Publications by authors named "Jakob Passweg"

353 Publications

Feasibility and efficacy of salvage allogeneic stem cell transplantation in AML patients relapsing after autologous stem cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Nov 13. Epub 2021 Nov 13.

Department of Medical Oncology, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.

Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is suitable for consolidation of favorable-/intermediate-risk AML patients in CR1. However, ~50% of AML patients relapse after autologous HCT, and efficacy of subsequent salvage strategies including allogeneic HCT remains unclear. We studied 123 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed AML undergoing high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT)/autologous HCT in CR1. In relapsing patients afterwards, we analyzed salvage treatments and outcomes focusing particularly on salvage allogeneic HCT. Of 123 patients, 64 (52%) relapsed after autologous HCT. Subsequently, 13 (21%) received palliative therapy, whereas 51 (79%) proceeded to salvage therapy with a curative intent. Of the 47 patients with a curative intent and who did not proceed directly to allogeneic HCT, 23 (49%) achieved CR2 or had ongoing hematologic CR1 despite molecular relapse. Finally, 30 patients (47%) received allogeneic HCT with estimated 3-year leukemia-free and overall survival rates of 33% and 43%. Hematologic remission at allogeneic HCT and lack of acute GvHD had a positive impact on OS and LFS (p < 0.05). Our study suggests that almost 80% of AML patients can undergo salvage therapy following relapse after front-line HDCT/autologous HCT. Allogeneic HCT can provide cure in one third of patients relapsing after front-line HDCT/autologous HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01521-5DOI Listing
November 2021

Frequency, reactivity and evolution of human leukocyte antigen and human platelet antigen antibodies in the setting of hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Transfus Apher Sci 2021 Oct 29:103301. Epub 2021 Oct 29.

Regional Blood Transfusion Service, Swiss Red Cross, Basel, Switzerland; Division of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Background And Objectives: Antibodies (Ab) against HLA and HPA antigens play an important role in HCT. In this prospective study we evaluated prevalence and kinetics of HLA- and HPA-Ab after HCT, including a possible donor-recipient transfer and their clinical relevance in respect to platelet transfusion refractoriness (PTR).

Materials And Methods: Patients were consecutively recruited. Ab were determined by microbead assay technique and a mean fluorescence intensity cut-off of 1,000.

Results: At baseline, 21 donors (42 %) and 27 patients (54 %) had HLA-Ab with a mean panel reactivity (cPRA) of 34.9 ± 29.4 % and 46.1 ± 36.5 %, respectively. We observed a significant higher number of HLA-Ab specificities in female donors and patients and a predominance of HLA-class I Ab. At day 0 we detected an increase of HLA-Ab (from 526 to 673) and cPRA (55.2 ± 31.9 %). Thirty-six patients (72 %) developed new HLA-Ab, mainly 3 weeks after HCT. In 7 patients an HLA-Ab with the same specificity as detected in the corresponding donor emerged, suggesting a possible transfer from the donor to the recipient. Overall, MFI showed a high variation. Type and number of transfusions were not associated with number and intensity of HLA-Ab (ρ: -0.05 - 0.02). Number of HLA-Ab, cPRA and intensity were not associated with PTR, which occurred in 9 patients (18 %) and none had bleeding WHO > 2.

Conclusions: Although a considerable number of patients have and develop HLA-Ab before and early after HCT, we found no association with PTR and bleeding and management should be individualized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.transci.2021.103301DOI Listing
October 2021

HEV infection in stem cell transplant recipients-retrospective study of EBMT Infectious Diseases Working Party.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Oct 23. Epub 2021 Oct 23.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

HEV infection is an emerging cause of acute and chronic hepatitis in stem cell transplant (SCT) recipients. We performed a retrospective observational study among EBMT centers with the aim of describing characteristics, management and outcome of HEV after SCT. There were 34 cases of HEV infection from 12 centers in 6 countries, diagnosed in median 4.5 months after SCT; 20 of acute and 14 of chronic infection. Non-hepatic findings possibly associated with HEV infection were present in 9 (26%). Patients with chronic infection had more characteristics associated with severely immunocompromised status. Ribavirin was provided to 16 patients (47%; 40% with acute and 57% with chronic infection), in median for 75 days. Three (19%) patients discontinued it due to side effects. HEV-RNA clearance occurred in 29 patients (85%; 85% in acute and 86% in chronic infection). HEV was considered a cause of death in 3 (9%), with 2 cases with late diagnosis. Reduction of immunosuppression in those receiving it, and ribavirin treatment in those with chronic infection were associated with shorter time to HEV-RNA clearance. Policy on HEV testing varied between the centers. In conclusion, acute and chronic HEV hepatitis should be promptly diagnosed and managed in SCT recipients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01497-2DOI Listing
October 2021

