Publications by authors named "Roberto M Lemoli"

78 Publications

Ruxolitinib rechallenge in resistant or intolerant patients with myelofibrosis: Frequency, therapeutic effects, and impact on outcome.

Cancer 2021 Apr 1. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Scienze Mediche, Chirurgiche e Tecnologie Avanzate "G. F. Ingrassia," University of Catania, Italy.

Background: After ruxolitinib discontinuation, the outcome of patients with myelofibrosis (MF) is poor with scarce therapeutic possibilities.

Methods: The authors performed a subanalysis of an observational, retrospective study (RUX-MF) that included 703 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib to investigate 1) the frequency and reasons for ruxolitinib rechallenge, 2) its therapeutic effects, and 3) its impact on overall survival.

Results: A total of 219 patients (31.2%) discontinued ruxolitinib for ≥14 days and survived for ≥30 days. In 60 patients (27.4%), ruxolitinib was rechallenged for ≥14 days (RUX-again patients), whereas 159 patients (72.6%) discontinued it permanently (RUX-stop patients). The baseline characteristics of the 2 cohorts were comparable, but discontinuation due to a lack/loss of spleen response was lower in RUX-again patients (P = .004). In comparison with the disease status at the first ruxolitinib stop, at its restart, there was a significant increase in patients with large splenomegaly (P < .001) and a high Total Symptom Score (TSS; P < .001). During the rechallenge, 44.6% and 48.3% of the patients had spleen and symptom improvements, respectively, with a significant increase in the number of patients with a TSS reduction (P = .01). Although the use of a ruxolitinib dose > 10 mg twice daily predicted better spleen (P = .05) and symptom improvements (P = .02), the reasons for/duration of ruxolitinib discontinuation and the use of other therapies before rechallenge were not associated with rechallenge efficacy. At 1 and 2 years, 33.3% and 48.3% of RUX-again patients, respectively, had permanently discontinued ruxolitinib. The median overall survival was 27.9 months, and it was significantly longer for RUX-again patients (P = .004).

Conclusions: Ruxolitinib rechallenge was mainly used in intolerant patients; there were clinical improvements and a possible survival advantage in many cases, but there was a substantial rate of permanent discontinuation. Ruxolitinib rechallenge should be balanced against newer therapeutic possibilities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33541DOI Listing
April 2021

Molecular response and quality of life in chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated with intermittent TKIs: First interim analysis of OPTkIMA study.

Cancer Med 2021 Mar 16;10(5):1726-1737. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Unit of Blood Disease and Stem Cell Transplantation, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Intermittent treatment with TKIs is an option for the great majority (70%-80%) of CML patients who do not achieve a stable deep molecular response and are not eligible for treatment discontinuation. For these patients, the only alternative is to assume TKI continuously, lifelong.

Methods: The Italian phase III multicentric randomized OPTkIMA study started in 2015, with the aim to evaluate if a progressive de-escalation of TKIs (imatinib, nilotinib, and dasatinib) is able to maintain the molecular response (MR ) and to improve Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL).

Results: Up to December 2018, 166/185 (90%) elderly CML patients in stable MR /MR completed the first year of any TKI intermittent schedule 1 month ON and 1 month OFF. The first year probability of maintaining the MR was 81% and 23.5% of the patients who lost the molecular response regained the MR after resuming TKI continuously. Patients' HRQoL at baseline was better than that of matched peers from healthy population. Women was the only factor independently associated with worse baseline HRQoL (p > 0.0001). Overall, global HRQoL worsened at 6 (p < 0.001) but returned to the baseline value at 12 months and it was statistically significantly worse in women (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: De-escalation of any TKI by 1 month ON/OFF schedule maintains the MR /MR in 81% of the patients during the first 12-24 months. No patients progressed to accelerated/blastic phase, all the patients (23.5%) losing MR regained the MR and none suffered from TKI withdrawn syndrome. The study firstly report on HRQoL in elderly CML patients moving from a continuous daily therapy to a de-escalated intermittent treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940223PMC
March 2021

Impact of comorbidities and body mass index on the outcome of polycythemia vera patients.

Hematol Oncol 2021 Feb 15. Epub 2021 Feb 15.

IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Istituto di Ematologia "Seràgnoli", Bologna, Italy.

In 816 patients with 2016 World Health Organization-defined polycythemia vera (PV) enrolled in a multicenter retrospective study, we investigated the predictive value of Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) and body mass index (BMI) on thrombosis, progression to post-PV myelofibrosis (PPV-MF) and survival. Patients were subgrouped according to CCI = 0 (58.1%, no comorbidities) or CCI ≥ 1 (41.9%) and according to normal/underweight (BMI < 25, 54.5%) or overweight/obesity (BMI ≥ 25, 45.5%) at PV diagnosis. BMI was available for 529 patients. Patients with CCI ≥ 1 were older and more frequently presented cardiovascular risk factors compared to patients with CCI = 0 (p < 0.001), while overweight/obese patients were more frequently males (p < 0.001). Cumulative incidence of thromboses with death as competing risk was 13.3% at 10 years. Multivariable analysis with death as competing risk showed that previous thromboses (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR]: 2.1, p = 0.01) and hypertension (SHR: 1.77, p = 0.04) were significantly associated with a higher thrombotic risk, while BMI ≥ 25 lost statistical significance (SHR: 1.69, p = 0.05) and CCI ≥ 1 was excluded after evaluation of goodness of fit. After a median follow-up of 6.1 years, progression to PPV-MF occurred in 44 patients, and 75 patients died. BMI ≥ 25 was associated with a lower probability of progression to PPV-MF (SHR: 0.38, CI95%: 0.15-0.94, p = 0.04) and better survival (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.42, CI95%: 0.18-0.97, p = 0.04). CCI ≥ 1 did not affect progression to PPV-MF (p = 0.44) or survival (p = 0.71).  The evaluation of CCI and BMI may improve the prognostic definition of PV. In patients with hypertension an accurate evaluation of thrombotic risk is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2843DOI Listing
February 2021

Second primary malignancy in myelofibrosis patients treated with ruxolitinib.

