Publications by authors named "Jeannine Kassis"

37 Publications

Cost-effectiveness of eltrombopag versus intravenous immunoglobulin for the perioperative management of immune thrombocytopenia.

Blood Adv 2021 Nov 15. Epub 2021 Nov 15.

McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Eltrombopag has been shown to be non-inferior to intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) for improving perioperative platelet counts in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) in a randomized trial; thus, cost is an important factor for treatment and policy decisions. We used patient-level data from the trial to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis comparing perioperative eltrombopag 50mg daily starting dose, with IVIG 1 or 2g/kg (according to local practice) from a Canadian public healthcare payer's perspective over the observation period, from preoperative day 21 to postoperative day 28. Resource utilization data were obtained from the trial data (eltrombopag, n=38; IVIG, n=36) and unit costs were collected from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits, Ontario Drug Formulary, and secondary sources. All costs were adjusted to 2020 Canadian dollars. We calculated the incremental cost per patient for all patients randomized. Uncertainty was addressed using non-parametric bootstrapping. The use of perioperative eltrombopag for patients with ITP resulted in a cost-saving of $413 Canadian dollars per patient. Compared with IVIG, the probability of eltrombopag being cost-effective was 70% even with zero willingness to pay. In a sensitivity analysis based on IVIG dose, we found that with the higher dose of IVIG (2g/kg), eltrombopag saved $2,714 per patient; whereas with the lower dose of IVIG (1g/kg), eltrombopag had a higher mean cost of $562 per patient. In summary, based on data from the randomized trial that demonstrated non-inferiority, the use of eltrombopag for the management of ITP in the perioperative setting was less costly than IVIG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005627DOI Listing
November 2021

Perioperative oral eltrombopag versus intravenous immunoglobulin in patients with immune thrombocytopenia: a non-inferiority, multicentre, randomised trial.

Lancet Haematol 2020 Sep;7(9):e640-e648

Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada; McMaster Centre for Transfusion Research, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada; Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Background: Patients with immune thrombocytopenia are at risk of bleeding during surgery, and intravenous immunoglobulin is commonly used to increase the platelet count. We aimed to establish whether perioperative eltrombopag was non-inferior to intravenous immunoglobulin.

Methods: We did a randomised, open-label trial in eight academic hospitals in Canada. Patients were aged at least 18 years, with primary or secondary immune thrombocytopenia and platelet counts less than 100 × 10 cells per L before major surgery or less than 50 × 10 cells per L before minor surgery. Previous intravenous immunoglobulin within 2 weeks or thrombopoietin receptor agonists within 4 weeks before randomisation were not permitted. Patients were randomly assigned to receive oral daily eltrombopag 50 mg from 21 days preoperatively to postoperative day 7 or intravenous immunoglobulin 1 g/kg or 2 g/kg 7 days before surgery. Eltrombopag dose adjustments were allowed weekly based on platelet counts. The randomisation sequence was generated by a computerised random number generator, concealed and stratified by centre and surgery type (major or minor). The central study statistician was masked to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was achievement of perioperative platelet count targets (90 × 10 cells per L before major surgery or 45 × 10 cells per L before minor surgery) without rescue treatment. We did intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses using an absolute non-inferiority margin of -10%. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01621204.

Findings: Between June 5, 2013, and March 7, 2019, 92 patients with immune thrombocytopenia were screened, of whom 74 (80%) were randomly assigned: 38 to eltrombopag and 36 to intravenous immunoglobulin. Median follow-up was 50 days (IQR 49-55). By intention-to-treat analysis, perioperative platelet targets were achieved for 30 (79%) of 38 patients assigned to eltrombopag and 22 (61%) of 36 patients assigned to intravenous immunoglobulin (absolute risk difference 17·8%, one-sided lower limit of the 95% CI 0·4%; p=0·005). In the per-protocol analysis, perioperative platelet targets were achieved for 29 (78%) of 37 patients in the eltrombopag group and 20 (63%) of 32 in the intravenous immunoglobulin group (absolute risk difference 15·9%, one-sided lower limit of the 95% CI -2·1%; p=0·009). Two serious adverse events occurred in the eltrombopag group: one treatment-related pulmonary embolism and one vertigo. Five serious adverse events occurred in the intravenous immunoglobulin group (atrial fibrillation, pancreatitis, vulvar pain, chest tube malfunction and conversion to open splenectomy); all were related to complications of surgery. No treatment-related deaths occurred.

Interpretation: Eltrombopag is an effective alternative to intravenous immunoglobulin for perioperative treatment of immune thrombocytopenia. However, treatment with eltrombopag might increase risk of thrombosis. The decision to choose one treatment over the other will depend on patient preference, resource limitations, cost, and individual risk profiles.

Funding: GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30227-1DOI Listing
September 2020

Long-term risk of postthrombotic syndrome after symptomatic distal deep vein thrombosis: The CACTUS-PTS study.

J Thromb Haemost 2020 04 11;18(4):857-864. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Vascular Medicine Physician, Alès, France.

Background: After a proximal lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT; involving popliteal veins or above), up to 40% of patients develop postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) as assessed by the Villalta scale (VS). Poor initial anticoagulant treatment is a known risk factor for PTS. The risk of developing PTS after isolated distal DVT (infra-popliteal DVT without pulmonary embolism), and the impact of anticoagulant treatment on this risk, are uncertain.

Methods: Long-term follow-up of CACTUS double-blind trial comparing 6 weeks of s.c. nadroparin (171 IU/kg/d) versus s.c. placebo for a first symptomatic isolated distal DVT. At least 1 year after randomization, patients had a PTS assessment in clinic or by phone using the VS.

Results: After a median follow-up of 6 years, PTS was present in 30% (n = 54) of the 178 patients who had a PTS assessment. PTS was moderate or severe in 24% (n = 13) of cases. There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence of PTS in the nadroparin versus placebo groups (29% versus 32%, P = .6), except in patients without evidence of primary chronic venous insufficiency (9% versus 24%, P = .04). Rates of venous thromboembolism recurrence during follow-up in the nadroparin and placebo groups were, respectively, 8% (n = 7) and 14% (n = 13; P = .2).

Conclusion: After a first isolated distal DVT, the risk of PTS is substantial but much lower than that reported after proximal DVT. Anticoagulation with nadroparin doesn't provide any clear benefit to prevent PTS, except in patients without preexisting chronic venous insufficiency. Anticoagulation might be associated with a lower risk of venous thromboembolism recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.14728DOI Listing
April 2020

Perioperative Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Receiving a Direct Oral Anticoagulant.

JAMA Intern Med 2019 Nov;179(11):1469-1478

Department of Anesthesiology, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) who use a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) and request elective surgery or procedure present a common clinical situation yet perioperative management is uncertain.

