Publications by authors named "Sonia Ronconi"

24 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Bortezomib, thalidomide, and dexamethasone followed by double autologous haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (GIMEMA-MMY-3006): long-term follow-up analysis of a randomised phase 3, open-label study.

Lancet Haematol 2020 Dec;7(12):e861-e873

Istituto di Ematologia "Seràgnoli", Dipartimento di Medicina Specialistica, Diagnostica e Sperimentale, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: The phase 3 GIMEMA-MMY-3006 trial, which compared bortezomib, thalidomide, and dexamethasone (VTD) combination therapy with thalidomide and dexamethasone (TD) as induction therapy before and consolidation therapy after double autologous haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, showed the superiority of the triplet regimen over the doublet in terms of increased complete response rate and improved progression-free survival. We report the results from the final analysis of the study.

Methods: In this randomised, open-label, phase 3 study, patients aged 18-65 years with previously untreated symptomatic multiple myeloma and a Karnofsky Performance Status of 60% or higher were enrolled at 73 centres in Italy. Patients were randomised (1:1) by a web-based system to receive three 21-day cycles of thalidomide (100 mg daily orally for the first 14 days and 200 mg daily thereafter) plus dexamethasone (total 320 mg per cycle; 40 mg on days 1-2, 4-5, 8-9, and 11-12 in the VTD regimen, and 40 mg on days 1-4 and 9-12 in the TD regimen), either alone (TD group) or with bortezomib (1·3 mg/m intravenously on days 1, 4, 8, and 11; VTD group). After double autologous HSCT, patients received two 35-day cycles of either the VTD or TD regimen, according to random assignment, as consolidation therapy. The primary outcome was the rate of complete response and near complete response after induction (already reported). In this updated analysis we assessed long-term progression-free survival and overall survival (secondary endpoints of the study) with an extended 10-year median follow-up, and analysed the variables influencing survival. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01134484.

Findings: Between May 10, 2006, and April 30, 2008, 480 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive VTD (241 patients) or TD (239 patients). Six patients withdrew consent before start of treatment. 236 (99 [42%] women) in the VTD group and 238 (102 [43%] women) in the TD group were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. The data cutoff date for this analysis was May 31, 2018. Median follow-up for surviving patients was 124·1 months (IQR 117·2-131·7). The 10-year progression-free survival estimate for patients in the VTD group was 34% (95% CI 28-41) compared with 17% (13-23) for the TD group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·62 [95% CI 0·50-0·77]; p<0·0001). 60% (95% CI 54-67) of patients in the VTD group were alive at 10 years versus 46% (40-54) of patients in the TD group (HR 0·68 [95% CI 0·51-0·90]; p=0·0068). VTD was an independent predictor of improved progression-free survival (HR 0·60 [95% CI 0·48-0·76]; p<0·0001) and overall survival (HR 0·68 [0·50-0·91]; p=0·010). The incidence of second primary malignancies per 100 person-years was 0·87 (95% CI 0·49-1·44) in the VTD group compared with 1·41 (0·88-2·13) in the TD group.

Interpretation: Incorporation of VTD into double autologous HSCT resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in long-term progression-free survival and overall survival, confirming that a regimen including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory drug is the gold standard treatment for patients with newly diagnosed myeloma who are fit for high-dose chemotherapy.

Funding: Seràgnoli Institute of Haematology, University of Bologna, and BolognAIL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(20)30323-9DOI Listing
December 2020

Combined Oral Fentanyl Citrate and Midazolam as Premedication for Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy in Patients with Hematological Malignancies: A Randomized, Controlled and Patient-Blinded Clinical Trial.

J Clin Med 2020 Feb 1;9(2). Epub 2020 Feb 1.

