Publications by authors named "Luca Baldini"

144 Publications

Triple-Negative Essential Thrombocythemia: Clinical-Pathological and Molecular Features. A Single-Center Cohort Study.

Front Oncol 2021 12;11:637116. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Hematology Division, Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Lack of demonstrable mutations affecting , or driver genes within the spectrum of -negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) is currently referred to as a triple-negative genotype, which is found in about 10% of patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) and 5-10% of those with primary myelofibrosis (PMF). Very few papers are presently available on triple-negative ET, which is basically described as an indolent disease, differently from triple-negative PMF, which is an aggressive myeloid neoplasm, with a significantly higher risk of leukemic evolution. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the bone marrow morphology and the clinical-laboratory parameters of triple-negative ET patients, as well as to determine their molecular profile using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to identify any potential clonal biomarkers. We evaluated a single-center series of 40 triple-negative ET patients, diagnosed according to the 2017 WHO classification criteria and regularly followed up at the Hematology Unit of our Institution, between January 1983 and January 2019. In all patients, NGS was performed using the Illumina Ampliseq Myeloid Panel; morphological and immunohistochemical features of the bone marrow trephine biopsies were also thoroughly reviewed. Nucleotide variants were detected in 35 out of 40 patients. In detail, 29 subjects harbored one or two variants and six cases showed three or more concomitant nucleotide changes. The most frequent sequence variants involved the gene (55.0%), followed by (27.5%). Histologically, most of the cases displayed a classical ET morphology. Interestingly, prevalent megakaryocytes morphology was more frequently polymorphic with a mixture of giant megakaryocytes with hyperlobulated nuclei, normal and small sized maturing elements, and naked nuclei. Finally, in five cases a mild degree of reticulin fibrosis (MF-1) was evident together with an increase in the micro-vessel density. By means of NGS we were able to identify nucleotide variants in most cases, thus we suggest that a sizeable proportion of triple-negative ET patients do have a clonal disease. In analogy with driver genes-mutated MPNs, these observations may prevent issues arising concerning triple-negative ET treatment, especially when a cytoreductive therapy may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.637116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8006378PMC
March 2021

Imaging a unicuspid aortic valve with transillumination.

Echocardiography 2021 Mar 21;38(3):504-505. Epub 2021 Feb 21.

Division of Cardiology, Nephro-Cardiovascular Department, Baggiovara Hospital, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Unicuspid aortic valve (UAV) is a rare congenital malformation which portends an augmented risk of early valve degeneration. Timely detection of this cardiac valvular anomaly is crucial because a strict follow-up is warranted. Currently, the best morphological information is provided by two-dimensional echocardiography; however, its diagnostic performance has been found to be suboptimal by some anatomical features, making it tough to distinguish between UAV and bicuspid aortic valve. Transillumination is a photo-realism technique that employs the use of a virtual light source that simulates the interaction of light on 3-dimensional surfaces, improving the visualization of morphological characteristics. Our report highlights the incremental value of photo-realistic rendering and lighting source technology to better define the aortic valve morphology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/echo.15003DOI Listing
March 2021

A case of aggressive systemic mastocytosis with bulky lymphadenopathy showing response to midostaurin.

Clin Case Rep 2021 Feb 29;9(2):978-982. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Hematology Unit Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Milan Italy.

Management of systemic mastocytosis is an emerging challenge which requires a multidisciplinary diagnostic approach and personalized treatment strategy. Midostaurin can rapidly reduce the disease burden, also in cladribine refractory cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccr3.3717DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7869399PMC
February 2021

Viral Infections in HSCT: Detection, Monitoring, Clinical Management, and Immunologic Implications.

Front Immunol 2020 20;11:569381. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Hematology-BMT Center, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, Milano, Italy.

In spite of an increasing array of investigations, the relationships between viral infections and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are still controversial, and almost exclusively regard DNA viruses. Viral infections account for a considerable risk of morbidity and mortality among HSCT recipients, and available antiviral agents have proven to be of limited effectiveness. Therefore, an optimal management of viral infection represents a key point in HSCT strategies. On the other hand, viruses bear the potential of shaping immunologic recovery after HSCT, possibly interfering with control of the underlying disease and graft--host disease (GvHD), and eventually with HSCT outcome. Moreover, preliminary data are available about the possible role of some virome components as markers of immunologic recovery after HSCT. Lastly, HSCT may exert an immunotherapeutic effect against some viral infections, notably HIV and HTLV-1, and has been considered as an eradicating approach in these indications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.569381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7854690PMC
January 2021

What Is New in the Treatment of Smoldering Multiple Myeloma?

