Publications by authors named "Thamer Sliwa"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Comparison of nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine in elderly versus younger patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer: Analysis of a multicentre, prospective, non-interventional study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 6;143:101-112. Epub 2020 Dec 6.

Klinikum Klagenfurt Am Wörthersee, Internal Medicine and Oncology, Feschnigstraße 11, 9020, Klagenfurt, Austria. Electronic address:

Background: Pancreatic cancer (PC) ranks among the deadliest malignancies worldwide. In the MPACT study, first-line nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine (nab-P/G) demonstrated activity (median overall survival [OS], 8.7 months) and tolerability in patients with metastatic PC (mPC). However, the clinical evidence of nab-P/G in the elderly (>70 years), who account for the majority of patients with mPC, is limited. This is the first prospective, multicentre, non-interventional study evaluating the tolerability and effectiveness of nab-P/G in younger (≤70 years) versus elderly (>70 years) patients with mPC in the daily clinical routine.

Methods: Eligible patients with mPC were treated with nab-P/G and observed until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary objectives were safety and tolerability of nab-P/G, and the secondary objectives were efficacy and real-life dosing.

Results: A total of 317 patients with mPC (median age, 70 years) were recruited, of which 299, aged ≤70 (n = 162) and >70 (n = 137) years, were eligible for analysis. Baseline characteristics and the safety profile were comparable between the groups. However, fatigue (22.8% versus 13.0%) and decreased appetite (8.8% versus 1.2%) were more frequent in elderly patients. Younger versus elderly patients equally benefited in terms of objective response rate (36% versus 48%), median progression-free survival (5.6 versus 5.5 months; hazard ratio [HR] = 1.03; p = 0.81) and OS (10.6 versus 10.2 months; HR = 0.89; p = 0.4). In addition, the median treatment duration (5 versus 4 cycles), relative dose intensity (70% versus 74%) or reasons for treatment discontinuation were similar. Most patients (56.2% versus 47.4%) benefited from a second-line therapy.

Conclusion: This prospective real-world analysis confirms the feasibility and tolerability of nab-P/G treatment and reveals OS data similar for younger patients and elderly patients aged >70 years. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov Registration: NCT02555813.

Austrian Nis Registry: NIS005071.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.11.003DOI Listing
January 2021

Austrian recommendations for the management of essential thrombocythemia.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2021 Jan 19;133(1-2):52-61. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Blood Coagulation, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification, essential (primary) thrombocythemia (ET) is one of several Bcr-Abl negative chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). The classical term MPN covers the subcategories of MPN: ET, polycythemia vera (PV), primary myelofibrosis (PMF), and prefibrotic PMF (pPMF). ET is marked by clonal proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells, leading to a chronic overproduction of platelets. At the molecular level a JAK2 (Janus Kinase 2), calreticulin, or MPL mutation is found in the majority of patients. Typical ongoing complications of the disease include thrombosis and hemorrhage. Primary and secondary prevention of these complications can be achieved with platelet function inhibitors and various cytoreductive drugs including anagrelide, hydroxyurea and interferon. After a long follow up, in a minority of ET patients the disease transforms into post-ET myelofibrosis or secondary leukemia. Overall, life expectancy with ET is only slightly decreased.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-020-01761-3DOI Listing
January 2021

A multicenter retrospective evaluation of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) therapy in Austria assessing the impact of early treatment response on patient outcomes in a real-life setting : R-EFECT study.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2020 Aug 12;132(15-16):415-422. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology & Hemostaseology and Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Hematology and Oncology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Several clinical trials in chronic phase (CP) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) showed that early response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment results in an improved long-term survival and progression-free survival. This study assessed whether patients achieving early treatment response (ETR; partial cytogenetic response or BCR-ABL1 mRNA ≤10% at 3 months) in daily practice also have a long-term survival benefit.

Methods: The Retrospective Evaluation of Early response in CML for long-term Treatment outcome (R-EFECT), a multicenter, retrospective chart review, documented patients with newly diagnosed CML-CP starting first-line TKI therapy in routine clinical practice. The primary aim was to assess the 5‑year overall survival rate.

