Publications by authors named "Susanna Fenu"

26 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Iron overload alters the energy metabolism in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: results from the multicenter FISM BIOFER study.

Sci Rep 2020 06 8;10(1):9156. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are hematological malignancies characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis and increased apoptosis in the bone marrow, which cause peripheral cytopenia. Mitochondria are key regulators of apoptosis and a site of iron accumulation that favors reactive oxygen species (ROS) production with detrimental effects on cell survival. Although the energy metabolism could represent an attractive therapeutic target, it was poorly investigated in MDS. The purpose of the study was to analyze how the presence of myelodysplastic hematopoiesis, iron overload and chelation impact on mitochondrial metabolism. We compared energy balance, OxPhos activity and efficiency, lactic dehydrogenase activity and lipid peroxidation in mononuclear cells (MNCs), isolated from 38 MDS patients and 79 healthy controls. Our data show that ATP/AMP ratio is reduced during aging and even more in MDS due to a decreased OxPhos activity associated with an increment of lipid peroxidation. Moreover, the lactate fermentation enhancement was observed in MDS and elderly subjects, probably as an attempt to restore the energy balance. The biochemical alterations of MNCs from MDS patients have been partially restored by the in vitro iron chelation, while only slight effects were observed in the age-matched control samples. By contrast, the addition of iron chelators on MNCs from young healthy subjects determined a decrement in the OxPhos efficiency and an increment of lactate fermentation and lipid peroxidation. In summary, MDS-MNCs display an altered energy metabolism associated with increased oxidative stress, due to iron accumulation. This condition could be partially restored by iron chelation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66162-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280296PMC
June 2020

A Population-Based Study on Myelodysplastic Syndromes in the Lazio Region (Italy), Medical Miscoding and 11-Year Mortality Follow-Up: the Gruppo Romano-Laziale Mielodisplasie Experience of Retrospective Multicentric Registry.

Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 2017 1;9(1):e2017046. Epub 2017 Jul 1.

Hematology Institute Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Rome (Italy).

Data on Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are difficult to collect by cancer registries because of the lack of reporting and the use of different classifications of the disease. In the Lazio Region, data from patients with a confirmed diagnosis of MDS, treated by a hematology center, have been collected since 2002 by the Gruppo Romano-Laziale Mielodisplasie (GROM-L) registry, the second MDS registry existing in Italy. This study aimed at evaluating MDS medical miscoding during hospitalizations, and patients' survival. For these purposes, we selected 644 MDS patients enrolled in the GROM-L registry. This cohort was linked with two regional health information systems: the Hospital Information System (HIS) and the Mortality Information System (MIS) in the 2002-2012 period. Of the 442 patients who were hospitalized at least once during the study period, 92% had up to 12 hospitalizations. 28.5% of patients had no hospitalization episodes scored like MDS, code 238.7 of the International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM). The rate of death during a median follow-up of 46 months (range 0.9-130) was 45.5%. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) was the first cause of mortality, interestingly a relevant portion of deaths is due to cerebro-cardiovascular events and second tumors. This study highlights that MDS diagnosis and treatment, which require considerable healthcare resources, tend to be under-documented in the HIS archive. Thus we need to improve the HIS to better identify information on MDS hospitalizations and outcome. Moreover, we underline the importance of comorbidity in MDS patients' survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4084/MJHID.2017.046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499502PMC
July 2017

ITACA: A new validated international erythropoietic stimulating agent-response score that further refines the predictive power of previous scoring systems.

Am J Hematol 2017 Oct 29;92(10):1037-1046. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences, 2075 Bayview Ave, Toronto, Ontario, 4N3M5, Canada.

Background: In 'real-life', the Nordic score guides Erythropoietic stimulating agent (ESA) use in lower-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) with predicted response rates of 25% or 74%. As new treatments emerge, a more discriminating score is needed.

Objectives: To validate existing ESA predictive scores and develop a new score that identifies non-responders.

Methods: ESA-treated patients were identified in 3 MDS registries in Italy and Canada (FISM 555, GROM 233, and MDS-CAN 208). Clinical and disease-related variables were captured. Nordic, MDS-CAN, and IPSS-R-based ESA scores were calculated and documented ESA responses compared.

Results: 996 ESA-treated patients were identified. Overall response rate (ORR) was 59%. The database was randomly divided into balanced derivation (n = 463) and validation (n = 462) cohorts. By multivariate analysis, transfusion independence, erythropoietin (EPO) level <100 IU/L, and IPSS low-risk were independently predictive of response. Assigning a score of 1 to each resulted in a scoring system of 0-3 with response rates of 23%, 43%, 67%, and 85%. ORR was concordant in the validation cohort. The 'ITACA' score had the highest discriminating power of response.