J Clin Med 2021 Jan 22;10(3). Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Unit of Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, AOUC Policlinico, 70124 Bari, Italy.

Smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM), an asymptomatic plasma cell neoplasm, is currently diagnosed according to the updated IMWG criteria, which reflect an intermediate tumor mass between monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and active MM. However, SMM is a heterogeneous entity and individual case may go from an "MGUS-like" behavior to "early MM" with rapid transformation into symptomatic disease. This wide range of clinical outcomes poses challenges for prognostication and management of individual patients. However, initial studies showed a benefit in terms of progression or even survival for early treatment of high-risk SMM patients. While outside of clinical trials the conventional approach to SMM generally remains that of close observation, these studies raised the question of whether early treatment should be offered in high-risk patients, prompting evaluation of several different therapeutic approaches with different goals. While delay of progression to MM with a non-toxic treatment is clearly achievable by early treatment, a convincing survival benefit still needs to be proven by independent studies. Furthermore, if SMM is to be considered less biologically complex than MM, early treatment may offer the chance of cure that is currently not within reach of any active MM treatment. In this paper, we present updated results of completed or ongoing clinical trials in SMM treatment, highlighting areas of uncertainty and critical issues that will need to be addressed in the near future before the "watch and wait" paradigm in SMM is abandoned in favor of early treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10030421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865294PMC
January 2021

A brief rituximab, bendamustine, mitoxantrone (R-BM) induction followed by rituximab consolidation in elderly patients with advanced follicular lymphoma: a phase II study by the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi (FIL).

Br J Haematol 2021 Jan 21. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

SC Ematologia AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italy.

Treatment for follicular lymphoma (FL) in the elderly is not well standardized. A phase II, multicentre, single arm trial was conducted in this setting with a brief chemoimmunotherapy regimen. Treatment consisted in four monthly courses of rituximab, bendamustine and mitoxantrone (R-BM) followed by 4 weekly rituximab as consolidation; rituximab maintenance was not applied because the drug was not licensed at the time of enrolment. The primary endpoint was the complete remission rate (CR). Seventy-six treatment-naive FL patients (aged 65-80 and a "FIT" score, according to the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment) were enrolled. CR was documented in 59/76 patients (78%), partial remission in 12 (16%) and stable/progressive disease in five (6%) with an overall response rate in 71/76 (94%). Median follow-up was 44 months with 3-year progression-free-survival (PFS) and overall-survival of 67% and 92% respectively. Nine deaths occurred, three of progressive disease. The regimen was well tolerated and the most frequent severe toxicity was neutropenia (18% of the cycles). Bcl-2/IGH rearrangement was found in 40/75 (53%) of evaluated patients. R-BM was highly effective in clearing polymerase chain reaction-detectable disease: 29/31 (96%) evaluated patients converted to bcl-2/IGH negativity at the end of treatment. A brief R-BM regimen plus rituximab consolidation is effective and safe in "FIT" elderly, treatment-naïve, FL patients, inducing high CR and molecular remission rates with prolonged PFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17283DOI Listing
January 2021

Che-1/AATF-induced transcriptionally active chromatin promotes cell proliferation in multiple myeloma.

Blood Adv 2020 11;4(22):5616-5630

SAFU Laboratory.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematologic malignancy produced by a clonal expansion of plasma cells and characterized by abnormal production and secretion of monoclonal antibodies. This pathology exhibits an enormous heterogeneity resulting not only from genetic alterations but also from several epigenetic dysregulations. Here we provide evidence that Che-1/AATF (Che-1), an interactor of RNA polymerase II, promotes MM proliferation by affecting chromatin structure and sustaining global gene expression. We found that Che-1 depletion leads to a reduction of "active chromatin" by inducing a global decrease of histone acetylation. In this context, Che-1 directly interacts with histones and displaces histone deacetylase class I members from them. Strikingly, transgenic mice expressing human Che-1 in plasma cells develop MM with clinical features resembling those observed in the human disease. Finally, Che-1 downregulation decreases BRD4 chromatin accumulation to further sensitize MM cells to bromodomain and external domain inhibitors. These findings identify Che-1 as a promising target for MM therapy, alone or in combination with bromodomain and external domain inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002566DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686885PMC
November 2020

Increase of immunoglobulin A during ibrutinib therapy reduces infection rate in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Feb 22;39(1):141-144. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Hematology Unit, IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico of Milan, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2814DOI Listing
February 2021

Cytogenetic study in primary myelofibrosis at diagnosis: Clinical and histological association and impact on survival according to WHO 2017 classification in an Italian multicenter series.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Feb 4;39(1):123-128. Epub 2020 Oct 4.