Results: Of the 211 patients from 12 centers across Austria (January 2004-May 2010), 176 (median age, 56 years) were included in the analysis. All patients received first-line therapy with imatinib. Overall, 136 patients (77.3%) achieved ETR (ETR+ group), whereas 40 (22.7%) did not reach ETR (ETR- group). The ETR+ group had higher 5‑year overall survival (92.5% vs. 77.5%, P = 0.018) and progression-free survival (95.6% vs. 87.5%, P = 0.06) rates compared with the ETR- group. As expected, more patients in the ETR- group were switched to another TKI. At the last contact, 120 patients were still on imatinib and 44 had switched to another TKI (25 to nilotinib, 15 to dasatinib, and 4 to bosutinib).

Conclusion: The data are in line with randomized trials demonstrating that ETR is associated with improved survival and thus confirmed these results in patients treated in daily clinical routine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-020-01690-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7445202PMC
August 2020

Correlation of RAS-Pathway Mutations and Spontaneous Myeloid Colony Growth with Progression and Transformation in Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia-A Retrospective Analysis in 337 Patients.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Apr 24;21(8). Epub 2020 Apr 24.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Although the RAS-pathway has been implicated as an important driver in the pathogenesis of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) a comprehensive study including molecular and functional analyses in patients with progression and transformation has not been performed. A close correlation between RASopathy gene mutations and spontaneous in vitro myeloid colony (CFU-GM) growth in CMML has been described. Molecular and/or functional analyses were performed in three cohorts of 337 CMML patients: in patients without (A, = 236) and with (B, = 61) progression/transformation during follow-up, and in patients already transformed at the time of sampling (C, = 40 + 26 who were before in B). The frequencies of RAS-pathway mutations (variant allele frequency ≥ 20%) in cohorts A, B, and C were 30%, 47%, and 71% ( < 0.0001), and of high colony growth (≥20/10 peripheral blood mononuclear cells) 31%, 44%, and 80% ( < 0.0001), respectively. Increases in allele burden of RAS-pathway mutations and in numbers of spontaneously formed CFU-GM before and after transformation could be shown in individual patients. Finally, the presence of mutations in RASopathy genes as well as the presence of high colony growth prior to transformation was significantly associated with an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) development. Together, RAS-pathway mutations in CMML correlate with an augmented autonomous expansion of neoplastic precursor cells and indicate an increased risk of AML development which may be relevant for targeted treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21083025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215883PMC
April 2020

The AST/ALT (De Ritis) ratio predicts clinical outcome in patients with pancreatic cancer treated with first-line nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine: analysis of an Austrian multicenter, noninterventional study.

Ther Adv Med Oncol 2020 10;12:1758835919900872. Epub 2020 Apr 10.

Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, Graz, 8036, Austria.

Background: The pretreatment De Ritis ratio [aspartate transaminase (AST)/alanine transaminase (ALT)] has been shown to be an adverse prognostic marker in various cancer entities. However, its relevance to advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has not yet been studied. In the present study we investigated the AST/ALT ratio as a possible predictor of treatment response and disease outcome in patients with advanced PDAC treated with first-line gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel.

Methods: A analysis of a prospective, multicenter, noninterventional study was performed. A total of 202 patients with advanced PDAC treated with first-line gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel for whom the AST/ALT ratio was measured were included in this analysis.

Results: Median and 1-year progression-free survival estimates were 4.8 months and 5.1%, respectively in patients with an AST/ALT ratio above the 75th percentile of its distribution, and 6.0 months and 18.7%, respectively in patients with an AST/ALT ratio less than or equal to this cutoff, respectively (log-rank  = 0.004). In univariable Cox regression, a doubling of the AST/ALT ratio was associated with a 1.4-fold higher relative risk of progression or death [hazard ratio = 1.38, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06-1.80,  = 0.017]. The prognostic association was also found in multivariable analysis adjusting for Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status and lung metastases (hazard ratio per AST/ALT ratio doubling = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.00-1.75,  = 0.047). In treatment response analysis, a doubling of the AST/ALT ratio was associated with a 0.5-fold lower odds of objective response (odds ratio = 0.54, 95% CI: 0.31-0.94,  = 0.020).