Hematology, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, AOU Federico II, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (BMAB) is a painful procedure, and the routinely used local infiltration anesthesia (LIA) with lidocaine is unable to provide pain relief during the most uncomfortable phases. The primary endpoint of the present randomized, patient-blinded trial was to evaluate the efficacy of an opioid and benzodiazepine combination plus LIA (sedoanalgesia) in patients undergoing BMAB for hematological malignancies. The secondary endpoint was the safety of the procedure in an outpatient setting. Ancillary assessments were anticipatory anxiety related to pain recall in the event of re-biopsy, and adequacy of bone tissue harvested. Patients were randomly assigned to one of 2 arms to receive either sedoanalgesic placebo plus LIA (standard group) or oral fentanyl citrate 200 μg plus oral midazolam 5 mg plus LIA (combo group) during BMAB. Pre-procedural anxiety and procedural pain were assessed according to the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS: 0-10), dividing the time of the procedure into five intervals (T0, T1, T2a, T2b and T3) and evaluating the degree of discomfort at each time (T) in both groups. One hundred and sixteen patients were eligible for the study. At T2b (time of biopsy) and T3 (time after biopsy), a significantly lower perception of pain was registered in the combo group. Moreover, there were no significant sedoanalgesia-related side-effects. Finally, histological specimens were higher in quality in the combo group. Sedoanalgesia was highly effective in reducing pain during biopsy, diminished anticipatory anxiety in patients undergoing re-biopsy and led to fewer non-diagnostic specimens being harvested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020395DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7074337PMC
February 2020

An immunotherapy-induced plasma cell leukaemoid reaction.

Br J Haematol 2020 03 23;188(6):813. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

Clinical Pathology Unit, Hub Laboratory, AUSL della Romagna, Cesena, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.16394DOI Listing
March 2020

Lenalidomide Maintenance with or without Prednisone in Newly Diagnosed Myeloma Patients: A Pooled Analysis.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Nov 5;11(11). Epub 2019 Nov 5.

Myeloma Unit, Division of Hematology, University of Torino, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino, via Genova 3, 10126 Torino, Italy.

We conducted a pooled analysis of two phase III trials, RV-MM-EMN-441 and EMN01, to compare maintenance with lenalidomide-prednisone vs. lenalidomide in newly diagnosed transplant-eligible and -ineligible myeloma patients. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival, progression-free survival 2 and overall survival with both regimens. A secondary aim was to evaluate the impact of duration of maintenance on overall survival and on outcome after relapse. A total of 625 patients (lenalidomide-prednisone arm, = 315; lenalidomide arm, = 310) were analyzed. The median follow-up was 58 months. Median progression-free survival (25 vs. 19 months; = 0.08), progression-free survival 2 (56 vs. 49 months; = 0.9) and overall survival (73 months vs. NR; = 0.08) were not significantly different between the two arms. Toxicity profiles of lenalidomide-prednisone and lenalidomide were similar, with the exception of neutropenia that was higher in the lenalidomide arm (grade ≥ 3: 9% vs. 19%, < 0.001), without an increase in the rate of infections. Overall survival (median NR vs. 49 months, < 0.001), progression-free survival from relapse (median 35 vs. 24 months, = 0.004) and overall survival from relapse (median not reached vs. 41 months, = 0.002) were significantly longer in patients continuing maintenance for ≥2 years. We showed that the addition of prednisone at 25 or 50 mg every other day (eod) to lenalidomide maintenance did not induce any significant advantage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11111735DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6896192PMC
November 2019

An 1H NMR study of the cytarabine degradation in clinical conditions to avoid drug waste, decrease therapy costs and improve patient compliance in acute leukemia.

Anticancer Drugs 2020 01;31(1):67-72

Hematology, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, AOU Federico II, Naples.

