Publications by authors named "Valentina Giai"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Oral Azacitidine Maintenance Therapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia in First Remission.

N Engl J Med 2020 12;383(26):2526-2537

From the Department of Clinical Haematology, Alfred Hospital, and the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (A.H.W.); the Department of Internal Medicine III, Ulm University Hospital, Ulm, Germany (H. Döhner); Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury, United Kingdom (C.P.); Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Cáncer, Instituto Carlos III, Madrid, and Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe, Valencia - both in Spain (P.M.); Raisa Gorbacheva Memorial Research Institute for Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Transplantation, Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia (B.A.); the Department of Hematology, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, and Institut de Recherche Saint-Louis, Université de Paris, Paris (H. Dombret); the Department of Leukemia, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (F.R.); Indiana University Cancer Center, Indianapolis (H.S.); Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea (J.H.J.); Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hematology Research Unit Helsinki and iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Center Medicine Flagship, University of Helsinki, Helsinki (K.P.); AZ Sint-Jan Brugge-Oostende AV, Bruges, Belgium (D.S.); University of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, Canada (I.S.); Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun (M.T.), and Dr. Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Ankara Oncology Training and Research Hospital, Ankara (M.K.C.) - both in Turkey; Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria (V.G.), Città della Salute e della Scienza, Turin (C.F.), Ospedale San Gerardo Monza, Monza (L.B.), and Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa (G.B.) - all in Italy; Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of Medicine Technion, Haifa, Israel (Y.O.); Hospital dos Capuchos, Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Lisboa Central, Lisbon, Portugal (A.B.S.); Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland (J.R.); Ústav Hematologie a Krevní Transfuze, Prague, Czech Republic (J.C.); Amsterdam University Medical Center, Location VUMC (Vrije Universiteit Medical Center), Amsterdam (G.J.O.); Celgene (Bristol Myers Squibb), Boudry, Switzerland (I.L.T.); Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ (B.S., K.K., Q.D., C.L.B.); University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City (B.S.); and Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York (G.J.R.).

Background: Although induction chemotherapy results in remission in many older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), relapse is common and overall survival is poor.

Methods: We conducted a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the oral formulation of azacitidine (CC-486, a hypomethylating agent that is not bioequivalent to injectable azacitidine), as maintenance therapy in patients with AML who were in first remission after intensive chemotherapy. Patients who were 55 years of age or older, were in complete remission with or without complete blood count recovery, and were not candidates for hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation were randomly assigned to receive CC-486 (300 mg) or placebo once daily for 14 days per 28-day cycle. The primary end point was overall survival. Secondary end points included relapse-free survival and health-related quality of life.

Results: A total of 472 patients underwent randomization; 238 were assigned to the CC-486 group and 234 were assigned to the placebo group. The median age was 68 years (range, 55 to 86). Median overall survival from the time of randomization was significantly longer with CC-486 than with placebo (24.7 months and 14.8 months, respectively; P<0.001). Median relapse-free survival was also significantly longer with CC-486 than with placebo (10.2 months and 4.8 months, respectively; P<0.001). Benefits of CC-486 with respect to overall and relapse-free survival were shown in most subgroups defined according to baseline characteristics. The most common adverse events in both groups were grade 1 or 2 gastrointestinal events. Common grade 3 or 4 adverse events were neutropenia (in 41% of patients in the CC-486 group and 24% of patients in the placebo group) and thrombocytopenia (in 22% and 21%, respectively). Overall health-related quality of life was preserved during CC-486 treatment.

Conclusions: CC-486 maintenance therapy was associated with significantly longer overall and relapse-free survival than placebo among older patients with AML who were in remission after chemotherapy. Side effects were mainly gastrointestinal symptoms and neutropenia. Quality-of-life measures were maintained throughout treatment. (Supported by Celgene; QUAZAR AML-001 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01757535.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2004444DOI Listing
December 2020

A Retrospective Analysis about Frequency of Monitoring in Italian Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients after Discontinuation.

J Clin Med 2020 Nov 17;9(11). Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.