Br J Haematol 2021 Apr 21;193(2):356-368. Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, via Albertoni 15, Bologna, Italy.

Ruxolitinib (RUX), the first JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor approved for myelofibrosis (MF) therapy, has recently been associated with the occurrence of second primary malignancies (SPMs), mainly lymphomas and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs). We analyzed the incidence, risk factors and outcome of SPMs in 700 MF patients treated with RUX in a real-world context. Median follow-up from starting RUX was 2·9 years. Overall, 80 (11·4%) patients developed 87 SPMs after RUX start. NMSCs were the most common SPMs (50·6% of the cases). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that male sex [hazard ratio (HR): 2·37, 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 1·22-4·60, P = 0·01] and thrombocytosis> 400 × 10 /l at RUX start (HR:1·98, 95%CI: 1·10-4·60, P = 0·02) were associated with increased risk for SPMs. Risk factors for NMSC alone were male sex (HR: 3·14, 95%CI: 1·24-7·92, P = 0·02) and duration of hydroxycarbamide and RUX therapy > 5 years (HR: 3·20, 95%CI: 1·17-8·75, P = 0·02 and HR: 2·93, 95%CI: 1·39-6·17, P = 0·005 respectively). In SPMs excluding NMSCs, male sex (HR: 2·41, 95%CI: 1·11-5·25, P = 0·03), platelet > 400 × 10 /l (HR: 3·30, 95%CI: 1·67-6·50, P = 0·001) and previous arterial thromboses (HR: 3·47, 95%CI: 1·48-8·14, P = 0·004) were shown to be associated with higher risk of SPMs. While it is reassuring that no aggressive lymphoma was documented, active skin surveillance is recommended in all patients and particularly after prolonged hydroxycaramide therapy; oncological screening should be triggered by thrombocytosis and arterial thrombosis, particularly in males.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17192DOI Listing
April 2021

The new small tyrosine kinase inhibitor ARQ531 targets acute myeloid leukemia cells by disrupting multiple tumor-addicted programs.

Haematologica 2020 10 1;105(10):2420-2431. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

University of Genoa, DiMI; IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.

Tyrosine kinases have been implicated in promoting tumorigenesis of several human cancers. Exploiting these vulnerabilities has been shown to be an effective anti-tumor strategy as demonstrated for example by the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, ibrutinib, for treatment of various blood cancers. Here, we characterize a new multiple kinase inhibitor, ARQ531, and evaluate its mechanism of action in preclinical models of acute myeloid leukemia. Treatment with ARQ531, by producing global signaling pathway deregulation, resulted in impaired cell cycle progression and survival in a large panel of leukemia cell lines and patient-derived tumor cells, regardless of the specific genetic background and/or the presence of bone marrow stromal cells. RNA-seq analysis revealed that ARQ531 constrained tumor cell proliferation and survival through Bruton's tyrosine kinase and transcriptional program dysregulation, with proteasome-mediated MYB degradation and depletion of short-lived proteins that are crucial for tumor growth and survival, including ERK, MYC and MCL1. Finally, ARQ531 treatment was effective in a patient-derived leukemia mouse model with significant impairment of tumor progression and survival, at tolerated doses. These data justify the clinical development of ARQ531 as a promising targeted agent for the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.224956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556675PMC
October 2020

Amino acid depletion triggered by ʟ-asparaginase sensitizes MM cells to carfilzomib by inducing mitochondria ROS-mediated cell death.

Blood Adv 2020 09;4(18):4312-4326

Clinic of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

Metabolic reprogramming is emerging as a cancer vulnerability that could be therapeutically exploitable using different approaches, including amino acid depletion for those tumors that rely on exogenous amino acids for their maintenance. ʟ-Asparaginase (ASNase) has contributed to a significant improvement in acute lymphoblastic leukemia outcomes; however, toxicity and resistance limit its clinical use in other tumors. Here, we report that, in multiple myeloma (MM) cells, the DNA methylation status is significantly associated with reduced expression of ASNase-related gene signatures, thus suggesting ASNase sensitivity for this tumor. Therefore, we tested the effects of ASNase purified from Erwinia chrysanthemi (Erw-ASNase), combined with the next-generation proteasome inhibitor (PI) carfilzomib. We observed an impressive synergistic effect on MM cells, whereas normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells were not affected. Importantly, this effect was associated with increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, compounded mitochondrial damage, and Nrf2 upregulation, regardless of the c-Myc oncogenic-specific program. Furthermore, the cotreatment resulted in genomic instability and DNA repair mechanism impairment via increased mitochondrial oxidative stress, which further enhanced its antitumor activity. Interestingly, carfilzomib-resistant cells were found to be highly dependent on amino acid starvation, as reflected by their higher sensitivity to Erw-ASNase treatment compared with isogenic cells. Overall, by affecting several cellular programs, Erw-ASNase makes MM cells more vulnerable to carfilzomib, providing proof of concept for clinical use of this combination as a novel strategy to enhance PI sensitivity in MM patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7509874PMC
September 2020

Azacitidine and Venetoclax in Previously Untreated Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

