Publications by authors named "Richard F Ambinder"

186 Publications

Outcomes of transplant recipients treated with cidofovir for resistant or refractory cytomegalovirus infection.

Transpl Infect Dis 2020 Nov 21:e13521. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Treatment of ganciclovir-resistant (GCV-R)/refractory cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections in blood/marrow transplant (BMT) and solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients remains suboptimal. Cidofovir (CDV), a nucleotide analogue with anti-CMV activity, is nephrotoxic and oculotoxic.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the outcomes of SOT and BMT patients with GCV-R/refractory CMV treated with CDV between 1/1/2008 and 12/31/2017.

Data Collected: baseline demographics, CMV serostatus, clinical and virologic presentations and outcomes, UL97 and UL54 genotype mutations, drug toxicities, and cause of death. Descriptive statistics were used.

Results: 16 patients received CDV for treatment of CMV: six BMT and 10 SOT. Seven (47%) of the patients had high-risk donor/recipient serostatus: six (60%) SOT were D+/R-; one (16.7%) BMT was D-/R+. Median time to CMV DNAemia was 131 days post-transplant (IQR, 37.5-230.3). Proven tissue invasive disease was present in three patients (18.8%). Twelve (75%) had genotype testing; 10 (83.3%) of those had antiviral resistance mutations. While on CDV, six (37.5%) developed nephrotoxicity, and four (25%) developed uveitis (two had both uveitis and nephrotoxicity). Eight (50%) had failure to clear CMV DNAemia despite CDV treatment. Eight (50%) of the patients died; median time to death, after initiation of CDV, was 33.5 days [IQR22-988].

Conclusions: In the absence of good therapeutic alternatives, CDV is used in GCV-R/refractory CMV infection. However, it is associated with a substantial risk of toxicity and failure to clear CMV DNAemia, highlighting the need for development of newer and less toxic therapies. The high mortality in this group of patients underscores the severity of illness in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tid.13521DOI Listing
November 2020

Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Post-transplant Lymphoproliferative Disease.

Recent Results Cancer Res 2021 ;217:197-207

Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, US.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with a variety of malignancies including post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). These include B and T cell lymphomas, epithelial, and mesenchymal tumors. The virus is ubiquitous, transmitted in saliva, and not usually associated with the development of malignancy. PTLD is usually associated with EBV when it occurs soon after the transplant. Measurement of viral DNA in blood, especially plasma, may be useful in the diagnosis of PTLD. Treatment approaches include withdrawal of immunosuppression, monoclonal antibodies or antibody conjugates, cytotoxic chemotherapy, and a variety of virus-specific treatments such as adoptive cellular therapy with EBV-specific T cells. Approaches to prevention include selection of immunosuppressive regimens that minimize the risk. In the future, EBV vaccines may be available for potential transplant recipients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57362-1_9DOI Listing
January 2021

Allogeneic transplantation for Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia with posttransplantation cyclophosphamide.

Blood Adv 2020 Oct;4(20):5078-5088

Division of Hematologic Malignancy and.

Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is standard of care for adults with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL) in first complete remission (CR1). The routine pretransplant and posttransplant use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has dramatically improved outcomes, but the optimal conditioning regimen, donor type, and TKI remain undefined. The bone marrow transplant database at Johns Hopkins was queried for adult patients with de novo Ph+ ALL who received alloBMT using posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) as a component of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis from 2008 to 2018. Among transplants for Ph+ ALL, 69 (85%) were performed in CR1, and 12 (15%) were performed in second or greater remission (CR2+). The majority of transplants (58%) were HLA haploidentical. Nearly all patients (91.4%) initiated TKI posttransplant. For patients in CR1, the 5-year relapse-free survival (RFS) was 66%. The use of nonmyeloablative conditioning, absence of measurable residual disease (MRD) according to flow cytometry at transplant, and the use of dasatinib vs imatinib at diagnosis were associated with improved overall survival (OS) and RFS. Neither donor type nor recipient age ≥60 years affected RFS. When analyzing all transplants, alloBMT in CR1 (vs CR2+) and the absence of pretransplant MRD were associated with improved RFS. Most relapses were associated with the emergence of kinase domain mutations. The cumulative incidence of grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD at 1 year was 9%, and moderate to severe chronic GVHD at 2 years was 8%. Nonmyeloablative alloBMT with PTCy for Ph+ ALL in an MRD-negative CR1 after initial treatment with dasatinib yields favorable outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7594402PMC
October 2020

Thrombotic Microangiopathy after Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide-Based Graft-versus-Host Disease Prophylaxis.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 12 19;26(12):2306-2310. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (taTMA) is a systemic vascular illness associated with significant morbidity and mortality, resulting from a convergence of risk factors after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT). The diagnosis of taTMA has been a challenge, but most criteria include an elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), low haptoglobin, and schistocytes on peripheral blood smear. We performed a retrospective review of the 678 consecutive adults who received high-dose post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy)-based graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis between January 1, 2015, and August 31, 2018. In April 2016, we initiated a monitoring program of weekly LDH and haptoglobin measurements and blood smears when those 2 parameters were both abnormal on all of our adult patients undergoing alloBMT for hematologic malignancies. During the entire period, the 1-year cumulative incidence of taTMA was 1.4% (95% confidence interval, 0.5% to 2.3%). Eight patients were taking tacrolimus at the time of diagnosis, and 1 was not on any immunosuppression. Eight of 9 patients (89%) were hypertensive. Four patients had invasive infections at the time of diagnosis, 4 patients required renal replacement therapy, and 5 of 9 patients were neurologically impaired. Eculizumab was given to 6 patients (0.9%), of whom 2 died and 4 recovered with resolution of end-organ dysfunction. The paucity of events made the determination of risk factors difficult; however, the low incidence of taTMA in this cohort may be related to the limited use of myeloablative conditioning regimens, low incidence of severe GVHD, and use of PTCy. PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis appears to be associated with a low incidence of severe taTMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.09.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686062PMC
December 2020

Ipilimumab, nivolumab, and brentuximab vedotin combination therapies in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma: phase 1 results of an open-label, multicentre, phase 1/2 trial.