Division of Pathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

We analyzed cytogenetic data at diagnosis in 395 primary myelofibrosis (PMF) patients to evaluate any possible association between karyotype and WHO 2017 classification and its impact on prognosis. All the cases were diagnosed and followed at five Italian Hematological Centers between November 1983 and December 2016. An abnormal karyotype (AK) was found in 69 patients and clustered differently according to bone marrow fibrosis grade as it was found in 31 (27.0%) cases with overt fibrotic and 38 (13.6%) with pre-fibrotic PMF (p = 0.001). Sex, anemia, thrombocytopenia, circulating blasts ≥1%, higher lactate dehydrogenase, and International Prognostic Scoring System risk classes were all significantly associated with karyotype. At a median follow-up of >6 years, 101 deaths were recorded. Survival was different between AK and normal karyotype (NK) patients with an estimated median overall survival (OS) of 11.6 and 25.7 years, respectively (p = 0.0148). In conclusion, in our cohort around 20% of patients had an AK, more frequently in subjects with an advanced bone marrow fibrosis grade and clinical-laboratory features indicative of a more aggressive disease. This study shows that an AK confers a more severe clinical phenotype and impacts adversely on OS, thus representing an additional parameter to be considered in the evaluation of PMF prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2808DOI Listing
February 2021

New Perspectives on Polycythemia Vera: From Diagnosis to Therapy.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Aug 13;21(16). Epub 2020 Aug 13.

Hematology Division, Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy.

Polycythemia vera (PV) is mainly characterized by elevated blood cell counts, thrombotic as well as hemorrhagic predisposition, a variety of symptoms, and cumulative risks of fibrotic progression and/or leukemic evolution over time. Major changes to its diagnostic criteria were made in the 2016 revision of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, with both hemoglobin and hematocrit diagnostic thresholds lowered to 16.5 g/dL and 49% for men, and 16 g/dL and 48% for women, respectively. The main reason leading to these changes was represented by the recognition of a new entity, namely the so-called "masked PV", as individuals suffering from this condition have a worse outcome, possibly owing to missed or delayed diagnoses and lower intensity of treatment. Thrombotic risk stratification is of crucial importance to evaluate patients' prognosis at diagnosis. Currently, patients are stratified into a low-risk group, in the case of younger age (<60 years) and no previous thromboses, and a high-risk group, in the case of patients older than 60 years and/or with a previous thrombotic complication. Furthermore, even though they have not yet been formally included in a scoring system, generic cardiovascular risk factors, particularly hypertension, smoking, and leukocytosis, contribute to the thrombotic overall risk. In the absence of agents proven to modify its natural history and prevent progression, PV management has primarily been focused on minimizing the thrombotic risk, representing the main cause of morbidity and mortality. When cytoreduction is necessary, conventional therapies include hydroxyurea as a first-line treatment and ruxolitinib and interferon in resistant/intolerant cases. Each therapy, however, is burdened by specific drawbacks, underlying the need for improved strategies. Currently, the therapeutic landscape for PV is still expanding, and includes several molecules that are under investigation, like long-acting pegylated interferon alpha-2b, histone deacetylase inhibitors, and murine double minute 2 (MDM2) inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21165805DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7461104PMC
August 2020

Improving the international prognostic index score using peripheral blood counts: Results of a large multicenter study involving 520 patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma.

Hematol Oncol 2020 Oct 17;38(4):439-445. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Dipartimento di Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche Materno-Infantili e dell'Adulto, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

The main purpose of this study was to assess whether it is possible to improve the prognostic impact of international prognostic index (IPI) score by combining it with peripheral blood counts. Thus, we evaluated the prognostic power of lymphocyte, neutrophil, and monocyte counts in 520 patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma treated with R-CHOP, confirming that these parameters have a strong impact on overall survival (OS). Using revised IPI (R-IPI), 44% of patients were categorized as poor-risk and showed an OS at 5 years of 46%. As OS at 5 years of the 520 patients is 67%, it is clearly evident that R-IPI tends to overestimate the proportion of patients with poor prognosis. Accordingly, in an attempt to improve the discriminating power of R-IPI, we evaluated and compared three different scores by combining the neutrophil lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and absolute monocyte count (AMC) with the following values: (a) IPI score 3-5, (b) age > 60 years and performance status, (c) age  ≥ 65 years and LDH > ULN. The three indexes studied, had a similar 5 years OS for the high-risk group (46%-52%), but the proportion of patients classified as poor-risk were 37%, 20%, and 32%, respectively, which are lower than 44% identified with R-IPI. Thus, while R-IPI overestimates the number of high-risk patients, after applying our models, it is possible to recognize patients who are truly at high-risk. Of the three scores, the most accurate appears to be that based on NLR, AMC, LDH > ULN and age ≥ 65 years, which identifies 32% of high-risk patients, correlating well with what is seen in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7687198PMC
October 2020

Biological Difference Between Epstein-Barr Virus Positive and Negative Post-transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders and Their Clinical Impact.