Conclusion: ITACA is an internally-validated predictive SS of ESA response in real-life 'good risk' MDS patients derived from a large international dataset that surpasses others. The incorporation of biologic markers to better identify non-responders is still needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24842DOI Listing
October 2017

Iron-chelating therapy with deferasirox in transfusion-dependent, higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes: a retrospective, multicentre study.

Br J Haematol 2017 06 17;177(5):741-750. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

FISM, Fondazione Italiana Sindromi Mielodisplastiche, Alessandria, Italy.

Iron chelation is controversial in higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes (HR-MDS), outside the allogeneic transplant setting. We conducted a retrospective, multicentre study in 51 patients with transfusion-dependent, intermediate-to-very high risk MDS, according to the revised international prognostic scoring system, treated with the oral iron chelating agent deferasirox (DFX). Thirty-six patients (71%) received azacitidine concomitantly. DFX was given at a median dose of 1000 mg/day (range 375-2500 mg) for a median of 11 months (range 0·4-75). Eight patients (16%) showed grade 2-3 toxicities (renal or gastrointestinal), 4 of whom (8%) required drug interruption. Median ferritin levels decreased from 1709 μg/l at baseline to 1100 μg/l after 12 months of treatment (P = 0·02). Seventeen patients showed abnormal transaminase levels at baseline, which improved or normalized under DFX treatment in eight cases. One patient showed a remarkable haematological improvement. At a median follow up of 35·3 months, median overall survival was 37·5 months. The results of this first survey of DFX in HR-MDS are comparable, in terms of safety and efficacy, with those observed in lower-risk MDS. Though larger, prospective studies are required to demonstrate real clinical benefits, our data suggest that DFX is feasible and might be considered in a selected cohort of HR-MDS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.14621DOI Listing
June 2017

Real-life use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in myelodysplastic syndromes: a "Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie (GROM)" multicenter study.

Ann Hematol 2016 Jun 19;95(7):1059-65. Epub 2016 Apr 19.

Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, University "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy.

The Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie (GROM) conducted a retrospective study in 543 patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) in "real-life" clinical practice. The 40.000-UI/week erythropoietin (EPO)-alpha and 30.000-UI/week EPO-beta starting dose were defined "standard," and 80,000 UI/week EPO-alpha and 60.000 UI/week EPO-beta were defined "high." Response was defined according to International Working Group (IWG) 2006 criteria. At ESA's start, median age was 74.2 years (interquartile range (IR) 67.8-79.5) and median hemoglobin was 8.9 g/dl (IR 8.2-9.6). Median time from diagnosis to ESAs start was 3.8 months (IR 0.8-13.2). ESA starting dose was "standard" in 361 patients (66.5 %) and "high" in 182 patients (33.5 %). Erythroid response was observed in 82/185 (44.3 %) transfusion dependent (TD) patients as compared with 226/329 (68.6 %) transfusion independent (TI) ones (p < 0.001). At multivariate analysis, in TD patients, only endogenous EPO levels <50 mU/l were significant (p = 0.046), whereas in TI patients, high-dose ESAs (p < 0.001), abnormal creatinine levels (0.009), and endogenous EPO levels <50 mU/l (p = 0.014) were predictors of response. Responders showed a higher 5-year overall survival (OS) (57.8 vs. 32.2 %, p < 0.001) and leukemia-free survival (76.0 vs. 49.8 %, p < 0.001). At multivariable analysis for OS, response to ESA, low International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), no transfusion need, and female sex showed an independent favorable prognostic role. Our results confirm that treatment with ESAs is effective in a real-life MDS setting, particularly at high dose and in TI patients. Prospective studies are needed to define the optimal starting dose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-016-2667-1DOI Listing
June 2016

Standard dose and prolonged administration of azacitidine are associated with improved efficacy in a real-world group of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome or low blast count acute myeloid leukemia.

Eur J Haematol 2016 Apr 21;96(4):344-51. Epub 2015 Jun 21.

Department of Hematology, Universita' La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Objective: Azacitidine is the standard of care for higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We evaluated factors affecting the outcome of azacitidine treatment in 196 'real-world' patients, retrospectively collected by two Italian cooperative groups.

Methods: The study included 184 MDS and 12 low blast count acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Azacitidine was administered at the standard dose of 75 mg/m(2)/d for 7 d (SD) in 163 patients and 100 mg/d for 5-7 d in 33 patients.