N Engl J Med 2020 08;383(7):617-629

From the Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (C.D.D., M.K.); the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento (B.A.J.), the Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and Gehr Family Center for Leukemia Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte (V. Pullarkat), and Genentech, South San Francisco (W.-J.H.) - all in California; the Section of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago (M.J.T.), and AbbVie, North Chicago (Y.Z., J.P.) - both in Illinois; the Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston (J.S.G., A.L.); the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University, Melbourne, VIC (A.H.W.); the Department of Internal Medicine III, Ulm University Hospital, Ulm, Germany (H.D.); Hôpital St. Louis, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris and Université de Paris, Paris (P.F.); the Third Medical Department for Hematology and Oncology, Hanusch Hospital, Vienna (E.K.); the Department of Hematology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels (V.H.); the Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada (B.L.); the Department of Hematology, Hospital Clinic, August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute, Barcelona (J.E.); the Institute of Hematology and Hospital of Blood Disease, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Tianjin, China (J.W.); the Department of Hematology, University Hospital Dubrava, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia (V. Pejsa); the Department of Clinic Subjects, University Hospital Ostrava-Poruba, Ostrava, Czech Republic (R.H.); Helsinki University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Helsinki, Helsinki (K.P.); the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Hematology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary (A.I.); Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem (D.L.); the Clinic of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa, and San Martino Hospital IRCCS - both in Genoa, Italy (R.M.L.); the Department of Hematology and Cell Therapy, Aichi Cancer Center, Nagoya, Japan (K.Y.); the Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine (S.-S.Y.), and the Department of Hematology-Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine (J.-H.J.) - both in Seoul, South Korea; the Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan (S.-P.Y.); the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology, Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey (M.T.); and Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (K.W.P.).

Background: Older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a dismal prognosis, even after treatment with a hypomethylating agent. Azacitidine added to venetoclax had promising efficacy in a previous phase 1b study.

Methods: We randomly assigned previously untreated patients with confirmed AML who were ineligible for standard induction therapy because of coexisting conditions, because they were 75 years of age or older, or both to azacitidine plus either venetoclax or placebo. All patients received a standard dose of azacitidine (75 mg per square meter of body-surface area subcutaneously or intravenously on days 1 through 7 every 28-day cycle); venetoclax (target dose, 400 mg) or matching placebo was administered orally, once daily, in 28-day cycles. The primary end point was overall survival.

Results: The intention-to-treat population included 431 patients (286 in the azacitidine-venetoclax group and 145 in the azacitidine-placebo [control] group). The median age was 76 years in both groups (range, 49 to 91). At a median follow-up of 20.5 months, the median overall survival was 14.7 months in the azacitidine-venetoclax group and 9.6 months in the control group (hazard ratio for death, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.85; P<0.001). The incidence of complete remission was higher with azacitidine-venetoclax than with the control regimen (36.7% vs. 17.9%; P<0.001), as was the composite complete remission (complete remission or complete remission with incomplete hematologic recovery) (66.4% vs. 28.3%; P<0.001). Key adverse events included nausea of any grade (in 44% of the patients in the azacitidine-venetoclax group and 35% of those in the control group) and grade 3 or higher thrombocytopenia (in 45% and 38%, respectively), neutropenia (in 42% and 28%), and febrile neutropenia (in 42% and 19%). Infections of any grade occurred in 85% of the patients in the azacitidine-venetoclax group and 67% of those in the control group, and serious adverse events occurred in 83% and 73%, respectively.

Conclusions: In previously untreated patients who were ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, overall survival was longer and the incidence of remission was higher among patients who received azacitidine plus venetoclax than among those who received azacitidine alone. The incidence of febrile neutropenia was higher in the venetoclax-azacitidine group than in the control group. (Funded by AbbVie and Genentech; VIALE-A ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02993523.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2012971DOI Listing
August 2020

Risk factors for progression to blast phase and outcome in 589 patients with myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib: Real-world data.

Hematol Oncol 2020 Aug 20;38(3):372-380. Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Scienze Mediche, Chirurgiche e Tecnologie Avanzate "G.F. Ingrassia", University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

The impact of ruxolitinib therapy on evolution to blast phase (BP) in patients with myelofibrosis (MF) is still uncertain. In 589 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib, we investigated incidence and risk factors for BP and we described outcome according to disease characteristics and treatment strategy. After a median follow-up from ruxolitinib start of 3 years (range 0.1-7.6), 65 (11%) patients transformed to BP during (93.8%) or after treatment. BP incidence rate was 3.7 per 100 patient-years, comparably in primary and secondary MF (PMF/SMF) but significantly lower in intermediate-1 risk patients (2.3 vs 5.6 per 100 patient-years in intermediate-2/high-risk patients, P < .001). In PMF and SMF cohorts, previous interferon therapy seemed to correlate with a lower probability of BP (HR 0.13, P = .001 and HR 0.22, P = .02, respectively). In SMF, also platelet count <150 × 10 /l (HR 2.4, P = .03) and peripheral blasts ≥3% (HR 3.3, P = .004) were significantly associated with higher risk of BP. High-risk category according to dynamic International Prognostic Score System (DIPSS) and myelofibrosis secondary to PV and ET Collaboration Prognostic Model (MYSEC-PM predicted BP in patients with PMF and SMF, respectively. Median survival after BP was 0.2 (95% CI: 0.1-0.3) years. Therapy for BP included hypomethylating agents (12.3%), induction chemotherapy (9.2%), allogeneic transplant (6.2%) or supportive care (72.3%). Patients treated with supportive therapy had a median survival of 6 weeks, while 73% of the few transplanted patients were alive at a median follow-up of 2 years. Progression to BP occurs in a significant fraction of ruxolitinib-treated patients and is associated with DIPSS and MYSEC-PM risk in PMF and SMF, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2737DOI Listing
August 2020

Life after ruxolitinib: Reasons for discontinuation, impact of disease phase, and outcomes in 218 patients with myelofibrosis.

Cancer 2020 03 20;126(6):1243-1252. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", St Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Background: After discontinuing ruxolitinib, the outcome of patients with myelofibrosis reportedly has been poor. The authors investigated whether disease characteristics before the receipt of ruxolitinib may predict drug discontinuation in patients with myelofibrosis and whether reasons for drug discontinuation, disease phase at discontinuation, and salvage therapies may influence the outcome.

Methods: A centralized electronic clinical database was created in 20 European hematology centers, including clinical and laboratory data for 524 patients who received ruxolitinib for myelofibrosis.