Conclusions: The pretreatment serum AST/ALT ratio predicts poor disease outcome and response rate in patients with advanced PDAC treated with gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel and might represent a novel and inexpensive marker for individual risk assessment in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1758835919900872DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7153180PMC
April 2020

The Austrian biodatabase for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (ABCMML) : A representative and useful real-life data source for further biomedical research.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2019 Sep 18;131(17-18):410-418. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Department of Internal Medicine I with Hematology with Stem Cell Transplantation, Hemostaseology and Medical Oncology, Ordensklinikum Linz Barmherzige Schwestern - Elisabethinen, Linz, Austria.

In the Austrian biodatabase for chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (ABCMML) clinicolaboratory real-life data have been captured from 606 CMML patients from 14 different hospitals over the last 30 years. It is the only large biodatabase worldwide in which functional methods such as semisolid in vitro cultures complement modern molecular methods such as next generation sequencing. This provides the possibility to comprehensively study the biology of CMML. The aim of this study was to compare patient characteristics with published CMML cohorts and to validate established prognostic parameters in order to examine if this real-life database can serve as a representative and useful data source for further research. After exclusion of patients in transformation characteristics of 531 patients were compared with published CMML cohorts. Median values for age, leukocytes, hemoglobin, platelets, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and circulating blasts were within the ranges of reported CMML series. Established prognostic parameters including leukocytes, hemoglobin, blasts and adverse cytogenetics were able to discriminate patients with different outcome. Myeloproliferative (MP) as compared to myelodysplastic (MD)-CMML patients had higher values for circulating blasts, LDH, RAS-pathway mutations and for spontaneous myelomonocytic colony growth in vitro as well as more often splenomegaly. This study demonstrates that the patient cohort of the ABCMML shares clinicolaboratory characteristics with reported CMML cohorts from other countries and confirms phenotypic and genotypic differences between MP-CMML and MD-CMML. Therefore, results obtained from molecular and biological analyses using material from the national cohort will also be applicable to other CMML series and thus may have a more general significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-019-1526-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6748886PMC
September 2019

Correction to: Ruxolitinib therapy formyelofibrosis in Austria : Consensus on therapy management.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2019 01;131(1-2):47

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Correction to:Wien Klin Wochenschr 2018 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00508-018-1365-5 The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. Table Nr. 1 was inconsistent. The corrected version of Table 1 is given below. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have ….
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-018-1428-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6828473PMC
January 2019

Ruxolitinib therapy for myelofibrosis in Austria : Consensus on therapy management.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2018 Sep 24;130(17-18):495-504. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The oral Janus associated kinase (JAK1/2) inhibitor ruxolitinib has been available for treatment of patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis in Europe since 2012. Since its introduction, the expertise of prescribing doctors with respect to ruxolitinib function, efficacy and adverse effects has consistently been augmented, resulting in therapy modalities that are better tailored to individual patients as well as in increased safety of the treatment. The present consensus on ruxolitinib therapy management has been elaborated by Austrian experts in myeloproliferative neoplasms in line with international treatment guidelines. Our recommendations aim to contribute to an improved management of patients with myelofibrosis treated with ruxolitinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-018-1365-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132876PMC
September 2018

Austrian recommendations for the management of polycythemia vera.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2018 Sep 19;130(17-18):535-542. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Blood Coagulation, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Polycythemia vera (PV) is a clonal disease arising from hematopoietic stem cells. Erythrocytosis is the hallmark of the disease but leukocytosis, thrombocytosis and splenomegaly may also be present. Thromboembolic complications occur in about 20% of patients. Circulatory disturbances as well as pruritus represent frequent symptoms of the disease. Mutations in the JAK2 gene are present in 95% of patients in exon 14 (V617F) and in 3% in exon 12. The main goal of the treatment for patients with PV is the prevention of thromboembolic events, transformation to myelofibrosis and acute myeloid leukemia. Interferon alpha and hydroxyurea are used as first-line treatment for high risk patients. For patients unresponsive to first-line therapy ruxolitinib is available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-018-1359-3DOI Listing
September 2018

Diagnosis, management and response criteria of iron overload in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS): updated recommendations of the Austrian MDS platform.

