Publications by authors named "Joseph Pidala"

170 Publications

Phase 2 multicenter trial of ofatumumab and prednisone as initial therapy of chronic graft-vs-host disease.

Blood Adv 2021 Oct 14. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, United States.

Standard initial therapy of chronic graft vs. host disease (cGVHD) with glucocorticoids results in suboptimal and transient responses in a significant number of patients. Safety and feasibility of anti-CD20 directed B-cell therapy with ofatumumab (1000 mg IV on days 0 and 14) and prednisone (1 mg/kg/day) was previously established in our phase I trial (n=12). We now report the mature results of the phase II expansion of the trial (n=38). The overall NIH severity of cGVHD was moderate (63%) or severe (37%) with 74% of all patients affected by the overlap subtype of cGVHD and 82% by prior acute cGVHD. The combined therapy was generally well tolerated, with some anticipated infusion reactions to ofatumumab, and common toxicities of glucocorticoids. Total B-cell depletion following therapy was profound, with marginal recovery within first 12 months from initial therapy. The observed 6 month clinician-reported and 2014 NIH-defined overall response rates (ORR=complete + partial response[CR/PR]) of 62.5% (1-sided lower 90% confidence interval=51.5%) were not superior to pre-specified historic benchmark of 60%. Post-hoc comparison of 6 month NIH response suggested benefit compared to more contemporaneous NIH-based benchmark of 48.6% with frontline sirolimus/prednisone (CTN 0801 trial). Baseline cGVHD features (organ involvement, severity, initial IS agents) were not significantly associated with 6-month ORR. The median time to initiation of second-line therapy was 5.4 months (range 0.9-15.1 months). Failure-free survival (FFS) was 64.2% (95% CI 46.5-77.4%) at 6 months and 53.1% (95% CI 35.8-67.7%) at 12 months, whereas FFS with CR/PR at 12 months of 33.5% exceeded a benchmark of 15% in post-hoc analysis, and was associated with greater success in steroid discontinuation by 24 months (odds ratio 8 (95% CI 1.21-52.7). This single-arm phase II trial demonstrated acceptable safety and potential efficacy of the upfront use of ofatumumab in combination with prednisone in cGVHD. This trial is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01680965.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005552DOI Listing
October 2021

Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease, Non-Relapse Mortality and Disease Relapse in Older versus Younger Adults Undergoing Matched Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: A CIBMTR Analysis.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 9. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research), Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

Background: The effect of chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) on the risk of non-relapse mortality (NRM) and relapse has not been specifically studied in older adults, who are increasingly undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) and surviving long-term to develop cGVHD. In this Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research analysis, we tested our hypothesis that the risk of NRM was higher with the development of cGVHD, particularly among older adults (≥60 years).

Methods: We included 4429 adults ≥40 years who received first HLA-matched peripheral blood alloHCT for acute myeloid leukemia or myelodysplastic syndrome between the years 2008-2017. We compared outcomes of 4 groups: older adults (≥60 years) and younger adults (40-59 years) with or without cGVHD to determine the effect of older age and cGVHD on various outcomes. We used Cox proportional hazard models to determine the risk of NRM, relapse and overall survival (OS). We treated cGVHD as a time-dependent covariate. Severity of cGVHD was based on the CIBMTR clinical definitions.

Results: cGVHD was significantly associated with a higher risk of NRM and lower risk of relapse regardless of age. The risk of NRM was higher among older versus younger adults. Adults who developed cGVHD as a group had longer OS, compared to age-matched cohorts without cGVHD. Older adults had worse OS regardless of cGVHD. Among adults with cGVHD, clinically moderate or severe cGVHD was associated with a significantly higher risk of NRM and lower risk of relapse; severe cGVHD was associated with shorter OS, whereas mild and moderate cGVHD were associated with longer OS.

Conclusions: Among both younger and older adults, the development of cGVHD was associated with a higher risk of NRM, lower risk of relapse and longer OS. Older adults had a higher risk of NRM but the increased risk of NRM associated with cGVHD did not differ based on age. Development of mild-moderate cGVHD offered the most favorable balance between minimizing NRM and decreasing relapses. The relapse risk was lowest for adults with severe cGVHD, but high NRM resulted in shorter OS. Developing strategies to avoid clinically severe cGVHD is critically important.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.10.002DOI Listing
October 2021

Association of Patient-Reported Physical Activity on Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Outcomes.

Clin Hematol Int 2021 Mar 4;3(1):34-39. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 USF Magnolia Dr, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.

Background: Physical function prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) is associated with survival and may be associated with patient physical activity (PA). Tools to evaluate PA prior to HCT are scarce. We aimed to evaluate the impact of easily obtained patient-report of PA prior to HCT on survival.

Methods: HCT recipients between January 1, 2011 and July 5, 2018 and who completed an International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form were included. This patient survey captures self-reported activities over the preceding week to determine PA level.

Results: We report a retrospective study of 587 adult (age ≥18) HCT recipients. The median age for the cohort was 57.9 years (range 19.9-76.1) with 149 patients (25.4%) age ≥65. Younger patients reported higher PA (low, median age 59.7 years; moderate, 56.1; high, 55.7; < 0.001). High activity level was reported by males (66.7%; < 0.001). Patients with low PA had HCT-comorbidity index (HCT-CI) ≥ 3 (68.1%, = 0.002). When controlling for HCT-CI and disease risk index, higher PA was associated with improved overall survival (HR 0.954, 95% CI 0.921-0.988, = 0.009). After adjusting for HCT-CI, higher PA was associated with reduced non-relapse mortality (NRM) (HR 0.931, 95% CI 0.891-0.972, = 0.0013). Subgroup analysis in adults age ≥65 years also found that PA was lower in this population and associated with NRM mortality (HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.90-0.99, = 0.041).

Conclusion: Patient-reported PA is a predictor of post-HCT survival. Future studies to validate incorporation of self-report tools to better predict patient-related adverse risk are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2991/chi.k.210221.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8432326PMC
March 2021

Initial therapy of chronic graft vs. host disease: Analysis of practice variation and failure-free survival.

Blood Adv 2021 Sep 17. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, SEATTLE, Washington, United States.