Cytarabine, the 4-amino-1-(β-D-arabinofuranosyl)-2(1H)-pyrimidinone, (ARA-C) is an antimetabolite cytidine analogue used worldwide as key drug in the management of leukaemia. As specified in the manufacturers' instructions, once the components-sterile water and cytarabine powder-are unpackaged and mixed, the solution begins to degrade after 6 hours at room temperature and 12 hours at 4°C. To evaluate how to avoid wasting the drug in short-term, low-dose treatment regimens, the reconstituted samples, stored at 25°C and 4°C, were analyzed every day of the test week by reversed-phase HPLC and high-field NMR spectroscopy. All the samples remained unchanged for the entire week, which corresponds to the time required to administer the entire commercial drug package during low-dose therapeutic regimens. The drug solution was stored in a glass container at 4°C in an ordinary freezer and drawn with sterile plastic syringes; during this period, no bacterial or fungal contamination was observed. Our findings show that an cytarabine solution prepared and stored in the original vials retains its efficacy and safety and can, therefore, be divided into small doses to be administered over more days, thus avoiding unnecessary expensive and harmful waste of the drug preparation. Moreover, patients who require daily administration of the drug could undergo the infusion at home without need to go to hospital. The stability of the aliquots would help decrease hospitalization costs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000850DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6903421PMC
January 2020

Prognostic role of aspartate aminotransferase-lymphocyte ratio index in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: results from the randomized ITACa trial.

Onco Targets Ther 2018 29;11:5261-5268. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of pre-treatment aspartate aminotransferase-lynphocyte ratio (ALRI) as a predictor of prognosis and treatment efficacy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) enrolled in the prospective multicenter randomized ITACa (Italian Trial in Advanced Colorectal Cancer) trial to receive first-line chemotherapy (CT) + bevacizumab (B) or CT alone.

Patients And Methods: Patients randomly received CT+B or CT alone as first-line therapy. CT consisted of either FOLFOX4 or FOLFIRI at the clinician's discretion.

Results: Out of the 284 patients enrolled, increased ALRI levels were associated with shorter PFS and OS (<0.0001). At baseline, median PFS was 10.3 months (95% CI 9.4-12.0) and 8.0 months (95 % CI 6.8-8.9), and median OS was 25.2 months (95 % CI 21.3-30.2) and 18.8 months (95 % CI 16.6-21.7) for patients with low (<14) and high (≥14) ALRI levels, respectively (HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.12-1.82, =0.004; HR=1.51, 95% CI 1.17-1.96, <0.001). Interaction tests on ALRI levels and treatment efficacy in the CT+B and the CT groups were statistically significant for PFS (=0.0003), but not for OS (=0.228).

Conclusion: Our results indicate that ALRI is a good prognostic and predictive marker for mCRC patients candidate for CT+B.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/OTT.S166614DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120511PMC
August 2018

Novel agent-based salvage autologous stem cell transplantation for relapsed multiple myeloma.

Ann Hematol 2017 Dec 24;96(12):2071-2078. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

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

High-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is a standard frontline therapy for multiple myeloma (MM). Therapeutic options for patients with relapsed MM after ASCT include novel agents in different combos, salvage ASCT (sASCT), and allogeneic transplant, with no unique standard of care. We retrospectively analyzed 66 MM patients who relapsed after up-front single or double ASCT(s) and received novel agent-based sASCT at five Italian centers. Median event-free survival from up-front ASCT(s) to first relapse (EFS1) was 44 months. Seventy-three percent of patients received sASCT at first disease progression. Re-induction regimens were bortezomib based in 87% of patients. Response to re-induction therapy included complete response (CR) 18%, ≥ very good partial response (VGPR) 48%, and overall response rate (ORR) 83%. Response to sASCT included CR 44%, ≥ VGPR 77%, and ORR 94%. With a median follow-up of 24 months after sASCT, 39 patients experienced disease progression. Median EFS from sASCT (EFS2) was 17 months. Median overall survival from ASCT (OS1) and sASCT (OS2) was 166 and 43 months, respectively. EFS2 and OS2 were significantly shorter in patients with EFS1 ≤ 24 months, in patients who did not receive sASCT at first disease progression and in patients with extramedullary disease (EMD). In multivariate analysis, EFS1 ≤ 24 months was associated with shorter EFS2 and OS2, EMD was associated with shorter EFS2, and < CR after sASCT was associated with shorter OS2. Novel agent-based sASCT is a safe and effective procedure for relapsed MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-017-3140-5DOI Listing
December 2017

IL-17/IL-10 double-producing T cells: new link between infections, immunosuppression and acute myeloid leukemia.