Objective: To investigate the safety of a standardized perioperative DOAC management strategy.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The Perioperative Anticoagulation Use for Surgery Evaluation (PAUSE) cohort study conducted at 23 clinical centers in Canada, the United States, and Europe enrolled and screened patients from August 1, 2014, through July 31, 2018. Participants (n = 3007) had AF; were 18 years of age or older; were long-term users of apixaban, dabigatran etexilate, or rivaroxaban; were scheduled for an elective surgery or procedure; and could adhere to the DOAC therapy interruption protocol.

Interventions: A simple standardized perioperative DOAC therapy interruption and resumption strategy based on DOAC pharmacokinetic properties, procedure-associated bleeding risk, and creatinine clearance levels. The DOAC regimens were omitted for 1 day before a low-bleeding-risk procedure and 2 days before a high-bleeding-risk procedure. The DOAC regimens were resumed 1 day after a low-bleeding-risk procedure and 2 to 3 days after a high-bleeding-risk procedure. Follow-up of patients occurred for 30 days after the operation.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Major bleeding and arterial thromboembolism (ischemic stroke, systemic embolism, and transient ischemic attack) and the proportion of patients with an undetectable or minimal residual anticoagulant level (<50 ng/mL) at the time of the procedure.

Results: The 3007 patients with AF (mean [SD] age of 72.5 [9.39] years; 1988 men [66.1%]) comprised 1257 (41.8%) in the apixaban cohort, 668 (22.2%) in the dabigatran cohort, and 1082 (36.0%) in the rivaroxaban cohort; 1007 patients (33.5%) had a high-bleeding-risk procedure. The 30-day postoperative rate of major bleeding was 1.35% (95% CI, 0%-2.00%) in the apixaban cohort, 0.90% (95% CI, 0%-1.73%) in the dabigatran cohort, and 1.85% (95% CI, 0%-2.65%) in the rivaroxaban cohort. The rate of arterial thromboembolism was 0.16% (95% CI, 0%-0.48%) in the apixaban cohort, 0.60% (95% CI, 0%-1.33%) in the dabigatran cohort, and 0.37% (95% CI, 0%-0.82%) in the rivaroxaban cohort. In patients with a high-bleeding-risk procedure, the rates of major bleeding were 2.96% (95% CI, 0%-4.68%) in the apixaban cohort and 2.95% (95% CI, 0%-4.76%) in the rivaroxaban cohort.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, patients with AF who had DOAC therapy interruption for elective surgery or procedure, a perioperative management strategy without heparin bridging or coagulation function testing was associated with low rates of major bleeding and arterial thromboembolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2431DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6686768PMC
November 2019

Peri-Operative Eltrombopag or Immune Globulin for Patients with Immune Thrombocytopaenia (The Bridging ITP Trial): Methods and Rationale.

Thromb Haemost 2019 Mar 27;119(3):500-507. Epub 2019 Jan 27.

Department of Medicine, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Background:  The Bridging ITP Trial is an open-label randomized trial designed to compare the oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist eltrombopag and intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) for patients with immune thrombocytopaenia (ITP) who require an increase in platelet count before elective surgery. Here, we report the study methods and rationale.

Methods:  We designed a multi-centre, non-inferiority randomized trial comparing daily oral eltrombopag starting 3 weeks pre-operatively, and IVIG administered 1 week pre-operatively for patients with ITP requiring a platelet count increase prior to surgery. Starting dose of eltrombopag is 50 mg daily with a weekly pre-operative dose titration schedule, and treatment is continued for 1 week after surgical haemostasis is achieved. IVIG is administered at a dose of 1 to 2 g/kg 1 week pre-operatively with the allowance for a second dose within 1 week after surgical haemostasis. The objective of the study is to demonstrate non-inferiority of eltrombopag for the primary endpoint of achieving the pre-operative platelet count threshold (50 × 10/L for minor surgery; or 100 × 10/L for major surgery) and sustaining platelet count levels above the threshold for 1 week after surgical haemostasis is achieved, without the use of rescue treatment. Secondary endpoints include thrombosis, bleeding and patient satisfaction.

Conclusion:  The Bridging ITP Trial will evaluate the efficacy and safety of eltrombopag as an alternative to IVIG in the peri-operative setting for patients with ITP. The protocol was designed to provide a management strategy that can be applied in clinical practice. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov Identifier:  NCT01621204.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1677531DOI Listing
March 2019

Validation of the STA-Liatest DDi assay for exclusion of proximal deep vein thrombosis according to the latest Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute/Food and Drug Administration guideline: results of a multicenter management study.

Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2018 Sep;29(6):562-566

Department of Vascular Medicine, Grenoble-Alpes University Hospital, Universite Grenoble Alpes CNRS/TIMC-IMAG UMR 5525/Themas, Grenoble, F-CRIN, INNOVTE (Investigation Network On Venous Thrombo-Embolism), France.

: Recommended strategy for venous thromboembolism (VTE) diagnosis includes the use of sensitive D-dimer (DDi) assays along with pretest probability (PTP) assessment. The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) recently issued a guideline (US FDA endorsed) on DDi in VTE exclusion. Such guideline specifies the ideal D-dimer assay characteristics and target population. Demonstrate STA-LiatestD-Di performance combined with a PTP score for proximal deep vein thrombosis (pDVT) exclusion in a CLSI compliant study. International, multicenter, prospective nonrandomized, noninterventional clinical outcome management study conducted in a standard-of-care setting. DDi was measured in DVT-suspected consecutive low/moderate PTP outpatients, without conditions possibly impacting DDi values independently of thrombosis presence (age >80, pregnancy, postoperative, cancer) using a 0.5 μg/ml (FEU) threshold for DVT exclusion. Results were used to determine test performance. One thousand two hundred and thirty-four patients (17 centers) signed informed consent. Nine hundred and eighty (mean age: 55) with valid results (494 negative DDi) completed the study (DVT prevalence: 8.7%). STA-LiatestD-Di performance exceeded CLSI/FDA requirements: sensitivity: 100% (95% CI 95.8-100%), NPV: 100% (95% CI 99.3-100%). STA-LiatestD-Di associated with PTP score showed excellent performance for pDVT exclusion, as recently demonstrated for pulmonary embolism. The assay allows safe VTE exclusion, avoiding unnecessary imaging tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MBC.0000000000000750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200385PMC
September 2018

Rationale, design, and preliminary results of the Quebec Warfarin Cohort Study.

Clin Cardiol 2018 May 15;41(5):576-585. Epub 2018 May 15.