Prior clinical trials largely considered prednisone 1mg/kg/day with or without calcineurin inhibitor as standard initial therapy for chronic graft vs. host disease (cGVHD) but uncertainty remains regarding the extent of practice variation and whether this affects subsequent outcomes. We assembled a cohort of 745 cGVHD patients treated with initial systemic immune suppressive (IS) therapy from three prior Chronic GVHD Consortium observational studies. Initial therapy was defined as first IS therapy started for cGVHD or prednisone increased to ≥ 0.4mg/kg/day from lower doses within 30 days before cGVHD diagnosis to any time afterward. Initial therapies were non-prednisone IS therapies (n=137, 18%), prednisone alone (n=411, 55%), or prednisone plus other IS therapy (n=197, 26%). In multivariate analysis, initial therapy group was not associated with FFS (failure-free survival, a composite of death, relapse, new IS therapy), overall survival (OS) or non-relapse mortality (NRM). Among the prednisone-based approaches, steroid dose (mg/kg/day) was <0.25 (9%), 0.25-0.74 (36%), 0.75-1.25 (42%), or >1.25 (13%). Prednisone dose within the steroid-treated patients was not significantly associated with FFS, OS, or NRM. No significant interactions were detected between overall cGVHD severity and either initial therapy group or prednisone dose for the outcomes of FFS, OS, or NRM. These observational data document heterogeneity in more contemporary cGVHD initial treatment practices, including prednisone dose and use of non-steroid approaches. This variation was not associated with FFS, OS, or NRM. Prospective trials are needed to verify efficacy of reduced-dose prednisone or prednisone-free initial therapy approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005286DOI Listing
September 2021

Non-relapse mortality among patients diagnosed with chronic GVHD: An updated analysis from The Chronic GVHD Consortium.

Blood Adv 2021 Sep 14. Epub 2021 Sep 14.

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, United States.

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is the leading cause of late morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. To better understand patients at highest risk for non-relapse mortality (NRM), we analyzed patient, transplant, and chronic GVHD-related variables, risk factors, and causes of non-relapse deaths in an updated cohort of 937 subjects enrolled on two prospective, longitudinal observational studies through the Chronic GVHD Consortium. The median follow-up of survivors was 4 years (0.1 months - 12.5 years). Relapse accounted for 25% of the 333 deaths. The cumulative incidence of NRM was 22% at 5 years and increased over time with a projected 40% (95%CI, 30-50) at 12 years. Centers reported that chronic GVHD (37.8%) was the commonest cause of NRM and was associated with organ failure, infection, or additional cause not otherwise specified. The next most frequent causes without mention of chronic GVHD were infection (17%) and respiratory failure (10%). In multivariate analysis, an increased risk for NRM was significantly associated with the use of reduced intensity conditioning, higher total bilirubin, NIH skin score 2-3, NIH lung score 1-3, worse modified HAP adjusted activity score, and decreased distance on walk test. In conclusion, chronic GVHD NRM does not plateau but increases over time and is most commonly attributed to GVHD or infection, presumably associated with immunocompromised status. Severe skin and lung chronic GVHD remain challenging manifestations associated with increased NRM, for which novel therapeutic options are needed that do not predispose patients to infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004941DOI Listing
September 2021

Ibrutinib in Steroid-Refractory Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease, a Single-Center Experience.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Sep 2. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a leading cause of late morbidity and mortality after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Corticosteroid-based therapies are a mainstay of its initial treatment but there is no consensus in how to treat steroid-refractory cGVHD. Ibrutinib is a Bruton tyrosine kinase and IL-2-inducible kinase inhibitor thought to affect pathways driving cGVHD, and it was approved for the treatment of refractory cGVHD by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2017 after a landmark phase 1b/2 study. It was the first medication approved for this indication, but how to best treat refractory cGVHD remains an open question, and there has been limited literature on ibrutinib after the FDA approval. This study sought to characterize the utilization and outcomes associated with ibrutinib use in cGVHD via a retrospective single-center study. Fifty-three patients were identified as having been treated with ibrutinib for cGVHD following FDA approval between September 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020, using an institutional data repository. Their records were reviewed for demographics, cGVHD characteristics, and outcomes. For the entire cohort, two-year overall survival was 76% (95% confidence interval [CI], 60% to 86%), with a median follow-up among survivors of 26 months (range, 1.3 to 39.5 months). However, the 2-year failure-free survival (FFS) after initiation of ibrutinib was 9% (95% CI, 2.6% to 20%), and the median FFS was 4.5 months (95% CI, 2.8 to 7.1 months). Events of FFS included treatment change due to lack of response or toxicity, malignant relapse, or non-treatment related mortality. At the time of this report, 11 patients (21%) remained on ibrutinib. At the time of the FFS event or last follow-up, 6 patients (12%) had a complete or partial response, 34 (64%) had stable disease, and 13 (25%) had progressive disease. Ibrutinib use was associated with no reduction in corticosteroid dose between ibrutinib initiation and FFS event or last follow-up (mean difference, 0.00; P = .98). The most frequently used noncorticosteroid cGVHD therapy after ibrutinib was ruxolitinib (n = 14; 33%). The most common adverse events associated with treatment discontinuation were infection (lung, skin, enterocolitis; n = 6), bleeding and bruising (hematoma, epistaxis, gastrointestinal bleed; n = 5), and muscle aches (n = 2). In a real-world setting, ibrutinib is associated with a modest response rate and FFS and its use in a narrower, more targeted patient population may be indicated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.08.017DOI Listing
September 2021

Objective and subjective physical function in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Aug 11. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Health Outcomes and Behavior, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA.

We conducted a prospective study of adult allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) recipients to assess pre- and post-HCT physical function. Baseline measurements included a wrist actigraphy, a 6 min walk test (6MWT), an international physical activity questionnaire (IPAQ), and a Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMT) as well as serial post-HCT assessments of 6MWT, IPAQ, and FACT-BMT. Forty-seven patients were evaluable for functionality assessments, with a median follow-up of 54.5 months for surviving recipients. No patients demonstrated vigorous or very vigorous activity at any time during monitoring by wrist actigraphy; patients spent a median of 6 h daily sedentary. Self-reported activity via the IPAQ showed 36%, 43%, and 21% of subjects reporting light, moderate, and vigorous activity prior to HCT, respectively. Post-HCT 6MWTs on day +30 demonstrated the greatest association with subsequent survival and non-relapse mortality. A decline in 6MWT distance over time also demonstrated worsened overall survival. This study shows the feasibility of fitness assessments and the ability to risk stratify for subsequent mortality, particularly using the 6MWT on the day +30 single time point assessment and change scores from baseline to day +30 post HCT. These pilot findings suggest important targets for future study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01428-1DOI Listing
August 2021

Increased Infections and Delayed CD4 T Cell but Faster B Cell Immune Reconstitution after Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide Compared to Conventional GVHD Prophylaxis in Allogeneic Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Jul 28. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida.