Lancet Haematol 2020 Sep;7(9):e660-e670

Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN, USA.

Background: Recognising that the immune suppressive microenvironment promotes tumour growth in Hodgkin lymphoma, we hypothesised that activating immunity might augment the activity of targeted chemotherapy. We evaluated the safety and activity of combinations of brentuximab vedotin with nivolumab or ipilimumab, or both in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.

Methods: In this multicentre, open-label, phase 1/2 trial, patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma aged 18 years or older who had relapsed after at least one line of therapy, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2 or lower, and adequate organ and marrow function, with no pulmonary dysfunction were eligible for inclusion. Phase 1 primary objectives were to determine the maximum tolerated dose and dose limiting toxicities of brentuximab vedotin combined with ipilimumab (ipilimumab group), nivolumab (nivolumab group), or both (triplet therapy group) using a 3 + 3 dose escalation design with expansion cohorts. During the dose escalation phase, patients were enrolled sequentially into one of six cohorts: in the ipilimumab group fixed brentuximab vedotin 1·8 mg/kg with ipilimumab 1 mg/kg (cohort A) or 3 mg/kg (cohort B); in the nivolumab group fixed nivolumab 3 mg/kg with brentuximab vedotin 1·2 mg/kg (cohort D) or 1·8 mg/kg (cohort E); and in the triplet therapy group fixed nivolumab 3 mg/kg and ipilimumab 1 mg/kg with brentuximab vedotin 1·2 mg/kg (cohort G) or 1·8 mg/kg (cohort H). Additional patients were enrolled in the expansion phase at the same doses of cohorts B, E, and H. All drugs were given intravenously; brentuximab vedotin and nivolumab were given every 3 weeks, ipilimumab was given every 6 weeks in the ipilimumab group and every 12 weeks in the triplet therapy group. All eligible and treated patients were included in the analysis. This phase 1/2 study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01896999. The phase 2, randomised portion of the trial is still enrolling.

Findings: Between March 7, 2014, and Dec 28, 2017, 64 patients were enrolled; two patients in the ipilimumab group and one patient in the nivolumab group were excluded due to ineligibility after enrolment and 61 were evaluable. A total of six dose limiting toxicities were reported in four patients, and the doses used in cohorts B, E, and H were established as maximum tolerated doses and patients were subsequently enrolled onto expansion cohorts (C, F, and I) with these schedules. There were ten (43%) grade 3-4 treatment related adverse events in the ipilimumab group, three (16%) in the nivolumab group, and 11 (50%) in the triplet therapy group including: eight (13%) of 64 patients reporting rash, and colitis, gastritis, pancreatitis and arthritis, and diabetic ketoacidosis each occurring in one (2%) patient. There were two (3%) treatment related deaths, one in the nivolumab group and one in the triplet therapy group. The overall response rate was 76% (95% CI 53-92) in the ipilimumab group, 89% (65-99) in the nivolumab group, and 82% (60-95) in the triplet therapy group, and the complete response rate was 57% (95% CI 34-78%) in the ipilimumab group, 61% (36-83%) in the nivolumab group, and 73% (50-89%) in the triplet therapy group. With a median follow-up of 2·6 years (IQR 1·8-2·9) in the ipilimumab group, 2·4 years (2·2-2·6) in the nivolumab group, and 1·7 years (1·6-1·9) in the triplet therapy group, median progression-free survival is 1·2 years (95% CI 1·7-not reached) in the ipilimumab group, but was not reached in the other two treatment groups. Median overall survival has not been reached in any of the groups.

Interpretation: There are clear differences in activity and toxicity of the three combination regimens. The tolerability and preliminary activity for the two most active regimens, brentuximab vedotin with nivolumab and the triplet therapy, are being compared in a randomised phase 2 trial (NCT01896999).

Funding: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network and the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30221-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7737486PMC
September 2020

Shortened-Duration Immunosuppressive Therapy after Nonmyeloablative, Related HLA-Haploidentical or Unrelated Peripheral Blood Grafts and Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 11 18;26(11):2075-2081. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland; Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Division of Pediatric Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

With post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis, nonmyeloablative (NMA) HLA-haploidentical (haplo) and HLA-matched blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) have comparable outcomes. Previous reports have shown that discontinuation of immunosuppression (IS) as early as day 60 after infusion of a bone marrow (BM) haplo allograft with PTCy is feasible. There are certain diseases in which peripheral blood (PB) may be favored over BM, but given the higher rates of GVHD with PB, excessive GVHD is of increased concern. We report a completed, prospective single-center trial of stopping IS at days 90 and 60 after NMA PB stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). Between 12/2015-7/2018, 117 consecutive patients with hematologic malignancies associated with higher rates of graft failure after NMA conditioned BMT and PTCy, received NMA PB allografts on trial. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and feasibility of reduced-duration IS (from day 5 through day 90 in the D90 cohort and through day 60 in the D60 cohort). Of the 117 patients (median age, 64 years; range, 22 to 78 years), the most common diagnoses were myelodysplastic syndrome (33%), acute myelogenous leukemia (with minimal residual disease or arising from an antecedent disorder) (32%), myeloproliferative neoplasms (19%), myeloma (9%), and chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (7%). Shortened IS was feasible in 75 patients (64%) overall. Ineligibility for shortened IS resulted most commonly from GVHD (17 patients), followed by early relapse (11 patients), nonrelapse mortality (NRM) (7 patients), patient/ physician preference (4 patients) or graft failure (3 patients). Of the 57 patients in the D90 cohort, 33 (58%) stopped IS early as planned, and among the 60 patients in the D60 cohort, 42 (70%) stopped IS early as planned. The graft failure rate was 2.6%. After IS cessation, the median time to diagnosis of grade II-IV acute GVHD was 21 days in the D90 cohort and 32 days in the D60 cohort, with almost all cases developing within 40 days. Approximately one-third of these patients resumed IS. All outcome measures were similar in the 2 cohorts and our historical outcomes with 180 days of IS. The cumulative incidence of grade III-IV acute GVHD was low, 2% in the D90 cohort and 7% in the D60 cohort. The incidence of severe chronic GVHD at 2 years was 9% in the D90 cohort and 5% in the D60 cohort. The 2-year overall survival was 67% for both the D90 and D60 cohorts. The 2-year progression-free survival was 47% for the D90 cohort and 52% for the D60 cohort, and the GVHD-free, relapse-free survival was <35% for both cohorts. These data suggest that reduced-duration IS in patients undergoing NMA PBSCT with PTCy is feasible and has an acceptable safety profile. © 2020 American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.07.037DOI Listing
November 2020

Haemopoietic cell transplantation in patients living with HIV.