Université de Montréal Beaulieu-Saucier Pharmacogenomics Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Over- and undercoagulation with warfarin are associated with hemorrhagic and thromboembolic events, respectively. Genetic and clinical factors affect warfarin response, and the causes of this variability remain unclear. We present descriptive statistics and test for predictors of poor anticoagulation control. The Quebec Warfarin Cohort (QWC) comprises 1059 new warfarin users, with prospective follow-up using telephone questionnaires every 3 months for 1 year, and using healthcare administrative databases (RAMQ and Med-Echo) for 5 years prior to cohort entry and up to 10 years following active patient participation. Genetic material was collected, and genotyping of CYP2C9 and VKORC1 genes was conducted. Measured outcomes included the percentage of time patients spent within therapeutic range, anticoagulation control, warfarin dose, bleeding, and thromboembolic events. We report baseline characteristics and outcomes after 1 year of follow-up. Poor anticoagulation control was defined as time in therapeutic range <60% in the 3- to 12-month interval. Participants had a mean age of 71 years, and 62% were men. The most common indication for warfarin was atrial fibrillation (87%). Mean time in therapeutic range was 56% (±25%) in the 3 months following warfarin initiation, and 70% (±21%) in the 3- to 12-month interval. During follow-up, the rate of stroke or systemic embolism was 1.8 events per 100 person-years; for major bleeding events, 3.3 events per 100 person-years. Independent predictors of poor anticoagulation control were chronic kidney disease, heart failure, dyslipidemia, and age. The QWC represents a good research cohort to investigate clinical and genetic factors in a warfarin-anticoagulated population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/clc.22948DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490141PMC
May 2018

The Perioperative Anticoagulant Use for Surgery Evaluation (PAUSE) Study for Patients on a Direct Oral Anticoagulant Who Need an Elective Surgery or Procedure: Design and Rationale.

Thromb Haemost 2017 12 6;117(12):2415-2424. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Background The perioperative management of patients who take a direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) for atrial fibrillation and require treatment interruption for an elective surgery/procedure is a common clinical scenario for which best practices are uncertain. The Perioperative Anticoagulant Use for Surgery Evaluation (PAUSE) study is designed to address this unmet clinical need. We discuss the rationale for the PAUSE design and analysis plan as well as the rationale supporting the perioperative DOAC protocol. Methods PAUSE is a prospective study with three parallel cohorts, one for each DOAC, to assess a standardized but patient-specific perioperative management protocol for DOAC-treated patients with atrial fibrillation. The perioperative protocol accounts for DOAC type, patient's renal function and surgery/procedure-related bleeding risk. The primary study aim is to demonstrate the safety of the PAUSE protocol for the perioperative management of each DOAC. The secondary aim is to determine the effect of the pre-procedure interruption on residual anticoagulation when measured by the dilute thrombin time for dabigatran and anti-factor Xa levels for rivaroxaban and apixaban. The study hypothesis is that the perioperative management protocol for each DOAC is safe for patient care, defined by expected risks for major bleeding of 1% (80% power to exclude 2%), and for arterial thromboembolism of 0.5% (80% power to exclude 1.5%) in each DOAC group. Conclusion The PAUSE study has the potential to establish a standard-of-care approach for the perioperative management of DOAC-treated patients. The PAUSE management protocol is designed to be easily applied in clinical practice, as it is standardized and also patient specific.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1160/TH17-08-0553DOI Listing
December 2017

Lenalidomide maintenance therapy in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CONTINUUM): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Haematol 2017 Nov 25;4(11):e534-e543. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Hematology, Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, Policlinico Umberto 1, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.

Background: The efficacy and safety of lenalidomide as maintenance therapy after chemotherapy-based second-line therapy in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is unknown. Although kinase inhibitors can improve outcomes for some patients with relapsed and refractory disease, not all patients have access to these novel drugs. In this study, we aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide as maintenance therapy in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Methods: This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (CONTINUUM) was done at 111 hospitals, medical centres, and clinics in 21 countries. Patients were eligible if they had chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; were aged 18 years or older; had been treated with two lines of therapy (with at least a partial response after second-line therapy); had received a purine analogue, bendamustine, anti-CD20 antibody, chlorambucil, or alemtuzumab as first-line or second-line treatment; and had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score of 0-2. Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by an interactive voice-response system to receive either oral lenalidomide (2·5 mg/day) or matching oral placebo capsules (2·5 mg/day) for 28-day cycles, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Lenalidomide dose escalation (to 5 mg or 10 mg per day) was permitted if the drug was well tolerated. Patients, investigators, and those completing data analyses were masked to treatment allocation. Randomisation was stratified by age, response to second-line therapy, and prognostic factors. Co-primary endpoints were progression-free survival and overall survival; the primary endpoint was later changed to overall survival after the data cutoff for this analysis. Secondary endpoints were time from randomisation to second disease progression or death (PFS2), tumour response (improvement in response and duration of response), safety, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Efficacy analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was analysed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00774345, and is closed to accrual, but follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between Feb 16, 2009 and Sept 29, 2015, 314 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive either lenalidomide (n=160) or placebo (n=154). With a median follow-up of 31·5 months (IQR 18·9-50·8), there was no significant difference in overall survival between the lenalidomide and the placebo groups (median 70·4 months, 95% CI 57·5-not estimable [NE] vs NE, 95% CI 62·8-NE; hazard ratio [HR] 0·96, 95% CI 0·63-1·48; p=0·86). Progression-free survival was significantly longer in the lenalidomide group (median 33·9 months, 95% CI 25·5-52·5) than in the placebo group (9·2 months, 7·4-13·6; HR 0·40, 95% CI 0·29-0·55; p<0·0001). PFS2 was significantly longer in the lenalidomide group than in the placebo group (median 57·5 months [47·7-NE] vs 32·7 months [26·4-49·0]; HR 0·46, 95% CI 0·29-0·70; p<0·01). Improved responses from baseline were observed in ten (6%) of 160 lenalidomide-treated patients versus four (3%) of 154 placebo-treated patients (p=0·12). Median time to improved response was 12·2 weeks (IQR 7·2-22·5) in the lenalidomide group versus 76·3 weeks (20·2-182·6) in the placebo group. Duration of improved response was not estimable in either group (95% CI 22·9-NE in the lenalidomide group vs NE-NE for placebo). There were no clinically meaningful differences in HRQoL between lenalidomide-treated patients and placebo-treated patients, as measured by FACT-Leu and EQ-5D, during maintenance treatment. In the safety population, the most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events included neutropenia (94 [60%] of 157 patients in the lenalidomide group vs 35 [23%] of 154 patients in the placebo group), thrombocytopenia (26 [17%] vs ten [6%]), and diarrhoea (13 [8%] vs one [<1%]). There were five fatal adverse events (three [2%] patients in the lenalidomide group and two [1%] patients in the placebo group).

Interpretation: Lenalidomide might delay time to subsequent therapy and does not adversely affect response to subsequent therapy. Chemoimmunotherapy followed by lenalidomide maintenance could be an effective treatment option for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who do not have access to kinase inhibitors.