Results: At 3 years, 40.8% of patients had stopped ruxolitinib. Baseline predictors of drug discontinuation were: intermediate-2-risk/high-risk category (Dynamic International Prognostic Score System), a platelet count <100 ×10 per liter, transfusion dependency, and unfavorable karyotype. At last contact, 268 patients (51.1%) had discontinued therapy, and the median drug exposure was 17.5 months. Fifty patients (18.7%) died while taking ruxolitinib. The reasons for discontinuation in the remaining 218 patients were the lack (22.9%) or loss (11.9%) of a spleen response, ruxolitinib-related adverse events (27.5%), progression to blast phase (23.4%), ruxolitinib-unrelated adverse events (9.2%), and allogeneic transplantation during response (5.1%). The median survival after ruxolitinib was 13.2 months and was significantly better in the 167 patients who discontinued ruxolitinib in chronic phase (27.5 vs 3.9 months for those who discontinued in blast phase; P < .001). No survival differences were observed among patients who discontinued ruxolitinib in chronic phase because of lack of response, loss of response, or ruxolitinib-related adverse events. The use of investigational agents and/or ruxolitinib rechallenge were associated with improved outcome.

Conclusions: The survival of patients with myelofibrosis after discontinuation of ruxolitinib is poor, particularly for those who discontinue in blast phase. Salvage therapies can improve outcome, emphasizing the need for novel therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32664DOI Listing
March 2020

The timing of plerixafor addition to G-Csf and chemotherapy affects immunological recovery after autologous stem cell transplant in multiple myeloma.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2020 05 25;55(5):946-954. Epub 2019 Nov 25.

Clinic of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.

Plerixafor inhibits CXCR4, thus inducing the mobilization of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells in lymphoma and multiple myeloma (MM) patients eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). However, the kinetics of plerixafor-induced mobilization of lymphocyte subsets is poorly known. Here, we evaluated the graft content, the engraftment, and the immunological reconstitution of MM patients receiving plerixafor. Thirty-seven patients undergoing one or tandem ASCT were enrolled. After mobilization with cyclophosphamide plus G-CSF, plerixafor was added at hematological recovery regardless of CD34 cell count. We evaluated the number of CD34, CD34/CD38, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, CD56/CD3, CD4/CD25/FOXP3, and CD138/CD38 cells on each apheresis. Hematological and immunological recovery were determined at 30 days, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after ASCT. Overall, 34/37 patients mobilized a median of 10.1 × 10 CD34 cells/Kg (IQ 7.7-13.4). Patients with <20/µL CD34 cells at plerixafor administration (18/33) had a significantly higher CD34 cell fold increase, but not a higher absolute number, than 16/33 patients with ≥20/µL CD34 cells. A similar CD34 and immune graft composition was reported. A higher number of CD3 and CD8 cells/µL was observed at 3 months after first ASCT (p < 0.05) in the group with ≥20 CD34 cells/µL. Thus, in MM patients, the timing of plerixafor administration influences immunological recovery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-019-0756-1DOI Listing
May 2020

Impact of 2016 WHO diagnosis of early and overt primary myelofibrosis on presentation and outcome of 232 patients treated with ruxolitinib.

Hematol Oncol 2019 Oct 7;37(4):418-423. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Division of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, University Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

The 2016 WHO criteria identified early primary myelofibrosis (PMF) as an individual entity with milder clinical features and better outcome compared with overt PMF. Here, we compared early and overt PMF patients treated with ruxolitinib in terms of baseline clinical/laboratory characteristics, response, and toxicity to treatment. We observed that early-PMF patients achieve better and more stable spleen and symptoms responses, with significantly lower rates of hematological toxicities. No differences in overall and leukemia-free survival were detected between the two cohorts. The application of 2016 WHO criteria is crucial to identify those PMF patients who deserve a stricter monitoring during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2619DOI Listing
October 2019

Differences in presenting features, outcome and prognostic models in patients with primary myelofibrosis and post-polycythemia vera and/or post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib. New perspective of the MYSEC-PM in a large multicenter study.

Semin Hematol 2018 10 5;55(4):248-255. Epub 2018 Jun 5.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", Sant'Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Recently, the myelofibrosis secondary to PV and ET prognostic model (MYSEC-PM) was introduced to assess prognosis in myelofibrosis (MF) secondary to polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia (post-PV and post-ET MF), replacing the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) and/or Dynamic IPSS (DIPSS) that was applied for primary MF (PMF). In a cohort of 421 ruxolitinib (RUX)-treated patients (post-PV and post-ET MF: 44.2%), we evaluated the following: (1) disease phenotype, responses, and toxicity to RUX; and (2) performance of the MYSEC-PM in post-PV or post-ET MF. While the IPSS failed to correctly stratify post-PV or post-ET MF patients at diagnosis, the MYSEC-PM identified 4 risk categories projected at significantly different survival probability (P < .001). Additionally, the MYSEC-PM maintained a prognostic value in post-PV and post-ET MF also when used over time, at RUX start. Notably, the MYSEC-PM reclassified 41.8% and 13.6% of patients into a lower and higher risk category, respectively. Finally, patients at intermediate-1 risk had significantly higher spleen responses and lower hematological toxicities compared to higher risk patients. Compared to PMF, post-PV and post-ET MF presented a more hyperproliferative disease, with higher leukocyte and/or platelet count and hemoglobin levels both at diagnosis and at RUX start. Despite comparable response rates, post-PV and post-ET MF had lower rate of RUX-induced anemia and thrombocytopenia at 3 and 6 months. The study validates MYSEC-PM in post-PV and post-ET MF prognostication. Post-PV or post-ET MF represents a separate entity compared to PMF in terms of clinical manifestations and toxicity to RUX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.seminhematol.2018.05.013DOI Listing
October 2018

Impact of comorbidities and body mass index in patients with myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib.