Lancet HIV 2020 09 10;7(9):e652-e660. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Haemopoietic cell transplantation is established as a standard treatment approach for people living with HIV who have haematological malignancies with poor prognosis. Studies with autologous and allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplantation suggest that HIV status does not adversely affect outcomes, provided that there is adequate infection prophylaxis. Attention to possible drug-drug interactions is important. Allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplantation substantially reduces the long-term HIV reservoir when complete donor chimerism is established. When transplants from CCR5Δ32 homozygous donors are used, HIV cure is possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30117-XDOI Listing
September 2020

Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation with post-transplant cyclophosphamide for patients with HIV and haematological malignancies: a feasibility study.

Lancet HIV 2020 09 7;7(9):e602-e610. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) is a potentially life-saving treatment for individuals with HIV and haematological malignancies; challenges include identifying donors and maintaining antiretroviral therapy (ART). The objectives of our study were to investigate interventions to expand donor options and to prevent ART interruptions for patients with HIV in need of alloBMT.

Methods: This single-arm, interventional trial took place at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (Baltimore, MD, USA). Individuals with HIV who were at least 18 years of age and referred for alloBMT for a standard clinical indication were eligible. The only exclusion criterion was a history of documented resistance to enfuvirtide. We used post-transplant cyclophosphamide as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis to expand donor options and an optimised ART strategy of avoiding pharmacoenhancers and adding subcutaneous enfuvirtide during post-transplant cyclophosphamide and during oral medication intolerance. Our primary outcome was the proportion of participants who maintained ART through day 60 after alloBMT. We measured the HIV latent reservoir using a quantitative viral outgrowth assay. This study is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01836068.

Findings: Between June 1, 2013, and August 27, 2015, nine patients who were referred for transplant provided consent. Two patients had relapsed malignancy before donor searches were initiated. Seven patients had suitable donors identified (two matched sibling, two matched unrelated, two haploidentical, and one single-antigen mismatched unrelated) and proceeded to alloBMT. All patients maintained ART through day 60 and required ART changes (median 1, range 1-3) in the first 90 days. One patient stopped ART and developed HIV rebound with grade 4 meningoencephalitis at day 146. Among six patients who underwent alloBMT and had longitudinal measurements available, the HIV latent reservoir was not detected post-alloBMT in four patients with more than 95% donor chimerism, consistent with a 2·06-2·54 log reduction in the HIV latent reservoir. In the two patients with less than 95% donor chimerism, the HIV latent reservoir remained stable.

Interpretation: By using post-transplant cyclophosphamide as GVHD prophylaxis, we successfully expanded alloBMT donor options for patients with HIV. Continuing ART with a regimen that includes enfuvirtide post-alloBMT was safe, but life-threatening viral rebound can occur with ART interruption.

Funding: amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research), Johns Hopkins University Center for AIDS Research, and National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30073-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7484204PMC
September 2020

Non-Myeloablative Allogeneic Transplantation with Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide after Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 09 24;26(9):1679-1688. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.. Electronic address:

: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are approved in relapsed classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). The safety and effectiveness of allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT) in ICI-pretreated patients with cHL remain unclear. The aim of this study is to assess outcomes of patients with cHL receiving ICIs before alloBMT using post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) prophylaxis.  : We performed a retrospective study of relapsed/refractory patients with cHL undergoing alloBMT with PTCy at Johns Hopkins between November 2004 and September 2019. Engraftment, GVHD incidence, nonrelapse mortality, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were compared between patients receiving pre-alloBMT ICI or standard salvage chemotherapy.  : We identified 105 consecutive relapsed/refractory patients with cHL, of whom 37 (35.2%) received ICIs and 68 (64.7%) received chemotherapy without ICIs (no-ICI) before alloBMT. ICI and no-ICI patients experienced a 3-year estimated OS of 94% versus 78% (hazard ratio [HR], 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08 to 1.56; P = .17) and a 3-year estimated PFS of 90% and 65% (HR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.09 to 1; P = .05), respectively. We observed no statically significant difference in the 12-month cumulative incidence of acute grade II to IV GVHD or in the 24-month incidence of chronic GVHD.  : ICIs do not increase acute or chronic GVHD incidence compared with salvage chemotherapy. Patients with cHL receiving ICIs prior to alloBMT experienced outstanding PFS and OS. Thus, ICI therapy is safe in patients with cHL when undergoing alloBMT with PTCy and may improve post-alloBMT disease progression and survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.06.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7486273PMC
September 2020

Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 2.2020, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2020 06;18(6):755-781

30National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) provide recommendations for the management of adult patients with HL. The NCCN panel meets at least annually to review comments from reviewers within their institutions, examine relevant data, and reevaluate and update their recommendations. Current management of classic HL involves initial treatment with chemotherapy alone or combined modality therapy followed by restaging with PET/CT to assess treatment response. Overall, the introduction of less toxic and more effective regimens has significantly advanced HL cure rates. This portion of the NCCN Guidelines focuses on the management of classic HL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2020.0026DOI Listing
June 2020

Impact of Myc in HIV-associated non-Hodgkin lymphomas treated with EPOCH and outcomes with vorinostat (AMC-075 trial).

Blood 2020 Sep;136(11):1284-1297

Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; and.