Results: After a median of 4.5 azacitidine cycles (range 7-15 cycles), 182 patients were evaluable for response. Nineteen percent achieved complete remission (CR), 17% partial remission (PR), and 21% hematological improvement (HI). The disease was stable or progressive in 29% and 14% of patients, respectively. The probability of response was significantly higher in patients who received the 75 mg/m(2)/7 d compared with 100 mg through 5-7 d dose (CR/PR/HI: 63 vs. 29%, P = 0.0005). Median overall survival was 17.1 months. Low MDS-CI and achievement of CR/PR/HI were significant predictors of survival in the multivariable analysis.

Conclusions: Our data show that maximal azacitidine efficacy is associated with the standard dose and with prolonged treatment, beyond 4-6 cycles, with the goal of also improving the 'quality' of response. Lower MDS-CI and IPSS-R scores, hematologic response and disease stability, are associated with longer survival. The risk of febrile events is highest during the first treatment cycles and is associated with active disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12595DOI Listing
April 2016

Deferasirox chelation therapy in patients with transfusion-dependent MDS: a 'real-world' report from two regional Italian registries: Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie and Registro Basilicata.

Eur J Haematol 2015 Jul 12;95(1):52-6. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Ematologia, Fondazione Policlinico Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

Deferasirox (DFX) is an orally administered iron chelator approved for use in patients with transfusion-dependent iron overload due to myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The safety and efficacy of DFX has been explored in clinical trial settings, but there is little data on unselected patients with MDS. The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the safety, compliance, efficacy and effect on haematopoiesis of DFX in a large 'real-world' MDS population. One hundred and eighteen patients with transfusion-dependent MDS were treated with DFX across 11 centres in Italy. Serum ferritin levels, haematological response, dosing, adverse events and transfusion dependence were recorded at baseline, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months following initiation of treatment. DFX reduced mean serum ferritin levels from 1790 to 1140 ng/mL (P < 0.001), with 7.1% of patients achieving transfusion independence. Significant haematological improvement was seen in erythroid (17.6%), platelet (5.9%) and neutrophil counts (7.1%). Adverse events were reported in 47.5% of patients, including gastrointestinal and renal toxicity. Regression analysis showed that higher starting doses of DFX are associated with transfusion independence at 24 months. DFX is a safe, effective treatment for transfusion-dependent MDS that can lead to transfusion independence and haematological improvement in a subset of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12476DOI Listing
July 2015

An increase in hemoglobin, platelets and white blood cells levels by iron chelation as single treatment in multitransfused patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: clinical evidences and possible biological mechanisms.

Ann Hematol 2015 May 7;94(5):771-7. Epub 2015 Mar 7.

Hematology, Department of Cellular Biotechnologies and Hematology, Sapienza University, Via Benevento 6, 00161, Rome, Italy,

Iron chelation therapy can improve hematopoiesis in myelodysplastic syndromes. Only few studies showed hematologic improvement with deferoxamine, and the erythroid responses were correlated with good compliance to long-term treatment. Indeed, single-case reports and data from clinical trials testing the efficacy of deferasirox reported hematologic improvements with varying rates of response in different lineages. Overall, about 760 myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients with iron overload receiving deferasirox were included in six different studies, and an increase in hemoglobin level was reported to range from 6 to 44.5%, an increase in platelet count from 13 to 61%, and in neutrophil count from 3 to 76%. In all the published studies, hematologic improvements were not related to serum ferritin or to non-total binding iron changes; indeed, other pathways were indicated as possible pathogenetic mechanisms, such as decreased NF-kB activity, modulation of mTOR signalling, and reduced reactive oxygen species. The aims of this review are to provide all available information relating clinical and hematologic changes after chelation therapy and to discuss potential mechanisms involved in such responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-015-2341-zDOI Listing
May 2015

Prospective study of hepatitis B virus reactivation in patients with hematological malignancies.

Ann Hepatol 2015 Mar-Apr;14(2):168-74

Department of Internal Medicine Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.

Background And Aim: The best strategy for managing patients with resolved hepatitis B virus infection (HBsAg negative, anti-HBc antibodies positive with or without anti-HBs antibodies) and hematological malignancies under immunosuppressive therapies has not been defined. The aim of this study was to prospectively analyze the risk of hepatitis B virus reactivation in these patients.

Material And Methods: Twenty-three patients (20 positive for anti-HBs) were enrolled. Eleven patients underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (autologous in 7 cases, allogeneic in 4 cases) while the remaining 12 were treated with immunosuppressive regimens (including rituximab in 9 cases).

Results: During the study no patient presented acute hepatitis. However, three anti-HBc/anti-HBs positive patients who were treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation demonstrated hepatitis B virus reactivation within 12 months from transplant. No one of the remaining patients showed hepatitis B virus reverse seroconversion.

Conclusions: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a high risk condition for late hepatitis B virus reactivation in patients with resolved infection. Reverse seroconversion seems to be a rare event in anti-HBc/anti-HBs positive patients submitted to autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or systemic chemotherapy with or without rituximab.
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October 2015

Characteristics and outcome of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms: Report from the Italian network on secondary leukemias.