Upfront Alternative Donor Transplant versus Immunosuppressive Therapy in Patients with Severe Aplastic Anemia Who Lack a Fully HLA-Matched Related Donor: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Retrospective Studies, on Behalf of the Severe Aplastic Anemia Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 11. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Idiopathic aplastic anemia is a rare and life-threatening disorder, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) from a matched sibling donor (MSD) is the standard treatment strategy for young patients. Alternative donor transplantation (ADT) from a matched unrelated donor or an HLA haploidentical donor is not commonly used in the frontline setting. This systematic review/meta-analysis was conducted to compare ADT as an upfront, rather than delayed, treatment strategy in the absence of an MSD to immunosuppressive therapy (IST) in severe aplastic anemia (SAA). We searched PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase (1998 to 2019) for studies that compared the outcomes of ADT with IST as upfront therapy in patients with SAA. We included studies with 5 patients or more in each arm. Studies that included patients with inherited forms of bone marrow failure syndromes were excluded. The primary outcome was the 5-year overall survival (OS) rate. Five studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled 5-year odds ratio (OR) for OS was statistically significant at 0.44 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23 to 0.85) in favor of upfront ADT. In addition, survival was compared between upfront ADT versus salvage ADT in 6 studies. The pooled 5-year OR for OS was statistically significant at 0.31 (95% CI, 0.15 to 0.64) in favor of upfront ADT. Although this analysis has some limitations, including the retrospective nature of the included studies, the lack of ethnic diversity, the predominantly pediatric population, and the relatively suboptimal IST regimen used in some of the studies, it indicates that upfront ADT is a potential alternative treatment option in young and pediatric SAA patients who lack an HLA identical sibling donor, particularly when optimal IST is not available. © 2021 American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.10.006DOI Listing
October 2021

Outcomes and toxicity of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation in chronic myeloid leukemia patients previously treated with second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors: a prospective non-interventional study from the Chronic Malignancy Working Party of the EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Oct 1. Epub 2021 Oct 1.

CHU de Lille, Univ Lille, INSERM U1286, Infinite, 59000, Lille, France.

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) remains a treatment option for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who fail to respond to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). While imatinib seems to have no adverse impact on outcomes after transplant, little is known on the effects of prior use of second-generation TKI (2GTKI). We present the results of a prospective non-interventional study performed by the EBMT on 383 consecutive CML patients previously treated with dasatinib or nilotinib undergoing allo-HCT from 2009 to 2013. The median age was 45 years (18-68). Disease status at transplant was CP1 in 139 patients (38%), AP or >CP1 in 163 (45%), and BC in 59 (16%). The choice of 2GTKI was: 40% dasatinib, 17% nilotinib, and 43% a sequential treatment of dasatinib and nilotinib with or without bosutinib/ponatinib. With a median follow-up of 37 months (1-77), 8% of patients developed either primary or secondary graft failure, 34% acute and 60% chronic GvHD. There were no differences in post-transplant complications between the three different 2GTKI subgroups. Non-relapse mortality was 18% and 24% at 12 months and at 5 years, respectively. Relapse incidence was 36%, overall survival 56% and relapse-free survival 40% at 5 years. No differences in post-transplant outcomes were found between the three different 2GTKI subgroups. This prospective study demonstrates the feasibility of allo-HCT in patients previously treated with 2GTKI with a post-transplant complications rate comparable to that of TKI-naive or imatinib-treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01472-xDOI Listing
October 2021

Dual targeting of JAK2 and ERK interferes with the myeloproliferative neoplasm clone and enhances therapeutic efficacy.