Expert Rev Hematol 2018 02 2;11(2):109-116. Epub 2018 Jan 2.

b Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster Oncology , Medical University of Vienna , Vienna , Austria.

Introduction: Despite the availability of effective iron chelators, transfusion-related morbidity is still a challenge in chronically transfused patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). In these patients, transfusion-induced iron overload may lead to organ dysfunction or even organ failure. In addition, iron overload is associated with reduced overall survival in MDS. Areas covered: During the past 10 years, various guidelines for the management of MDS patients with iron overload have been proposed. In the present article, we provide our updated recommendations for the diagnosis, prevention and therapy of iron overload in MDS. In addition, we propose refined treatment response criteria. As in 2006 and 2007, recommendations were discussed and formulated by participants of our Austrian MDS platform in a series of meetings in 2016 and 2017. Expert commentary: Our updated recommendations should support early recognition of iron overload, optimal patient management and the measurement of clinical responses to chelation treatment in daily practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17474086.2018.1420473DOI Listing
February 2018

Refining the role of pegfilgrastim (a long-acting G-CSF) for prevention of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia: consensus guidance recommendations.

Support Care Cancer 2017 11 25;25(11):3295-3304. Epub 2017 Aug 25.

Department of Breast Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Purpose: Chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (FN) causes treatment delays and interruptions and can have fatal consequences. Current guidelines provide recommendations on granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) for prevention of FN, but guidance is unclear regarding use of short- vs long-acting G-CSF (e.g., filgrastim vs pegfilgrastim/lipegfilgrastim, respectively). An international panel of experts convened to develop guidance on appropriate use of pegfilgrastim for prevention of chemotherapy-induced FN.

Methods: Guidance recommendations were developed following a literature review, survey, evaluation of current practice, and an expert meeting. Consensus was established using an anonymous Delphi-based approach.

Results: Guidance recommendations for prevention of treatment-associated FN were as follows: for treatment with curative intent, maintenance of dose intensity using G-CSF to prevent dose delays/reduction should be standard of care; for treatment-associated FN risk ≥ 20%, short-acting G-CSF/pegfilgrastim should be given from cycle 1 onwards; and for treatment-associated FN risk < 20%, short-acting G-CSF/pegfilgrastim should be given if factors suggest overall risk (including treatment-related and patient-related risk factors) is ≥ 20%. It was agreed that pegfilgrastim and 11 days' filgrastim have similar efficacy and safety and that pegfilgrastim is preferred to < 11 days' filgrastim (and may be preferred to ≥ 11 days' filgrastim based on adherence and convenience); pegfilgrastim is not appropriate in weekly chemotherapy; in split-dose chemotherapy, pegfilgrastim is recommended 24 h after last chemotherapy dose; and during palliative chemotherapy, patient adherence and convenience may favor pegfilgrastim.

Conclusion: In this era of targeted therapies, additional trials with G-CSF are still required. These recommendations should be used with existing guidelines to optimize pegfilgrastim use in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-017-3842-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5610660PMC
November 2017

Intensive consolidation with G-CSF support: Tolerability, safety, reduced hospitalization, and efficacy in acute myeloid leukemia patients ≥60 years.