Am J Hematol 2015 May 3;90(5):E80-5. Epub 2015 Mar 3.

Department of Hematology, Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore Roma, Roma, Italy.

Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN) are a complication of cytotoxic treatment for primary tumors and autoimmune diseases. We report data on 277 t-MN patients, recruited between 1999 and 2013 by the Italian Network on Secondary Leukemias (104 retrospectively and 173 prospectively registered). Median age at t-MN diagnosis was 64 years (range, 21-87). Most frequent primary malignancies (PMs) were lymphoproliferative diseases and breast cancer. One hundred and thirty-three patients had received chemotherapy (CHT), 43 patients radiotherapy (RT), and 101 patients combined CHT/RT for PM. Median time between cytotoxic treatment and t-MN was 5.7 years, with t-MN following RT alone associated with significantly longer latency, compared to CHT or combined CHT/RT (mean, 11.2 vs. 7.1 years, P = 0.0005). The addition of topoisomerase-II inhibitors to alkylating agents was associated with shorter latency compared to alkylating agents alone (median, 6 vs. 8.4 years, P = 0.02). Median survival was 14.6 months from t-MN diagnosis, and was significantly longer in patients treated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Significant factors for survival at the multivariable analysis included age, adverse karyotype, and degree of anemia. Our data underline the prognostic importance of karyotype and age in t-MN, similar to de novo acute myeloid leukemia. Treatment approaches should not preclude the use of conventional treatments for younger t-MN patients, including allogeneic stem cell transplantation as potentially curative approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.23966DOI Listing
May 2015

Prevalence, severity and correlates of fatigue in newly diagnosed patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

Br J Haematol 2015 Feb 1;168(3):361-70. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

Data Centre and Health Outcomes Research Unit, Italian Group for Adult Haematological Diseases (GIMEMA), Rome, Italy.

The primary objective of this study was to investigate factors associated with fatigue severity in newly diagnosed patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The secondary objectives were to assess symptom prevalence and to examine the relationships between fatigue, quality of life (QoL) and overall symptom burden in these patients. The analyses were conducted in 280 higher-risk MDS patients. Pre-treatment patient-reported fatigue was evaluated with the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue scale and QoL was assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30). Female gender (P = 0·018), poor performance status (i.e., ECOG of 2-4) (P < 0·001) and lower levels of haemoglobin (Hb) (P = 0·026) were independently associated with higher fatigue severity. The three most prevalent symptoms were as follows: fatigue (92%), dyspnoea (63%) and pain (55%). Patients with higher levels of fatigue also had greater overall symptom burdens. The mean global QoL scores of patients with the highest versus those with the lowest levels of fatigue were 29·2 [standard deviation (SD), 18·3] and 69·0 (SD, 18·8), respectively and this difference was four times the magnitude of a clinically meaningful difference. Patient-reported fatigue severity revealed the effects of disease burden on overall QoL more accurately than did degree of anaemia. Special attention should be given to the female patients in the management of fatigue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.13138DOI Listing
February 2015

Health-related quality of life in transfusion-dependent patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: a prospective study to assess the impact of iron chelation therapy.

BMJ Support Palliat Care 2016 Mar 9;6(1):80-8. Epub 2014 Sep 9.

Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Ospedale Oncologico di Riferimento Regionale "Armando Businco", Cagliari, Italy.

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in lower-risk, transfusion-dependent patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) treated with deferasirox. A secondary objective was to investigate the relationship between HRQOL, serum ferritin levels and transfusion dependency.

Patients And Methods: This was a prospective multicentre study enrolling 159 patients, of whom 152 received at least one dose of deferasirox. HRQOL was assessed with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) at baseline and then at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Primary analysis was performed estimating mean HRQOL scores over time by a linear mixed model on selected scales.

Results: The median age of treated patients was 72 years (range 24-87 years). No statistically significant changes over time were found in mean scores for global health status/quality of life (p=0.564), physical functioning (p=0.409) and fatigue (p=0.471) scales. Also, no significant changes were found for constipation (p=0.292), diarrhoea (p=0.815) and nausea and vomiting (p=0.643). Serum ferritin levels were not associated with HRQOL outcomes. A higher patient-reported baseline pain severity was an independent predictive factor of an earlier achievement of transfusion independence with a HR of 1.032 (99% CI 1.004 to 1.060; p=0.003).

Conclusions: HRQOL of transfusion-dependent patients with MDS receiving deferasirox therapy remains stable over time. HRQOL assessment might also provide important predictive information on treatment outcomes.