J Transl Med 2015 Jul 15;13:229. Epub 2015 Jul 15.

Biosciences Laboratory, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

Background: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an incurable disease with fatal infections or relapse being the main causes of death in most cases. In particular, the severe infections occurring in these patients before or during any treatment suggest an intrinsic alteration of the immune system. In this respect, IL-17-producing T helper (Th17) besides playing a key role in regulating inflammatory response, tumor growth and autoimmune diseases, have been shown to protect against bacterial and fungal pathogens. However, the role of Th17 cells in AML has not yet been clarified.

Methods: T cell frequencies were assessed by flow cytometry in the peripheral blood of 30 newly diagnosed AML patients and 30 age-matched healthy volunteers. Cytokine production was determined before and after culture of T cells with either Candida Albicans or AML blasts. Statistical analyses were carried out using the paired and unpaired two-tailed Student's t tests and confirmed with the non parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test.

Results: A strong increase of Th17 cells producing immunosuppressive IL-10 was observed in AML patients compared with healthy donors. In addition, stimulation of AML-derived T cells with a Candida albicans antigen induced significantly lower IFN-γ production than that observed in healthy donors; intriguingly, depletion of patient Th17 cells restored IFN-γ production after stimulation. To address the role of AML blasts in inducing Th17 alterations, CD4+ cells from healthy donors were co-cultured with CD33+ blasts: data obtained showed that AML blasts induce in healthy donors levels of IL-10-producing Th17 cells similar to those observed in patients.

Conclusions: In AML patients altered Th17 cells actively cause an immunosuppressive state that may promote infections and probably tumor escape. Th17 cells could thus represent a new target to improve AML immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0590-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502949PMC
July 2015

Atypical presentations of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in middle-aged women with recurrent cerebral macrovascular thrombosis: a case report.

Ann Hematol 2015 Sep 9;94(9):1597-8. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Via P. Maroncelli 40, 47014, Meldola, FC, Italy,

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-015-2415-yDOI Listing
September 2015

Prolonged 18FDG-PET negative complete remission in a heavily pretreated, elderly patient with diffuse large B cell lymphoma treated with lenalidomide, low dose dexamethasone, and colony stimulating factor (Rd-G).

Am J Hematol 2011 Jan 15;86(1):79-80. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Department of Hematology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per Studio e Cura dei Tumori, Meldola, Italy.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a common lymphoid malignancy among adults in the developed world and accounts for about a third of all patients newly diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma each year. The prognosis of patients with DLBCL has improved over the past 10 years since the advent of chemoimmunotherapy regimens such as R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone). However, a significant number of patients still experience disease relapse or progression after first or second line therapy, and ~40% of patients will die within 5 years. In particular, elderly patients and those ineligible for high-dose chemotherapy due to comorbidities require effective salvage treatment options with favorable toxicity profile. Several novel therapeutic approaches have been proposed for these patients including monoclonal antibodies, radioimmunotherapy, proteasome inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, and the immunomodulatory drugs such as thalidomide and lenalidomide.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.21869DOI Listing
January 2011

Chromosome abnormalities additional to the Philadelphia chromosome at the diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia: pathogenetic and prognostic implications.

Cancer Genet Cytogenet 2010 Jun;199(2):76-80

Oncology-Hematology Department, "S. Maria delle Croci" Hospital, viale Randi, 5, 48121 Ravenna, Italy.