Leukemia 2021 Oct 3;35(10):2875-2884. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) show dysregulated JAK2 signaling. JAK2 inhibitors provide clinical benefits, but compensatory activation of MAPK pathway signaling impedes efficacy. We hypothesized that dual targeting of JAK2 and ERK1/2 could enhance clone control and therapeutic efficacy. We employed genetic and pharmacologic targeting of ERK1/2 in Jak2V617F MPN mice, cells and patient clinical isolates. Competitive transplantations of Jak2V617F vs. wild-type bone marrow (BM) showed that ERK1/2 deficiency in hematopoiesis mitigated MPN features and reduced the Jak2V617F clone in blood and hematopoietic progenitor compartments. ERK1/2 ablation combined with JAK2 inhibition suppressed MAPK transcriptional programs, normalized cytoses and promoted clone control suggesting dual JAK2/ERK1/2 targeting as enhanced corrective approach. Combined pharmacologic JAK2/ERK1/2 inhibition with ruxolitinib and ERK inhibitors reduced proliferation of Jak2V617F cells and corrected erythrocytosis and splenomegaly of Jak2V617F MPN mice. Longer-term treatment was able to induce clone reductions. BM fibrosis was significantly decreased in MPLW515L-driven MPN to an extent not seen with JAK2 inhibitor monotherapy. Colony formation from JAK2V617F patients' CD34 blood and BM was dose-dependently inhibited by combined JAK2/ERK1/2 inhibition in PV, ET, and MF subsets. Overall, we observed that dual targeting of JAK2 and ERK1/2 was able to enhance therapeutic efficacy suggesting a novel treatment approach for MPN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-021-01391-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8478661PMC
October 2021

Analysis of biological models to predict clinical outcomes based on HLA-DPB1 disparities in unrelated transplantation.

Blood Adv 2021 09;5(17):3377-3386

Transplantation Immunology Unit and National Reference Laboratory for Histocompatibility, Department of Diagnostic, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland.

HLA compatibility is a key factor for survival after unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, and -DQB1 are usually matched between donor and recipient. By contrast, HLA-DPB1 mismatches are frequent, although it is feasible to optimize donor selection and DPB1 matching with prospective typing. Because classical DPB1 allele mismatches are often unavoidable, however, several biological models have been developed to predict the optimal DPB1 mismatch combination for less graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and better overall survival. In 909 recipient/donor pairs, we analyzed the role of 3 biological models: T-cell epitopes (TCEs) based on the immunogenicity of DPB1, cell surface expression of DPB1 molecules based on a single-nucleotide polymorphism located in the 3' untranslated region, and the Predicted Indirectly ReCognizable HLA Epitopes (PIRCHE) model based on the presentation of allogeneic peptides derived from mismatched HLA, compared with the classical allele mismatch. Matching for both DPB1 alleles remains the best option to prevent acute GVHD. In the situation of one DPB1 allele mismatch, the donor associated with the lowest acute GVHD risks is mismatched for an allele with a low expression profile in the recipient, followed by a permissive TCE3/4 mismatch and/or the absence of PIRCHE II potential against the recipient. In the context of 2 DPB1 mismatches, the same considerations apply for a permissive TCE3/4 mismatch and no PIRCHE II. By combining the biological models, the most favorable DPB1 constellation can be defined. This approach will help optimize donor selection and improve post-HSCT complications and patient prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003998DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8525224PMC
September 2021

One and a half million hematopoietic stem cell transplants: continuous and differential improvement in worldwide access with the use of non-identical family donors.

Haematologica 2021 08 12. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

CIBMTR (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research), National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match, Minneapolis, MN; University of Minnesota, MMC 480, Minneapolis, MN 55455.

The Worldwide Network of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) pursues the mission of promoting hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for instance by evaluating activities through member societies, national registries and individual centers. In 2016, 82,718 first HCTs were reported from 1662 HCT teams in 86 of the 195 World Health Organization member states representing a global increase of 6.2% in autologous and 7.0% in allogeneic HCT and bringing the total to 1,298,897 procedures. Assuming a frequency of 84,000/year, 1.5 million HCTs had been performed by 2019 from 1957. Slightly more autologous (53.5%) than allogeneic and more related (53.6%) than unrelated HCTs were reported. A remarkable increase was noted in haploidentical related HCT for leukemias and lymphoproliferative diseases, but even more in non-malignant diseases. Transplant rates (TR; HCT/10 million population) varied according to region reaching 560.8 in North America, 438.5 in Europe, 76.7 in Latin America, 53.6 in South East Asia/Western Pacific (SEA/WPR) and 27.8 in African/East Mediterranean (AFR/EMR). Interestingly, haploidentical TR amounted to 32% in SEA/WPR and 26% in Latin America, but only 14% in Europe and EMR and 4.9% in North America of all allogeneic HCT. HCT team density (teams/10 million population) was highest in Europe (7.7) followed by North America (6.0), SEA/WPR (1.9), Latin America (1.6) and AFR/EMR (0.4). HCTs are increasing steadily worldwide with narrowing gaps between regions and greater increase in allogeneic compared to autologous activity. While related HCT is rising, largely due to increase in haploidentical HCT, unrelated is plateauing and cord blood in decline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2021.279189DOI Listing
August 2021