Am J Hematol 2017 Oct 17;92(10):E567-E574. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of intensified consolidation therapy employing fludarabine and ARA-C in cycle 1 and intermediate-dose ARA-C (IDAC) in cycles 2 through 4, in elderly acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and to analyze the effects of pegfilgrastim on the duration of neutropenia, overall toxicity, and hospitalization-time during consolidation in these patients. Thirty nine elderly patients with de novo AML (median age 69.9 years) who achieved complete remission (CR) after induction-chemotherapy were analyzed. To examine the effect of pegfilgrastim on neutropenia and hospitalization, we compared cycles 2 and 4 where pegfilgrastim was given routinely from day 6 (IDAC-P) with cycle 3 where pegfilgrastim was only administered in case of severe infections and/or prolonged neutropenia. All four planned cycles were administered in 23/39 patients (59.0%); 5/39 patients (12.8%) received 3 cycles, 3/39 (7.7%) 2 cycles, and 8/39 (20.5%) one consolidation-cycle. The median duration of severe neutropenia was 7 days in cycle 2 (IDAC-P), 11.5 days in cycle 3 (IDAC), and 7.5 days in cycle 4 (IDAC-P) (P < .05). Median overall survival was 1.1 years and differed significantly between patients aged <75 and ≥75 years (P < .05). The probability to be alive after 5 years was 32%. Together, intensified consolidation can be administered in AML patients ≥60, and those who are <75 may benefit from this therapy. Routine administration of pegfilgrastim during consolidation shortens the time of neutropenia and hospitalization in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7115890PMC
October 2017

Pre-fibrotic/early primary myelofibrosis vs. WHO-defined essential thrombocythemia: The impact of minor clinical diagnostic criteria on the outcome of the disease.

Am J Hematol 2017 Sep 9;92(9):885-891. Epub 2017 Jun 9.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The 2016 revised WHO criteria for the diagnosis of pre-fibrotic/early primary myelofibrosis (pre-PMF) require at least one of the following four borderline expressed minor clinical criteria: anemia, leukocytosis, elevated lactate dehydrogenase and splenomegaly. In this study, we evaluated the relative frequency of these four criteria in a group of 170 pre-PMF patients and compared them to 225 ET cases. More than 91% of pre-PMF cases showed one or more of these features required for diagnosis, by contrast with only 48% of ET patients. According to clinical data the cumulative risk of progression to advanced/overt PMF in pre-PMF was 36.9% after 15 years. After fitting cox regression models to analyze the impact of the minor criteria on overall survival, only leukocytosis remained as a significant predictor of survival in both pre-PMF and ET. Molecular characterization showed differences in survival in pre-PMF but not ET, with CALR being a more favorable mutation than JAK2. The different outcome of pre-PMF versus ET and associated molecular genetic data supports the concept of two different entities, rather than a continuum of the same disease. Although slightly less than 50% of ET patients also show one or more minor clinical criteria, accurate distinction between ET and pre-PMF is possible by following an integrated approach including histomorphological diagnosis and presence of minor clinical criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24788DOI Listing
September 2017

Austrian recommendations for the management of primary myelofibrosis, post-polycythemia vera myelofibrosis and post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis: an expert statement.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2017 May 13;129(9-10):293-302. Epub 2016 Dec 13.

Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Blood Coagulation, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The entity "myelofibrosis" represents a subgroup of the Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms. It comprises primary myelofibrosis, post-polycythemia vera myelofibrosis and post-essential thrombocythemia myelofibrosis. This heterogeneous disease is characterized by clonal myeloproliferation, dysregulated kinase signalling and the abnormal expression of several proinflammatory cytokines. Clinically, patients present with symptoms related to thrombocytosis/leukocytosis, anemia and/or progressive splenomegaly. Mutations in Janus kinase 2, an enzyme that is essential for the normal development of erythrocytes, granulocytes, and platelets, notably the V617F mutation, have been identified in approximately 60% of patients with primary myelofibrosis. Recent molecular advances have not only elucidated critical pathways in the pathogenesis of the disease, but also contributed to a more precise assessment of a patient's individual risk. While allogeneic stem cell transplantation remains the only curative treatment, the natural course of the disease and the patient's survival and quality of life may be improved by new treatments, notably ruxolitinib, the first Janus kinase 1/2 inhibitor approved for the management of myelofibrosis. Additional treatment options are being explored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00508-016-1120-8DOI Listing
May 2017

Is ruxolitinib a potentially useful drug in hematological malignancies with RAS pathway hyperactivation?