Additional chromosome abnormalities (ACAs) occur in less than 10% of cases at diagnosis of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). In some cases, on the basis of the persistence of the ACAs in Ph-negative cells after response to imatinib, a secondary origin of the Ph chromosome has been demonstrated. In this study, the possible prognostic value of this phenomenon was evaluated. Thirty-six Ph-positive CML patients were included in the study. In six patients, ACAs persisted after the disappearance of the Ph. A complete cytogenetic response (CCR) was obtained in five of these six patients, and five of six also had a high Sokal score. In all the other cases, ACAs disappeared together (in cases of response to therapy with imatinib) or persisted with the Ph (in cases of no response to imatinib). In the former cases, the primary origin of the Ph was demonstrated. CCR was obtained in 22 cases (17 with low to intermediate Sokal scores), while no response was observed in 8 patients (5 with a high Sokal score). Sokal score seems to maintain its prognostic value for patients in whom the Ph occurs as a primary event, but not in those in whom it occurs as a secondary one.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cancergencyto.2010.02.003DOI Listing
June 2010

R-COMP 21 for frail elderly patients with aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a pilot study.

Leuk Lymphoma 2008 Jun;49(6):1081-6

Hematology and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Center, San Salvatore Hospital, Pesaro, Italy.

We evaluated the toxicity and efficacy of nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Myocet) when substituted for conventional doxorubicin in the CHOP-21 regimen in the treatment of frail elderly patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Twenty frail patients (median age, 73 years), as defined by Balducci et al., with diffuse large B cell or grade IIIb follicular lymphoma, either at diagnosis (15 patients) or relapsed (five patients), were prospectively enrolled. Nine out of 20 (45%) had a World Health Organisation (WHO) performance status > or =2. Fifteen out of 20 patients (75%) had an International Prognostic Index (IPI) score > or =3. Thirteen out of 20 (65%) evaluable patients obtained a complete response. Five additional patients (25%) achieved a partial response. With a median follow-up of 24 months (range 18-27), 15/18 responding patients (83%) are alive and disease free, as well as 3/18 are alive with active disease. Toxicity was mainly hematological with grade 3/4 neutropenia in 26% of cycles and febrile neutropenia in 5%. However, 3/20 patients presented a grade III-IV WHO toxicity (one fatal pulmonary embolism, one congestive, and one ischemic heart failure) while receiving R-COMP chemotherapy. In conclusion, R-COMP-21 is an effective regimen with promising response rates for frail and elderly patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428190802043853DOI Listing
June 2008

Osteonecrosis of the jaw in patients with bone metastases treated with bisphosphonates: a retrospective study.

Oncologist 2008 Mar;13(3):330-6

Osteo-oncology Center and Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Via Maroncelli 40, 47014 Meldola, Italy.

Objective: Bone metastases are a major cause of morbidity in cancer patients. Treatment includes bisphosphonates, which are also associated with avascular osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Our aim was to evaluate the correlation between bisphosphonates and ONJ.

Patients And Methods: Of the 539 patients with bone metastases treated in our department from June 2002 to December 2006 with i.v. bisphosphonates, eight (1.5%) developed ONJ.

Results: The eight patients with ONJ had all been given zoledronic acid, and two had also been treated with pamidronic acid. In four of the patients, ONJ was diagnosed during treatment, while in the remaining four it was diagnosed several months after therapy with bisphosphonates had ended. Six of these patients received local noninvasive treatment, of whom five progressed. Two showed apparent autolimitation of the disease. The remaining two patients underwent surgical resection and currently show no signs of relapse. All eight ONJ patients presented with various concomitant risk factors such as paradontopathy, dental extraction, or spontaneous avulsion.

Conclusions: Our results show that ONJ can appear months after interruption of treatment and that a surgical approach can be used in suitable cases. Closer cooperation is needed among specialists to define guidelines for the prevention of ONJ in patients with bone metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2007-0159DOI Listing
March 2008

Fludarabine and mitoxantrone followed by yttrium-90 ibritumomab tiuxetan in previously untreated patients with follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma trial: a phase II non-randomised trial (FLUMIZ).