Front Oncol 2020 8;10:506. Epub 2020 May 8.

Hematology Division, IRCCS Ca' Granda-Maggiore Policlinico Hospital Foundation, Milan, Italy.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is correlated with several lymphoproliferative disorders, including Hodgkin disease, Burkitt lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). The oncogenic EBV is present in 80% of PTLD. EBV infection influences immune response and has a causative role in the oncogenic transformation of lymphocytes. The development of PTLD is the consequence of an imbalance between immunosurveillance and immunosuppression. Different approaches have been proposed to treat this disorder, including suppression of the EBV viral load, reduction of immune suppression, and malignant clone destruction. In some cases, upfront chemotherapy offers better and durable clinical responses. In this work, we elucidate the clinicopathological and molecular-genetic characteristics of PTLD to clarify the biological differences of EBV(+) and EBV(-) PTLD. Gene expression profiling, next-generation sequencing, and microRNA profiles have recently provided many data that explore PTLD pathogenic mechanisms and identify potential therapeutic targets. This article aims to explore new insights into clinical behavior and pathogenesis of EBV(-)/(+) PTLD with the hope to support future therapeutic studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.00506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7225286PMC
May 2020

Application of Next-Generation Sequencing for the Genomic Characterization of Patients with Smoldering Myeloma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 May 23;12(5). Epub 2020 May 23.

Department of Oncology and Hemato-oncology, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy.

Genomic analysis could contribute to a better understanding of the biological determinants of the evolution of multiple myeloma (MM) precursor disease and an improved definition of high-risk patients. To assess the feasibility and value of next-generation sequencing approaches in an asymptomatic setting, we performed a targeted gene mutation analysis and a genome-wide assessment of copy number alterations (CNAs) by ultra-low-pass whole genome sequencing (ULP-WGS) in six patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and 25 patients with smoldering MM (SMM). Our comprehensive genomic characterization highlighted heterogeneous but substantial values of the tumor fraction, especially in SMM; a rather high degree of genomic complexity, in terms of both mutations and CNAs, and inter-patient variability; a higher incidence of gene mutations and CNAs in SMM, confirming ongoing evolution; intraclonal heterogeneity; and instances of convergent evolution. ULP-WGS of these patients proved effective in revealing the marked genome-wide level of their CNAs, most of which are not routinely investigated. Finally, the analysis of our small SMM cohort suggested that chr(8p) deletions, the DNA tumor fraction, and the number of alterations may have clinical relevance in the progression to overt MM. Although validation in larger series is mandatory, these findings highlight the promising impact of genomic approaches in the clinical management of SMM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281620PMC
May 2020

The Physiopathology of T- Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: Focus on Molecular Aspects.

Front Oncol 2020 28;10:273. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano, Milan, Italy.

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma is an aggressive hematological neoplasm whose classification is still based on immunophenotypic findings. Frontline treatment encompass high intensity combination chemotherapy with good overall survival; however, relapsing/refractory patients have very limited options. In the last years, the understanding of molecular physiopathology of this disease, lead to the identification of a subset of patients with peculiar genetic profile, namely "early T-cell precursors" lymphoblastic leukemia, characterized by dismal outcome and indication to frontline allogeneic bone marrow transplant. In general, the most common mutations occur in the NOTCH1/FBXW7 pathway (60% of adult patients), with a positive prognostic impact. Other pathogenic steps encompass transcriptional deregulation of oncogenes/oncosuppressors, cell cycle deregulation, kinase signaling (including IL7R-JAK-STAT pathway, PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, RAS/MAPK signaling pathway, ABL1 signaling pathway), epigenetic deregulation, ribosomal dysfunction, and altered expression of oncogenic miRNAs or long non-coding RNA. The insight in the genomic landscape of the disease paves the way to the use of novel targeted drugs that might improve the outcome, particularly in relapse/refractory patients. In this review, we analyse available literature on T-ALL pathogenesis, focusing on molecular aspects of clinical, prognostic, and therapeutic significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.00273DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059203PMC
February 2020

NEAT1 Long Isoform Is Highly Expressed in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Irrespectively of Cytogenetic Groups or Clinical Outcome.