Influence of HLA-DPB1 mismatches on outcome after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Leuk Res Rep 2021 14;16:100259. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrr.2021.100259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8319557PMC
July 2021

Transfusions in Aplastic Anemia Patients Cause HLA Alloimmunization: Comparisons of Current and Past Cohorts Demonstrate Progress.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Nov 24;27(11):939.e1-939.e8. Epub 2021 Jul 24.

Blood Transfusion Center, Swiss Red Cross, Basel, Switzerland; Division of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Transfusions are the mainstay of supportive therapy in patients with aplastic anemia (AA) and may lead to anti- HLA alloimmunization, thereby also increasing the risk for donor-specific antibodies in the setting of HLA-mismatched transplantation. Historically, AA patients were thought to be at particularly high risk for HLA alloimmunization. In past decades, blood product manufacturing (leukoreduction) and HLA antibody testing have improved significantly by single antigen bead (SAB) technology. It is currently unknown how those developments have impacted HLA alloimmunization and treatment outcome in patients with AA. We retrospectively investigated 54 AA patients treated by immunosuppressive therapy or allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation after the introduction of the SAB assay at our center. We compared the HLA antibody results to a historical AA cohort (n = 26), treated before introduction of leukoreduced blood products from 1975 to 1995. HLA alloimmunization was detected in 43 of 54 (80%) recently treated patients. Past pregnancy, female gender, disease severity, age, and a history of other transfusions were significantly associated with a larger number or higher intensity (mean fluorescence intensity) of HLA antibodies. Treatment outcome including bleeding episodes, response to treatment, engraftment, graft-versus-host disease, and overall survival was not associated with HLA alloimmunization. In the historical cohort a significantly higher number of HLA antibodies (P < .01) with a higher mean fluorescent intensity (P < .01) was observed. HLA alloimmunization remains frequent in AA tested by current techniques, but it has significantly decreased since prior decades and does not affect treatment outcome. © 2021 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.07.017DOI Listing
November 2021

Possible Reactivation of SARS-CoV-2 in a Patient with Acute Myeloid Leukemia Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: a Case Report.

SN Compr Clin Med 2021 Jul 20:1-5. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Petersgraben 4, CH-4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Reactivation or reinfection cases of SARS-CoV-2 are known but there is scarce evidence about reactivation in immunocompromised patients. Here, we report the case of a 61-year-old male undergoing a conditioning regimen with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and 2-Gy total body irradiation in preparation of a haplo-identical allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine 6 weeks prior allo-HSCT and was hospitalized a month prior because of a COVID-19 bilateral pneumonia. On discharge, he showed two negative SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal PCR swabs as well as a high SARS-CoV-2 antibody titer. On admission for allo-HSCT, he tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 again. Conditioning with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and 2-Gy total body irradiation was started and the patient developed lymphopenia. During his hospital stay, he tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in a PCR test twice but remained asymptomatic. The conditioning regimen was continued as planned. Later during his stay, the patient showed undetectable SARS-CoV-2 load four times. This case documents possible reactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and raises questions about reactivation risks among recipients of stem cell transplants and other immunocompromised patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s42399-021-01020-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8294269PMC
July 2021

Incidence and impact of Epstein-Barr virus events in the early phase after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Ann Hematol 2021 Jul 3;100(7):1913-1915. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Petersgraben 4, CH-4031, Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04563-3DOI Listing
July 2021

Legionellosis after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 10 22;56(10):2555-2566. Epub 2021 May 22.