Post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) is being increasingly used for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) across various donor types. However, immune reconstitution and infection incidence after PTCy-based versus conventional GVHD prophylaxis has not been well studied. We evaluated the infection density and immune reconstitution (ie, absolute CD4 T cell, CD8 T cell, natural killer cell, and B cell counts) at 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year post-HCT in 583 consecutive adult patients undergoing allo-HCT with myeloablative (n = 223) or reduced-intensity (n = 360) conditioning between 2012 and 2018. Haploidentical (haplo; n = 75) and 8/8 HLA-matched unrelated (MUD; n = 08) donor types were included. GVHD prophylaxis was PTCy-based in all haplo (n = 75) and in 38 MUD allo-HCT recipients, whereas tacrolimus/methotrexate (Tac/MTX) was used in 89 and Tac/Sirolimus (Tac/Sir) was used in 381 MUD allo-HCT recipients. Clinical outcomes, including infections, nonrelapse mortality (NRM), relapse, and overall survival (OS), were compared across the 4 treatment groups. The recovery of absolute total CD4 T-cell count was significantly lower in the haplo-PTCy and MUD-PTCy groups compared with the Tac/MTX and Tac/Sir groups throughout 1 year post-allo-HCT (P = .025). In contrast, CD19 B-cell counts at 6 months and thereafter were higher in the haplo-PTCy and MUD-PTCy groups compared with the Tac/MTX and Tac/Sir groups (P < .001). Total CD8 T cell and NK cell recovery was not significantly different among the groups. Infection density analysis showed a significantly higher frequency of total infections in the haplo-PTCy and MUD-PTCy groups compared with the Tac/MTX and Tac/Sir groups (5.0 and 5.0 vs 1.8 and 2.6 per 1000-person days; P < .01) within 1 year of allo-HCT. The cumulative incidence of cytomegalovirus reactivation/infection at 1 year post-allo-HCT was higher in the haplo-PTCy group (51%) compared with the MUD-PTCy (26%), Tac/MTX (26%), or Tac/Sir (13%) groups (P < .001). The incidence of BK, human herpesvirus 6, and other viruses were also higher in the PTCy-based groups. Overall, the treatment groups had similar 2 year NRM (P = .27) and OS (P = .78) outcomes. Our data show that PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis is associated with delayed CD4 T cell but faster B cell immune reconstitution and a higher frequency of infections compared with conventional GVHD prophylaxis but has no impact on nonrelapse mortality or overall survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.07.023DOI Listing
July 2021

Ruxolitinib resistance or intolerance in steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease - a real-world outcomes analysis.

Br J Haematol 2021 Jul 12. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Blood & Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Program, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Ruxolitinib for steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (SR-aGVHD) results in resistance or intolerance in 1/5 of patients. Outcomes of such patients are undefined. We identified these patients in a multicentre review and reported outcomes. Ruxolitinib-resistant aGVHD was identified in 48/307 patients. Among patients receiving additional therapy, the overall response rate to next therapy was 36%. Median survival was 21 days. Ruxolitinib intolerance led to treatment discontinuation in 16/307 patients. Ten intolerant patients received additional therapy with 50% experiencing continued improvement of aGVHD. Median survival was 50 days in these patients. These data serve as a baseline for future SR-aGVHD studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17700DOI Listing
July 2021

A phase 2 trial of the histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat for graft-versus-host disease prevention.

Blood Adv 2021 07;5(13):2740-2750

Blood & Marrow Transplant & Cellular Immunotherapy.

Immunomodulatory properties of histone deacetylase inhibitors represent a reasonable approach for acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) prevention. We report a phase 2 trial evaluating panobinostat (PANO) administered over 26 weeks, starting on day -5 (5 mg orally 3 times a week) with tacrolimus initiated on day -3 plus sirolimus on day -1, with a median patient age of 58 years (range, 19-72 years) (n = 38). Donor source consisted of HLA 8/8-matched donors, related (n = 13) or unrelated (n = 25), using granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-stimulated peripheral blood stem cells. Myeloablative (n = 18) or reduced-intensity (n = 20) conditioning regimens were used for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (n = 17), myelodysplastic syndrome (n = 13), or other malignancies (n = 8). The cumulative incidence of aGVHD II-IV by day 100 was 18.4% (90% confidence interval [CI], 9.4% to 29.9%). Cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD at 1 year was 31.6% (90% CI, 19.5% to 44.3%). Adverse events related to PANO were thrombocytopenia (n = 5), leukopenia (n = 6), gastrointestinal toxicity (n = 3), rash (n = 4), renal failure/peripheral edema (n = 1), and periorbital edema (n = 1). At 1 year, overall survival was 89.5% (90% CI, 81.6% to 98.0%), relapse-free survival was 78.9% (90% CI, 68.8% to 90.6%), nonrelapse mortality was 2.6% (90% CI, 0.3% to 9.9%), and GVHD relapse-free survival was 60.5% (90% CI, 48.8% to 75.1%). PANO hits histone 3 as early as day 15 in CD8, CD4 and T regs. In conclusion, PANO combination met the primary study end point for aGVHD prevention and warrants further testing. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02588339.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004225DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8288668PMC
July 2021

National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: IV. The 2020 Highly morbid forms report.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 Oct 10;27(10):817-835. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can be associated with significant morbidity, in part because of nonreversible fibrosis, which impacts physical functioning (eye, skin, lung manifestations) and mortality (lung, gastrointestinal manifestations). Progress in preventing severe morbidity and mortality associated with chronic GVHD is limited by a complex and incompletely understood disease biology and a lack of prognostic biomarkers. Likewise, treatment advances for highly morbid manifestations remain hindered by the absence of effective organ-specific approaches targeting "irreversible" fibrotic sequelae and difficulties in conducting clinical trials in a heterogeneous disease with small patient numbers. The purpose of this document is to identify current gaps, to outline a roadmap of research goals for highly morbid forms of chronic GVHD including advanced skin sclerosis, fasciitis, lung, ocular and gastrointestinal involvement, and to propose strategies for effective trial design. The working group made the following recommendations: (1) Phenotype chronic GVHD clinically and biologically in future cohorts, to describe the incidence, prognostic factors, mechanisms of organ damage, and clinical evolution of highly morbid conditions including long-term effects in children; (2) Conduct longitudinal multicenter studies with common definitions and research sample collections; (3) Develop new approaches for early identification and treatment of highly morbid forms of chronic GVHD, especially biologically targeted treatments, with a special focus on fibrotic changes; and (4) Establish primary endpoints for clinical trials addressing each highly morbid manifestation in relationship to the time point of intervention (early versus late). Alternative endpoints, such as lack of progression and improvement in physical functioning or quality of life, may be suitable for clinical trials in patients with highly morbid manifestations. Finally, new approaches for objective response assessment and exploration of novel trial designs for small populations are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8478861PMC
October 2021