Noncoding RNA 2020 Mar 13;6(1). Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Department of Oncology and Hemato-oncology, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy.

The biological role and therapeutic potential of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are still open questions. Herein, we investigated the significance of the lncRNA NEAT1 in CLL. We examined NEAT1 expression in 310 newly diagnosed Binet A patients, in normal CD19+ B-cells, and other types of B-cell malignancies. Although global NEAT1 expression level was not statistically different in CLL cells compared to normal B cells, the median ratio of NEAT1_2 long isoform and global NEAT1 expression in CLL samples was significantly higher than in other groups. NEAT1_2 was more expressed in patients carrying mutated genes. Concerning cytogenetic aberrations, NEAT1_2 expression in CLL with trisomy 12 was lower with respect to patients without alterations. Although global NEAT1 expression appeared not to be associated with clinical outcome, patients with the lowest NEAT1_2 expression displayed the shortest time to first treatment; however, a multivariate regression analysis showed that the NEAT1_2 risk model was not independent from other known prognostic factors, particularly the IGHV mutational status. Overall, our data prompt future studies to investigate whether the increased amount of the long NEAT1_2 isoform detected in CLL cells may have a specific role in the pathology of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ncrna6010011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151605PMC
March 2020

Bortezomib, cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone versus lenalidomide, cyclophosphamide, dexamethasone in multiple myeloma patients at first relapse.

Br J Haematol 2020 03 2;188(6):907-917. Epub 2020 Jan 2.

Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Bortezomib- and lenalidomide-containing regimens are well-established therapies in multiple myeloma (MM). However, despite their extensive use, head-to-head comparisons have never been performed. Therefore, we compared bortezomib and lenalidomide in fixed-duration therapies. In this open-label, phase III study, we randomized MM patients at first relapse to receive either nine cycles of bortezomib plus cyclophosphamide plus dexamethasone (VCD) or lenalidomide plus cyclophosphamide plus dexamethasone (RCD). The primary endpoint was achievement of a very good partial response (VGPR) or better at six weeks after nine treatment cycles. From March 2011 to February 2015, 155 patients were randomized. VGPR or better was achieved by 12 patients (15%) in the VCD arm and 14 patients (18%) in the RCD arm (P = 0·70). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 16·3 (95% CI: 12·1-22·4) with VCD and 18·6 months (95% CI: 14·7-25·5) with RCD, and the two-year overall survival (OS) was 75% (95% CI: 66-86%) and 74% (95% CI: 64-85%) respectively. In subgroup analyses, no differences in PFS were observed in bortezomib- and lenalidomide-naïve patients, nor in patients who received a bortezomib-based regimen in first line. Adverse events were consistent with the well-established safety profiles of both drugs. Bortezomib and lenalidomide treatments were equally effective in terms of depth of response, PFS, and OS in MM patients at first relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16287DOI Listing
March 2020

Lenalidomide-based induction and maintenance in elderly newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients: updated results of the EMN01 randomized trial.

Haematologica 2020 07 3;105(7):1937-1947. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Myeloma Unit, Division of Hematology, University of Torino, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italy.

n the EMN01 trial, the addition of an alkylator (melphalan or cyclophosphamide) to lenalidomide-steroid induction therapy was prospectively evaluated in transplant-ineligible patients with multiple myeloma. After induction, patients were randomly assigned to maintenance treatment with lenalidomide alone or with prednisone continuously. The analysis presented here (median follow-up of 71 months) is focused on maintenance treatment and on subgroup analyses defined according to the International Myeloma Working Group Frailty Score. Of the 654 evaluable patients, 217 were in the lenalidomide-dexamethasone arm, 217 in the melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide arm and 220 in the cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide arm. With regards to the Frailty Score, 284 (43%) patients were fit, 205 (31%) were intermediate-fit and 165 (25%) were frail. After induction, 402 patients were eligible for maintenance therapy (lenalidomide arm, n=204; lenalidomide-prednisone arm, n=198). After a median duration of maintenance of 22.0 months, progression-free survival from the start of maintenance was 22.2 months with lenalidomide-prednisone 18.6 months with lenalidomide (hazard ratio 0.85, =0.14), with no differences across frailty subgroups. The most frequent grade ≥3 toxicity was neutropenia (10% of lenalidomide-prednisone and 21% of lenalidomide patients; =0.001). Grade ≥3 non-hematologic adverse events were rare (<15%). In fit patients, melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide significantly prolonged progression-free survival compared to cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide (hazard ratio 0.72, =0.05) and lenalidomide-dexamethasone (hazard ratio 0.72, =0.04). Likewise, a trend towards a better overall survival was noted for patients treated with melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide or cyclophosphamide-prednisone-lenalidomide, as compared to lenalidomide-dexamethasone. No differences were observed in intermediate-fit and frail patients. This analysis showed positive outcomes of maintenance with lenalidomide-based regimens, with a good safety profile. For the first time, we showed that fit patients benefit from a full-dose triplet regimen, while intermediate-fit and frail patients benefit from gentler regimens. ClinicalTrials.gov registration number: NCT01093196.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.226407DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327625PMC
July 2020