Ann Hematol 2019 Apr 4;98(4):889-896. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", Sant'Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Comorbidities defined by the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) and body mass index (BMI) are significantly associated with outcome in patients who receive continuous treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We evaluated the impact of CCI and BMI on responses, drug-related toxicities, and outcome in a cohort of 402 patients with myelofibrosis (MF) treated with ruxolitinib in 23 European Hematology Centers. Comorbidities were evaluable in all 402 patients. A higher (≥ 3) CCI did not correlate with a lower spleen reduction at any time (p = 0.68) or symptoms' response (p = 0.11), but influenced the onset of anemia during the first 3 months of treatment and later (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively) in patients without anemia baseline. BMI was evaluable in 380 patients and did not correlate with differences in spleen and symptoms response (p = 0.57 and p = 0.49, respectively). A higher CCI and a lower BMI correlated also with a reduced overall survival (p < 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively). The achievement of a spleen response at 6 months could counterbalance the negative impact of comorbidities, while patients who were underweight when starting ruxolitinib and did not achieve a spleen response at 6 months were projected to the worse outcome. In MF patients treated with ruxolitinib, BMI and comorbidities did not influence the achievement of spleen/symptom responses, but they contributed to the early identification of patients who deserve a strict monitoring during treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-018-3569-1DOI Listing
April 2019

Ruxolitinib in elderly patients with myelofibrosis: impact of age and genotype. A multicentre study on 291 elderly patients.

Br J Haematol 2018 10 16;183(1):35-46. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Division of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology, University Sapienza, Roma, Italy.

Ruxolitinib is a JAK1/2 inhibitor that may control myelofibrosis (MF)-related splenomegaly and symptoms and can be prescribed regardless of age. While aging is known to correlate with worse prognosis, no specific analysis is available to confirm that ruxolitinib is suitable for use in older populations. A clinical database was created in 23 European Haematology Centres and retrospective data on 291 MF patients treated with ruxolitinib when aged ≥65 years were analysed in order to assess the impact of age and molecular genotype on responses, toxicities and survival. Additional mutations were evaluated by a next generation sequencing (NGS) approach in 69 patients with available peripheral blood samples at the start of ruxolitinib treatment. Compared to older (age 65-74 years) patients, elderly (≥75 years) showed comparable responses to ruxolitinib, but higher rates of drug-induced anaemia and thrombocytopenia and worse survival. Nonetheless, the ruxolitinib discontinuation rate was comparable in the two age groups. Number and types of molecular abnormalities were comparable across age groups. However, the presence of high molecular risk (HMR) mutations significantly affected survival, counterbalancing the effect of aging. Indeed, elderly patients with <2 HMR mutated genes had a comparable survival to older patients with ≥2 HMR mutations. Given that responses were not influenced by age, older age per se should not be a limitation for ruxolitinib administration. NGS analysis of HMR mutations also confirmed a strong predictive value in elderly patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.15497DOI Listing
October 2018

Epidemiology, outcome, and risk factors for infectious complications in myelofibrosis patients receiving ruxolitinib: A multicenter study on 446 patients.

Hematol Oncol 2018 Apr 6. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", Sant'Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Infections represent one of the major concerns regarding the utilization of ruxolitinib (RUX) in patients with myelofibrosis. With the aim to investigate epidemiology, outcome and risk factors for infections in RUX-exposed patients, we collected clinical and laboratory data of 446 myelofibrosis patients treated with RUX between June 2011 and November 2016 in 23 European Hematology Centers. After a median RUX exposure of 23.5 months (range, 1-56), 123 patients (28%) experienced 161 infectious events (grades 3-4 32%, fatal 9%), for an incidence rate of 17 cases per 100 pts/y. The rate of infections tended to decrease over time: 14% of patients developed the first infection within 6 months, 5% between 6 and 12 months, 3.7% between 12 and 18 months, 3.4% between 18 and 24 months, and 7.9% thereafter (P < .0001). Respiratory tract infections were more frequently observed (81 events, 50%), and bacteria were the most frequent etiological agents (68.9%). However, also viral (14.9%) and fungal infections (2.5%) were observed. In multivariate analysis, previous infectious event (HR 2.54; 95% CI, 1.51-4.28; P = .0005) and high international prognostic score system category (IPSS) (HR 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07-2.20; P = .021) significantly correlated with higher infectious risk. On the contrary, spleen reduction ≥50% from baseline after 3 months of treatment (P = .02) was associated with better infection-free survival. Taken together, these findings reinforce the concept of disease severity as the most important risk factor for infections, and describe, for the first time, that a positive therapeutic effect in reducing splenomegaly may also reduce subsequent infectious complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hon.2509DOI Listing
April 2018

Depletion of SIRT6 enzymatic activity increases acute myeloid leukemia cells' vulnerability to DNA-damaging agents.

Haematologica 2018 01 12;103(1):80-90. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

Chair of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI), University of Genova, Italy

Genomic instability plays a pathological role in various malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and thus represents a potential therapeutic target. Recent studies demonstrate that SIRT6, a NAD-dependent nuclear deacetylase, functions as genome-guardian by preserving DNA integrity in different tumor cells. Here, we demonstrate that also CD34 blasts from AML patients show ongoing DNA damage and SIRT6 overexpression. Indeed, we identified a poor-prognostic subset of patients, with widespread instability, which relies on SIRT6 to compensate for DNA-replication stress. As a result, SIRT6 depletion compromises the ability of leukemia cells to repair DNA double-strand breaks that, in turn, increases their sensitivity to daunorubicin and Ara-C, both and In contrast, low SIRT6 levels observed in normal CD34 hematopoietic progenitors explain their weaker sensitivity to genotoxic stress. Intriguingly, we have identified DNA-PKcs and CtIP deacetylation as crucial for SIRT6-mediated DNA repair. Together, our data suggest that inactivation of SIRT6 in leukemia cells leads to disruption of DNA-repair mechanisms, genomic instability and aggressive AML. This synthetic lethal approach, enhancing DNA damage while concomitantly blocking repair responses, provides the rationale for the clinical evaluation of SIRT6 modulators in the treatment of leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2017.176248DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5777193PMC
January 2018

Extracellular ATP induces apoptosis through P2X7R activation in acute myeloid leukemia cells but not in normal hematopoietic stem cells.