Lancet Oncol 2008 Apr 14;9(4):352-8. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Institute of Haematology and Medical Oncology L & A Seràgnoli, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Background: Follicular lymphoma is the most common form of lymphoma in Europe and the USA. In this prospective, single-arm, open-labelled, multicentre non-randomised phase II trial (FLUMIZ [FLUdarabine, MItoxantrone, Zevalin] trial) we aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of fludarabine and mitoxantrone plus radioimmunotherapy in untreated patients with follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Methods: Patients with stage III or IV untreated indolent follicular NHL were enrolled between June 1, 2004, and April 15, 2006, at 13 Italian institutions, and were treated with oral fludarabine (40 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3) and intravenous mitoxantrone (10 mg/m2 on day 1) every 28 days for six cycles. Patients who had at least a partial response (PR) with normal platelet counts (>100x10(9)/L) and granulocyte counts (1.5x10(9)/L), and bone-marrow infiltration less than 25% 4-6 weeks after completion of the sixth cycle of chemotherapy were deemed eligible for consolidation treatment 6-10 weeks after the sixth cycle with one course of yttrium-90 ((90)Y)-labelled ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin), which consisted of an initial infusion of intravenous rituximab (250 mg/m2) on day 1 followed by a second 250 mg/m2 infusion on day 7, 8, or 9. The second infusion was followed by a weight-based dose of 90Y-ibritumomab tiuxetan, administered as a slow intravenous push over 10 min. Primary endpoints were complete response (CR) and haematological toxic effects and secondary endpoints were overall survival and progression-free survival. Responses were classified according to the International Workshop for Response Criteria for non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Analysis was per protocol. This trial is registered as a European Standard Controlled Trial on the EudraCT website http://oss-sper-clin.agenziafarmaco.it, number 2004-002211-92.

Findings: 61 patients were enrolled in the trial and received six cycles of fludarabine and mitoxantrone, after which an overall response was noted in 98% (60 of 61) of patients (43 of 61 patients had CR and 17 of 61 patients had PR). 57 patients (43 with CR and 14 with PR) were deemed eligible for subsequent (90)Y-ibritumomab tiuxetan. Of the 14 patients who had PR after the initial treatment, 12 obtained CR after (90)Y-ibritumomab tiuxetan. By the end of the entire treatment regimen 55 of 57 patients achieved CR. With a median follow-up of 30 months (range 21-48), 3-year progression-free survival was estimated to be 76% (95% CI 72.3-82.4) and 3-year overall survival 100%. 36 of 57 patients had grade 3 or 4 haematological toxic effects, and blood transfusions were given to 21 of 57 patients.

Interpretation: This trial has provided evidence for the feasibility, tolerability, and efficacy of fludarabine and mitoxantrone plus (90)Y-ibritumomab tiuxetan in untreated patients with follicular NHL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(08)70039-1DOI Listing
April 2008

Persistence of chromosomal abnormalities additional to the Philadelphia chromosome after Philadelphia chromosome disappearance during imatinib therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia.

Haematologica 2007 Apr;92(4):564-5

Five Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients with additional chromosome abnormalities at diagnosis have been followed during Imatinib therapy. In all, the Ph chromosome disappeared, while the 5 cases, additional abnormalities [dup(1); del(5), +8 (2 patients) and +14] persisted in the subsequent studies, performed over a period of 11 to 49 months, either alone or together with a karyotypically normal cell population. This finding is consistent with a secondary origin of the Ph chromosome in these patients. It is still to early to evaluate the possible prognostic value of these additional abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.10783DOI Listing
April 2007

Prospective, randomized study of single compared with double autologous stem-cell transplantation for multiple myeloma: Bologna 96 clinical study.

J Clin Oncol 2007 Jun 7;25(17):2434-41. Epub 2007 May 7.

Istituto di Ematologia ed Oncologia Medica [Seràgnoli], Università di Bologna, Bologn, Italy.

Purpose: We performed a prospective, randomized study of single (arm A) versus double (arm B) autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) for younger patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM).