Clinical and molecular characteristics of lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma not associated with an IgM monoclonal protein: A multicentric study of the Rete Ematologica Lombarda (REL) network.

Am J Hematol 2019 11 9;94(11):1193-1199. Epub 2019 Sep 9.

Division of Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (LPL) is usually associated with a serum IgM paraprotein, corresponding to Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia (WM). Cases presenting with IgG or IgA, or without a monoclonal protein are extremely rare. We analyzed clinical characteristics, frontline treatment, and the outcome of 45 patients with non-IgM LPL, and compared them with a control group of WM patients. The median age was similar, with significantly higher prevalence of females in non-IgM LPL, than in WM patients (60% vs 39%, P = .016). Patients with non-IgM LPL more frequently presented with lymphadenopathies (53% vs 15%, P < .001), splenomegaly (22% vs 8%, P = .015) or extranodal involvement (20% vs 8%, P = .05). In non-IgM LPL a serum monoclonal protein and bone marrow infiltration were less common than in WM patients (69% and 84% of cases respectively, P < .001 for both comparisons). The MYD88 (L265P) mutation was found in 8/19 patients using allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. A CXCR4 mutation was found in 4/17 cases using Sanger. In 16 patients we performed targeted next-generation sequencing of genes MYD88, CXCR4, ARID1-A, KMT2D, NOTCH2, TP53, PRDM1, CD79B, TRAF3, MYBBP1A, TNFAIP3. Seven patients (44%) had a MYD88 mutation (S219C in one), four (25%) a CXCR4 mutation, three (19%) a KMT2D mutation, one (6%) a TP53 mutation and one (6%) a TRAF3 mutation. With a median follow-up of 55.7 months, 36 non-IgM LPL patients (80%) were treated. Non-IgM LPL patients received more frequently anthracycline-containing regimens, as compared with WM patients, who mainly received alkylating-based therapies. Five-year overall survival (OS) was 84%, similar to that of WM patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25600DOI Listing
November 2019

UGT1A1 genotype does not affect tyrosine kinase inhibitors efficacy and safety in chronic myeloid leukemia.

Am J Hematol 2019 11 9;94(11):E283-E285. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, and Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25596DOI Listing
November 2019

Integrating clinical, morphological, and molecular data to assess prognosis in patients with primary myelofibrosis at diagnosis: A practical approach.

Hematol Oncol 2019 Oct 22;37(4):424-433. Epub 2019 Aug 22.

Division of Pathology, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, and Foundation IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Currently available prognostic scoring systems in primary myelofibrosis (PMF) do not integrate clinical, histological, and molecular data, or they also required information on "other" mutations that are available in the clinical practice only in a very limited number of laboratories. In the present multicenter study, including 401 PMF patients, an integrated International Prognostic Scoring System (I-IPSS) was developed by combining IPSS, grade of bone marrow fibrosis (GBMF), and driver mutations molecular status (MS) to define PMF prognosis at diagnosis. Four prognostic categories were identified: I-IPSS-low risk (113 patients), I-IPSS-intermediate-1 risk (56 patients), I-IPSS-intermediate-2 risk (154 patients), and I-IPSS-high risk (78 patients). Median overall survival was 26.7 years in I-IPSS-intermediate-1, 10.8 in I-IPSS-intermediate-2, and 6.4 in I-IPSS-high-risk patients (log-rank test <0.0001); instead, it was not reached in the I-IPSS-low-risk cohort because of the extremely low number of registered deaths. The addition of GBMF and MS to IPSS improved the efficacy for predicting the risk of death. Indeed, the sensitivity of I-IPSS was significantly higher (P < .05) than that of IPSS, considering both total deaths and 5- and 10-year mortality. This comprehensive approach allows clinicians to evaluate mutual interactions between IPSS, GBMF, and MS and identify high-risk patients with poor prognosis who may benefit from aggressive treatments. More importantly, this integrated score can be easily applicable worldwide as it only required information that represent the good clinical practice in the management of PMF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2658DOI Listing
October 2019

A case report of systemic mastocytosis associated with multiple hematologic non-mast cell lineage diseases.