Funding: Celgene Corporation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(17)30168-0DOI Listing
November 2017

Treatment of older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML): revised Canadian consensus guidelines.

Am J Blood Res 2017 25;7(4):30-40. Epub 2017 Jul 25.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of TorontoToronto, ON, Canada.

The treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in older patients is undergoing rapid changes, with a number of important publications in the past five years. Because of this, a group of Canadian leukemia experts has produced an update to the Canadian Consensus Guidelines that were published in 2013, with several new agents recommended, subject to availability. Recent studies have supported the survival benefit of induction chemotherapy for patients under age 80, except those with major co-morbidities or those with adverse risk cytogenetics who are not candidates for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Midostaurin should be added to induction therapy for patients up to age 70 with a FLT3 mutation, and gemtuzumab ozogamicin for de novo AML up to age 70 with favorable or intermediate risk cytogenetics. Daunorubicin 60 mg/m is the recommended dose for 3+7 induction therapy. Acute promyelocytic leukemia should be treated with arsenic trioxide plus all-trans retinoic acid, regardless of age, with cytotoxic therapy added upfront only for those with initial white blood count > 10. HSCT may be considered for selected suitable patients up to age 70-75. Haploidentical donor transplants may be considered for older patients. For non-induction candidates, azacitidine is recommended for those with adverse risk cytogenetics, while either a hypomethylating agent (HMA) or low-dose cytarabine can be used for others. HMA may also be used for relapsed/refractory disease after chemotherapy. For patients with secondary AML, CPX-351 is recommended for fit patients age 60-75.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545212PMC
July 2017

Learning-by-Concordance (LbC): introducing undergraduate students to the complexity and uncertainty of clinical practice.

Can Med Educ J 2016 Oct 18;7(2):e104-e113. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal.

Background: A current challenge in medical education is the steep exposure to the complexity and uncertainty of clinical practice in early clerkship. The gap between pre-clinical courses and the reality of clinical decision-making can be overwhelming for undergraduate students. The Learning-by-Concordance (LbC) approach aims to bridge this gap by embedding complexity and uncertainty by relying on real-life situations and exposure to expert reasoning processes to support learning. LbC provides three forms of support: 1) expert responses that students compare with their own, 2) expert explanations and 3) recognized scholars' key-messages.

Method: Three different LbC inspired learning tools were used by 900 undergraduate medical students in three courses: Concordance-of-Reasoning in a 1-year hematology course; Concordance-of-Perception in a 2nd-year pulmonary physio-pathology course, and; Concordance-of-Professional-Judgment with 3rd-year clerkship students. Thematic analysis was conducted on freely volunteered qualitative comments provided by 404 students.

Results: Absence of a right answer was challenging for 1 year concordance-of-reasoning group; the 2 year visual concordance group found radiology images initially difficult and unnerving and the 3 year concordance-of-judgment group recognized the importance of divergent expert opinion.

Conclusions: Expert panel answers and explanations constitute an example of "cognitive apprenticeship" that could contribute to the development of appropriate professional reasoning processes.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5344048PMC
October 2016

D-Dimer Use and Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis in Emergency Units: Why Is There Such a Difference in Pulmonary Embolism Prevalence between the United States of America and Countries Outside USA?

PLoS One 2017 13;12(1):e0169268. Epub 2017 Jan 13.

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University South Carolina, Charleston, United States of America.

Objective: Although diagnostic guidelines are similar, there is a huge difference in pulmonary embolism (PE) prevalence between the United States of America (US) and countries outside the USA (OUS) in the emergency care setting. In this study, we prospectively analyze patients' characteristics and differences in clinical care that may influence PE prevalence in different countries.

Methods: An international multicenter prospective diagnostic study was conducted in a standard-of-care setting. Consecutive outpatients presenting to the emergency unit and suspected for PE were managed using the Wells score, STA-Liatest® D-Dimers and imaging.

Results: The prevalence of PE in the study was 7.9% in low and moderate risk patients. Among the 1060 patients with low or moderate pre-test probability (PTP), PE prevalence was four times higher in OUS (10.7%) than in the US (2.5%) (P < 0.0001). The mean number of imaging procedures performed for one new PE diagnosis was 3.3 in OUS vs 17 in the US (P < 0.001). Stopping investigation in the case of negative D-dimers (DD combined) with low/moderate PTP was more frequent in OUS (92.7%) than in the US (75.7%) (P < 0.01). Moreover, the use of imaging was much higher in the US (44.4% vs 19.2% in OUS) in the case of moderate PTP combined with negative DD.

Conclusion: Differences between US and OUS PE prevalence in emergency setting might be explained by differences in patients' characteristics and mostly in care patterns. US physicians performed computed tomographic pulmonary angiography more often than in Europe in cases of low/moderate PTP combined with negative DD.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01221805.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169268PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5234786PMC
August 2017

Validation of STA-Liatest D-Di assay for exclusion of pulmonary embolism according to the latest Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute/Food and Drug Administration guideline. Results of a multicenter management study.

Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2017 Apr;28(3):254-260

aDepartment of Vascular Medicine, Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France bPathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA cHematology Laboratory, University Hospital, Dijon, France dPathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA eDepartment of Haematology, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada fDepartment of Haematology, Santa Barbara General Hospital, Soria gLaboratio de Coagulación, Centro Sanitario Hospital General Universitario de Alicante, Alicante, Spain hDepartment of Angiology and Blood Coagulation 'Marino Golinelli', Bologna University Hospital Corporation, Policlinica S. Orsola Malpighi, Bologna iCoagulation Service and Thrombosis Research Unit, Scientific Institute San Raffaele, Milano, Italy.

: Combined clinical pretest probability (PTP) and D-dimer testing have great diagnostic value for pulmonary embolism exclusion. To harmonize performance levels of D-dimer assays available on the market, the Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute (CLSI) has published a guideline, endorsed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Such guideline specifies the ideal D-dimer assay characteristic and target population. This study was conducted following the CLSI guideline to upgrade the assay-intended use and obtain FDA clearance of STA-Liatest D-Di assay for pulmonary embolism exclusion in patient with low/moderate PTP. This was an international, multicenter, prospective nonrandomized, noninterventional clinical outcome management study conducted in a standard of care setting. D-dimer assay was performed in consecutive, ambulatory outpatients suspected of pulmonary embolism, with low/moderate PTP, and without medical conditions or in clinical settings known to alter default D-dimer values regardless of the presence of thrombosis using a threshold of 0.5 μg/ml (fibrinogen equivalent units) for venous thromboembolism exclusion. Results were used to determine test performance. Of 1141 patients who underwent D-dimer testing, 1060 had valid results and completed study as planned. STA-Liatest D-Di assay performance has exceeded the CLSI/FDA guidance requirements, with a sensitivity of 97.6% (95% confidence interval: 91.7-99.7%) and a negative predictive value of 99.7% (95% confidence interval: 99.0-100%). STA-Liatest D-Di assay has an excellent performance when used in combination with a PTP score in relevant patients and has the potential to minimize the economic healthcare burden avoiding unnecessary and expensive imaging tests.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MBC.0000000000000591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407630PMC
April 2017

Phase II study of targeted therapy with temozolomide in acute myeloid leukaemia and high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome patients pre-screened for low O(6) -methylguanine DNA methyltransferase expression.