University Hospital, Collegium Medicum, Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Limited data are available on legionellosis after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The aim of this study was to report the cases of legionellosis and to identify predictors of legionellosis, legionellosis-associated death, and non-relapse mortality (NRM). All cases of post-HSCT legionellosis from the EBMT registry were included and matched with controls in a 3:1 ratio for the analyses of risk factors. In the years 1995-2016, 80 cases from 52 centers in 14 countries were identified (mainly from France, Italy, and Spain). Median time from HSCT to legionellosis was 203 days (range, 0-4099); 19 (23.8%) patients developed early legionellosis (within-day +30 post-HSCT). Patients were mainly male (70%), after allogeneic HSCT (70%), with acute leukemia (27.5%), lymphoma (23.8%), or multiple myeloma (21.3%), and the median age of 46.6 (range, 7.2-68.2). Predictors of legionellosis were allogeneic HSCT (OR = 2.27, 95%CI:1.08-4.80, p = 0.03) and recent other infection (OR = 2.96, 95%CI:1.34-6.52, p = 0.007). Twenty-seven (33.8%) patients died due to legionellosis (44% after early legionellosis), NRM was 50%. Predictors of NRM were female sex (HR = 2.19, 95%CI:1.13-4.23, p = 0.02), early legionellosis (HR = 2.24, 95%CI:1.13-4.46, p = 0.02), and south-eastern geographical region (HR = 2.16, 95%CI:1.05-4.44, p = 0.036). In conclusion, legionellosis is a rare complication after HSCT, mainly allogeneic, occurring frequently within 30 days after HSCT and associated with high mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01333-7DOI Listing
October 2021

Impact of prior JAK-inhibitor therapy with ruxolitinib on outcome after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for myelofibrosis: a study of the CMWP of EBMT.

Leukemia 2021 May 22. Epub 2021 May 22.

CHU de Lille, Univ Lille, INSERM U1286, Infinite, Lille, France.

JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib (RUX) is approved in patients with myelofibrosis but the impact of pretreatment with RUX on outcome after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) remains to be determined. We evaluated the impact of RUX on outcome in 551 myelofibrosis patients who received HSCT without (n = 274) or with (n = 277) RUX pretreatment. The overall leukocyte engraftment on day 45 was 92% and significantly higher in RUX responsive patients than those who had no or lost response to RUX (94% vs. 85%, p = 0.05). The 1-year non-relapse mortality was 22% without significant difference between the arms. In a multivariate analysis (MVA) RUX pretreated patients with ongoing spleen response at transplant had a significantly lower risk of relapse (8.1% vs. 19.1%; p = 0.04)] and better 2-year event-free survival (68.9% vs. 53.7%; p = 0.02) in comparison to patients without RUX pretreatment. For overall survival the only significant factors were age > 58 years (p = 0.03) and HLA mismatch donor (p = 0.001). RUX prior to HSCT did not negatively impact outcome after transplantation and patients with ongoing spleen response at time of transplantation had best outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-021-01276-4DOI Listing
May 2021

Special issues related to the diagnosis and management of acquired aplastic anemia in countries with restricted resources, a report on behalf of the Eastern Mediterranean blood and marrow transplantation (EMBMT) group and severe aplastic anemia working party of the European Society for blood and marrow transplantation (SAAWP of EBMT).

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 10 19;56(10):2518-2532. Epub 2021 May 19.

Department of Cellular Therapy and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.

Aplastic anemia is a relatively rare but potentially fatal disorder, with a reported higher incidence in developing countries in comparison to the West. There are significant variations in epidemiological as well as etiological factors of bone marrow failure syndromes in the developing countries in comparison to the developed world. Furthermore, the management of bone marrow failure syndromes in resource constraint settings has significant challenges including delayed diagnosis and referral, limited accessibility to healthcare facilities, treatment modalities as well as limitations related to patients who require allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Here we will provide a review of the available evidence related to specific issues of aplastic anemia in the developing countries and we summarize suggested recommendations from the Eastern Mediterranean blood and bone marrow transplantation (EMBMT) group and the severe aplastic anemia working party of the European Society of blood and marrow transplantation (SAAWP of EBMT) related to the diagnosis and therapeutic options in countries with restricted resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01332-8DOI Listing
October 2021