National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: III. The 2020 Treatment of Chronic GVHD Report.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 09 11;27(9):729-737. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Clinical Division of Hematology, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria. Electronic address:

Positive results from recent clinical trials have significantly expanded current therapeutic options for patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, new insights into the associations between clinical characteristics of chronic GVHD, pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease, and the clinical and biological effects of novel therapeutic agents are required to allow for a more individualized approach to treatment. The current report is focused on setting research priorities and direction in the treatment of chronic GVHD. Detailed correlative scientific studies should be conducted in the context of clinical trials to evaluate associations between clinical outcomes and the biological effect of systemic therapeutics. For patients who require systemic therapy but not urgent initiation of glucocorticoids, clinical trials for initial systemic treatment of chronic GVHD should investigate novel agents as monotherapy without concurrently starting glucocorticoids, to avoid confounding biological, pathological, and clinical assessments. Clinical trials for treatment-refractory disease should specifically target patients with incomplete or suboptimal responses to most recent therapy who are early in their disease course. Close collaboration between academic medical centers, medical societies, and industry is needed to support an individualized, biology-based strategic approach to chronic GVHD therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.05.004DOI Listing
September 2021

Relevance of Plasma Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 for Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 09 12;27(9):759.e1-759.e8. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a highly morbid form of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Several plasma proteins have been identified as biomarkers for BOS after lung transplantation. The relevance of these biomarkers in BOS patients after allogeneic HCT has not been examined. We hypothesized that biomarkers associated with BOS after lung transplantation are also associated with BOS after allogeneic HCT. We tested plasma samples from 33 adult HCT patients who participated in a phase II multicenter study of fluticasone, azithromycin, and montelukast (FAM) treatment for new-onset BOS (NCT01307462), and matched control samples of HCT patients who had non-BOS chronic GVHD (n = 31) and those who never experienced chronic GVHD (n = 29) (NCT00637689 and NCT01902576). Candidate biomarkers included matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), MMP-3, and chitinase-3-like-1 glycoprotein (YKL-40). MMP-9 concentrations were higher in the patients with BOS compared with those with non-BOS chronic GVHD (P = .04) or no chronic GVHD (P < .001). MMP-3 concentrations were higher in patients with BOS (P < .001) or non-BOS chronic GVHD (P < .001) compared with those with no chronic GVHD. YKL-40 concentrations did not differ statistically among the 3 groups. MMP-9 concentrations before starting FAM therapy were higher in patients who experienced treatment failure within 6 months compared with those with treatment success (P = .006), whereas MMP-3 or YKL-40 concentrations did not differ statistically between these 2 groups. Patients with an MMP-9 concentration ≥200,000 pg/mL before starting FAM therapy had worse overall survival compared with those with lower MMP-9 concentrations. Our data suggest that plasma MMP-9 concentration could serve as a relevant biomarker at diagnosis of BOS after allogeneic HCT for prognostication of survival and for prediction of treatment response. Further validation is needed to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.06.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8403632PMC
September 2021

National Marrow Donor Program-Sponsored Multicenter, Phase II Trial of HLA-Mismatched Unrelated Donor Bone Marrow Transplantation Using Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jun 27;39(18):1971-1982. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD.

Purpose: Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is curative for hematologic disorders, but outcomes are historically inferior when using HLA-mismatched donors. Despite unrelated donor registries listing > 38 million volunteers, 25%-80% of US patients lack an HLA-matched unrelated donor, with significant disparity across ethnic groups. We hypothesized that HCT with a mismatched unrelated donor (MMUD) using post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy), a novel strategy successful in overcoming genetic disparity using mismatched related donors, would be feasible and increase access to HCT.

Patients And Methods: We performed a prospective phase II study of MMUD bone marrow HCT with PTCy for patients with hematologic malignancies. The primary end point was 1-year overall survival (OS), hypothesized to be 65% or better. 80 patients enrolled at 11 US transplant centers (December 2016-March 2019). Following myeloablative or reduced-intensity conditioning-based HCT, patients received PTCy on days +3, +4, with sirolimus and mycophenolate mofetil starting on day +5. We compared outcomes to Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research contemporary controls receiving PTCy.

Results: Notably, 48% of patients enrolled were ethnic minorities. 39% of pairs were matched for 4-6 out of 8 HLA alleles. The primary end point was met, with 1-year OS of 76% (90% CI, 67.3 to 83.3) in the entire cohort, and 72% and 79% in the myeloablative and reduced-intensity conditioning strata, respectively. Secondary end points related to engraftment and graft-versus-host-disease were reached. Multivariate analysis comparing the study group with other mismatched HCT controls found no significant differences in OS.

Conclusion: Our prospective study demonstrates the feasibility and effectiveness of HCT with an MMUD in the setting of PTCy. Remarkably, nearly half of the study participants belonged to an ethnic minority population, suggesting this approach may significantly expand access to HCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03502DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8260905PMC
June 2021

National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: I. The 2020 Etiology and Prevention Working Group Report.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 06 2;27(6):452-466. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Division of Hematological Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Department of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, North Carolina. Electronic address:

Preventing chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains challenging because the unique cellular and molecular pathways that incite chronic GVHD are poorly understood. One major point of intervention for potential prevention of chronic GVHD occurs at the time of transplantation when acute donor anti-recipient immune responses first set the events in motion that result in chronic GVHD. After transplantation, additional insults causing tissue injury can incite aberrant immune responses and loss of tolerance, further contributing to chronic GVHD. Points of intervention are actively being identified so that chronic GVHD initiation pathways can be targeted without affecting immune function. The major objective in the field is to continue basic studies and to translate what is learned about etiopathology to develop targeted prevention strategies that decrease the risk of morbid chronic GVHD without increasing the risks of cancer relapse or infection. Development of strategies to predict the risk of developing debilitating or deadly chronic GVHD is a high research priority. This working group recommends further interrogation into the mechanisms underpinning chronic GVHD development, and we highlight considerations for future trial design in prevention trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.02.035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217141PMC
June 2021