EPOCH (etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin) is a preferred regimen for HIV-non-Hodgkin lymphomas (HIV-NHLs), which are frequently Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) positive or human herpesvirus type-8 (HHV-8) positive. The histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor vorinostat disrupts EBV/HHV-8 latency, enhances chemotherapy-induced cell death, and may clear HIV reservoirs. We performed a randomized phase 2 study in 90 patients (45 per study arm) with aggressive HIV-NHLs, using dose-adjusted EPOCH (plus rituximab if CD20+), alone or with 300 mg vorinostat, administered on days 1 to 5 of each cycle. Up to 1 prior cycle of systemic chemotherapy was allowed. The primary end point was complete response (CR). In 86 evaluable patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL; n = 61), plasmablastic lymphoma (n = 15), primary effusion lymphoma (n = 7), unclassifiable B-cell NHL (n = 2), and Burkitt lymphoma (n = 1), CR rates were 74% vs 68% for EPOCH vs EPOCH-vorinostat (P = .72). Patients with a CD4+ count <200 cells/mm3 had a lower CR rate. EPOCH-vorinostat did not eliminate HIV reservoirs, resulted in more frequent grade 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia, and did not affect survival. Overall, patients with Myc+ DLBCL had a significantly lower EFS. A low diagnosis-to-treatment interval (DTI) was also associated with inferior outcomes, whereas preprotocol therapy had no negative impact. In summary, EPOCH had broad efficacy against highly aggressive HIV-NHLs, whereas vorinostat had no benefit; patients with Myc-driven DLBCL, low CD4, and low DTI had less favorable outcomes. Permitting preprotocol therapy facilitated accruals without compromising outcomes. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT0119384.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019003959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483436PMC
September 2020

Single-cell transcriptional landscapes reveal HIV-1-driven aberrant host gene transcription as a potential therapeutic target.

Sci Transl Med 2020 05;12(543)

Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Understanding HIV-1-host interactions can identify the cellular environment supporting HIV-1 reactivation and mechanisms of clonal expansion. We developed HIV-1 SortSeq to isolate rare HIV-1-infected cells from virally suppressed, HIV-1-infected individuals upon early latency reversal. Single-cell transcriptome analysis of HIV-1 SortSeq cells revealed enrichment of nonsense-mediated RNA decay and viral transcription pathways. HIV-1 SortSeq cells up-regulated cellular factors that can support HIV-1 transcription ( and ) or promote cellular survival ( and ). HIV-1-host RNA landscape analysis at the integration site revealed that HIV-1 drives high aberrant host gene transcription downstream, but not upstream, of the integration site through HIV-1-to-host aberrant splicing, in which HIV-1 RNA splices into the host RNA and aberrantly drives host RNA transcription. HIV-1-induced aberrant transcription was driven by the HIV-1 promoter as shown by CRISPR-dCas9-mediated HIV-1-specific activation and could be suppressed by CRISPR-dCas9-mediated inhibition of HIV-1 5' long terminal repeat. Overall, we identified cellular factors supporting HIV-1 reactivation and HIV-1-driven aberrant host gene transcription as potential therapeutic targets to disrupt HIV-1 persistence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaz0802DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7453882PMC
May 2020

Haploidentical BMT for severe aplastic anemia with intensive GVHD prophylaxis including posttransplant cyclophosphamide.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(8):1770-1779

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD.

Severe aplastic anemia (SAA) is a stem cell disorder often treated with bone marrow transplantation (BMT) to reconstitute hematopoiesis. Outcomes of related HLA-haploidentical (haplo) donors after reduced-intensity conditioning with intensive graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis including posttransplantation cyclophosphamide are presented here from 37 SAA, 20 relapsed/refractory (R/R), and 17 treatment-naïve (TN) SAA patients. Median follow-up is 32 months (90% confidence interval [CI], 29-44). The median age was 25 (range, 4-69) years. The median time to neutrophil recovery was 17 days (range, 15-88). Four of 37 patients (11%) experienced graft failure (GF). There was 1 primary GF of 20 patients in the R/R group and 3 of 17 in the TN group at 200 cGy (1 primary, 2 secondary), but none in the 10 patients who received 400 cGy total body irradiation. Two patients with GF succumbed to infection and 2 were rescued with second haplo BMT. The overall survival for all patients is 94% (90% CI, 88-100) at 1 and 2 years. The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV acute GVHD at day 100 is 11%. The cumulative index of chronic GVHD at 2 years is 8%. Similar results were seen in 10 SAA patients who received the identical nonmyeloablative regimen with posttransplant cyclophosphamide but matched donor transplants. Haplo BMT with posttransplant cyclophosphamide represents a potential cure in SAA, with all 20 R/R currently alive, disease-free, and with no evidence of active GVHD. Extending this approach to TN patients was associated with higher GF rates, but an increase in total body irradiation dose to 400 cGy was associated with durable engraftment without greater early toxicity. Nonmyeloablative haplo BMT in TN SAA could lead to a paradigm shift, such that essentially all patients can proceed quickly to safe, curative BMT. These trials were registered at www.cincialtrials.gov as #NCT02224872) and #NCT02833805.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7189283PMC
April 2020

CpG methylation in cell-free Epstein-Barr virus DNA in patients with EBV-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 04;4(8):1624-1627

Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with a variety of tumors and nonmalignant conditions. Latent EBV genomes in cells, including tumor cells, are often CpG methylated, whereas virion DNA is not CpG methylated. We demonstrate that methyl CpG binding magnetic beads can be used to fractionate among sources of EBV DNA (DNA extracted from laboratory-purified virions vs DNA extracted from latently infected cell lines). We then applied the technique to plasma specimens and showed that this technique can distinguish EBV DNA from patients with EBV-associated tumors (nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Hodgkin lymphoma) and viral DNA from patients without EBV-associated tumors, including immunocompromised patients and patients with EBV(-) Hodgkin lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001511DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7189298PMC
April 2020

A Tale of Two Urines.