Patients And Methods: A total of 321 patients were enrolled onto the study and were randomly assigned to receive either a single course of high-dose melphalan at 200 mg/m2 (arm A) or melphalan at 200 mg/m2 followed, after 3 to 6 months, by melphalan at 120 mg/m2 and busulfan at 12 mg/kilogram (arm B).

Results: As compared with assignment to the single-transplantation group (n = 163 patients), random assignment to receive double ASCT (n = 158 patients) significantly increased the probability to attain at least a near complete response (nCR; 33% v 47%, respectively; P = .008), prolonged relapse-free survival (RFS) duration of 18 months (median, 24 v 42 months, respectively; P < .001), and significantly extended event-free survival (EFS; median, 23 v 35 months, respectively; P = .001). Administration of a second transplantation and of novel agents for treating sequential relapses in up to 50% of patients randomly assigned to receive a single ASCT likely contributed to prolong the survival duration of the whole group, whose 7-year rate (46%) was similar to that of the double-transplantation group (43%; P = .90). Transplantation-related mortality was 3% in arm A and 4% in arm B (P = .70).

Conclusion: In comparison with a single ASCT as up-front therapy for newly diagnosed MM, double ASCT effected superior CR or nCR rate, RFS, and EFS, but failed to significantly prolong overall survival. Benefits offered by double ASCT were particularly evident among patients who failed at least nCR after one autotransplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2006.10.2509DOI Listing
June 2007

Secondary lung tumors in hematological patients.

Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2005 Oct;26(5):520-6

Division of Oncology and Diagnostics, Ospedale G. B. Morgagni, Forlì, Italy.

Advances made in the field of chemotherapy and radiotherapy have considerably increased the survival of patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Unfortunately, these antiblastic therapies have also increased the risk of late complications such as second tumors, especially second lung cancers. Although the role of ionizing radiations in carcinogenesis is now clear, less is known about the damage caused by chemotherapy, immunodeficiency induced by drugs or hematological pathologies, and cigarette smoking. In HD, the relative risk (RR) of second lung cancer increases considerably in relation to the dose of ionizing radiation given to the patient, with an RR of 9.6 when more than 9 Gy are administered. Some studies have reported a significantly higher risk of second lung cancers in smokers compared with nonsmokers ( p = .03). The role of chemotherapy in the development of second lung cancers has yet to be determined. Although some authors correlate a greater risk with an increased number of chemotherapy cycles, others maintain that chemotherapy increases the risk of second lung cancer only if associated with cigarette smoking. Even less is known about the correlation between NHL and second lung cancer. Although the RR is higher in long-term NHL survivors than in healthy individuals (RR = 1.36), the heterogeneity of histotype and treatment does not permit us to confirm a correlation with chemotherapy and smoking. Conversely, in CLL, the development of second lung cancer appears to be linked to the immunodeficiency that accompanies this hematological malignancy. This is confirmed by the identical RR (1.66) for CLL patients subjected to chemotherapy and for those who have only follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-2005-922035DOI Listing
October 2005

Low dose gemtuzumab ozogamicin for relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia in elderly.

Haematologica 2003 Dec;88(12):ECR37

Institute of Haematology and Medical Oncology L. and A. Seràgnoli, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.

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December 2003

Melphalan-prednisone versus alternating combination VAD/MP or VND/MP as primary therapy for multiple myeloma: final analysis of a randomized clinical study.

Haematologica 2002 Sep;87(9):934-42

Institute of Hematology and Medical Oncology Seràgnoli, via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.

Background And Objectives: In the absence of a cure for multiple myeloma (MM) with standard-dose therapy, any strategy that can be expected to increase tumor reduction and to extend survival duration is likely to be of clinical relevance. The primary end-point of the present study was to investigate whether the alternating combination of vincristine-doxorubicin-dexamethasone (VAD) and melphalan-prednisone (MP) or vincristine-mitoxantrone-dexamethasone (VND) and MP could improve the clinical outcome of MM patients thus treated in comparison with those receiving MP alone.