National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: IIa. The 2020 Clinical Implementation and Early Diagnosis Working Group Report.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 07 9;27(7):545-557. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Recognition of the earliest signs and symptoms of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) that lead to severe manifestations remains a challenge. The standardization provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2005 and 2014 consensus projects has helped improve diagnostic accuracy and severity scoring for clinical trials, but utilization of these tools in routine clinical practice is variable. Additionally, when patients meet the NIH diagnostic criteria, many already have significant morbidity and possibly irreversible organ damage. The goals of this early diagnosis project are 2-fold. First, we provide consensus recommendations regarding implementation of the current NIH diagnostic guidelines into routine transplant care, outside of clinical trials, aiming to enhance early clinical recognition of chronic GVHD. Second, we propose directions for future research efforts to enable discovery of new, early laboratory as well as clinical indicators of chronic GVHD, both globally and for highly morbid organ-specific manifestations. Identification of early features of chronic GVHD that have high positive predictive value for progression to more severe manifestations of the disease could potentially allow for future pre-emptive clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.033DOI Listing
July 2021

National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: IIb. The 2020 Preemptive Therapy Working Group Report.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 08 6;27(8):632-641. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) commonly occurs after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) despite standard prophylactic immune suppression. Intensified universal prophylaxis approaches are effective but risk possible overtreatment and may interfere with the graft-versus-malignancy immune response. Here we summarize conceptual and practical considerations regarding preemptive therapy of chronic GVHD, namely interventions applied after HCT based on evidence that the risk of developing chronic GVHD is higher than previously appreciated. This risk may be anticipated by clinical factors or risk assignment biomarkers or may be indicated by early signs and symptoms of chronic GVHD that do not fully meet National Institutes of Health diagnostic criteria. However, truly preemptive, individualized, and targeted chronic GVHD therapies currently do not exist. In this report, we (1) review current knowledge regarding clinical risk factors for chronic GVHD, (2) review what is known about chronic GVHD risk assignment biomarkers, (3) examine how chronic GVHD pathogenesis intersects with available targeted therapeutic agents, and (4) summarize considerations for preemptive therapy for chronic GVHD, emphasizing trial development, including trial design and statistical considerations. We conclude that robust risk assignment models that accurately predict chronic GVHD after HCT and early-phase preemptive therapy trials represent the most urgent priorities for advancing this novel area of research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.029DOI Listing
August 2021

Impact of Total Body Irradiation-Based Myeloablative Conditioning Regimens in Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 07 30;27(7):620.e1-620.e9. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Department of Internal Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is a curative treatment option for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Both total body irradiation (TBI)-based and chemotherapy only-based myeloablative transplantation conditioning regimens have been applied, but the optimal regimen remains unclear. We performed a systematic review to assess the efficacy of TBI-based versus chemotherapy only-based myeloablative conditioning regimens. We searched PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases and meeting abstracts for all studies comparing TBI-based and chemotherapy only-based conditioning regimens in patients who underwent allo-HCT for ALL. Two authors independently reviewed all studies for inclusion and extracted data related to overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), nonrelapse mortality (NRM), relapse, and acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Eight studies were included in the final analysis. The overall methodological quality of the included studies was optimal. TBI-based regimens showed evidence of benefit compared with chemotherapy only-based conditioning regimens in terms of relapse (relative risk [RR], 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 0.94; 6 studies, 5091 patients), OS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.89; 7 studies, 4727 patients), and PFS (HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.85; 7 studies, 4727 patients). The TBI-based regimen did not increase the likelihood of grade II-IV acute GVHD (RR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.92 to 1.36; 5 studies, 4996 patients) or chronic GVHD (RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.21; 5 studies, 4490 patients), or NRM (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.28; 6 studies, 4522 patients). However, TBI-based regimens were associated with an increased risk of grade III-IV acute GVHD (RR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.63; 3 studies, 3675 patients). A subgroup comparison of patients age ≥16 years showed similar results. This systematic review represents evidence supporting the use of TBI-based conditioning regimen in patients undergoing allo-HCT for ALL who are candidates for myeloablative conditioning, as it offers better OS, PFS, and less relapse with acceptable NRM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2021.03.026DOI Listing
July 2021

ELN 2017 Genetic Risk Stratification Predicts Survival of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients Receiving Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.

Transplant Cell Ther 2021 03 2;27(3):256.e1-256.e7. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida. Electronic address:

European LeukemiaNet (ELN) 2017 risk stratification by genetics is prognostic of outcomes in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, the prognostic impact of the 2017 ELN genetic risk stratification after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is not well established. We examined the effect of 2017 ELN genetic risk stratification on alloHCT outcomes of AML. We included 500 adult (≥18 years) AML patients in first (n = 370) or second (n = 130) complete remission receiving alloHCT from 2005 to 2016. Patients were classified into favorable (12%), intermediate (57%), and adverse (32%) 2017 ELN risk groups. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to conduct the multivariable analyses of leukemia-free survival (LFS) and overall survival (OS). Relapse and nonrelapse mortality were analyzed by the Fine-Gray regression model. OS at 2 years was 72% in the favorable versus 60% in the intermediate versus 45% in the adverse risk groups (P < .001). In multivariable analyses, the 2017 ELN classifier was an independent predictor of OS after alloHCT with significantly higher overall mortality in the intermediate (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.68, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-2.68; P = .03) and adverse (HR = 2.50, 95% CI, 1.54-4.06; P < .001) risk groups compared to the favorable risk group. Similarly, LFS was worse in the intermediate (HR = 1.63, 95%, CI 1.06-2.53; P = .03) and adverse (HR 2.23, 95% CI, 1.41-3.54; P < .001) risk groups while relapse was higher in the adverse risk group (HR = 2.36, 95% CI, 1.28-4.35; P = .006) as compared to the favorable risk group. These data highlight the prognostic impact of the 2017 ELN genetic risk stratification on the survival of AML patients after alloHCT. Patients in the adverse risk group had the highest risk of relapse and worst survival. Thus the 2017 ELN prognostic system can help identify AML patients who may benefit from clinical trials offering relapse mitigation strategies to improve transplant outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtct.2020.12.021DOI Listing
March 2021

Pacritinib Combined with Sirolimus and Low-Dose Tacrolimus for GVHD Prevention after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Preclinical and Phase I Trial Results.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 May 22;27(10):2712-2722. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Purpose: In this first-in-human, phase I, GVHD prevention trial (NCT02891603), we combine pacritinib (PAC), a JAK2 inhibitor, with sirolimus to concurrently reduce T-cell costimulation via mTOR and IL6 activity. We evaluate the safety of pacritinib when administered with sirolimus plus low-dose tacrolimus (PAC/SIR/TAC) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Patients And Methods: The preclinical efficacy and immune modulation of PAC/SIR were investigated in xenogeneic GVHD. Our phase I trial followed a 3+3 dose-escalation design, including dose level 1 (pacritinib 100 mg daily), level 2 (pacritinib 100 mg twice daily), and level 3 (pacritinib 200 mg twice daily). The primary endpoint was to identify the lowest biologically active and safe dose of pacritinib with SIR/TAC ( = 12). Acute GVHD was scored through day +100. Allografts included 8/8 HLA-matched related or unrelated donor peripheral blood stem cells.