Trial Registration Number: NCT00469560.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2014-000726DOI Listing
March 2016

Recombinant human erythropoietin in very elderly patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: results from a retrospective study.

Ann Hematol 2014 Aug 20;93(8):1413-20. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Sant'Andrea Hospital, Hematology Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189, Rome, Italy,

Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are common in elderly patients. Recombinant human erythro-poietin (rHuEPO) has been widely used to treat anemia in lower risk MDS patients, but few data are known about rHuEPO treatment in the very elderly patient group. In order to investigate the role of rHuEPO treatment in terms of response, overall survival (OS), and toxicity in a very elderly MDS patient group, 93 MDS patients treated with rHuEPO when aged ≥80 years were selected among MDS cases enrolled in a retrospective multicenter study by the cooperative group Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie (GROM) from Jan 2002 to Dec 2010. At baseline, median age was 82.7 (range 80-99.1) with a median hemoglobin (Hb) level of 9 g/dl (range 6-10.8). The initial dose of rHuEPO was standard (epoetin alpha 40,000 IU/week or epoetin beta 30,000 IU/week) in 59 (63.4 %) patients or high in 34 (36.6 %) (epoetin alpha 80,000 IU/week) patients. We observed an erythroid response (ER) in 59 (63.4 %) patients. No thrombotic event was reported. Independent predictive factors for ER were low transfusion requirement before treatment (p = 0.004), ferritin <200 ng/ml (p = 0.017), Hb >8 g/dl (p = 0.034), and a high-dose rHuEPO treatment (p = 0.032). Median OS from rHuEPO start was 49.3 months (95 % CI 27.5-68.4) in responders versus 30.6 months (95 % CI 7.3-53.8) in resistant patients (p = 0.185). In conclusion, rHuEPO treatment is safe and effective also in the very elderly MDS patients. However, further larger studies are warranted to evaluate if EPO treatment could be worthwhile in terms of quality of life and cost-efficacy in very old patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-014-2053-9DOI Listing
August 2014

Deferasirox for transfusion-dependent patients with myelodysplastic syndromes: safety, efficacy, and beyond (GIMEMA MDS0306 Trial).

Eur J Haematol 2014 Jun 10;92(6):527-36. Epub 2014 Apr 10.

Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Ospedale Oncologico di Riferimento Regionale "Armando Businco", Cagliari, Italy.

Background: In the absence of randomized, controlled trial data to support iron chelation therapy in transfusion-dependent patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), continued evidence from large prospective clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of iron chelation therapy in this patient population is warranted.

Methods: The safety and efficacy of deferasirox was examined in a prospective, open-label, single-arm, multicenter trial of transfusion-dependent patients with International Prognostic Scoring System low- or intermediate-1-risk MDS and evidence of transfusion-related iron overload. The effects of deferasirox therapy on hematological response and disease progression were also examined.

Results: Of 159 participants enrolled from 37 Italian centers, 152 received ≥1 dose of deferasirox (initiated at 10-20 mg/kg/day and titrated as appropriate), and 68 completed the study. Of 84 patients who discontinued deferasirox therapy, 22 died during the trial, and 28 withdrew due to an adverse event (AE). Fourteen treatment-related grade 3 AEs occurred in 11 patients, whereas no grade 4 or 5 drug-related AEs were reported. Significant risks for dropout were a higher serum ferritin level at baseline, a higher MDS-Specific Comorbidity Index, and a shorter diagnosis-enrollment interval. Median serum ferritin level fell from 1966 ng/mL to 1475 ng/mL (P < 0.0001). The cumulative incidence of transfusion independence, adjusted for death and disease progression, was 2.6%, 12.3%, and 15.5% after 6, 9, and 12 months, respectively.

Conclusions: Deferasirox therapy in transfusion-dependent patients with MDS was moderately well tolerated and effectively lowered serum ferritin levels. Positive hematological responses were observed, and a subset of patients achieved transfusion independence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12300DOI Listing
June 2014

Real-life experience with azacitidine in myelodysplastic syndromes according to IPSS cytogenetic profile.

Am J Hematol 2014 May 28;89(5):565. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

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

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.23677DOI Listing
May 2014

Genomic analysis of therapy-related acute promyelocytic leukemias arising after malignant and non-malignant disorders.

Am J Hematol 2014 Mar;89(3):346-7

Department of Biopathology, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; Laboratorio di Neuro-Oncoematologia, Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.23646DOI Listing
March 2014

Revised International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) predicts survival and leukemic evolution of myelodysplastic syndromes significantly better than IPSS and WHO Prognostic Scoring System: validation by the Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie Italian Regional Database.

