizumab prophylaxis (evaluated as annualized bleeding rate [ABR] at last dose level), with secondary objectives being safety and immunogenicity (assessed as number of adverse events [AEs] and antidrug antibodies [ADAs]). Patients received 0.15 mg/kg concizumab, with potential dose escalation to 0.20 and 0.25 mg/kg (if ≥3 spontaneous bleeding episodes within 12 weeks of concizumab treatment). Relevant pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) parameters were assessed. Thirty-six HA, 9 HAwI, and 8 HBwI patients were exposed to concizumab. Most inhibitor patients (15 of 17; 88.2%) did not escalate the dose; all patients chose to continue to the extension phase of the trials. Clinical proof of concept for prevention of bleeding episodes was demonstrated in both trials. Estimated ABRs in HAwI and HBwI were lower vs HA: 3.0 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7; 5.3) and 5.9 (95% CI, 4.2; 8.5) vs 7.0 (95% CI, 4.6; 10.7), respectively. PK/PD results were as expected, with no difference between hemophilia subtypes for concizumab exposure, free tissue factor pathway inhibitor, thrombin generation, prothrombin fragment 1+2, and d-dimers. Concizumab was safe and well tolerated (no severe AEs, AE-related withdrawals, or thromboembolic events). Three patients had (very low to medium titer) ADA+ tests in each trial, with no observed clinical effect. These results support further development of concizumab as a daily prophylactic treatment in all hemophilia patients. These trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03196284 and #NCT03196297.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019001542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6895373PMC
November 2019

Hemophilia A and B: molecular and clinical similarities and differences.

Haematologica 2019 09 8;104(9):1702-1709. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Department of Medicine, McMaster University and the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.221093DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6717582PMC
September 2019

Risk of bleeding and thrombosis in inherited qualitative fibrinogen disorders.

Eur J Haematol 2019 Oct 1;103(4):379-384. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Hemophilia and Blood disorders Department, Hospital of Castelfranco Veneto, Castelfranco Veneto, Italy.

Objectives: Inherited dysfibrinogenemia is a rare disorder, for which clinical studies related to the risk of bleeding or thrombosis and the type of causative mutation are scanty.

Materials And Methods: We analyzed the laboratory, clinical, and genotypic features of 50 patients with inherited dysfibrinogenemia belonging to 19 unrelated families.

Results: In all the index cases, fibrinogen activity by Clauss method was below the normal range, while it was observed in 57.9% only by PT-derived method. In three families, hypodysfibrinogenemia was evident, associated with three novel mutations (Ter492Gln in FGB, Cys365Asp, and Leu370Phe in FGG). Three additional novel mutations were also identified (Arg114Lys in FGA, Ile131Thr and Trp234Arg in FGG). Bleeding symptoms assessed by ISTH-BAT scored at least 1 in 30% of patients and, significant bleeding symptoms were mainly present in female patients, especially associated with pregnancy. Two patients with FGB Arg44Cys suffered from venous thromboembolism, and two with FGA Arg35His had ischemic stroke at older age.

Conclusions: This study confirms the heterogeneity of clinical features in inherited dysfibrinogenemia, due to the wide spectrum of the causative mutations. Larger multicenter studies are needed to assess the definitive correlation of some mutations with bleeding or thrombosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13296DOI Listing
October 2019

The effect of management models on thromboembolic and bleeding rates in anticoagulated patients: an ecological study.

Intern Emerg Med 2019 11 15;14(8):1307-1315. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

Department of Oncology, Centre for Bleeding Disorders and Coagulation, Careggi University Hospital, 50134, Florence, Italy.

The primary study objective is to compare the outcomes of patients taking oral anticoagulant medications in two distinct populations treated according to different management models (comprehensive vs. usual care). (Design: regional prospective cohort study; setting: hospital admission data from two regions). Eligible partecipants were patients taking oral anticoagulant drugs (vitamin K antagonist or direct oral anticoagulants), residents in the Vicenza and Cremona districts from February 1st, 2016 to June 30th, 2017. Patients were identified by accessing the administrative databases of patient drug prescriptions. The primary study outcome was admission to the Emergency Department for stroke, systemic arterial embolism, recurrence of venous thromboembolism or major bleeding. The study evaluated outcomes in 14,226 patients taking oral anticoagulants, of whom 6725 being followed in Cremona with a comprehensive management model. There were 19 and 45 thromboembolic events over 6205 and 6530 patient-years in the Cremona and Vicenza cohort, respectively (IRR 0.44, 95% CI 0.24-0.77). The reduction of events in the Cremona cohort was almost entirely explained by a decrease of events in patients taking VKA (IRR 0.41, 95% CI 0.20-0.78) but not DOACs (IRR 1.08, 95% CI 0.25-5.24). The rate of major bleeding was non-significantly higher in Cremona than in Vicenza (IRI 1.32; 95% CI 0.74-2.40). Across the two cohorts, the risk of bleeding was lower in patients being treated with DOACs rather than warfarin (10/4574 vs. 42/8161 event/person-years, respectively, IRR 0.42 95% CI 0.19-0.86). We conclude that a comprehensive management model providing centralized dose prescription and follow-up may significantly reduce the rate of thromboembolic complications, without substantially increasing the number of bleeding complications. Patients treated with direct oral anticoagulants appear to have a rate of thromboembolic complications comparable to VKA patients under the best management model, with a reduction of major bleeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11739-019-02148-7DOI Listing
November 2019

TNF-α/TNF-R System May Represent a Crucial Mediator of Proliferative Synovitis in Hemophilia A.

J Clin Med 2019 Jun 28;8(7). Epub 2019 Jun 28.