Haematologica 2016 12;101(12):e492

Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2016.156448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5479601PMC
December 2016

In vitro and in vivo effects of JAK2 inhibition in chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.

Eur J Haematol 2016 Dec 15;97(6):562-567. Epub 2016 Jun 15.

Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

In chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), colony-forming units granulocyte/macrophage (CFU-GM), which grow in vitro in the absence of exogenous growth factors, arise from the abnormal clone that is responsible for the overproduction of granulomonocytic cells. Previous in vitro findings including ours suggest that divergent molecular aberrations in CMML seem to converge within the GM-CSF signaling pathway. As JAK2 is a sentinel kinase in this pathway, JAK2 inhibition may be an attractive treatment approach in CMML. We investigated the in vitro effects of the specific JAK2 inhibitor TG101209 on the autonomous CFU-GM formation from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with CMML. TG101209 was found to either block or strongly inhibit spontaneous CFU-GM growth in all 10 patients tested. This inhibitory effect was dose dependent and significantly more pronounced as compared to the inhibitory effect on stimulated CFU-GM growth from normal individuals. In a CMML patient with splenomegaly, who was treated with the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib off label, we can demonstrate a spleen response and the disappearance of constitutional symptoms which was associated with a decrease in autonomous CFU-GM formation ex vivo. Pharmacological JAK2 inhibition may be an interesting approach to be systematically studied in patients with CMML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejh.12773DOI Listing
December 2016

Azacitidine in 302 patients with WHO-defined acute myeloid leukemia: results from the Austrian Azacitidine Registry of the AGMT-Study Group.

Ann Hematol 2014 Nov 21;93(11):1825-38. Epub 2014 Jun 21.

3rd Medical Department with Hematology and Medical Oncology, Hemostaseology, Rheumatology and Infectious Diseases, Laboratory for Immunological and Molecular Cancer Research, Oncologic Center, Paracelsus Medical University Hospital Salzburg, and Center for Clinical Cancer and Immunology Trials at Salzburg Cancer Research Institute, Müllner Hauptstrasse 48, 5020, Salzburg, Austria,

Data on efficacy and safety of azacitidine in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with >30 % bone marrow (BM) blasts are limited, and the drug can only be used off-label in these patients. We previously reported on the efficacy and safety of azacitidine in 155 AML patients treated within the Austrian Azacitidine Registry (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT01595295). We herein update this report with a population almost twice as large (n = 302). This cohort included 172 patients with >30 % BM blasts; 93 % would have been excluded from the pivotal AZA-001 trial (which led to European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval of azacitidine for high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and AML with 20-30 % BM blasts). Despite this much more unfavorable profile, results are encouraging: overall response rate was 48 % in the total cohort and 72 % in patients evaluable according to MDS-IWG-2006 response criteria, respectively. Median OS was 9.6 (95 % CI 8.53-10.7) months. A clinically relevant OS benefit was observed with any form of disease stabilization (marrow stable disease (8.1 months), hematologic improvement (HI) (9.7 months), or the combination thereof (18.9 months)), as compared to patients without response and/or without disease stabilization (3.2 months). Age, white blood cell count, and BM blast count at start of therapy did not influence OS. The baseline factors LDH >225 U/l, ECOG ≥2, comorbidities ≥3, monosomal karyotype, and prior disease-modifying drugs, as well as the response-related factors hematologic improvement and further deepening of response after first response, were significant independent predictors of OS in multivariate analysis. Azacitidine seems effective in WHO-AML, including patients with >30 % BM blasts (currently off-label use). Although currently not regarded as standard form of response assessment in AML, disease stabilization and/or HI should be considered sufficient response to continue treatment with azacitidine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-014-2126-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176957PMC
November 2014

Clofarabine/cyclophosphamide for debulking before stem cell transplantation.

Eur J Clin Invest 2014 Aug;44(8):775-83

Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit, Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; Intensive Care Unit, Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background: Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative rescue therapy for patients (pts) with chemotherapy-refractory acute leukaemia. Disease control prior to HSCT is essential for long-term disease-free survival after HSCT.