Hematol Oncol 2019 Apr 4;37(2):205-211. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

Hematology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is a hematological malignancy characterized by extracutaneous infiltration by atypical mast cells. Together with indolent SM, aggressive SM, and mast cell leukemia, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes another major disease subgroup: SM with an associated hematological neoplasm, which is characterized by the presence of a concurrent neoplasm, more commonly, a chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. While KIT D816V is commonly regarded as the driver mutation, the clinical presentation of SM is extremely varied. Treatment of SM might not be simple, but now more specific therapies tailored toward prognostic subgroups of patients have been developed. Here, we report a detailed description of clinical management and biological features of a systemic mastocytocis case associated with multiple hematologic non-mast cell lineage diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2605DOI Listing
April 2019

Lymphomas associated with chronic hepatitis C virus infection: A prospective multicenter cohort study from the Rete Ematologica Lombarda (REL) clinical network.

Hematol Oncol 2019 Apr 22;37(2):160-167. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Division of Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is related with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). In indolent subtypes, regression of NHL was reported after HCV eradication with antiviral therapy (AT). In 2008 in Lombardy, a region of Northern Italy, the "Rete Ematologica Lombarda" (REL, Hematology Network of Lombardy-Lymphoma Workgroup) started a prospective multicenter observational cohort study on NHL associated with HCV infection, named "Registro Lombardo dei Linfomi HCV-positivi" ("Lombardy Registry of HCV-associated non-Hodgkin lymphomas"). Two hundred fifty patients with a first diagnosis of NHL associated with HCV infection were enrolled; also in our cohort, diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) are the two most frequent HCV-associated lymphomas. Two thirds of patients had HCV-positivity detection before NHL; overall, NHL was diagnosed after a median time of 11 years since HCV survey. Our data on eradication of HCV infection were collected prior the recent introduction of the direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) therapy. Sixteen patients with indolent NHL treated with interferon-based AT as first line anti-lymphoma therapy, because of the absence of criteria for an immediate conventional treatment for lymphoma, had an overall response rate of 90%. After a median follow-up of 7 years, the overall survival (OS) was significantly longer in indolent NHL treated with AT as first line (P = 0.048); this confirms a favorable outcome in this subset. Liver toxicity was an important adverse event after a conventional treatment in 20% of all patients, in particular among DLBCL, in which it is more frequent the coexistence of a more advanced liver disease. Overall, HCV infection should be consider as an important co-pathology in the treatment of lymphomas and an interdisciplinary approach should be always considered, in particular to evaluate the presence of fibrosis or necroinflammatory liver disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2575DOI Listing
April 2019

Prognostic or predictive value of circulating cytokines and angiogenic factors for initial treatment of multiple myeloma in the GIMEMA MM0305 randomized controlled trial.

J Hematol Oncol 2019 01 9;12(1). Epub 2019 Jan 9.

Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, University of Bari "Aldo Moro" Medical School, Bari, Italy.

Background: Several new drugs are approved for treatment of patients with multiple myeloma (MM), but no validated biomarkers are available for the prediction of a clinical outcome. We aimed to establish whether pretreatment blood and bone marrow plasma concentrations of major cytokines and angiogenic factors (CAFs) of patients from a phase 3 trial of a MM treatment could have a prognostic and predictive value in terms of response to therapy and progression-free and overall survival and whether these patients could be stratified for their prognosis.

Methods: Blood and bone marrow plasma levels of Ang-2, FGF-2, HGF, VEGF, PDGF-β, IL-8, TNF-α, TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 were determined at diagnosis in MM patients enrolled in the GIMEMA MM0305 randomized controlled trial by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These levels were correlated both reciprocally and with the type of therapy and patients' characteristics and with a group of non-MM patients as controls.

Results: No significant differences were detected between the blood and bone marrow plasma levels of angiogenic cytokines. A cutoff for each CAF was established. The therapeutic response of patients with blood plasma levels of CAFs lower than the cutoff was better than the response of those with higher levels in terms of percentage of responding patients and quality of response.

Conclusion: FGF-2, HGF, VEGF, and PDGF-β plasma levels at diagnosis have predictive significance for response to treatment. The stratification of patients based on the levels of CAFs at diagnosis and their variations after therapy is useful to characterize different risk groups concerning outcome and response to therapy.

Trial Registration: Clinical trial information can be found at the following link: NCT01063179.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13045-018-0691-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327520PMC
January 2019

Continuous therapy in standard- and high-risk newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma: A pooled analysis of 2 phase III trials.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2018 Dec 14;132:9-16. Epub 2018 Sep 14.