JCO Oncol Pract 2020 05 5;16(5):209. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.20.00032DOI Listing
May 2020

Response-adapted therapy with infusional EPOCH chemotherapy plus rituximab in HIV-associated, B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Haematologica 2021 Mar 1;106(3):730-735. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Four cycles of rituximab plus CHOP chemotherapy is as effective as 6 cycles in low-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Here we report a post-hoc analysis of a prospective clinical trial in patients with HIV-associated DLBCL and high-grade lymphoma treated with 4-6 cycles of EPOCH plus rituximab based a response-adapted treatment strategy. 106 evaluable patients with HIV-associated DLBCL or high-grade CD20-positive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were randomized to receive rituximab (375 mg/m2) given either concurrently prior to each infusional EPOCH cycle, or sequentially (weekly for 6 weeks) following completion of EPOCH. EPOCH consisted of a 96-hour IV infusion of etoposide, doxorubicin, and vincristine plus oral prednisone followed by IV bolus cyclophosphamide every 21 days for 4 to 6 cycles. Patients received 2 additional cycles of therapy after documentation of a complete response (CR) by computerized tomography after cycles 2 and 4. 64 of 106 evaluable patients (60%, 95% CI 50%, 70%) had a CR in both treatment arms. The 2-year event-free survival (EFS) rates were similar in the 24 patients with CR who received 4 or fewer EPOCH cycles (78%, 95% confidence intervals [55%, 90%]) due to achieving a CR after 2 cycles, compared with those who received 5-6 cycles of EPOCH (85%, 95% CI 70%, 93%) because a CR was first documented after cycle 4. A response-adapted strategy may permit a shorter treatment duration without compromising therapeutic efficacy in patients with HIV-associated lymphoma treated with EPOCH plus rituximab, which merits further evaluation in additional prospective trials. Clinical Trials.gov identifier NCT00049036.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.243386DOI Listing
March 2021

Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus LANA Modulates the Stability of the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase RLIM.

J Virol 2020 02 14;94(5). Epub 2020 Feb 14.

Daniella Lee Casper Laboratory in Viral Oncology, Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Safed, Israel

The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-encoded latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) protein functions in latently infected cells as an essential participant in KSHV genome replication and as a driver of dysregulated cell growth. In a previous study, we have identified LANA-interacting proteins using a protein array screen. Here, we explore the effect of LANA on the stability and activity of RLIM (RING finger LIM-domain-interacting protein, encoded by the gene), a novel LANA-interacting protein identified in that protein screen. RLIM is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that leads to the ubiquitination and degradation of several transcription regulators, such as LMO2, LMO4, LHX2, LHX3, LDB1, and the telomeric protein TRF1. Expression of LANA leads to downregulation of RLIM protein levels. This LANA-mediated RLIM degradation is blocked in the presence of the proteasome inhibitor, MG132. Therefore, the interaction between LANA and RLIM could be detected in coimmunoprecipitation assay only in the presence of MG132 to prevent RLIM degradation. A RING finger mutant RLIM is resistant to LANA-mediated degradation, suggesting that LANA promotes RLIM autoubiquitination. Interestingly, we found that LANA enhanced the degradation of some RLIM substrates, such as LDB1 and LMO2, and prevented RLIM-mediated degradation of others, such as LHX3 and TRF1. We also show that transcription regulation by RLIM substrates is modulated by LANA. RLIM substrates are assembled into multiprotein transcription regulator complexes that regulate the expression of many cellular genes. Therefore, our study identified another way KSHV can modulate cellular gene expression. E3 ubiquitin ligases mark their substrates for degradation and therefore control the cellular abundance of their substrates. RLIM is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that leads to the ubiquitination and degradation of several transcription regulators, such as LMO2, LMO4, LHX2, LHX3, LDB1, and the telomeric protein TRF1. Here, we show that the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-encoded LANA protein enhances the ubiquitin ligase activity of RLIM, leading to enhanced RLIM autoubiquitination and degradation. Interestingly, LANA enhanced the degradation of some RLIM substrates, such as LDB1 and LMO2, and prevented RLIM-mediated degradation of others, such as LHX3 and TRF1. In agreement with protein stability of RLIM substrates, we found that LANA modulates transcription by LHX3-LDB1 complex and suggest additional ways LANA can modulate cellular gene expression. Our study adds another way a viral protein can regulate cellular protein stability, by enhancing the autoubiquitination and degradation of an E3 ubiquitin ligase.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01578-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7022369PMC
February 2020

Allogeneic Haploidentical Blood or Marrow Transplantation with Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 03 12;26(3):502-508. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (allo-BMT) remains the only treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with curative potential. Although post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) reduces allo-BMT toxicity by decreasing the risk of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), its effect on CLL allo-BMT outcomes is unknown. We studied 64 consecutive patients with CLL who underwent nonmyeloablative (NMA) haploidentical allo-BMT at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. In this cohort, the 4-year overall survival was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 40% to 68%), and progression-free survival was 37% (95% CI, 26% to 54%). Six patients experienced engraftment failure. PTCy prophylaxis was associated with a modest cumulative incidence of 1-year grade II-IV acute GVHD (27%; %95% CI, 15% to 38%) and %%%2-year chronic GVHD (17%; 95% CI, 7% to 26%). We demonstrate that NMA haploidentical allo-BMT with PTCy is a safe and effective treatment option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.11.008DOI Listing
March 2020

Pilot Trial AMC-063: Safety and Efficacy of Bortezomib in AIDS-associated Kaposi Sarcoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 02 17;26(3):558-565. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York.

Purpose: AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma is often incompletely controlled, requiring serial therapies. Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) induces transformation of endothelial cells, where it resides in a predominately latent state. We hypothesized proteasome inhibition would have direct antitumor activity, induce lytic activation of KSHV, and inhibit HIV infectivity, improving control of both Kaposi sarcoma and HIV. The primary objective was determining the MTD of bortezomib in AIDS-Kaposi sarcoma. Secondary objectives included estimating the impact of bortezomib on Kaposi sarcoma response, KSHV plasma DNA copy number (PDCN), and HIV viral loads (VL).

Patients And Methods: A 3+3 dose escalation design was employed evaluating four dose levels of bortezomib (0.75, 1, 1.2, or 1.6 mg/m) administered intravenously on days 1, 8, and 15 of 28-day cycles in patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) AIDS-Kaposi sarcoma taking antiretroviral therapy.