Oncotarget 2017 Jan;8(4):5895-5908

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Recent studies have shown that high ATP levels exhibit direct cytotoxic effects on several cancer cells types. Among the receptors engaged by ATP, P2X7R is the most consistently expressed by tumors. P2X7R is an ATP-gated ion channel that could drive the opening of a non-selective pore, triggering cell-death signal. We previously demonstrated that acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells express high level of P2X7R. Here, we show that P2X7R activation with high dose ATP induces AML blast cells apoptosis. Moreover, P2X7R is also expressed on leukemic stem/progenitor cells (LSCs) which are sensitive to ATP-mediated cytotoxicity. Conversely, this cytotoxic effect was not observed on normal hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSCs). Notably, the antileukemic activity of ATP was also observed in presence of bone marrow stromal cells and its addition to the culture medium enhanced cytosine arabinoside cytotoxicity despite stroma-induced chemoresistance. Xenotransplant experiments confirmed ATP antineoplastic activity in vivo.Overall, our results demonstrate that P2X7R stimulation by ATP induced a therapeutic response in AML at the LSC level while the normal stem cell compartment was not affected. These results provide evidence that ATP would be promising for developing innovative therapy for AML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13927DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5351599PMC
January 2017

The tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) promotes survival and migration of acute myeloid leukemia cells through CD63/PI3K/Akt/p21 signaling.

Oncotarget 2017 Jan;8(2):2261-2274

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES), Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

We and others have shown that the Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1), a member of the inflammatory network exerting pleiotropic effects in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, regulates the survival and proliferation of different cell types, including normal hematopoietic progenitor cells. Moreover, TIMP-1 has been shown to be involved in cancer progression. However, its role in leukemic microenvironment has not been addressed. Here, we investigated the activity of TIMP-1 on Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) cell functions. First, we found that TIMP-1 levels were increased in the BM plasma of AML patients at diagnosis. In vitro, recombinant human (rh)TIMP-1 promoted the survival and cell cycle S-phase entry of AML cells. These kinetic effects were related to the downregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. rhTIMP-1 increases CXCL12-driven migration of leukemic cells through PI3K signaling. Interestingly, activation of CD63 receptor was required for TIMP-1's cytokine/chemokine activity. Of note, rhTIMP-1 stimulation modulated mRNA expression of Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF)-1α, downstream of PI3K/Akt activation. We then co-cultured AML cells with normal or leukemic mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to investigate the interaction of TIMP-1 with cellular component(s) of BM microenvironment. Our results showed that the proliferation and migration of leukemic cells were greatly enhanced by rhTIMP-1 in presence of AML-MSCs as compared to normal MSCs. Thus, we demonstrated that TIMP-1 modulates leukemic blasts survival, migration and function via CD63/PI3K/Akt/p21 signaling. As a "bad actor" in a "bad soil", we propose TIMP-1 as a potential novel therapeutic target in leukemic BM microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13664DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5356797PMC
January 2017

Novel strategies of adoptive immunotherapy: How natural killer cells may change the treatment of elderly patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia.

Exp Hematol 2017 Jan 5;45:10-16. Epub 2016 Nov 5.

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, Institute of Hematology "L. and A. Seràgnoli", University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy. Electronic address:

Although many attempts have been made to identify novel molecular-targeted therapies for patients with acute myeloid leukemia, their translation into the clinic have had limited impact. In particular, the question of effective and curative treatments for elderly patients, who are not eligible for stem cell transplantation, remains an unmet medical need. To answer this question, a wide range of immunologic therapeutic strategies, mostly T cell based, have been proposed and investigated. At present, however, the clinical results have been largely unsatisfactory. Natural killer cells have recently been used as a means of adoptive immunotherapy with promising clinical results. On the basis of recent clinical reports and moving from the basic immunobiology of natural killer cells, here we discuss some open issues in the clinical translation of natural killer-based adoptive immunotherapy for the management of elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exphem.2016.10.007DOI Listing
January 2017

Exploiting tumor vulnerabilities: NAD(+)-depleting agents combined with anti-tumor drugs as innovative strategy to treat hematological malignancies.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2016 09 22;16(9):897-8. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

a Chair of Hematology, Department of Medicine (DiMI) , University of Genoa, AOU, I.R.C.C.S. San Martino -IST , Genova , Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737140.2016.1212664DOI Listing
September 2016

Dual NAMPT and BTK Targeting Leads to Synergistic Killing of Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Cells Regardless of MYD88 and CXCR4 Somatic Mutation Status.

Clin Cancer Res 2016 Dec 10;22(24):6099-6109. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Purpose: Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt) regulates intracellular NAD pool and is highly expressed in a number of malignancies. FK866, a selective inhibitor of Nampt, depletes intracellular NAD levels, thereby blocking cellular metabolism and triggering sensitization to other drugs and cell death. Here we characterized the antitumor effects of Nampt inhibition in Waldenström macroglobulinemia.

Experimental Design: We investigated Nampt role in MW cells using both mRNA and protein expression analyses. We have also used loss-of-function approaches to investigate the growth and survival effects of Nampt on MW cells and further tested the anti-MW activity of dual Nampt and BTK inhibition in vitro and in vivo RESULTS: We found that Waldenström macroglobulinemia cells exhibit high levels of Nampt compared with normal B cells. Loss of function studies suggested a potential oncogenic role of Nampt in Waldenström macroglobulinemia cells, and BTK-inhibitor ibrutinib and FK866 resulted in a significant and synergistic anti-Waldenström macroglobulinemia cell death, regardless of MYD88 and CXCR4 mutational status. Cell death was associated with: (i) activation of caspase-3, PARP and downregulation of Mcl-1, (ii) enhanced intracellular ATP and NAD depletion, (iii) inhibition of NF-κB signaling, and (iv) inhibition of multiple prosurvival signaling pathways. In a murine xenograft Waldenström macroglobulinemia model, low-dose combination FK866 and ibrutinib is well tolerated, significantly inhibits tumor growth, and prolongs host survival.