J Clin Oncol 2013 Jul 24;31(21):2671-7. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Department of Hematology, Universita' Cattolica S. Cuore, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: The definition of disease-specific prognostic scores plays a fundamental role in the treatment decision-making process in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a group of myeloid disorders characterized by a heterogeneous clinical behavior.

Patients And Methods: We applied the recently published Revised International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS-R) to 380 patients with MDS, registered in an Italian regional database, recruiting patients from the city of Rome (Gruppo Romano Mielodisplasie). Patients were selected based on the availability of IPSS-R prognostic factors, including complete peripheral-blood and bone marrow counts, informative cytogenetics, and follow-up data.

Results: We validated the IPSS-R score as a significant predictor of overall survival (OS) and leukemia-free survival (LFS) in MDS (P < .001 for both). When comparing the prognostic value of the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), WHO Prognostic Scoring System (WPSS), and IPSS-R, using the Cox regression model and the likelihood ratio test, a significantly higher predictive power for LFS and OS became evident for the IPSS-R, compared with the IPSS and WPSS (P < .001 for both). The multivariate analysis, including IPSS, WPSS, age, lactate dehydrogenase, ferritin concentration, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, transfusion dependency, and type of therapy, confirmed the significant prognostic value of IPSS-R subgroups for LFS and OS. Treatment with lenalidomide and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents was shown to be an independent predictor of survival in the multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Our data confirm that the IPSS-R is an excellent prognostic tool in MDS in the era of disease-modifying treatments. The early recognition of patients at high risk of progression to aggressive disease may optimize treatment timing in MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2012.48.0764DOI Listing
July 2013

Advanced pediatric myelodysplastic syndromes: can immunophenotypic characterization of blast cells be a diagnostic and prognostic tool?

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2009 Mar;52(3):357-63

Department of Pediatrics, Laboratory of Pediatric Onco-Hematology, University Hospital of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Background: The diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) is mainly based on morphology and cytogenetic analysis. Several efforts to analyze MDS by flow cytometry have been reported in adults. These studies have focused on the identification of abnormalities in the maturation pathway of antigen expression of myelo-monocytic cells, and characterization of blast populations. Therefore, phenotype has been proposed as a diagnostic and prognostic criterion tool for adult MDS. The current article provides data concerning the blast phenotype in pediatric MDS.

Procedure: We evaluated by multiparameter flow cytometry 26 MDS pediatric patients with more than 2% of blast cells at bone marrow morphological examination (17 de novo MDS and 9 secondary MDS) and 145 pediatric de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases (M3 excluded). As control group, 12 healthy age-matched donors for allogenic bone marrow transplantation (BMD) and 6 regenerating bone marrow samples, collected from children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in remission after induction chemotherapy, were studied.

Results: We identified a blast immunophenotype typically expressed in most MDS cases and a strong correlation between CD7 expression and poor outcome. CD34+ compartment in MDS bone marrow was also analyzed: a significant decrease of B-cell precursors was detected in MDS patients independent of age.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that the blasts phenotypic features can constitute a diagnostic and prognostic tool also for pediatric MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.21874DOI Listing
March 2009

Sequential valproic acid/all-trans retinoic acid treatment reprograms differentiation in refractory and high-risk acute myeloid leukemia.

Cancer Res 2006 Sep;66(17):8903-11

Department of Cellular Biotechnology and Hematology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Epigenetic alterations of chromatin due to aberrant histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity and transcriptional silencing of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) pathway are events linked to the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that can be targeted by specific treatments. A pilot study was carried out in eight refractory or high-risk AML patients not eligible for intensive therapy to assess the biological and therapeutic activities of the HDAC inhibitor valproic acid (VPA) used to remodel chromatin, followed by the addition of ATRA, to activate gene transcription and differentiation in leukemic cells. Hyperacetylation of histones H3 and H4 was detectable at therapeutic VPA serum levels (>or=50 microg/mL) in blood mononuclear cells from seven of eight patients. This correlated with myelomonocytic differentiation of leukemic cells as revealed by morphologic, cytochemical, immunophenotypic, and gene expression analyses. Differentiation of the leukemic clone was proven by fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis showing the cytogenetic lesion +8 or 7q- in differentiating cells. Hematologic improvement, according to established criteria for myelodysplastic syndromes, was observed in two cases. Stable disease and disease progression were observed in five and one cases, respectively. In conclusion, VPA-ATRA treatment is well tolerated and induces phenotypic changes of AML blasts through chromatin remodeling. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether VPA-ATRA treatment by reprogramming differentiation of the leukemic clone might improve the response to chemotherapy in leukemia patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-2726DOI Listing
September 2006

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in children with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML): results of the EWOG-MDS/EBMT trial.

Blood 2005 Jan 7;105(1):410-9. Epub 2004 Sep 7.