Patients And Methods: We have retrospectively analysed the outcome of 20 pts aged 21-64 years with refractory leukaemia (acute myeloid leukaemia, n = 16; acute lymphatic leukaemia, n = 4) who received debulking therapy with clofarabine (10 mg/m², days 1-4) and cyclophosphamide (200 mg/m², days 1-4; ClofCy) prior to HSCT.

Results: Clofarabine/cyclophosphamide (1-4 cycles) was well tolerated and resulted in a substantial reduction of leukaemic cells in all pts. HSCT was performed in 15 of 20 pts. After HSCT (myeloablative, n = 9; dose-reduced, n = 6), all pts showed engraftment and full donor chimerism (related donors, n = 4 or unrelated donors, n = 11) and all pts achieved complete haematologic remission (CR). The median survival after HSCT is 531 days (range: 48-1462 days), and six pts are still alive after a median of 1245 days. Seven pts died after they had relapsed between days +152 and +1496. One patient died from acute graft-versus-host disease (day +48) and one from systemic fungal infection (day +87).

Conclusion: Clofarabine/cyclophosphamide is a novel effective treatment approach for pts with chemotherapy-refractory acute leukaemia prior to HSCT. Whether this novel debulking protocol leads to improved long-term outcome in pts with refractory leukaemias remains to be determined in forthcoming clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eci.12294DOI Listing
August 2014

Hyperexpression of NOTCH-1 is found in immature acute myeloid leukemia.

Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2014 15;7(3):882-9. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

5th Department of Internal Medicine - Oncology/Hematology, Hospital Hietzing Vienna, Austria ; Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Clinical Oncology Vienna, Austria.

The Notch signaling pathway is a cell program that is active during early development of multicellular organisms and is required for the formation of basic structures in the growing embryo. Scientific evidence which has accumulated during the last years clearly indicates that aberrant pathway activation may also be critical for the pathogenesis of malignant disease. Despite some limited information the exact role of the Notch signaling pathway in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains poorly defined. Immunohistochemical staining of paraffin-embedded bone marrow biopsies from 97 patients with AML, treated between February 1994 and May 2011, for NOTCH-1 was performed according to standardized procedures. Immunological, cytological, pathological, molecular and clinical data were obtained from the hospitals database and patient records. Hyperexpression of NOTCH-1 was seen in 7/97 AML specimens, the other patients showed some expression of NOTCH-1. There was a significant correlation between hyperexpression of NOTCH-1 and the morphological subgroup M0/1 - AML without morphologic maturation (p<0.001). Significant correlation between NOTCH-1 hyperexpression and coexpression of CD7, a phenotypic marker of immaturity (p<0.001) was also seen. Patients with hyperexpression of NOTCH-1 were found to have an inferior overall survival in this retrospective study. Our results indicate that a specific subgroup of AMLs may be associated with hyperexpression of components of the Notch signaling pathway. Better knowledge in pathway signaling in AML could help to identify patient subsets that may benefit from administration of pathway inhibitors and could also contribute to tailored treatment.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3971290PMC
December 2014

Azacitidine in CMML: matched-pair analyses of daily-life patients reveal modest effects on clinical course and survival.

Leuk Res 2014 Apr 18;38(4):475-83. Epub 2014 Jan 18.

3rd Medical Department with Hematology and Medical Oncology, Hemostasiology, Rheumatology and Infectiology, Laboratory for Immunological and Molecular Cancer Research, Paracelsus Medical University Hospital Salzburg, Austria. Electronic address:

Recent data suggest that azacitidine may be beneficial in CMML. We report on 48 CMML-patients treated with azacitidine. Overall response rates were high (70% according to IWG-criteria, including 22% complete responses). Monocyte count and cytogenetics adversely affected survival, whereas age, WHO-type, FAB-type, and spleen size did not. Matched-pair analyses revealed a trend for higher two-year-survival for azacitidine as compared to best supportive care (62% vs. 41%, p=0.067) and longer OS for azacitidine first-line vs. hydroxyurea first-line (p=0.072, median OS 27.7 vs. 6.2 months). This report reinforces existing evidence that azacitidine is safe and efficacious in both myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative CMML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2014.01.006DOI Listing
April 2014

High spontaneous granulocyte/macrophage-colony formation in patients with myelofibrosis.