Results: Seventeen patients enrolled. No dose-limiting toxicities occurred and the MTD was not reached. The most common adverse events included diarrhea, fatigue and nausea. Among 15 evaluable patients, partial response (PR) occurred in nine (60%), with a PR rate of 83% in the 1.6 mg/m cohort; the remainder had stable disease (SD). Median time to response was 2.1 months. Median change in KSHV PDCN was significantly different between those with PR versus SD. During cycle 1, seven of 11 evaluable patients had decreases in HIV VL.

Conclusions: Bortezomib is well-tolerated and active in AIDS-Kaposi sarcoma. The 60% PR rate is notable given the dose-finding nature of the study in a r/r population. Changes in KSHV PDCN and HIV VL trended as hypothesized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7034393PMC
February 2020

Haploidentical transplantation using posttransplant cyclophosphamide as GVHD prophylaxis in patients over age 70.

Blood Adv 2019 09;3(17):2608-2616

Department of Hematologic Malignancy and.

Hematologic malignancies in older people are unlikely to be cured with chemotherapy alone. Advances in allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (alloBMT), especially nonmyeloablative (NMA) conditioning and the use of haploidentical donors, now make this therapy available to older people; however, long-term outcomes and predictors of success are unclear. We reviewed the outcomes of 93 consecutive patients aged 70 and older (median, 72; range, 70-78), who underwent haploidentical BMT at Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1 September 2009 and 1 April 2018. All patients received NMA conditioning and posttransplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) as graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis. The 2-year overall survival was 53%, and 2-year event-free survival was 43%. The 180-day cumulative incidence (CuI) of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) was 14%, and the 2-year CuI was 27%. The 2-year CuI of relapse was 30%. Of 78 patients who were alive and had their weight recorded on day 180, weight loss predicted subsequent NRM (subdistribution hazard ratio, 1.0; 95% CI, 1-1.13; = .048). In conclusion, haploidentical BMT with PTCy is feasible and relatively safe in septuagenarians. Although early, 6-month NRM was relatively low at 14%, but overall NRM continued to climb to 27% at 2 years, at least in part because of late deaths that appeared to be somewhat age related. Further studies to elucidate predictors of NRM are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000155DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737415PMC
September 2019

Severe Cytokine Release Syndrome after Haploidentical Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 12 5;25(12):2431-2437. Epub 2019 Aug 5.

Department of Hematologic Malignancy, Johns Hopkins/Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Inflammatory cytokines released by activated lymphocytes and innate cells in the context of cellular therapy can cause fever, vasodilatation, and end-organ damage, collectively known as cytokine release syndrome (CRS). CRS can occur after allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation, but is especially prevalent after HLA-haploidentical (haplo) peripheral blood transplantation (PBT). We reviewed charts of all patients who underwent haplo-PBT between October 1, 2013, and September 1, 2017 and graded CRS in these patients. A total of 146 consecutive patients who underwent related haplo-PBT were analyzed. CRS occurred in 130 patients (89%), with most cases of mild severity (grade 0 to 2). Severe CRS (grade 3 to 5) occurred in 25 patients (17%). In this group with severe CRS, 13 patients had encephalopathy, 12 required hemodialysis, and 11 were intubated. Death from the immediate complications of CRS occurred in 6 patients (24% of the severe CRS group and 4% of the entire haplo-PBT cohort). The cumulative probability of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) was 38% at 6 months for the patients with severe CRS and 8% (121 of 146) in patients without severe CRS. In conclusion, CRS occurs in nearly 90% of haplo-PBTs. Older haplo-PBT recipients (odds ratio [OR], 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], .83 to 6.75; P = .11) and those with a history of radiation therapy (OR, 3.85; 95% CI, 1.32 to 11.24; P = .01) are at increased risk of developing severe CRS. Although most recipients of haplo-PBT develop CRS, <20% experience severe complications. The development of severe CRS is associated with a significantly increased risk of NRM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.07.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402409PMC
December 2019

Pharmacologic Activation of Lytic Epstein-Barr Virus Gene Expression without Virion Production.

J Virol 2019 10 30;93(20). Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Several therapeutic strategies targeting Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated tumors involve upregulation of viral lytic gene expression. Evidence has been presented that the unfolded protein response (UPR) leads to EBV lytic gene expression. Clofoctol, an antibacterial antibiotic, has been reported to upregulate the UPR in prostate cancer cell lines and to slow their growth. We investigated the effects of clofoctol on an EBV-positive Burkitt lymphoma cell line and confirmed the upregulation of all three branches of the UPR and activation of EBV lytic gene expression. While immediate early, early, and late EBV RNAs were all upregulated, immediate early and early viral proteins but not late viral proteins were expressed. Furthermore, infectious virions were not produced. The use of clofoctol in combination with a protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase inhibitor led to expression of late viral proteins. The effects of clofoctol on EBV lytic protein upregulation were not limited to lymphoid tumor cell lines but also occurred in naturally infected epithelial gastric cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer cell lines. An agent that upregulates lytic viral protein expression but that does not lead to the production of infectious virions may have particular value for lytic induction strategies in the clinical setting. Epstein-Barr virus is associated with many different cancers. In these cancers the viral genome is predominantly latent; i.e., most viral genes are not expressed, most viral proteins are not synthesized, and new virions are not produced. Some strategies for treating these cancers involve activation of lytic viral gene expression. We identify an antibacterial antibiotic, clofoctol, that is an activator of EBV lytic RNA and protein expression but that does not lead to virion production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00998-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6798122PMC
October 2019

Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant for HIV Patients with Hematologic Malignancies: The BMT CTN-0903/AMC-080 Trial.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 11 4;25(11):2160-2166. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA.