Impact of depth of clinical response on outcomes of acute myeloid leukemia patients in first complete remission who undergo allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 09 16;56(9):2108-2117. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Haematology Research Centre, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients often undergo allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) in first complete remission (CR). We examined the effect of depth of clinical response, including incomplete count recovery (CRi) and/or measurable residual disease (MRD), in patients from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation Research (CIBMTR) registry. We identified 2492 adult patients (1799 CR and 693 CRi) who underwent alloHCT between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2015. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Multivariable analysis was performed to adjust for patient-, disease-, and transplant-related factors. Baseline characteristics were similar. Patients in CRi compared to those in CR had an increased likelihood of death (HR: 1.27; 95% confidence interval: 1.13-1.43). Compared to CR, CRi was significantly associated with increased non-relapse mortality (NRM), shorter disease-free survival (DFS), and a trend toward increased relapse. Detectable MRD was associated with shorter OS, shorter DFS, higher NRM, and increased relapse compared to absence of MRD. The deleterious effects of CRi and MRD were independent. In this large CIBMTR cohort, survival outcomes differ among AML patients based on depth of CR and presence of MRD at the time of alloHCT. Further studies should focus on optimizing post-alloHCT outcomes for patients with responses less than CR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01261-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8425595PMC
September 2021

An ounce of which prevention is worth a…?

Blood 2021 04;137(14):1852-1853

Basel University Hospital.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2021010688DOI Listing
April 2021

Outcomes following second allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation in patients with myelofibrosis: a retrospective study of the Chronic Malignancies Working Party of EBMT.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 08 6;56(8):1944-1952. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

CHU de Lille, univ Lille, INSERM U1286, INFINITE, 59000, Lille, France.

Therapeutic management of patients with primary or secondary myelofibrosis (MF) who experience relapse or graft failure following allogeneic haematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) remains heterogeneous. We retrospectively analyzed 216 patients undergoing a second allo-HCT for either relapse (56%) or graft failure (31%) between 2010 and 2017. Median age was 57.3 years (range 51-63). The same donor as for the first allo-HCT was chosen in 66 patients (31%) of whom 19 received an HLA-identical sibling donor, whereas a different donor was chosen for 116 patients (54%). Median follow-up was 40 months. Three-year overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) were 42% and 39%, respectively. Three-year non-relapse mortality (NRM) and relapse rates were 36% and 25%, respectively. Grade II-IV and III-IV acute GVHD occurred in 25% and 11% of patients, respectively, and the 3-year incidence of chronic GVHD was 33% including 14% for extensive grade. Graft-failure incidence at 1 year was 14%. In conclusion, our data suggest that a second allo-HCT is a potential option for patients failing first allo-HCT for MF albeit careful patient assessment is fundamental to identify individual patients who could benefit from this approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01271-4DOI Listing
August 2021

Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (WBMT) Recommendations Regarding Essential Medications Required To Establish An Early Stage Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 03 16;27(3):267.e1-267.e5. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

Oncology Center, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Establishing a hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) program is complex. Planning is essential while establishing such a program to overcome the expected challenges. Authorities involved in HCT program establishment will need to coordinate the efforts between the different departments required to start up the program. One essential department is pharmacy and the medications required. To help facilitate this, the Worldwide Network for Blood and Marrow Transplantation organized a structured survey to address the essential medications required to start up an HCT program. A group of senior physicians and pharmacists prepared a list of the medications used at the different phases of transplantation. These drugs were then rated by a questionnaire using a scale of necessity based on the stage of development of the transplant program. The questionnaire was sent to 30 physicians, in different parts of the world, who have between 5 and 40 years of experience in autologous and/or allogeneic transplantation. This group of experts scored each medication on a 7-point scale, ranging from an absolute requirement (score of 1) to not required (score of 7). The results are presented here to help guide the prioritization of required medications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.12.015DOI Listing
March 2021

Does the order of busulfan and cyclophosphamide affect allogeneic stem cell transplantation related liver toxicity?

Ann Hematol 2021 05 10;100(5):1349-1350. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Divisions of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Basel, Petersgraben 4, CH-4031, Basel, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04479-yDOI Listing
May 2021

Current evidence and the emerging role of eltrombopag in severe aplastic anemia.