Results: In mice, we show that dual JAK2/mTOR inhibition significantly reduces xenogeneic GVHD and increases peripheral regulatory T cell (Treg) potency as well as Treg induction from conventional CD4 T cells. Pacritinib 100 mg twice a day was identified as the minimum biologically active and safe dose for further study. JAK2/mTOR inhibition suppresses pathogenic Th1 and Th17 cells, spares Tregs and antileukemia effector cells, and exhibits preliminary activity in preventing GVHD. PAC/SIR/TAC preserves donor cytomegalovirus (CMV) immunity and permits timely engraftment without cytopenias.

Conclusions: We demonstrate that PAC/SIR/TAC is safe and preliminarily limits acute GVHD, preserves donor CMV immunity, and permits timely engraftment. The efficacy of PAC/SIR/TAC will be tested in our ongoing phase II GVHD prevention trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4725DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127396PMC
May 2021

Impact of infused CD34+ stem cell dosing for allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation with post-transplant cyclophosphamide.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 07 3;56(7):1683-1690. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.

Higher infused total nucleated cell dose (TNC) in allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT) with post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) is associated with improved overall survival. As many centers prefer peripheral blood stem cell grafts (PBSCT) with PTCy, the effect of cell dose on outcomes with this platform also requires elucidation. We retrospectively evaluated 144 consecutive adult patients who received allogeneic T-cell replete PBSCT with PTCy-based graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis for a hematologic malignancy from 2012-2018. The infused CD34+ cell dose was stratified into low (<5 × 10/kg), intermediate (5-10 × 10/kg) and high (>10 × 10/kg) dose level groups. In multivariate analysis, the low CD34+ cell dose group had worse non-relapse mortality (HR = 4.51, 95% CI: 1.92-10.58, p < 0.001), progression- free survival (HR = 4.11, 95% CI: 2.07-8.15, p < 0.001), and overall survival (HR = 4.06, 95% CI: 2.00-8.25, p ≤ 0.001) compared to the intermediate group. Clinical outcomes between the intermediate and high CD34+ cell dose groups were similar. TNC and CD3+ cell dose had no significant impacts on outcomes. These findings suggest that, in patients receiving allogeneic PBSCT with PTCy, infused CD34+ cell doses >5 × 10 cells/kg may result in improved survival. Thus, this study supports targeting a CD34+ cell dose of >5 × 10 cells/kg for allogeneic PBSCT with PTCy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01219-8DOI Listing
July 2021

A phase 2 trial of GVHD prophylaxis with PTCy, sirolimus, and MMF after peripheral blood haploidentical transplantation.

Blood Adv 2021 03;5(5):1154-1163

Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, and.

The introduction of posttransplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) made performing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) from HLA haplotype-incompatible donors possible. In a setting of PTCy and tacrolimus/mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) as a graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, a peripheral blood (PB) graft source as compared with bone marrow reduces the relapse rate but increases acute GVHD (aGVHD) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD). This phase 2 trial assessed sirolimus and MMF efficacy following PTCy as a GVHD prophylaxis after PB haploidentical HCT (haplo-HCT). With 32 evaluable patients (≥18 years) enrolled, this study had 90% power to demonstrate a reduction in 100-day grade II-IV aGVHD to 20% from the historical benchmark of 40% after haplo-HCT using PTCy/tacrolimus/MMF. At a median follow-up of 16.1 months, the primary end point of the trial was met with a day-100 grade II-IV aGVHD cumulative incidence of 18.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.5% to 34.0%). There were no graft-failure events and the 1-year probability of National Institutes of Health (NIH) moderate/severe cGVHD was 18.8% (95% CI, 7.4% to 34.0%), nonrelapse mortality was 18.8% (95% CI, 7.4% to 34.0%), relapse was 22.2% (95% CI, 9.6% to 38.2%), disease-free survival was 59.0% (95% CI, 44.1% to 79.0%), GVHD-free relapse-free survival was 49.6% (95% CI, 34.9% to 70.5%), and overall survival was 71.7% (95% CI, 57.7% to 89.2%) for the entire cohort. These data demonstrate that GVHD prophylaxis with sirolimus/MMF following PTCy effectively prevents grade II-IV aGVHD after PB haplo-HCT, warranting prospective comparison of sirolimus vs tacrolimus in combination with MMF following PTCy as GVHD prophylaxis after PB HCT. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT03018223.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003779DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7948297PMC
March 2021

Sarcopenia and low muscle radiodensity associate with impaired FEV in allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2020 12 29;11(6):1570-1579. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Background: Quantification of skeletal muscle using computed tomography (CT) is accessible using cancer patients' standard oncologic images. Reduced muscle mass may be related to reduced respiratory muscle strength; however, the impact of this on lung functional parameters is not characterized in adult allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplant (alloHCT) recipients.

Methods: A consecutive retrospective series (n = 296) of patients who had alloHCT at a comprehensive cancer centre between March 2005 and April 2015 were included. Pre-transplant CT scans were used to quantify skeletal muscle and adipose tissue at the fourth thoracic (T4) and/or third lumbar (L3) level. Tumour and patient characteristics were recorded, including forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV ) by spirometry. Regression models were created to characterize predictive relationships.