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

Hemophilic arthropathy (HA) typically begins with proliferative synovitis that shares some similarities with inflammatory arthritides, in which the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α has a crucial pathogenetic role. Inappropriate release of TNF-α was shown to contribute to arthropathy development following intra-articular bleeding in hemophilic mice. Here, we were interested in determining whether systemic levels of TNF-α and synovial tissue expression of the TNF-α/TNF receptor (TNF-R) system could be increased and related to joint damage in hemophilia A patients with severe HA. Serum levels of TNF-α measured by quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were significantly increased in HA patients ( = 67) compared to healthy controls (n = 20). In HA patients, elevated TNF-α levels were significantly associated with the number of hemarthroses, the grade of synovial hypertrophy, and both the clinical World Federation of Hemophilia score and ultrasound score. The expression of TNF-α, TNF-R1, and TNF-R2 was strongly increased in HA synovium (n = 10) compared to the non-inflamed osteoarthritis control synovium (n = 8), as assessed by both immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Increased protein levels of TNF-α, TNF-R1, and TNF-R2 were retained in vitro by HA fibroblast-like synoviocytes (n = 6) with respect to osteoarthritis control fibroblast-like synoviocytes (n = 6). Stimulation with TNF-α resulted in a significant increase in HA fibroblast-like synoviocyte proliferation quantified by the water-soluble tetrazolium (WST)-1 assay, while it had no relevant effect on osteoarthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes. Quantification of active/cleaved caspase-3 by ELISA demonstrated that TNF-α did not induce apoptosis either in HA or in osteoarthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes. The TNF-α/TNF-R system may represent a crucial mediator of proliferative synovitis and, therefore, a new attractive target for the prevention and treatment of joint damage in HA patients. Our findings provide the groundwork for further clinical investigation of anti-TNF-α therapeutic feasibility in hemophiliacs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070939DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678637PMC
June 2019

Pregnancy and delivery in women with von Willebrand disease.

Eur J Haematol 2019 Aug 31;103(2):73-79. Epub 2019 May 31.

Department of Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Given the wide heterogeneity of phenotypes and of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms associated with the disorder, pregnancy and delivery in von Willebrand disease (VWD) represent a significant clinical challenge. The variable pattern of changes observed during pregnancy of von Willebrand factor (VWF) and factor VIII (FVIII), the protein carried by VWF, prompts a careful evaluation of pregnant women with VWD to plan the most appropriate treatment at the time of parturition. However, there are also instances during pregnancy (amniocentesis, vaginal bleeding associated with placental detachment, sudden abortion) that may require urgent hemostatic treatment to prevent bleeding. Thus, women with VWD should start pregnancy after being well characterised as to their type, subtype and treatments. Women with VWD who have VWF and FVIII basal levels >30 U/dL typically normalise these levels at the end of pregnancy and specific anti-haemorrhagic prophylaxis is seldom required. On the contrary, those with basal levels <20 U/dL usually show a lesser increase and specific treatment is required. Some women with DNA variants associated with increased clearance can be treated with desmopressin, while those unresponsive or with contra-indications to this agent need replacement therapy. For these latter women, the risk of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy may be increased and prophylaxis with VWF concentrates required. Similarly, women with type 2 VWD who maintain reduced VWF activity throughout pregnancy require replacement therapy with FVIII/VWF concentrates. Delayed postpartum bleeding may occur when replacement therapy is not continued for some days. Tranexamic acid is useful at discharge to avoid excessive lochia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.13250DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7604852PMC
August 2019

Functional polymorphisms in the LDLR and pharmacokinetics of Factor VIII concentrates.

J Thromb Haemost 2019 08 29;17(8):1288-1296. Epub 2019 May 29.

Italian Association Hemophilia Centers (AICE), Milan, Italy.

Background: Optimization of factor VIII (FVIII) infusion in hemophilia A would benefit from identification of FVIII pharmacokinetics (PK) determinants. The low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) contains an FVIII-binding site and might influence FVIII clearance. Consistently, LDLR polymorphisms have been associated with FVIII levels.

Objective: To investigate the relationships between individual FVIII PK and functional LDLR polymorphisms.

Patients/methods: Thirty-three hemophilia A patients (FVIII coagulant activity [FVIII:C] ≤2 IU/dL) without inhibitors underwent 85 FVIII single-dose (21.4-51.8 IU/kg) PKs with different FVIII concentrates. Twenty patients underwent repeated PKs (2-6).

Fviii: C measured up to 72 hours was analyzed by two-compartment model. Parameters were evaluated in relation to F8 mutations, ABO blood-group and LDLR genotypes.

Results: F8 mutation types were not associated with PK parameters. ABO and LDLR c.1773C/T polymorphism were associated with Alpha, Alpha HL, CLD2, K1-2, and K2-1 parameters, suggesting an influence on the FVIII initial distribution phase. Regression analysis showed an independent association of both ABO and LDLR c.1773C/T with PK parameters (Alpha, β-coefficient -0.311 vs 0.348; CLD2, β-coefficient -0.335 vs 0.318), giving rise to an additive effect in subjects stratified by combined phenotypes. Differently, the LDLR c.81C/T was associated with FVIII clearance and volume of distribution at steady state, which could be related to distinct effects of polymorphisms, potentially linked to LDLR intracellular distribution and FVIII binding behavior.

Conclusions: With the limitation of different FVIII concentrates and low number of patients, our data show plausible associations of LDLR polymorphisms with FVIII PK parameters, thus supporting their investigation as candidate functional determinants of FVIII PK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.14473DOI Listing
August 2019