Ther Adv Hematol 2021 3;12:2040620721998126. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Division of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Acquired aplastic anemia (AA) is characterized by a reduced stem cell reserve. Several preclinical studies have confirmed the beneficial effect of thrombopoietin (TPO) on the expansion and maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Thus, TPO receptor agonists seem to be an ideal therapeutic agent for AA to augment marrow function. First studies with eltrombopag as a single agent at 150 mg/day showed an overall response rate of 40-50% in patients with refractory severe AA (rSAA). Subsequent studies examined the first-line use of eltrombopag together with horse antithymocyte globulin and cyclosporine, reaching response rates up to 94%. Although used at high doses, known adverse events in the form of skin, gastrointestinal, or hepatic impairment are feasible in AA, however first data show a relatively high rate of clonal evolution in the form of karyotypic aberrations in patients with rAA. Nonetheless, there is a strong rationale that eltrombopag can contribute to restoring hematopoiesis in SAA by stimulating HSCs. Further studies are needed to decide if eltrombopag is clearly superior to current established treatments and to determine optimal treatment duration, dosage, and long-term effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2040620721998126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940771PMC
March 2021

Blast counts are lower in the aspirate as compared to trephine biopsy in acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome expressing CD56.

Int J Lab Hematol 2021 Oct 11;43(5):1078-1084. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Division of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Introduction: CD56 is aberrantly expressed in myeloid neoplasms including myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Considering the adhesion effects of CD56, blast quantification in bone marrow might depend on the technique used to obtain respective diagnostic specimens. Therefore, the objective of our study was to investigate the impact of CD56-expression on blast counts in myeloid neoplasms comparing bone marrow aspirates to biopsies.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 75 patients diagnosed with MDS and AML. We compared patients with (n = 36) and without (n = 39) CD56-expression by flow cytometry with respect to their blast quantities assessed on bone marrow aspirates versus biopsies.

Results: The frequency of CD56-expression on blasts correlated with higher blast counts on biopsies vs. aspirate smears (r  = 0.52; P = .001). This difference in blast counts was only significant in the CD56 high expressing subgroup (median 68%, 5.5%-95% in biopsy compared to median 32.5%, 1.5%-90% in aspirate; P < .01). The percentage of CD56-positive blasts among the total blast population was lower in the peripheral blood compared to bone marrow (median 31%, 6%-88% vs. 55%, 14%-98%; P = .016). The discrepancy in the blast count between the aspirate and trephine biopsy would have led to misclassification of four cases as MDS instead of AML, if diagnosis had based on the bone marrow aspirate blast count alone.

Conclusion: Counting blasts in bone marrow aspirates of CD56-positive AML and MDS may be linked to underestimation, potentially leading to misclassification of these myeloid neoplasms, and should therefore be adjusted considering the results obtained on trephine biopsies for reliable diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijlh.13508DOI Listing
October 2021

Effects of lenalidomide on the bone marrow microenvironment in acute myeloid leukemia: Translational analysis of the HOVON103 AML/SAKK30/10 Swiss trial cohort.

Ann Hematol 2021 May 2;100(5):1169-1179. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Institute of Medical Genetics and Pathology, University Hospital Basel, Schoenbeinstrasse 40, 4031, Basel, Switzerland.

This translational study aimed at gaining insight into the effects of lenalidomide in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Forty-one AML patients aged 66 or older of the Swiss cohort of the HOVON-103 AML/SAKK30/10 study were included. After randomization, they received standard induction chemotherapy with or without lenalidomide. Bone marrow biopsies at diagnosis and before the 2nd induction cycle were obtained to assess the therapeutic impact on leukemic blasts and microenvironment. Increased bone marrow angiogenesis, as assessed by microvessel density (MVD), was found at AML diagnosis and differed significantly between the WHO categories. Morphological analysis revealed a higher initial MVD in AML with myelodysplasia-related changes (AML-MRC) and a more substantial decrease of microvascularization after lenalidomide exposure. A slight increase of T-bet-positive TH1-equivalents was identifiable under lenalidomide. In the subgroup of patients with AML-MRC, the progression-free survival differed between the two treatment regimens, showing a potential but not significant benefit of lenalidomide. We found no correlation between the cereblon genotype (the target of lenalidomide) and treatment response or prognosis. In conclusion, addition of lenalidomide may be beneficial to elderly patients suffering from AML-MRC, where it leads to a reduction of microvascularization and, probably, to an intensified specific T cell-driven anti-leukemic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-021-04467-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8043896PMC
May 2021

Immune cytopenia after allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation: challenges, approaches, and future directions.