Br J Haematol 2014 Dec 27;167(5):664-70. Epub 2014 Aug 27.

Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Resistance to temozolomide is largely mediated by the DNA repair enzyme O(6) -methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). We conducted a prospective multicentre study of patients with previously untreated acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) or high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) who were not candidates for intensive therapy. Patient selection was based on MGMT expression by Western blot. Patients with MGMT:ACTB (β-actin) ratio <0·2 were eligible to receive temozolomide 200 mg/m(2) /d ×7 d. Patients achieving a complete response (CR) could receive up to 12 monthly cycles of temozolomide ×5/28 d. Of 166 patients screened, 81 (49%) demonstrated low MGMT expression; 45 of these were treated with temozolomide. The overall response rate was 53%; 36% achieved complete clearance of blasts, with 27% achieving a CR/CR with incomplete platelet recovery (CRp). Factors associated with a trend toward a higher response rate included MDS, methylated MGMT promoter and standard cytogenetic risk group. Induction and post-remission cycles were well-tolerated and most patients were treated on an outpatient basis. Patient who achieved CR/CRp had a superior overall survival compared to partial or non-responders. In conclusion, targeted therapy based on pre-selection for low MGMT expression was associated with a higher response rate to temozolomide compared to previous reports of unselected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13094DOI Listing
December 2014

An exploratory phase 2 study of investigational Aurora A kinase inhibitor alisertib (MLN8237) in acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Leuk Res Rep 2014 5;3(2):58-61. Epub 2014 Jul 5.

Division of Oncology, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Alisertib (MLN8237) is an investigational, oral, selective, Aurora A kinase (AAK) inhibitor. In this phase 2 trial, 57 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or high-grade myelodysplastic syndrome received alisertib 50 mg BID for 7 days in 21-day cycles. Responses in 6/35 AML patients (17% response rate with an additional 49% stable disease, 34% transfusion independence) included 1 complete response lasting >1 year. No responses were observed in MDS patients. Adverse events >30% included diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, febrile neutropenia, and stomatitis. Results suggest modest activity in AML, supporting further research to better understand how AAK inhibition may induce leukemic cell senescence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrr.2014.06.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110881PMC
July 2014

Compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome: a randomised placebo-controlled trial.

Lancet 2014 Mar 6;383(9920):880-8. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Background: Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a common and burdensome complication of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Previous trials suggesting benefit of elastic compression stockings (ECS) to prevent PTS were small, single-centre studies without placebo control. We aimed to assess the efficacy of ECS, compared with placebo stockings, for the prevention of PTS.

Methods: We did a multicentre randomised placebo-controlled trial of active versus placebo ECS used for 2 years to prevent PTS after a first proximal DVT in centres in Canada and the USA. Patients were randomly assigned to study groups with a web-based randomisation system. Patients presenting with a first symptomatic, proximal DVT were potentially eligible to participate. They were excluded if the use of compression stockings was contraindicated, they had an expected lifespan of less than 6 months, geographical inaccessibility precluded return for follow-up visits, they were unable to apply stockings, or they received thrombolytic therapy for the initial treatment of acute DVT. The primary outcome was PTS diagnosed at 6 months or later using Ginsberg's criteria (leg pain and swelling of ≥1 month duration). We used a modified intention to treat Cox regression analysis, supplemented by a prespecified per-protocol analysis of patients who reported frequent use of their allocated treatment. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00143598, and Current Controlled Trials, number ISRCTN71334751.

Findings: From 2004 to 2010, 410 patients were randomly assigned to receive active ECS and 396 placebo ECS. The cumulative incidence of PTS was 14·2% in active ECS versus 12·7% in placebo ECS (hazard ratio adjusted for centre 1·13, 95% CI 0·73-1·76; p=0·58). Results were similar in a prespecified per-protocol analysis of patients who reported frequent use of stockings.

Interpretation: ECS did not prevent PTS after a first proximal DVT, hence our findings do not support routine wearing of ECS after DVT.

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61902-9DOI Listing
March 2014

Treatment of older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML): a Canadian consensus.

Am J Blood Res 2013 5;3(2):141-64. Epub 2013 May 5.

Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Toronto, Ontario.

Patients over age 60 comprise the majority of those diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but treatment approaches in this population are variable, with many uncertainties and controversies. Our group conducted a literature review to summarize the latest information and to develop a consensus document with practical treatment recommendations. We addressed five key questions: selection criteria for patients to receive intensive induction chemotherapy; optimal induction and post-remission regimens; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); treatment of patients not suitable for induction chemotherapy; and treatment of patients with prior hematological disorders or therapy-related AML. Relevant literature was identified through a PubMed search of publications from 1991 to 2012. Key findings included the recognition that cytogenetics and molecular markers are major biologic determinants of treatment outcomes in the older population, both during induction therapy and following HSCT. Although disease-specific and patient-specific risk factors for poor outcomes are more common in the older population, age is not in itself sufficient grounds for withholding established treatments, including induction and consolidation chemotherapy. The role of HSCT and use of hypomethylating agents are discussed. Finally, suggested treatment algorithms are outlined, based on these recommendations.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649813PMC
May 2013

Comparative net cost impact of the utilization of romiplostim and intravenous immunoglobulin for the treatment of patients with immune thrombocytopenia in Québec, Canada.

J Med Econ 2013 17;16(2):318-26. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Symbiose Strategic Partnership Inc., 3915 rue Saint-Urbain, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Objectives: Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by platelet destruction, sub-optimal platelet production, and mild-to-severe bleeding. Nplate® (romiplostim), a thrombopoietin receptor agonist, and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), an expensive and occasionally scarce blood product, are used in the treatment of ITP. The objective of this study was to compare the total cost of treating patients with romiplostim vs IVIg in Québec, Canada.

Methods: A net cost impact model was developed to calculate the annual cost of romiplostim compared with IVIg based on actual practice observations in all patients (n = 95) treated for chronic ITP with IVIg from April 2010 to March 2011 in two participating hospitals. The model included costs of: drug acquisition, drug preparation and administration, patient monitoring, and indirect costs. Healthcare practitioners were consulted regarding romiplostim and IVIg treatment algorithms and the resources involved in patient monitoring.