Myeloma Unit, Division of Hematology, University of Torino, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, Torino, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Risk-adapted therapy is a common strategy in curable hematologic malignancies: standard-risk patients receive less intensive treatment, whereas high-risk patients require a more intensive approach. This model cannot be applied in multiple myeloma (MM), which is still incurable. Continuous treatment (CT) is a key strategy for MM treatment, since it improves duration of remission. However, the role of CT according to standard- or high-risk baseline prognosis remains an open question.

Patients And Methods: We performed a pooled analysis of 2 phase III trials (GIMEMA-MM-03-05 and RV-MM-PI-209) that randomized patients to CT vs fixed-duration therapy (FDT).

Results: In the overall patient population (n = 550), CT improved progression-free survival1 (PFS1) (HR 0.54), PFS2 (HR 0.61) and overall survival (OS) (HR 0.71) vs FDT. CT improved PFS1 both in R-ISS I (HR 0.49) and R-ISS II/III patients (HR 0.55). Four-year PFS1 was 38% in R-ISS II/III patients receiving CT and 25% in R-ISS I patients receiving FDT, with similar trends for PFS2 and OS. High-risk patients benefited more from proteasome-inhibitor plus immunomodulatory-based CT than immunomodulatory alone.

Conclusion: Good prognosis patients receiving FDT lose their prognostic advantage over high-risk patients receiving CT and high-risk patients may benefit from more intensive maintenance including proteasome inhibitors and immunomodulators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2018.09.008DOI Listing
December 2018

Lamivudine prophylaxis prevents hepatitis B virus reactivation in anti-HBc positive patients under rituximab for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dig Liver Dis 2019 03 7;51(3):419-424. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

CRC "A. M. and A. Migliavacca" Center for Liver Disease, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Backgound: A significant proportion of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative/anti-hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) positive patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) undergoing rituximab-based chemotherapy (R-CT) may suffer hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation.

Aims: We wanted to assess efficacy and safety of lamivudine (LMV) prophylaxis to prevent this complication.

Methods: Eighty-five consecutive HBsAg negative/anti-HBc positive NHL patients (71 years, 100% serum HBV DNA undetectable, 74% anti-HBs positive) received LMV coadministered with R-CT and for 18 months after the end of R-CT. Serum ALT, HBsAg, anti-HBs and HBV DNA were assessed every 4 months during and after end of LMV.

Results: During 39 (2-108) months of study period, including 21 months of LMV and 27 additional months after LMV discontinuation, one patient (2%) had HBV reactivation, 31 months after stopping LMV and during administration of new immunosuppressive regimens, without LMV prophylaxis, owing to incomplete oncological response. A 50% decline of anti-HBs titers occurred in 22/63 (35%) patients, including 12 who became anti-HBs seronegative. Five (6%) patients had ALT increase during R-CT but none required R-CT discontinuation. Seventeen (20%) patients died, all for tumour progression.

Conclusion: LMV prophylaxis is safe and effective in preventing HBV reactivation in HBsAg negative/anti-HBc positive NHL patients receiving R-CT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2018.08.024DOI Listing
March 2019

Global methylation patterns in primary plasma cell leukemia.

Leuk Res 2018 10 18;73:95-102. Epub 2018 Sep 18.

Unit of Hematology and Stem Cell Transplantation, IRCCS-CROB, Referral Cancer Center of Basilicata, Rionero in Vulture, Italy.

Primary plasma cell leukemia (pPCL) is a rare and very aggressive variant of multiple myeloma (MM). Specific clinical, biological and molecular patterns distinguish pPCL from MM. Here, we performed a genome-wide methylation analysis by high-density array in 14 newly diagnosed pPCL patients along with 60 MMs, and 5 patients affected by monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance (MGUS). Our analysis revealed a global hypomethylation profile associated with pPCL. Additionally, differential methylation patterns were found related to distinct chromosomal aberrations and DIS3 mutations, affecting genes with roles in bone metabolism, cell migration, transcription regulation or DNA damage response. When compared with MM patients, pPCL showed a distinct methylation profile mostly characterized by hypomethylated probes specific for genes involved in several processes like cell adhesion and migration. Furthermore, decreasing methylation levels were evidenced for genes significantly modulated in the progressive phases of plasma cell dyscrasias, from MGUS to MM and pPCL. Overall, our data provide new insights into the molecular characterization of pPCL, thus being potentially useful in the prognostic stratification or identification of novel molecular targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2018.09.007DOI Listing
October 2018