Conclusions: Our results show intracellular NAD level as crucial for proliferation and survival of Waldenström macroglobulinemia cells, and provides the mechanistic preclinical rationale for targeting Nampt, either alone or with Ibrutinib, to overcome drug resistance and improve patient outcome in Waldenström macroglobulinemia. Clin Cancer Res; 22(24); 6099-109. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-0630DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5771267PMC
December 2016

Long-term follow-up of patients with acute myeloid leukemia surviving and free of disease recurrence for at least 2 years after autologous stem cell transplantation: A report from the Acute Leukemia Working Party of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Cancer 2016 Jun 28;122(12):1880-7. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Clinical Hematology and Cellular Therapy Department, The Acute Leukemia Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Office, Hopital Saint-Antoine APHP, Paris, France.

Background: Leukemia recurrence is a major cause of treatment failure after autologous stem cell transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It usually occurs within the first 2 years after transplantation. The goal of the current retrospective study was to assess the follow-up of and characterize risk factors for outcome among patients who survived free of disease recurrence after this period.

Methods: The analysis included 3567 adults (median age, 45 years) with AML who underwent autografting during the first (86% of patients) or second (14% of patients) complete remission between 1990 and 2008. The stem cell source was the bone marrow in 32% of patients or the peripheral blood in 68% of patients. The median follow-up was 6.9 years.

Results: At 5 years and 10 years after transplantation, the probability of leukemia-free survival was 86% and 76%, respectively; the recurrence incidence was 11% and 16%, respectively; and the nonrecurrence mortality rate was 3% and 8%, respectively. The observed survival was decreased compared with the expected survival of the general European population. In a multivariate analysis, decreased probability of leukemia-free survival was demonstrated for patients who underwent peripheral blood autologous stem cell transplantation; had French-American-British subtypes M0, M6, or M7; and were of an older age. The same factors were found to be associated with an increased risk of disease recurrence. Nonrecurrence mortality was found to be affected by older age.

Conclusions: The results of the current analysis indicate that late recurrences remain a major concern after autologous stem cell transplantation among patients with AML, indicating the need for close monitoring of minimal residual disease and additional leukemic control measures after transplantation. Cancer 2016;122:1880-7. © 2016 American Cancer Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29990DOI Listing
June 2016

Larger Size of Donor Alloreactive NK Cell Repertoire Correlates with Better Response to NK Cell Immunotherapy in Elderly Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients.

Clin Cancer Res 2016 Apr 19;22(8):1914-21. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Clinic of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine (DiMI), University of Genoa, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria S. Martino-IST, Genoa, Italy.

Purpose: In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), alloreactive natural killer (NK) cells are crucial mediators of immune responses after haploidentical stem cell transplantation. Allogeneic NK cell infusions have been adoptively transferred with promising clinical results. We aimed at determining whether the composition of NK graft in terms of frequency of alloreactive NK cells influence the clinical response in a group of elderly AML patients undergoing NK immunotherapy.

Experimental Design: Seventeen AML patients, in first complete remission (CR; median age 64 years, range 53-73) received NK cells from haploidentical KIR-ligand-mismatched donors after fludarabine/cyclophosphamide chemotherapy, followed by IL2. To correlate donor NK cell activity with clinical response, donor NK cells were assessed before and after infusion.

Results: Toxicity was moderate, although 1 patient died due to bacterial pneumonia and was censored for clinical follow-up. With a median follow-up of 22.5 months (range, 6-68 months), 9 of 16 evaluable patients (0.56) are alive disease-free, whereas 7 of 16 (0.44) relapsed with a median time to relapse of 9 months (range, 3-51 months). All patients treated with molecular disease achieved molecular CR. A significantly higher number of donor alloreactive NK cell clones was observed in responders over nonresponders. The infusion of higher number of alloreactive NK cells was associated with prolonged disease-free survival (0.81 vs. 0.14, respectively;P= 0.03).

Conclusions: Infusion of purified NK cells is feasible in elderly AML patients as post-CR consolidation strategy. The clinical efficacy of adoptively transferred haploidentical NK cells may be improved by infusing high numbers of alloreactive NK cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-1604DOI Listing
April 2016

Stem cell transplantation in multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders (report from an EBMT preceptorship meeting).

Leuk Lymphoma 2016 6;57(6):1256-68. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

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

The European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation Chronic Malignancies Working Party held a preceptorship meeting in Turin, Italy on 25-26 September 2014, to discuss the role of stem cell transplantation (SCT) in the treatment of multiple myeloma and other plasma cell disorders. Scientists and clinicians working in the field gathered to discuss a variety of topics including the results of recent clinical trials, basic research, the concept of minimal residual disease, and immune modulation. As individual presentations revealed, important advances have occurred in our understanding of the pathophysiology of myeloma and the role that SCT, along with other forms of immunotherapy, plays in treating it. Each presentation stimulated discussion and exchange of ideas among the attendants. We decided to summarize and, importantly, to update the meeting proceedings in this review to share stimulating discussions and ideas on potentially novel treatment strategies among clinicians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10428194.2015.1131278DOI Listing
January 2017

Evidence for a role of the histone deacetylase SIRT6 in DNA damage response of multiple myeloma cells.

Blood 2016 Mar 16;127(9):1138-50. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Center for Multiple Myeloma Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA;

Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by a highly unstable genome, with aneuploidy observed in nearly all patients. The mechanism causing this karyotypic instability is largely unknown, but recent observations have correlated these abnormalities with dysfunctional DNA damage response. Here, we show that the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT6 is highly expressed in MM cells, as an adaptive response to genomic stability, and that high SIRT6 levels are associated with adverse prognosis. Mechanistically, SIRT6 interacts with the transcription factor ELK1 and with the ERK signaling-related gene. By binding to their promoters and deacetylating H3K9 at these sites, SIRT6 downregulates the expression of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway genes, MAPK signaling, and proliferation. In addition, inactivation of ERK2/p90RSK signaling triggered by high SIRT6 levels increases DNA repair via Chk1 and confers resistance to DNA damage. Using genetic and biochemical studies in vitro and in human MM xenograft models, we show that SIRT6 depletion both enhances proliferation and confers sensitization to DNA-damaging agents. Our findings therefore provide insights into the functional interplay between SIRT6 and DNA repair mechanisms, with implications for both tumorigenesis and the treatment of MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2015-06-649970DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778164PMC
March 2016

Reinfusion of highly purified CD133+ bone marrow-derived stem/progenitor cells in patients with end-stage liver disease: A phase I clinical trial.