Oncoematologia Pediatrica, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only proven curative therapy for juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). We, the European Working Group on Childhood MDS (EWOG-MDS) and the European Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) Group, report the outcome of 100 children (67 boys and 33 girls) with JMML given unmanipulated HSCT after a preparative regimen including busulfan, cyclophosphamide, and melphalan. Forty-eight and 52 children received transplants from an HLA-identical relative or an unrelated donor (UD), respectively. The source of hematopoietic stem cells was bone marrow, peripheral blood, and cord blood in 79, 14, and 7 children, respectively. Splenectomy had been performed before HSCT in 24 children. The 5-year cumulative incidence of transplantation-related mortality and leukemia recurrence was 13% and 35%, respectively. Age older than 4 years predicted an increased risk of disease recurrence. The 5-year probability of event-free survival for children given HSCT from either a relative or a UD was 55% and 49%, respectively (P = NS), with median observation time of patients alive being 40 months (range, 6 to 144). In multivariate analysis, age older than 4 years and female sex predicted poorer outcome. Results of this study compare favorably with previously published reports. Disease recurrence remains the major cause of treatment failure. Outcome of UD-HSCT recipients is comparable to that of children receiving transplants from an HLA-identical sibling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2004-05-1944DOI Listing
January 2005

Refractory anemia in childhood: a retrospective analysis of 67 patients with particular reference to monosomy 7.

Blood 2003 Sep 22;102(6):1997-2003. Epub 2003 May 22.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Mathildenstrasse 1, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.

Primary myelodysplasia (MDS) without an increased number of blasts is a rare finding in childhood. We performed a retrospective analysis of 67 children with a diagnosis of primary MDS to determine the clinical and hematologic course of the disease. The median age at diagnosis was 8.3 years (range, 0.3-18.1 years). In contrast to refractory anemia in adults, 44% of patients had hemoglobin levels greater than 10 g/100 mL. The median white blood cell count and the absolute neutrophil count were 3.6 x 109/L and 0.9 x 109/L, respectively. Seventy-five percent of patients had thrombocytopenia. Bone marrow was hypocellular in 43% of the patients. Results of cytogenetic analysis showed monosomy 7 in 49%, trisomy 8 in 9%, and other abnormalities in 9% of the patients. The probability of survival 10 years after diagnosis was 0.48 (standard error [SE] = 0.10). Patients with monosomy 7 had significantly higher estimated probabilities of progression to advanced MDS than did patients with other chromosomal anomalies or normal karyotype. Of the 67 children, 41 underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). Patients whose disease did not progress to advanced MDS before SCT had significantly greater probability of survival than patients who experienced progression (0.76 [SE = 0.09] vs 0.36 [SE = 0.16]). SCT improved the outcomes for patients with monosomy 7 and should be offered early in the course of the disease. Recommendations for best treatment options for children with other chromosomal abnormalities or normal karyotype may have to await results of prospective clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2002-11-3444DOI Listing
September 2003

One-year cyclosporine prophylaxis reduces the risk of developing extensive chronic graft-versus-host disease after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation.

Haematologica 2003 Mar;88(3):315-23

Department of Cell Biotechnology and Hematology, University La Sapienza, via Benevento, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Background And Objectives: Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains the most common late complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation, producing significant long-term morbidity and contributing to a substantial risk of late mortality. Chronic GVHD may be more common, more protracted and less responsive to current treatments after peripheral-blood stem cell (PBSC) transplantation than after bone marrow transplantation. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to determine whether the hazard of extensive chronic GVHD after allogeneic PBSC transplantation could be decreased by prolonging cyclosporine A (CsA) prophylaxis over 12 months.

Design And Methods: Fifty-seven consecutive patients with hematologic malignancies who had received a PBSC transplant from an HLA-identical sibling were evaluable for chronic GVHD. All patients began CsA tapering at day 50 but 2 different durations of immunosuppression were used: the first 36 patients were allocated to receive a 6-month course with tapering by 5% at weekly intervals (group A), while the following 21 received a 12-month course with tapering by 5% every 2 weeks (group B).

Results: The cumulative incidence of extensive chronic GVHD at 2 years was 69% (95% CI, 53-85%) for group A and 25% (95% CI, 3-47%) for group B with a significantly lower hazard in group B than in group A (HR=0.2; 95% CI, 0.07-0.57; p=0.0009). In multivariate analysis, the 12-month CsA tapering schedule was associated with a significantly decreased risk of extensive chronic GVHD (HR=0.2; 95% CI, 0.06-0.66; p=0.008). The hazard of transplant-related mortality, relapse and failure to survive in remission was not significantly different among the 2 groups.