Results: The average annual drug acquisition costs of romiplostim and IVIg were $48,024 and $98,868, respectively. Lower costs for drug preparation and administration ($309 vs $1245) and less time lost from work ($256 vs $2086) were attributed to romiplostim. The cost of follow-up monitoring was the same for both romiplostim and IVIg ($121). The total average annual per patient costs for romiplostim vs IVIg were, respectively, $48,710 and $102,320. The use of romiplostim was projected to save, on average, almost $54,000 per patient per year.

Limitations: The study was conducted in two hospitals in Québec. Romiplostim may show different cost savings in other hospitals and other provincial and national jurisdictions.

Conclusions: Scarce blood products must be used wisely. Romiplostim can allow for improved healthcare resource allocation by reserving IVIg for use in other areas of greater need while also providing cost savings for the overall provincial healthcare budget.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3111/13696998.2012.756400DOI Listing
June 2013

Accuracy and safety of (99m)Tc-labeled anti-D-dimer (DI-80B3) Fab' fragments (ThromboView®) in the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis: a phase II study.

Thromb Res 2012 Sep 1;130(3):381-9. Epub 2012 Jun 1.

Dept. of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Background: The assessment of patients with suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT) remains challenging despite current diagnostic algorithms. (99m)Tc-labelled DI-DD3B6/22-80B3 Fab´ fragments ((99m)Tc-DI-80B3, ThromboView®) is a novel diagnostic test that uses a radiolabelled humanized monoclonal antibody fragment specific for the D-dimer region of cross-linked fibrin to detect DVT. This test has an anatomic component to locate DVT and a functional component to differentiate acute (newly formed) thrombus from inactive (old) thrombus.

Methods: In a multi-centre prospective cohort trial we investigated the diagnostic accuracy and safety of (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 in consecutive patients with suspected DVT who had the diagnosis confirmed or excluded by venography.

Results: We enrolled 94 patients with suspected DVT of whom 12 did not have (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 imaging, leaving 82 patients for the safety analysis. Of these patients, there were 16 with non-evaluable imaging (11 venography, 7 (99m)Tc-DI-80B3, both in two patients) leaving 66 patients for the accuracy analysis. (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 imaging was well-tolerated: 2 patients developed urticaria; none developed serious adverse events. For proximal DVT, the sensitivity (84.2%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 62.4-94.5) and specificity (97.6%; CI: 83.3-99.4) were highest when the combined 0.25-hour and 3-hour (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 images were used. The accuracy was lower for distal DVT, irrespective of the images used. There were insufficient patients to comment on the accuracy of (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 imaging for suspected recurrent DVT.

Conclusions: (99m)Tc-DI-80B3 (ThromboView®) is a novel diagnostic modality for patients with suspected DVT with a promising accuracy and safety profile that justifies additional clinical development in diagnostic accuracy and clinical management studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.thromres.2012.05.011DOI Listing
September 2012

Addition of AEG35156 XIAP antisense oligonucleotide in reinduction chemotherapy does not improve remission rates in patients with primary refractory acute myeloid leukemia in a randomized phase II study.

Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk 2011 Oct 5;11(5):433-8. Epub 2011 May 5.

Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Canada.

Background: XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein) is an inhibitor of caspases 3 and 9 that is overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and may contribute to chemoresistance. We report an open-label randomized phase II trial of reinduction chemotherapy with and without the XIAP antisense oligonucleotide AEG35156 in patients with AML who did not achieve remission with initial induction chemotherapy.

Methods: Twenty-seven patients with AML who were refractory to initial induction chemotherapy were randomized and treated with AEG35156 (650 mg) in combination with high-dose cytarabine and idarubicin. Thirteen patients were randomized and treated with high-dose cytarabine and idarubicin alone. The rates of response and toxicity were determined.

Results: Of the 27 patients assigned to AEG35156 in combination with high-dose cytarabine and idarubicin, 3 died during reinduction chemotherapy, 5 achieved complete remission (CR), and 6 achieved CR with incomplete platelet count recovery (CRp), for an overall response rate of 41%. Of the 13 patients assigned to the control arm of the study, none died during reinduction, 6 achieved CR, and 3 achieved CRp, for an overall response rate of 69%. The differences in response rates between patients in the AEG35156 and control arms were not statistically different (P = 0.18 by the χ(2) test).

Conclusions: The addition of AEG35156 to reinduction chemotherapy was well tolerated but did not improve rates of remission. Therefore alternative therapeutic strategies should be explored in patients with AML refractory to induction chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clml.2011.03.033DOI Listing
October 2011

Association of autoantibodies to heat-shock protein 60 with arterial vascular events in patients with antiphospholipid antibodies.

Arthritis Rheum 2011 Aug;63(8):2416-24

McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Objective: Anti-heat shock protein 60 autoantibodies (anti-Hsp60) are associated with cardiovascular disease and are known to affect endothelial cells in vitro, and we have recently shown that anti-Hsp60 promote thrombosis in a murine model of arterial injury. Based on those findings, we undertook the present study to investigate the hypothesis that the presence of anti-Hsp60, alone or in combination with other thrombogenic risk factors, is associated with an elevated risk of vascular events.

Methods: The study population was derived from 3 ongoing cohort studies: 2 independent systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) registries and 1 cohort comprising SLE patients and non-SLE patients. Data from a total of 402 participants were captured; 199 of these participants had had confirmed vascular events (arterial vascular events in 102, venous vascular events in 76, and both arterial and venous vascular events in 21). Anti-Hsp60 were detected by enzyme-linked immunoassay, and association with vascular events was assessed by regression analysis.

Results: Multiple regression analysis revealed that arterial vascular events were associated with male sex, age, and hypertension. Analyses of the vascular events according to their origin showed an association of anti-Hsp60 with arterial vascular events (odds ratio 2.26 [95% confidence interval 1.13-4.52]), but not with venous vascular events. Anti-Hsp60 increased the risk of arterial vascular events (odds ratio 5.54 [95% confidence interval 1.89-16.25]) in antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-positive, but not aPL-negative, individuals.