Leuk Res 2014 Jan 14;38(1):116-20. Epub 2013 Oct 14.

5th Department of Internal Medicine - Oncology/Hematology, Hospital Hietzing, Vienna, Austria; Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Clinical Oncology, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

Unstimulated methylcellulose cultures in 25 myelofibrosis (MF) patients were performed to better understand the role of cytokines in the proliferation of MF cells. Compared to controls MF patients show a variable but highly increased spontaneous CFU-GM formation (66 vs 4.8/10(5) PBMNC). There was a marked reduction of autonomous CFU-GM growth by the cytokine-synthesis-inhibiting molecule IL-10 as well as by antibodies against GM-CSF whereas antibodies against IL-3, G-CSF, M-CSF and IL-1β showed heterogeneous effects. Spontaneous CFU-GM growth >100/10(5) PBMNC predicted shorter survival. Constitutive release of GM-CSF seems to contribute to proliferation of MF cells in vitro and possibly in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2013.10.003DOI Listing
January 2014

Azacitidine in patients with WHO-defined AML - results of 155 patients from the Austrian Azacitidine Registry of the AGMT-Study Group.

J Hematol Oncol 2013 Apr 29;6:32. Epub 2013 Apr 29.

Objective: The Austrian Azacitidine Registry is a multi-center database (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01595295). The nature and intent of the registry was to gain a comprehensive view of the use, safety and efficacy of the drug in a broad range of AML-patients treated in real-life scenarios.

Patients And Methods: The sole inclusion criteria were the diagnosis of WHO-AML and treatment with at least one dose of azacitidine. No formal exclusion criteria existed. A total of 155 AML-patients who were mostly unfit/ineligible for intensive chemotherapy, or had progressed despite conventional treatment, were included. True ITT-analyses and exploratory analyses regarding the potential prognostic value of baseline-variables/performance-/comorbidity-/risk-scores on overall survival (OS), were performed.

Results: In this cohort of 155 pretreated (60%), and/or comorbid (87%), elderly (45% ≥75 years) AML-patients, azacitidine was well tolerated and efficacious, with an overall response rate (CR, mCR, PR, HI) of 45% in the total cohort (ITT) and 65% in patients evaluable according to IWG-criteria, respectively. Pre-treatment with conventional chemotherapy (P = .113), age ≤/>80 years (P = .853), number of comorbidities (P = .476), and bone marrow (BM) blast count (P = .663) did not influence OS. In multivariate analysis hematologic improvement alone (without the requirement of concomitant bone marrow blast reduction), although currently not regarded as a standard form of response assessment in AML, was sufficient to confer OS benefit (18.9 vs. 6.0 months; P = .0015). Further deepening of response after first response was associated with improved OS (24.7 vs. 13.7 months; P < .001).

Conclusions: In this large cohort of AML-patients treated with azacitidine, age >80 years, number of comorbidities and/or BM-blasts >30% did not adversely impact OS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-8722-6-32DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3655844PMC
April 2013

Clinical management of gastrointestinal disturbances in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes receiving iron chelation treatment with deferasirox.

Leuk Res 2011 Sep 6;35(9):1131-5. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital, Mannheim, Germany.

Myelodysplastic syndromes are characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis resulting in peripheral cytopenias. The majority of patients is dependent on regular transfusions of packed red blood cells leading to a secondary iron overload which might result in organ damage. Therefore, sufficient iron chelation therapy in selected patients is mandatory. Deferasirox (DFX) is an orally administered iron chelator which has been highly efficient in the treatment of secondary iron overload. Most frequent side effects of DFX are gastrointestinal disturbances, which leads in some patients to low adherence to the therapy. An expert panel met in Lisbon in July 2010 to develop recommendations on prevention and management of GI disturbances based on existing data and personal experiences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2011.06.013DOI Listing
September 2011