Results: A total of 296 patients (♂n = 161; ♀n = 135) were included, all of whom had chest CT as part of standard care; a subset of these (n = 215, 72.6%) also had abdominal CT. Diagnoses were non-Hodgkins lymphoma (n = 165), acute myeloid leukaemia (n = 66), Hodgkin's disease (n = 14), acute lymphocytic leukaemia (n = 14), myelodysplastic syndromes (n = 18), and other (n = 19). In multivariable linear regression adjusted for sex (P < 0.0001), age (P < 0.0001), haematopoietic cell transplantation-specific co-morbidity index (P = 0.010), and parameters of pulmonary function testing (defined by spirometry, P < 0.0001), both T4 muscle index [β 0.127 (95% confidence interval 0.019; 0.252), P < 0.0001] and T4 muscle radiodensity [β 0.132 (95% confidence interval 0.087; 0.505), P = 0.006] were independently associated with FEV ; disease risk index (P = 0.877) and Karnofsky performance status (P = 0.548) were not associated with FEV . Similar conclusions were obtained when L3 muscle index and radiodensity were considered. Unlike T4, L3 muscle index values can be compared with published cut-off values for sarcopenia. Overall rates of sarcopenia were uniformly higher in the HCT population than in age-matched and sex-matched patients with solid tumours [alloHCT ♂64.7% vs. solid tumour ♂56.6% (P < 0.001); alloHCT ♀57.6% vs. solid tumour ♀36.0% (P < 0.001)]. Significant but moderate correlations (P < 0.001) were found for muscle area and radiodensity between L3 and T4, for both men and women; adipose tissue quantity also correlated significantly (P < 0.001) between L3 and T4 for both men and women.

Conclusions: Lumbar or thoracic CT images are useful for body composition assessment in this population and reveal high rates of sarcopenia, similar to those reported in very elderly patients. Reduced muscle mass and radiodensity associate with impaired FEV even after adjustment for clinical covariables including co-morbidities, performance status, disease risk, and mild intrinsic pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) defined by spirometry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12604DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749567PMC
December 2020

Dickkopf-related protein 3 is a novel biomarker for chronic GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.

Blood Adv 2020 06;4(11):2409-2417

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.

To identify plasma biomarkers associated with fibrotic mechanisms of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), we used multiplex mass spectrometry with pooled samples for biomarker discovery in comparing proteomic profiles between patients with newly diagnosed sclerotic chronic GVHD (n = 21), those with newly diagnosed nonsclerotic chronic GVHD (n = 33), and those without chronic GVHD (n = 20). Immunoassay was used to measure protein concentrations of individual discovery samples and 186 independent verification samples. The discovery mass spectrometry analysis identified 2 candidate proteins with at least 1.5-fold difference in sclerotic GVHD: Dickkopf-related protein 3 (DKK3) and interleukin-1 receptor accessory protein (IL1RAP). Analysis of individual discovery samples by immunoassay showed that DKK3, a modulator of the Wnt signaling pathway, was a biomarker for both sclerotic and nonsclerotic chronic GVHD. Verification analysis of 186 patients confirmed that elevated plasma DKK3 concentrations were associated with chronic GVHD, regardless of the presence or absence of sclerosis, and that the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.85 for association of DKK3 concentrations with chronic GVHD. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that chronic GVHD with or without steroid treatment and patient age were independently associated with DKK3 concentrations. Patients with high DKK3 concentrations had a higher nonrelapse mortality than those with low concentrations. The lower IL1RAP concentrations in patients with sclerotic GVHD compared with other conditions in the discovery cohort were not confirmed in the verification cohort. DKK3 is a novel biomarker for chronic GVHD. Further studies are needed to determine the biological functions of DKK3 in the pathogenesis of chronic GVHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284089PMC
June 2020

Ixazomib for Treatment of Refractory Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: A Chronic GVHD Consortium Phase II Trial.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 09 25;26(9):1612-1619. Epub 2020 May 25.

Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

New interventions are needed in advanced chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In a phase II, single-arm, multicenter trial, we examined the efficacy of ixazomib in patients with chronic GVHD who had progressed after at least 1 previous line of systemic immunosuppressive (IS) therapy. Ixazomib was given as a 4 mg oral dose weekly on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle for up to 6 total cycles. The primary endpoint was 6-month treatment failure, a composite endpoint including death, relapse, and requirement for an additional line of systemic IS therapy. A total of 50 subjects were enrolled at 6 institutions. The median time from the onset of chronic GVHD to enrollment was 2.8 years (interquartile range, 1.5 to 4.3 years). The degree of chronic GVHD at enrollment was National Institutes of Health (NIH)-defined moderate (16%) or severe (84%), predominantly classic (80% versus 20% overlap), with 52% of patients having involvement of 4 or more organs. The patients were heavily pretreated, with 39 (78%) receiving 3 or more previous lines of systemic therapy for chronic GVHD. Of the 50 patients treated, 26 completed 6 months of planned therapy. The 6-month treatment failure rate was significantly lower than the historical benchmark (28% versus 44%; P = .01) previously established in second-line therapy for chronic GVHD. No patient, transplantation, or chronic GVHD variables were significantly associated with 6-month treatment failure. NIH-defined overall response rate was 40% at 6 months. Overall survival was 92% at 6 months and 90% at 12 months. Ixazomib met the primary endpoint of low treatment failure at 6 months in the setting of advanced chronic GVHD. At 6 months, the NIH-defined rate of complete/partial response was 40%, and 52% of patients remained on ixazomib therapy, suggesting that the low treatment failure rate was due in part due to prevention of progressive disease that would have required additional treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.05.015DOI Listing
September 2020

Evolving Therapeutic Options for Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease.

Pharmacotherapy 2020 08 15;40(8):756-772. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

Department of Blood & Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy (BMT CI), Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Despite improvements in prevention and treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), chronic GVHD (cGVHD) remains a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality of allogeneic transplant patients. Chronic GVHD remains a leading cause of late complications posttransplant and is impacted by donor-, patient-, and transplant-related (hematopoietic cell transplant [HCT]) factors. Advances in the biological understanding of cGVHD have provided opportunities to improve clinical interventions for prevention and treatment. Expansion of posttransplantation cyclophosphamide beyond haploidentical HCTs has transformed alternative donor, matched, and mismatch GVHD outcomes and is currently being investigated in two upcoming clinical trials network prophylaxis studies. Although corticosteroids remain the cornerstone therapy, several clinical trials are prospectively investigating the utility of using novel agents in combination with corticosteroids as upfront therapy to mitigate prolonged steroid exposure. Several treatment options for patients with steroid-refractory cGVHD are currently being investigated, and advances have resulted in ibrutinib becoming the first cGVHD agent approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We review recent advances in understanding of cGVHD pathophysiology and new approaches for the prevention and treatment of cGVHD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/phar.2427DOI Listing
August 2020

Human CD83-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T cells prevent and treat graft-versus-host disease.