We set out to assess feasibility and safety of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant in 17 persons with HIV in a phase II prospective multicenter trial. The primary endpoint was 100-day nonrelapse mortality (NRM). Patients had an 8/8 HLA-matched related or at least a 7/8 HLA-matched unrelated donor. Indications for transplant were acute leukemia, myelodysplasia, and lymphoma. Conditioning was myeloablative or reduced intensity. There was no NRM at 100 days. The cumulative incidence of grades II to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) was 41%. At 1 year, overall survival was 59%; deaths were from relapsed/progressive disease (n = 5), acute GVHD (n = 1), adult respiratory distress syndrome (n = 1), and liver failure (n = 1). In patients who achieved complete chimerism, cell-associated HIV DNA and inducible infectious virus in the blood were not detectable. Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network 0903/AIDS Malignancy Consortium 080 was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (no. NCT01410344).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.06.033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6907401PMC
November 2019

T-cell receptor sequencing demonstrates persistence of virus-specific T cells after antiviral immunotherapy.

Br J Haematol 2019 10 20;187(2):206-218. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

Center for Cancer and Immunology Research, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA.

Viral infections are a serious cause of morbidity and mortality following haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Adoptive cellular therapy with virus-specific T cells (VSTs) has been successful in preventing or treating targeted viruses in prior studies, but the composition of ex vivo expanded VST and the critical cell populations that mediate antiviral activity in vivo are not well defined. We utilized deep sequencing of the T-cell receptor beta chain (TCRB) in order to classify and track VST populations in 12 patients who received VSTs following HSCT to prevent or treat viral infections. TCRB sequencing was performed on sorted VST products and patient peripheral blood mononuclear cells samples. TCRB diversity was gauged using the Shannon entropy index, and repertoire similarity determined using the Morisita-Horn index. Similarity indices reflected an early change in TCRB diversity in eight patients, and TCRB clonotypes corresponding to targeted viral epitopes expanded in eight patients. TCRB repertoire diversity increased in nine patients, and correlated with cytomegalovirus (CMV) viral load following VST infusion (P = 0·0071). These findings demonstrate that allogeneic VSTs can be tracked via TCRB sequencing, and suggests that T-cell receptor repertoire diversity may be critical for the control of CMV reactivation after HSCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16053DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6786907PMC
October 2019

Is It Time to Revisit the Role of Allogeneic Transplantation in Lymphoma?

Curr Oncol Rep 2019 06 10;21(7):65. Epub 2019 Jun 10.

Department of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Room 244, Bunting-Blaustein Cancer Research Bldg., 1650 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA.

Purpose Of Review: A multitude of new drug and cell therapy approvals for lymphoma has prompted questions about the role of allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (allo-BMT). We sought to review the latest evidence examining the role of allo-BMT for lymphoma in this evolving landscape.

Recent Findings: Despite several new drug classes, there remains a large unmet need, particularly in hard to treat subtypes of lymphoma and for patients with relapsed/refractory disease. Allo-BMT can provide an opportunity for cure due to a potent graft vs lymphoma effect in high-risk relapse/refractory follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, and aggressive T cell lymphomas. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy and checkpoint blockers have improved outcomes for patients with relapsed /aggressive B cell lymphomas and Hodgkin lymphoma respectively; the role of allo-BMT consolidation in the treatment algorithm for responders to these therapies is an evolving topic. Expanded donor availability including haploidentical relatives has improved access to allo-BMT. Non-myeloablative conditioning regimens and post-transplant cyclophosphamide prophylaxis have improved early transplant-related morbidity and rates of graft versus host disease and translated into long-term survival for patients with lymphoid malignancies. Patient selection remains key, but allo-BMT remains the only modality able to deliver durable long-term remissions across different types of lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11912-019-0809-zDOI Listing
June 2019

Effect of increased dose of total body irradiation on graft failure associated with HLA-haploidentical transplantation in patients with severe haemoglobinopathies: a prospective clinical trial.

Lancet Haematol 2019 Apr 14;6(4):e183-e193. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Hematologic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Although severe haemoglobinopathies can be cured with allogeneic blood or bone marrow transplantation, availability of matched donors and toxic effects can be problematic. We previously found that non-myeloablative haploidentical related bone marrow transplantation with post-transplantation cyclophosphamide expanded the donor pool while limiting graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, graft failure-albeit with full host haemopoietic recovery-occurred in 50% of patients. In this study, we investigated whether increasing total body irradiation from 200 cGy to 400 cGy would improve engraftment while maintaining the safety profile.

Methods: This study was done at Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, MD, USA). Patients aged 2-70 years receiving their first bone marrow transplant were eligible for inclusion in the study. Patients received rabbit-derived intravenous anti-thymocyte globulin 0·5 mg/kg on day -9 and 2 mg/kg on days -8 and -7, intravenous fludarabine 30 mg/m on days -6 to -2, intravenous cyclophosphamide 14·5 mg/kg on days -6 and -5, and total body irradiation 400 cGy administered as a single fraction on day -1. We collected unmanipulated bone marrow and infused on day 0. GVHD prophylaxis comprised intravenous cyclophosphamide 50 mg/kg per day on days 3 and 4 after transplantation, oral mycophenolate mofetil 15 mg/kg per dose (maximum 1 g) every 8 h on days 5 to 35, and oral sirolimus to maintain a level of 5-15 ng/dL for at least 1 year starting on day 5. The original planned primary objectives of this phase 2 clinical trial were transplant-related mortality and progression-free survival. However, the coverage decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to only provide payment for allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for patients with sickle cell disease on a clinical trial that had a comparison arm with patients not receiving bone marrow transplantation prompted the closure of this trial to accrual in 2017. Therefore, as we were unable to perform our planned statistical analysis, the primary objective was modified to evaluate engraftment, assessed by chimerism. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00489281. The study is closed to new participants and this is the primary analysis.

Findings: Between Sept 24, 2014, and Aug 1, 2017, we enrolled 17 consecutive patients: 12 (71%) with sickle cell disease and 5 (29%) with β-thalassaemia major. The median patient age was 16 years (range 6-31, IQR 7·7-27·5). One (6%) of 17 patients had primary graft failure with recovery of host haemopoiesis. 13 (76%) of 17 patients achieved full donor chimerism and three (18%) had mixed donor-host chimerism. Five (29%) of 17 patients developed grade 2-4 acute GVHD, including four (24%) with maximal grade 2 GVHD and one (6%) with grade 3 GVHD. Chronic GVHD developed in three (18%) patients. As of their last follow-up visit, GVHD had resolved in all patients and no patients were receiving systemic GVHD therapy. All patients remained alive as of Aug 4, 2019, and the median follow-up duration was 705 days (range 355-1294; IQR 398-943). Only one (6%) of the 16 engrafted patients remained transfusion dependent, and 14 (88%) discontinued immunosuppression.