Conclusion: We demonstrate that anti-Hsp60 are associated with an increased risk of arterial vascular events, but not venous vascular events, in aPL-positive individuals. These data suggest that anti-Hsp60 may serve as a useful biomarker to distinguish risk of arterial and venous vascular events in patients with aPL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.30411DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3465366PMC
August 2011

Phase II study of the histone deacetylase inhibitor MGCD0103 in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Br J Haematol 2009 Nov 31;147(4):507-14. Epub 2009 Aug 31.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

MGCD0103, an orally available class I histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, was examined for pre-clinical activity in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). A phase II clinical trial was performed, starting at a dose of 85 mg/d, three times per week. Dose escalation to 110 mg or the addition of rituximab was permitted in patients without a response after two or more cycles. MGCD0103 demonstrated pre-clinical activity against CLL cells with a LC(50) (concentration lethal to 50%) of 0.23 micromol/l and increased acetylation of the HDAC class I specific target histone H3. Twenty-one patients received a median of two cycles of MGCD0103 (range, 0-12). All patients had previously received fludarabine, 33% were fludarabine refractory, and 71% had del(11q22.3) or del(17p13.1). No responses according to the National Cancer Institutes 1996 criteria were observed. Three patients received 110 mg and four patients received concomitant rituximab, with no improvement in response. Grade 3-4 toxicity consisted of infections, thrombocytopenia, anaemia, diarrhoea, and fatigue. HDAC inhibition was observed in six out of nine patients on day 8. Limited activity was observed with single agent MGCD0103 in high risk patients with CLL. Future investigations in CLL should focus on broad HDAC inhibition, combination strategies, and approaches to diminish constitutional symptoms associated with this class of drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2141.2009.07881.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779118PMC
November 2009

Phase I/II trial of AEG35156 X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein antisense oligonucleotide combined with idarubicin and cytarabine in patients with relapsed or primary refractory acute myeloid leukemia.

J Clin Oncol 2009 Oct 3;27(28):4741-6. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2M9.

Purpose: X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is an inhibitor of caspases 3 and 9 which are overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and may contribute to chemoresistance. We report on a phase I/II trial of the XIAP antisense oligonucleotide AEG35156 in combination with reinduction chemotherapy.

Patients And Methods: Twenty-four patients with rapidly relapsed or refractory AML were treated with escalating doses of AEG35156 (12 to 250 mg/m(2)) as an intravenous solution over 2 hours and 32 patients were treated with the highest planned dose of 350 mg/m(2) in combination with idarubicin and high-dose cytarabine reinduction chemotherapy. Correlative studies were conducted to determine the effects of AEG35156 on levels of XIAP mRNA.

Results: Knockdown of XIAP mRNA during treatment increased with the dose of the antisense. All patients who received 350 mg/m(2) of AEG35156 had higher than 30% target knockdown with a median maximal knockdown of 90% (range, 48% to 100%). The overall response rate was higher among the patients receiving the highest dose of AEG35156. In this group, 15 (47%) of 32 patients achieved complete response (CR)/CR with incomplete platelet count recovery (CRp) compared with only one (4%) of 24 receiving 12 to 250 mg/m(2) AEG35156. Among the patients receiving 350 mg/m(2) of AEG35156 in combination with chemotherapy, 10 (91%) of 11 who were refractory to a single induction chemotherapy regimen achieved CR/CRp after reinduction with AEG35156 and chemotherapy. AEG35156 was well tolerated save for two cases of peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving multiple doses of AEG35156.

Conclusion: At the highest dose tested, AEG35156 knocks down its target and appears very effective when combined with chemotherapy in patients with AML refractory to a single induction regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2009.21.8172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5073380PMC
October 2009

Antiphospholipid antibodies predict imminent vascular events independently from other risk factors in a prospective cohort.

Thromb Haemost 2009 Jan;101(1):100-7

Division of clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) are associated with vascular events, but the magnitude of this risk, alone, or in combination with other atherogenic and thrombophilic risk factors, remains unclear. A prospective cohort of 415 persons was studied for arterial and venous events (AE and VE) over a median time of 7.4 years. aPL and coagulation abnormalities were measured upon beginning of the study and annually for the first four years. Within the cohort, a nested case-control study was conducted to investigate the role of endothelial and inflammatory markers in predicting new vascular events. Forty-five individuals had new vascular events: 18 occurred during the first year of follow-up. The proportion of event-free survivors at eight years was 90% (95%CI = 87%, 94%) for aPL-negative and 72% (60%, 85%) for aPL-positive individuals, respectively. Predictors for new AE were previous AE (HR = 5.7 [2.7, 12.0]), diabetes (5.6 [2.4, 13.2]), aPL positivity (2.6 ([1.2, 5.9]), and age (1.04 [1.01, 1.07]). New VE were predicted by previous VE (6.1 [1.9, 19.9]), anti-beta2-glycoprotein I (abeta2GPI) positivity (5.8 [1.4, 24.1]), activated protein C resistance (APCR) (4.1 [1.1, 15.1]), and gender (3.7 [1.1, 12.9]). In the nested case-control study, similar predictors were observed for AE, while abnormal APCR (OR = 5.5 [1.1, 26.6]) and elevated von Willebrand factor (vWF) (OR = 5.0 [1.2, 19.8]) best predicted VE. We demonstrate that aPL independently predict new vascular events and discriminate between individuals with and without events in the first two years of follow-up, indicating that aPL are associated with a short-term risk of developing new and recurrent vascular events.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435426PMC
January 2009

Determinants and time course of the postthrombotic syndrome after acute deep venous thrombosis.

Ann Intern Med 2008 Nov;149(10):698-707

Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: The reason some patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) develop the postthrombotic syndrome is not well understood.

Objective: To determine the frequency, time course, and predictors of the postthrombotic syndrome after acute DVT.

Design: Prospective, multicenter cohort study.

Setting: 8 Canadian hospital centers.

Patients: 387 outpatients and inpatients who received an objective diagnosis of acute symptomatic DVT were recruited from 2001 to 2004.

Measurements: Standardized assessments for the postthrombotic syndrome using the Villalta scale at 1, 4, 8, 12, and 24 months after enrollment. Mean postthrombotic score and severity category at each interval was calculated. Predictors of postthrombotic score profiles over time since diagnosis of DVT were identified by using linear mixed modeling.

Results: At all study intervals, about 30% of patients had mild (score, 5 to 9), 10% had moderate (score, 10 to 14), and 3% had severe (score >14 or ulcer) postthrombotic syndrome. Greater postthrombotic severity category at the 1-month visit strongly predicted higher mean postthrombotic scores throughout 24 months of follow-up (1.97, 5.03, and 7.00 increase in Villalta score for mild, moderate, and severe 1-month severity categories, respectively, vs. none; P < 0.001). Additional predictors of higher scores over time were venous thrombosis of the common femoral or iliac vein (2.23 increase in score vs. distal [calf] venous thrombosis; P < 0.001), higher body mass index (0.14 increase in score per kg/m(2); P < 0.001), previous ipsilateral venous thrombosis (1.78 increase in score; P = 0.001), older age (0.30 increase in score per 10-year age increase; P = 0.011), and female sex (0.79 increase in score; P = 0.020).

Limitations: Decisions to prescribe compression stockings were left to treating physicians rather than by protocol. Because international normalized ratio data were unavailable, the relationship between anticoagulation quality and Villalta scores could not be assessed.

Conclusion: The postthrombotic syndrome occurs frequently after DVT. Patients with extensive DVT and those with more severe postthrombotic manifestations 1 month after DVT have poorer long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-149-10-200811180-00004DOI Listing
November 2008

Influence of thrombophilia on risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism while on warfarin: results from a randomized trial.