Design And Methods: Between November 1990 and April 1994, 527 previously untreated, stage I-III, MM patients from 29 Italian institutions were randomized to receive one of three remission induction chemotherapy regimens consisting of 8-monthly courses of either MP alone or alternating VAD/MP or VND/MP.

Results: On an intent-to-treat basis, the objective response rates were 53% with MP (objective + minor: 67%), 47% with VAD/MP (objective + minor: 61%) and 49% with VND/MP (objective + minor: 61%). Median survival duration was 36.5 months with MP, 29 months with VAD/MP and 32.5 months with VND/MP. The difference among these groups was not statistically significant, even after stratifying patients into high-risk and low-risk subgroups, as assessed by a multifactor proportional hazard analysis. In both younger and elderly patients, severe granulocytopenia and related infections were significantly more frequent with VND/MP compared to the remaining arms of treatment (p < 0.001 and p = 0.009, respectively). Similarly, the frequency of WHO grade III-IV cardiovascular events was significantly higher for patients receiving anthracycline-containing regimens (VND/MP and VAD/MP) than for those treated with MP alone (p = 0.04).

Interpretation And Conclusions: Alternating VAD/MP and VND/MP failed to improve the clinical outcome for MM patients, at the cost of increased toxicity and morbidity. Resistance to standard-dose chemotherapy remains a significant obstacle to the treatment of MM.
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September 2002

Salvage therapy with thalidomide in patients with advanced relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

Haematologica 2002 Apr;87(4):408-14

Istituto di Ematologia e Oncologia Medica "L. e A. Seràgnoli", Policlinico S. Orsola, via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.

Background And Objectives: Few therapeutic options are presently available for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who relapse after autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation, or for patients who are refractory to conventional chemotherapy and not eligible for salvage high-dose therapy. Thalidomide, a glutamic acid derivative with anti-angiogenic properties, has been recently proposed as an effective therapy for patients with advanced refractory disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the activity of thalidomide in a large series of MM patients.

Design And Methods: From October 1999 to January 2001, 65 patients (46 males/19 females) from 8 Italian institutions were treated with thalidomide. Twenty-six patients had relapsed after autologous stem cell transplantation, either single (n = 12) or double (n= 12); 38 patients had shown disease progression after >= 2 lines of conventional chemotherapy, 2 patients had relapsed after allotransplant, one single patient had not received previous treatment. Sixty-one (93.8%) patients were in stage III, median b2 microglobulin was 2.9 mg/L, and median bone marrow plasma cell infiltration was 50%. Thalidomide was initially administered at a dose of 100 mg/day; if well tolerated, the dose was to be increased serially by 200mg every other week to a maximum of 800 mg/day.

Results: The median administered dose of thalidomide was 400 mg/day. WHO grade > II toxic effects were constipation (52%), lethargy (34%), skin rash (11%), peripheral neuropathy (14%) and leukopenia (3%). Sixty patients are presently evaluable for response; of these, 17 (28.3%) showed > or = 50% reduction in serum or urinary M protein concentration and 11 (18.3%) showed > or = 25% tumor reduction, for a total response rate averaging 46.6%. After a median of 8 months' follow-up, 15/28 patients are alive and progression-free (at 2 to 16 months), 12 patients have relapsed, and 1 patient died of pulmonary edema while still in partial remission. Among pre-treatment variables that were analyzed for their potential relationship with tumor response, only the concentration of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the conditioned media obtained upon culture of bone marrow plasma cells was statistically significant. Plasma cells from patients who responded favorably to thalidomide secreted a significantly lower amount of VEGF than plasma cells from resistant patients (126.45 165 pg/mL vs 227.11 70 pg/mL, p=0.04).

Interpretation And Conclusions: These data confirm that thalidomide is active in patients with advanced relapsed/refractory MM and represent the basis for ongoing clinical trials aimed at testing the role of this drug as front line therapy for newly diagnosed disease.
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April 2002