Interpretation: Increasing total body irradiation to 400 cGy substantially reduced graft failure while maintaining the safety of haploidentical bone marrow transplantation with post-transplantation cyclophosphamide. These results suggest that engraftment after haploidentical bone marrow transplantation for haemoglobinopathies is possible, and primary graft failure-the main problem previously reported-might be addressed by this strategy. Therefore, this curative approach should no longer be restricted to patients with HLA-matched donors.

Funding: Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund and US National Institutes of Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(19)30031-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6506220PMC
April 2019

AIDS-Related Kaposi Sarcoma, Version 2.2019, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2019 02;17(2):171-189

28National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

As treatment of HIV has improved, people living with HIV (PLWH) have experienced a decreased risk of AIDS and AIDS-defining cancers (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Kaposi sarcoma, and cervical cancer), but the risk of Kaposi sarcoma in PLWH is still elevated about 500-fold compared with the general population in the United States. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for AIDS-Related Kaposi Sarcoma provide diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance recommendations for PLWH who develop limited cutaneous Kaposi sarcoma and for those with advanced cutaneous, oral, visceral, or nodal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2019.0008DOI Listing
February 2019

R-CHOP without radiation in frontline management of primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma.

Leuk Lymphoma 2019 05 18;60(5):1261-1265. Epub 2019 Jan 18.

a Department of Oncology , Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore , MD , USA.

Prior to the introduction of rituximab, primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) had high rates of treatment failure with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP), prompting the use of consolidative mediastinal radiation or more intensive chemotherapy regimens. Cure rates improved dramatically with rituximab, but mediastinal radiation was still commonly employed with R-CHOP. We performed a retrospective review of patients treated with R-CHOP alone without radiation for PMBCL. Of 43 patients with PMBCL, 16 received R-CHOP alone. High-risk factors included 56% with bulky disease, 75% with elevated LDH, 25% with SVC syndrome, and 13% with stage IV disease. Three-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 93% and 100% respectively. These results suggest that R-CHOP alone has a high cure rate in PMBCL while avoiding the side effects of mediastinal radiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2018.1519812DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472975PMC
May 2019

Development of Grade II Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease Is Associated with Improved Survival after Myeloablative HLA-Matched Bone Marrow Transplantation using Single-Agent Post-Transplant Cyclophosphamide.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2019 06 30;25(6):1128-1135. Epub 2018 Dec 30.

Department of Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) can be used as the sole immunosuppression after myeloablative conditioning (MAC) for HLA-matched bone marrow transplantation (BMT). However, the effects of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) with this platform are undefined. We retrospectively analyzed 298 consecutive adult patients with hematologic malignancies who engrafted after MAC HLA-matched sibling donor (MSD; n = 187) or HLA-matched unrelated donor (MUD; n = 111) T-cell-replete BMT with PTCy 50 mg/kg on days +3 and +4. After MSD and MUD BMT, 35% and 57% of patients, respectively, developed grade II acute GVHD (aGVHD) by 100 days, 11% and 14% grade III to IV aGVHD by 100 days, and 9% and 16% chronic GVHD (cGVHD) by 1 year. In landmark analyses at 100 days after HLA-matched BMT, 4-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 57% (95% confidence interval [CI], .49 to .67) and 40% (95% CI, .31 to .51) in patients without grades II to IV aGVHD, and 68% (95% CI, .59 to .78) and 54% (95% CI, .44 to .65) in patients with grade II aGVHD. In adjusted time-dependent multivariable analyses, grade II aGVHD was associated with improved OS (hazard ratio, .58; 95% CI, .37 to .89; P = .01) and PFS (hazard ratio, .50; 95% CI, .34 to .74; P < .001) after HLA-matched BMT with PTCy. The ability of PTCy to limit grades III to IV aGVHD and cGVHD while maintaining grade II aGVHD may contribute to its effectiveness, and further attempts to reduce aGVHD may be detrimental.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2018.12.767DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6559825PMC
June 2019

Safety and efficacy of an oncolytic viral strategy using bortezomib with ICE/R in relapsed/refractory HIV-positive lymphomas.

Blood Adv 2018 12;2(24):3618-3626

Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.

HIV-associated lymphomas (HALs) have high rates of latent infection by gammaherpesviruses (GHVs). We hypothesized that proteasome inhibition would induce lytic activation of GHVs and inhibit HIV infectivity via preservation of cytidine deaminase APOBEC3G, improving lymphoma control. We tested this oncolytic and antiviral strategy by using bortezomib combined with ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide (ICE) alone or with rituximab (ICE/R) in relapsed/refractory HAL. A 3+3 dose-escalation design was used with a 7-day lead-in period of single-agent bortezomib. Bortezomib was administered intravenously on days 1 and 8 of each cycle at 1 of 4 dose levels: 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, or 1.5 mg/m ICE began day 8 of cycle 1 and day 1 of subsequent cycles. Rituximab was included on day 1 of cycles 2 to 6 for CD20 lymphomas. Twenty-three patients were enrolled. The maximum tolerated dose of bortezomib was not reached. Grade 4 toxicities attributable to bortezomib were limited to myelosuppression. Responses occurred in 17 (77%) of 22 patients receiving any protocol therapy. The 1-year overall survival was 57%. After bortezomib alone, both patients with Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)-positive lymphoma had more than a 1-log increase in KSHV viral load. In 12 patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive lymphoma, median values of EBV viral load increased. Undetectable HIV viremia at baseline in the majority of patients limited evaluation of HIV inhibition. APOBEC3G levels increased in 75% of evaluable patients. Bortezomib combined with ICE/R in patients with relapsed/refractory HAL is feasible with response and survival comparing favorably against previously reported second-line therapies. Changes in GHV viral loads and APOBEC3G levels trended as hypothesized. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00598169.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2018022095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306883PMC
December 2018