Lancet Haematol 2021 Mar;8(3):e229-e239

Regional Blood Transfusion Service, Swiss Red Cross, Basel, Switzerland; Division of Hematology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Immune-mediated cytopenia after allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation is rare. The pathophysiology of immune-mediated anaemia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia, which occur alone or in combination with other cytopenias, is unclear and most probably a consequence of immune dysregulation. Risk factors for this complication have been identified in retrospective studies but these should be interpreted with caution and should not be generalised to this heterogeneous patient population. Diagnosis is challenging, requires awareness of such complications, and has to be differentiated from a multitude of other, and sometimes overlapping, possible complications. The clinical course of immune-mediated cytopenia is highly variable. Treatment requires an interdisciplinary approach and ranges from observation to symptomatic measures and directed therapies. Intensive immunosuppression is associated with an increased risk of infections and relapse, and current treatments are based on approaches in patients who have not undergone transplantation. Plasma cell-directed therapies, immunomodulation, and receptor-stimulating agents can be used to treat immune-mediated cytopenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30404-XDOI Listing
March 2021

Hematopoietic cell transplantation and cellular therapy survey of the EBMT: monitoring of activities and trends over 30 years.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 07 23;56(7):1651-1664. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Department of Stem Cell Transplantation, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Numbers of Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in Europe and collaborating countries continues to rise with 48,512 HCT in 43,581 patients, comprising of 19,798 (41%) allogeneic and 28,714 (59%) autologous, reported by 700 centers in 51 countries during 2019. Main indications were myeloid malignancies 10,764 (25%), lymphoid malignancies 27,895 (64%), and nonmalignant disorders 3173 (7%). A marked growth in CAR-T cellular therapies from 151 in 2017 to 1134 patients in 2019 is observed. This year's analyses focus on changes over 30 years. Since the first survey in 1990 where 143 centers reported 4234 HCT, the number has increased to 700 centers and 48,512 HCT. Transplants were reported in 20 countries in 1990, and 51, 30 years later. More than 800,000 HCT in 715,000 patients were reported overall. Next to the massive expansion of HCT technology, most notable developments include the success of unrelated donor and haploidentical HCT, an increase followed by decrease in the number of cord blood transplants, use of reduced intensity HCT in older patients, and the phenomenal rise in cellular therapy. This annual report of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) reflects current activity and highlights important trends vital for health care planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01227-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263343PMC
July 2021

Conditioning intensity before allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a quality control audit.

Br J Haematol 2021 03 22;192(6):e151-e154. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Department of Haematology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17369DOI Listing
March 2021

Addition of lenalidomide to intensive treatment in younger and middle-aged adults with newly diagnosed AML: the HOVON-SAKK-132 trial.

Blood Adv 2021 02;5(4):1110-1121

Medisch Spectrum Leeuwarden, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

Lenalidomide, an antineoplastic and immunomodulatory drug, has therapeutic activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but definitive studies about its therapeutic utility have been lacking. In a phase 3 study, we compared 2 induction regimens in newly diagnosed patients age 18 to 65 years with AML: idarubicine-cytarabine (cycle 1) and daunorubicin and intermediate-dose cytarabine (cycle 2) without or with lenalidomide (15 mg orally on days 1-21). One final consolidation cycle of chemotherapy or autologous stem cell transplantation (auto-SCT) or allogeneic SCT (allo-SCT) was provided according to a prognostic risk and minimal residual disease (MRD)-adapted approach. Event-free survival (EFS; primary end point) and other clinical end points were assessed. A second random assignment in patients in complete response or in complete response with incomplete hematologic recovery after cycle 3 or auto-SCT involved 6 cycles of maintenance with lenalidomide (10 mg on days 1-21) or observation. In all, 392 patients were randomly assigned to the control group, and 388 patients were randomly assigned to lenalidomide induction. At a median follow-up of 41 months, the study revealed no differences in outcome between the treatments (EFS, 44% ± 2% standard error and overall survival, 54% ± 2% at 4 years for both arms) although in an exploratory post hoc analysis, a lenalidomide benefit was suggested in SRSF2-mutant AML. In relation to the previous Dutch-Belgian Hemato-Oncology Cooperative Group and Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (HOVON-SAKK) studies that used a similar 3-cycle regimen but did not pursue an MRD-guided approach, these survival estimates compare markedly more favorably. MRD status after cycle 2 lost prognostic value in intermediate-risk AML in the risk-adjusted treatment context. Maintenance with lenalidomide showed no apparent effect on relapse probability in 88 patients randomly assigned for this part of the study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003855DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903238PMC
February 2021
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