J Clin Invest 2020 09;130(9):4652-4662

Department of Immunology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). For decades, GVHD prophylaxis has included calcineurin inhibitors, despite their incomplete efficacy and impairment of graft-versus-leukemia (GVL). Distinct from pharmacologic immune suppression, we have developed what we believe is a novel, human CD83-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell for GVHD prevention. CD83 is expressed on allo-activated conventional CD4+ T cells (Tconvs) and proinflammatory dendritic cells (DCs), which are both implicated in GVHD pathogenesis. Human CD83 CAR T cells eradicate pathogenic CD83+ target cells, substantially increase the ratio of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to allo-activated Tconvs, and provide durable prevention of xenogeneic GVHD. CD83 CAR T cells are also capable of treating xenogeneic GVHD. We show that human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) expresses CD83 and that myeloid leukemia cell lines are readily killed by CD83 CAR T cells. Human CD83 CAR T cells are a promising cell-based approach to preventing 2 critical complications of allo-HCT - GVHD and relapse. Thus, the use of human CD83 CAR T cells for GVHD prevention and treatment, as well as for targeting CD83+ AML, warrants clinical investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI135754DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7456225PMC
September 2020

Risk Factors for Graft-versus-Host Disease in Haploidentical Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Using Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 08 17;26(8):1459-1468. Epub 2020 May 17.

(7)Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida.

Post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) has significantly increased the successful use of haploidentical donors with a relatively low incidence of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Given its increasing use, we sought to determine risk factors for GVHD after haploidentical hematopoietic cell transplantation (haplo-HCT) using PTCy. Data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research on adult patients with acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, or chronic myeloid leukemia who underwent PTCy-based haplo-HCT (2013 to 2016) were analyzed and categorized into 4 groups based on myeloablative (MA) or reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) and bone marrow (BM) or peripheral blood (PB) graft source. In total, 646 patients were identified (MA-BM = 79, MA-PB = 183, RIC-BM = 192, RIC-PB = 192). The incidence of grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD at 6 months was highest in MA-PB (44%), followed by RIC-PB (36%), MA-BM (36%), and RIC-BM (30%) (P = .002). The incidence of chronic GVHD at 1 year was 40%, 34%, 24%, and 20%, respectively (P < .001). In multivariable analysis, there was no impact of stem cell source or conditioning regimen on grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD; however, older donor age (30 to 49 versus <29 years) was significantly associated with higher rates of grade 2 to 4 acute GVHD (hazard ratio [HR], 1.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11 to 2.12; P = .01). In contrast, PB compared to BM as a stem cell source was a significant risk factor for the development of chronic GVHD (HR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.62; P = .01) in the RIC setting. There were no differences in relapse or overall survival between groups. Donor age and graft source are risk factors for acute and chronic GVHD, respectively, after PTCy-based haplo-HCT. Our results indicate that in RIC haplo-HCT, the risk of chronic GVHD is higher with PB stem cells, without any difference in relapse or overall survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.05.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391266PMC
August 2020

Composite GRFS and CRFS Outcomes After Adult Alternative Donor HCT.

J Clin Oncol 2020 06 4;38(18):2062-2076. Epub 2020 May 4.

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

Purpose: There is no consensus on the best choice of an alternative donor (umbilical cord blood [UCB], haploidentical, one-antigen mismatched [7/8]-bone marrow [BM], or 7/8-peripheral blood [PB]) for hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for patients lacking an HLA-matched related or unrelated donor.

Methods: We report composite end points of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)-free relapse-free survival (GRFS) and chronic GVHD (cGVHD)-free relapse-free survival (CRFS) in 2,198 patients who underwent UCB (n = 838), haploidentical (n = 159), 7/8-BM (n = 241), or 7/8-PB (n = 960) HCT. All groups were divided by myeloablative conditioning (MAC) intensity or reduced intensity conditioning (RIC), except haploidentical group in which most received RIC. To account for multiple testing, < .0071 in multivariable analysis and < .00025 in direct pairwise comparisons were considered statistically significant.

Results: In multivariable analysis, haploidentical group had the best GRFS, CRFS, and overall survival (OS). In the direct pairwise comparison of other groups, among those who received MAC, there was no difference in GRFS or CRFS among UCB, 7/8-BM, and 7/8-PB with serotherapy (alemtuzumab or antithymocyte globulin) groups. In contrast, the 7/8-PB without serotherapy group had significantly inferior GRFS, higher cGVHD, and a trend toward worse CRFS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.38; 95% CI, 1.13 to 1.69; = .002) than the 7/8-BM group and higher cGVHD and trend toward inferior CRFS (HR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.14 to 1.63; = .0006) than the UCB group. Among patients with RIC, all groups had significantly inferior GRFS and CRFS compared with the haploidentical group.

Conclusion: Recognizing the limitations of a registry retrospective analysis and the possibility of center selection bias in choosing donors, our data support the use of UCB, 7/8-BM, or 7/8-PB (with serotherapy) grafts for patients undergoing MAC HCT and haploidentical grafts for patients undergoing RIC HCT. The haploidentical group had the best GRFS, CRFS, and OS of all groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.00396DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302955PMC
June 2020

Sole Upfront Therapy with Beclomethasone and Budesonide for Upper Gastrointestinal Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 07 30;26(7):1303-1311. Epub 2020 Apr 30.

Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida; Department of Oncological Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa Florida. Electronic address:

Systemic glucocorticoids remain the standard treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) despite their toxicity and incomplete efficacy. Controlled trials have tested poorly absorbable steroids as adjuncts with systemic glucocorticoids, but only small case series have reported treatment with poorly absorbed beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) and budesonide (BUD) alone. Our team has adopted the practice of administering BDP or BDP+BUD without systemic glucocorticoids as first-line therapy for isolated upper GI (UGI) aGVHD. We report results in 76 patients treated with BDP alone and in 81 patients treated with BDP+BUD, with allocation by physician choice. Almost all patients received peripheral blood stem cells (92%) from a fully HLA-matched related or unrelated donor (80%) after myeloablative conditioning (76%) for acute leukemia (49%), myelodysplastic syndrome (17%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (14%), or another hematopoietic disorders (20%). After 28 days of treatment with BDP, 46% of the patients had a complete response (CR) and 10% had a partial response (PR); after 200 days, 61 (80%) patients were alive, 34% maintained a CR, and 3% maintained a PR, whereas 53% required additional immunosuppression (IS). After 28 days of treatment with BDP+BUD, 67% had a CR and 10% a PR; after 200 days, 74 (91%) patients were alive, 46% maintained a CR, and 2% maintained a PR, whereas 43% required additional IS. Among the entire cohort of 157 patients, 66 (42%) were treated successfully without systemic glucocorticoids. This study reports the efficacy of poorly absorbable steroids alone for patients with isolated UGI aGVHD. Prospective trials should test for the potential advantages of BDP and BUD use over systemic glucocorticoids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.04.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7771266PMC
July 2020
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