Blood 2008 Dec 12;112(12):4432-6. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.

We sought to determine whether thrombophilic defects increase recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) during warfarin therapy. Six hundred sixty-one patients with unprovoked VTE who were randomized to extended low-intensity (international normalized ratio [INR], 1.5-1.9) or conventional-intensity (INR, 2.0-3.0) anticoagulant therapy were tested for thrombophilia and followed for a mean of 2.3 years. One or more thrombophilic defects were present in 42% of patients. The overall rate of recurrent VTE was 0.9% per patient-year. Recurrent VTE was not increased in the presence of factor V Leiden (hazard ratio [HR], 0.7; 95% CI, 0.2-2.6); the 20210G>A prothrombin gene mutation (HR, 0); antithrombin deficiency (HR, 0); elevated factor VIII (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.1-5.4); elevated factor XI (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.1-5.0), or elevated homocysteine (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.1-5.3), but showed a trend to an increase with an antiphospholipid antibody (HR, 2.9; 95% CI, 0.8-10.5). Compared with patients with no thrombophilic defects, the rate of recurrence was not increased in the presence of one (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.2-2.3) or more than one (HR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.2-3.4) defect. We conclude that single or multiple thrombophilic defects are not associated with a higher risk of recurrent VTE during warfarin therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2008-06-163279DOI Listing
December 2008

A single dose of pegfilgrastim compared with daily filgrastim for supporting neutrophil recovery in patients treated for low-to-intermediate risk acute myeloid leukemia: results from a randomized, double-blind, phase 2 trial.

BMC Cancer 2008 Jul 10;8:195. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Division of Clinical Hematology, Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are often neutropenic as a result of their disease. Furthermore, these patients typically experience profound neutropenia following induction and/or consolidation chemotherapy and this may result in serious, potentially life-threatening, infection. This randomized, double-blind, phase 2 clinical trial compared the efficacy and tolerability of pegfilgrastim with filgrastim for assisting neutrophil recovery following induction and consolidation chemotherapy for de novo AML in patients with low-to-intermediate risk cytogenetics.

Methods: Patients (n = 84) received one or two courses of standard induction chemotherapy (idarubicin + cytarabine), followed by one course of consolidation therapy (high-dose cytarabine) if complete remission was achieved. They were randomized to receive either single-dose pegfilgrastim 6 mg or daily filgrastim 5 mug/kg, beginning 24 hours after induction and consolidation chemotherapy.

Results: The median time to recovery from severe neutropenia was 22.0 days for both pegfilgrastim (n = 42) and filgrastim (n = 41) groups during Induction 1 (difference 0.0 days; 95% CI: -1.9 to 1.9). During Consolidation, recovery occurred after a median of 17.0 days for pegfilgrastim versus 16.5 days for filgrastim (difference 0.5 days; 95% CI: -1.1 to 2.1). Therapeutic pegfilgrastim serum concentrations were maintained throughout neutropenia. Pegfilgrastim was well tolerated, with an adverse event profile similar to that of filgrastim.

Conclusion: These data suggest no clinically meaningful difference between a single dose of pegfilgrastim and multiple daily doses of filgrastim for shortening the duration of severe neutropenia following chemotherapy in de novo AML patients with low-to-intermediate risk cytogenetics.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00114764.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2407-8-195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2483721PMC
July 2008

VEINES-QOL/Sym questionnaire was a reliable and valid disease-specific quality of life measure for deep venous thrombosis.

J Clin Epidemiol 2006 Oct 23;59(10):1049-56. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Objective: To assess the validity of VEINES-QOL/Sym, a patient-reported questionnaire to evaluate quality of life and symptoms in patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

Study Design And Setting: Psychometric study within the Venous Thrombosis Outcomes (VETO) Study, a prospective cohort study of long-term outcomes after DVT. A total of 359 English- and French-speaking patients with acute, objectively diagnosed DVT were recruited at seven hospitals in Quebec, Canada. The VEINES-QOL/Sym questionnaire, a 26-item patient-reported measure that generates separate summary scores for symptoms (VEINES-Sym) and quality of life (VEINES-QOL) was evaluated for acceptability, reliability, validity, and responsiveness in VETO Study subjects.

Results: Standard psychometric tests confirmed the acceptability (missing data, item endorsement frequencies, floor and ceiling effects), reliability (internal consistency, item-total and inter-item correlations, test-retest), validity (content, construct, convergent, discriminant, known groups), and responsiveness to clinical change of the VEINES-QOL/Sym in patients with DVT.

Conclusion: The VEINES-QOL/Sym is a practical and scientifically sound patient-reported measure of outcomes that was developed using gold-standard methods. VEINES-QOL/Sym is valid and reliable for use as a measure of quality of life and symptoms in patients with acute DVT and provides a rigorous tool to allow more comprehensive evaluation of outcomes in clinical trials and epidemiological studies of patients with DVT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.10.016DOI Listing
October 2006

Prospective evaluation of health-related quality of life in patients with deep venous thrombosis.

Arch Intern Med 2005 May;165(10):1173-8

Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Background: To our knowledge, the burden of deep venous thrombosis from the patient's perspective has not been quantified. We evaluated health-related quality of life (QOL) after deep vein thrombosis and compared results with general population norms.

Methods: This was a multicenter prospective cohort study of 359 consecutive eligible patients with deep vein thrombosis recruited at 7 Canadian hospital centers. Quality of life was assessed at baseline and at 1 and 4 months after diagnosis using generic (36-Item Short-Form Health Survey) and disease-specific (Venous Insufficiency Epidemiological and Economic Study [VEINES]-QOL and VEINES symptom [VEINES-Sym] questionnaires) measures. Changes in QOL scores during the 4-month period were calculated, and determinants of lack of improvement in QOL were evaluated.

Results: During the 4 months, mean 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey physical and mental component summary scores improved by 5.1 and 4.6 points, respectively, and VEINES-QOL and VEINES-Sym scores improved by 3.1 and 2.2 points, respectively (P < .001 for time trend for all measures). However, about one third of patients had worsening of QOL during follow-up. Multivariate analyses showed that worsening of the postthrombotic syndrome score was an independent predictor of worsening of 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey physical component summary (P = .04), VEINES-QOL (P < .001), and VEINES-Sym (P < .001) scores. The 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey physical component summary scores were lower than population norms at all points assessed.

Conclusions: On average, QOL improves during the 4 months following deep vein thrombosis. However, in about one third of patients, QOL deteriorates, and at 4 months, average QOL remains poorer than population norms. Worsening of the postthrombotic syndrome score is associated with worsening of QOL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archinte.165.10.1173DOI Listing
May 2005
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