Interpretation And Conclusions: One-year CsA prophylaxis seems to be more effective than the standard six-month CsA regimen at preventing extensive chronic GVHD after PBSC transplant from an HLA-identical sibling. Conclusive assessment of the benefits of such prolonged immunosuppression, in terms of better quality of life and minor morbidity, requires both long-term follow-up to evaluate the rates of relapse and secondary tumors and a randomized setting.
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March 2003

Therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome-acute myelogenous leukemia in patients treated for acute promyelocytic leukemia: an emerging problem.

Blood 2002 Feb;99(3):822-4

Department of Human Biotechnologies and Hematology, University La Sapienza of Rome, Cattedra di Ematologia, Via Benevento 6-00161, Rome, Italy.

The use of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) in combination with chemotherapy has markedly improved the prognosis for patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL); the higher complete remission (CR) and survival rates now reported in this disease almost approach those obtained for other highly curable hematologic malignancies. Of 77 patients with APL who were consecutively treated at a single institution and who achieved CR after induction and consolidation therapy, 5 (6.5%) acquired therapy-related myelodysplasia (tMDS), acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), or both (tMDS-AML). Of these, 3 of 46 (6.5%) patients received front-line chemotherapy with or without ATRA and acquired tMDS-AML while in first remission of APL. Two underwent repeated chemotherapy cycles with ATRA because of APL relapse and acquired tMDS-AML while in the second or third remission of APL. In 2 patients, clinical and biologic characteristics of tMDS-AML were as expected for postalkylating forms (long latency, MDS phase preceding AML, karyotypic aberrations involving chromosomes 5 or 7), even though one of them had not previously received alkylating drugs. Three of the 5 patients died shortly after tMDS-AML diagnosis, one is alive with tMDS, and one is alive and in CR after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. The occurrence of tMDS-AML after successful therapy for APL is an emerging problem. The availability of prognostic score systems at initial diagnosis and monitoring of residual disease by polymerase chain reaction might allow better tailoring of treatment intensity in APL to spare unnecessary toxicity and to minimize the risk for tMDS-AML in patients who are presumably cured.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.v99.3.822DOI Listing
February 2002

Standard versus alternative myeloablative conditioning regimens in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for high-risk acute leukemia.

Haematologica 2002 Jan;87(1):52-8

Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Background And Objectives: To analyze the results of standard versus alternative myeloablative conditioning regimens in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for high-risk acute leukemia.

Design And Methods: From October 1986 to February 2000, 104 consecutive patients (male: n = 63; median age: 21, range 1.3-44.2 years) with high-risk acute leukemia underwent a non-T-cell depleted graft from an HLA-identical sibling following a standard or alternative myeloablative conditioning regimen. Sixty patients were affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and 44 by acute myeloid leukemia (AML); the phase at transplant was >= 2nd complete remission (CR) in 76, untreated 1st relapse with < 20% blasts in 11, refractory leukemia or overt resistant relapse in 17. Pre-transplant regimens consisting of either 12 Gy fractionated total body irradiation (TBI) or 16 mg/kg busulphan (BU) combined with cyclophosphamide (CY) were defined standard (n = 38), whereas all other myeloablative regimens (TBI plus 60 mg/kg etoposide and three-drug combinations) were considered alternative (n = 66).

Results: No significant differences in terms of baseline characteristics, incidence and severity of either acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) were observed between the two groups, but a significantly higher proportion of patients prepared with an alternative regimen were not evaluable for chronic GVHD (36% vs 16%) (p = 0.026). Sixty-six patients died, 38 of relapse, 26 of transplant-related mortality (TRM) and 2 of other causes. Thirty-eight patients are still alive with a follow-up ranging from 0.7 to 13.8 years (median, 7.1 years); only 1 of 39 patients who relapsed after transplant is alive in CR at 5.7 years from relapse. At the median follow-up, the actuarial probabilities of overall survival, relapse and TRM for patients conditioned with standard and alternative regimens are respectively 52% vs 25% (95% CI, 36-68% vs 13-37%; p = 0.0163), 34% vs 58% (95% CI, 18-51% vs 43-73%; p = 0.0377) and 25% vs 32% (95% CI, 9-40% vs 19-44%; p = ns). After adjustment for diagnosis, age, period, leukemia phase, duration of 1st CR, GVHD prophylaxis and donor-recipient sex combination, the multivariate analysis showed that alternative regimens are associated with a significantly worse survival (hazard ratio 2.31; p = 0.0071) and relapse rate (hazard ratio 2.75; p = 0.0187).

Interpretation And Conclusions: From this retrospective analysis we can conclude that the alternative myeloablative conditioning regimens we used did not improve the outcome of patients transplanted for high-risk acute leukemia.
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January 2002