Dig Liver Dis 2015 Dec 10;47(12):1059-66. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

Haematology Clinic, Internal Medicine Department, Genoa University, Genoa, Italy.

Background: Bone marrow stem/progenitor cells seem to be effective in liver regeneration after tissue injury.

Aim: To evaluate the feasibility and safety of the mobilization and reinfusion of CD133+ stem/progenitor cells in patients with end-stage liver disease.

Methods: Autologous CD133+ stem/progenitor cells, mobilized with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, were collected by leukapheresis and reinfused at increasing doses through the hepatic artery starting from 5×10(4)/kg up to 1×10(6)/kg.

Results: 16 subjects with Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score between 17 and 25 were enrolled, 14 mobilized an adequate number of CD133+ stem/progenitor cells and 12 were reinfused. No severe adverse events related to the procedure were reported. MELD score significantly worsened during mobilization in Child Turcotte Pugh-C patients. A significant improvement of liver function was observed 2 months after reinfusion (MELD 19.5 vs. 16; P=0.045). Overall, 5 patients underwent liver transplantation within 12 months from reinfusion and 2 died because of progressive liver failure.

Conclusions: CD133+ stem/progenitor cells reinfusion in patients with end-stage liver disease is feasible and safe. A worsening of liver function was observed during mobilization in Child Turcotte Pugh-C patients. The temporary improvement of MELD score after reinfusion suggests that stem cells therapy may be a "bridge to transplant" approach for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2015.08.018DOI Listing
December 2015

Human cord blood-derived platelet lysate enhances the therapeutic activity of adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from Crohn's disease patients in a mouse model of colitis.

Stem Cell Res Ther 2015 Sep 9;6:170. Epub 2015 Sep 9.

Institute of Hematology "L. & A. Seràgnoli", Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi, University of Bologna, via G. Massarenti 9, 40138, Bologna, Italy.

Introduction: Due to their immunomodulatory properties, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been used for auto-immune disease treatment. Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis are two major inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), resulting from pathological immune responses to environmental or microbial antigens. Preclinical and clinical studies have suggested that MSC-based cellular therapy hold promising potential for IBD treatment. However, open issues include the selection of the proper cell dose, the source and the optimal route of administration of MSCs for more effective results. Platelet lysate has gained clinical interest due to its efficacy in accelerating wound healing. Thus, we propose to combine the administration of MSCs with a human umbilical cord blood-derived platelet lysate (hCBPL) as a novel strategy to improve MSC-based therapy for IBD resolution.

Methods: Colitis was induced in 8-week-old C57BL/6J mice by daily oral administration of dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) (1.5 % w/v in tap water) for 9 days. MSCs were isolated from adipose tissue of CD patients (adCD-MSCs), expanded in proliferation medium, resuspended in hCBPL or PBS and administrated via enema for three times (1 × 10(6) cells/mouse/time) every other day starting on day +7 from DSS induction. The colitis evolution was evaluated by daily monitoring of body weight, stool consistency and bleeding. Histopathological analysis was performed. Inflammatory cytokine plasma levels were determined. adCD-MSCs stained with lipophilic membrane dye Nile Red, were injected in DSS mice as described above. Colon section of mice sacrificed 24 hours after last cell administration, were analyzed by confocal microscopy.

Results: We found that adCD-MSCs could be easily isolated and expanded from CD patients. Upon injection, adCD-MSCs exerted a therapeutic effect on DSS-induced colitis. Moreover, hCBPL increased adCD-MSCs efficacy by significantly reducing colitis scores, extension of the colon inflamed area and plasma levels of inflammatory mediators. Finally, Nile Red staining of MSCs is very efficient, stable and does not impair their vitality and function. Nile Red-labelling was clearly detected in the colitic area of adCD-MSCs injected mice and it was significantly brighter in the colon sections of mice that had received adCD-MSCs/hCBPL.

Conclusions: In summary, with this study we propose a novel and promising adCD-MSC/hCBPL-based therapy for refractory IBDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13287-015-0166-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564981PMC
September 2015

The Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cell-Derived Osteocyte Capacity to Modulate Dendritic Cell Functions Is Strictly Dependent on the Culture System.

J Immunol Res 2015 12;2015:526195. Epub 2015 Jul 12.

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, Institute of Hematology "L. & A. Seràgnoli", University of Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy.

In vitro differentiation of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) into osteocytes (human differentiated osteogenic cells, hDOC) before implantation has been proposed to optimize bone regeneration. However, a deep characterization of the immunological properties of DOC, including their effect on dendritic cell (DC) function, is not available. DOC can be used either as cellular suspension (detached, Det-DOC) or as adherent cells implanted on scaffolds (adherent, Adh-DOC). By mimicking in vitro these two different routes of administration, we show that both Det-DOC and Adh-DOC can modulate DC functions. Specifically, the weak downregulation of CD80 and CD86 caused by Det-DOC on DC surface results in a weak modulation of DC functions, which indeed retain a high capacity to induce T-cell proliferation and to generate CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) T cells. Moreover, Det-DOC enhance the DC capacity to differentiate CD4(+)CD161(+)CD196(+) Th17-cells by upregulating IL-6 secretion. Conversely, Adh-DOC strongly suppress DC functions by a profound downregulation of CD80 and CD86 on DC as well as by the inhibition of TGF-β production. In conclusion, we demonstrate that different types of DOC cell preparation may have a different impact on the modulation of the host immune system. This finding may have relevant implications for the design of cell-based tissue-engineering strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/526195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4515297PMC
March 2016