Successful discontinuation of tyrosine kinase inhibitors has been achieved in patients with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Careful molecular monitoring after discontinuation warrants safe and prompt resumption of therapy. We retrospectively evaluated how molecular monitoring has been conducted in Italy in a cohort of patients who discontinued tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment per clinical practice. The outcome of these patients has recently been reported-281 chronic-phase CML patients were included in this subanalysis. Median follow-up since discontinuation was 2 years. Overall, 2203 analyses were performed, 17.9% in the first three months and 38.4% in the first six months. Eighty-six patients lost major molecular response (MMR) in a mean time of 5.7 months-65 pts (75.6%) during the first six months. We evaluated the number of patients who would experience a delay in diagnosis of MMR loss if a three-month monitoring schedule was adopted. In the first 6 months, 19 pts (29.2%) would have a one-month delay, 26 (40%) a 2-month delay. Very few patients would experience a delay in the following months. A less intense frequency of monitoring, particularly after the first 6 months off treatment, would not have affected the success of treatment-free remission (TFR) nor put patients at risk of progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113692DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7698481PMC
November 2020

Luspatercept in Patients with Lower-Risk Myelodysplastic Syndromes.

N Engl J Med 2020 01;382(2):140-151

From Service d'Hématologie Séniors, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris and Université Paris 7, Paris (P.F., L.A.), Service des Maladies du Sang, Hôpital Huriez, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Lille, Lille (B.Q.), the Department of Internal Medicine, CHU Toulouse, Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse, Toulouse (O.B.-R.), and Université Cote d'Azur, Département d'Hématologie Clinique, CHU Nice, Nice (T.C.) - all in France; Medical Clinic and Policlinic 1, Hematology and Cellular Therapy, Leipzig University Hospital, Leipzig (U.P.), Klinik für Hämatologie, Onkologie, and Klinische Immunologie, Universitätsklinik Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (U.G.), and Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin III, Technische Universität München, Munich (K.S.G.) - all in Germany; the Department of Haemato-Oncology, King's College London, London (G.J.M.), Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford (P.V.), and the Department of Haematology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds (D.B.) - all in the United Kingdom; the Department of Leukemia, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (G.G.-M.); Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto (R.B.); MDS Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi, University of Florence, Florence (V.S.), the Department of Oncology and Hematology, S. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna (C.F.), the University of Pavia, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia (M.C.), the Hematology Unit, Santi Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, Alessandria (F.S., V.G.), and Dipartimento Biomedicina e Prevenzione, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome (M.-T.V.) - all in Italy; the Hematology Department, University Hospital of Salamanca, Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca, Salamanca (M.D.-C.), Unidad de Hematología, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Seville (J.F.F.), and the Department of Hematology, Hospital Universitario Cruces, Vizcaya (B.A.) - all in Spain; the Department of Hematology Science, School of Medicine, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey (O.I.); the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland (M.A.S.); the Department of Hematology, Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint-Jan, Bruges (D.S.), and Universitair Ziekenhuis Gent, Ghent (D.M.) - both in Belgium; the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore (A.E.D.); the Division of Hematology-Oncology, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center (J.G.J.), and Albert Einstein College of Medicine (A.V.) - both in New York; the Department of Hematology, University Medical Center of Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (E.V.); Stanford University Cancer Center, Stanford, CA (P.L.G.); the Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (E.H.-L.); the Department of Internal Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT (A.M.Z.); Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville (M.R.S.); Celgene, Summit, NJ (A.L., J.Z., A.R., D.R.D.); Celgene International, Boudry, Switzerland (A.B.); Acceleron Pharma, Cambridge, MA (P.G.L., M.L.S.); and Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL (R.S.K., A.F.L.).

Background: Patients with anemia and lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes in whom erythropoiesis-stimulating agent therapy is not effective generally become dependent on red-cell transfusions. Luspatercept, a recombinant fusion protein that binds transforming growth factor β superfamily ligands to reduce SMAD2 and SMAD3 signaling, showed promising results in a phase 2 study.

Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned patients with very-low-risk, low-risk, or intermediate-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (defined according to the Revised International Prognostic Scoring System) with ring sideroblasts who had been receiving regular red-cell transfusions to receive either luspatercept (at a dose of 1.0 up to 1.75 mg per kilogram of body weight) or placebo, administered subcutaneously every 3 weeks. The primary end point was transfusion independence for 8 weeks or longer during weeks 1 through 24, and the key secondary end point was transfusion independence for 12 weeks or longer, assessed during both weeks 1 through 24 and weeks 1 through 48.

Results: Of the 229 patients enrolled, 153 were randomly assigned to receive luspatercept and 76 to receive placebo; the baseline characteristics of the patients were balanced. Transfusion independence for 8 weeks or longer was observed in 38% of the patients in the luspatercept group, as compared with 13% of those in the placebo group (P<0.001). A higher percentage of patients in the luspatercept group than in the placebo group met the key secondary end point (28% vs. 8% for weeks 1 through 24, and 33% vs. 12% for weeks 1 through 48; P<0.001 for both comparisons). The most common luspatercept-associated adverse events (of any grade) included fatigue, diarrhea, asthenia, nausea, and dizziness. The incidence of adverse events decreased over time.

Conclusions: Luspatercept reduced the severity of anemia in patients with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes with ring sideroblasts who had been receiving regular red-cell transfusions and who had disease that was refractory to or unlikely to respond to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents or who had discontinued such agents owing to an adverse event. (Funded by Celgene and Acceleron Pharma; MEDALIST ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02631070; EudraCT number, 2015-003454-41.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1908892DOI Listing
January 2020

Managing chronic myeloid leukemia for treatment-free remission: a proposal from the GIMEMA CML WP.

Blood Adv 2019 12;3(24):4280-4290

Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

Several papers authored by international experts have proposed recommendations on the management of BCR-ABL1+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Following these recommendations, survival of CML patients has become very close to normal. The next, ambitious, step is to bring as many patients as possible into a condition of treatment-free remission (TFR). The Gruppo Italiano Malattie EMatologiche dell'Adulto (GIMEMA; Italian Group for Hematologic Diseases of the Adult) CML Working Party (WP) has developed a project aimed at selecting the treatment policies that may increase the probability of TFR, taking into account 4 variables: the need for TFR, the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), the characteristics of leukemia, and the patient. A Delphi-like method was used to reach a consensus among the representatives of 50 centers of the CML WP. A consensus was reached on the assessment of disease risk (EUTOS Long Term Survival [ELTS] score), on the definition of the most appropriate age boundaries for the choice of first-line treatment, on the choice of the TKI for first-line treatment, and on the definition of the responses that do not require a change of the TKI (BCR-ABL1 ≤10% at 3 months, ≤1% at 6 months, ≤0.1% at 12 months, ≤0.01% at 24 months), and of the responses that require a change of the TKI, when the goal is TFR (BCR-ABL1 >10% at 3 and 6 months, >1% at 12 months, and >0.1% at 24 months). These suggestions may help optimize the treatment strategy for TFR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000865DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6929396PMC
December 2019

Observational study of chronic myeloid leukemia Italian patients who discontinued tyrosine kinase inhibitors in clinical practice.

Haematologica 2019 08 28;104(8):1589-1596. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

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

It is judged safe to discontinue treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in experimental trials on treatment-free remission (TFR). We collected a total of 293 Italian patients with chronic phase CML who discontinued TKI in deep molecular response. Seventy-two percent of patients were on treatment with imatinib, and 28% with second generation TKI at the time of discontinuation. Median duration of treatment with the last TKI was 77 months [Interquartile Range (IQR) 54;111], median duration of deep molecular response was 46 months (IQR 31;74). Duration of treatment with TKI and duration of deep molecular response were shorter with second generation TKI than with imatinib (<0.001). Eighty-eight percent of patients discontinued as per clinical practice, and reasons for stopping treatment were: toxicity (20%), pregnancy (6%), and shared decision between treating physician and patient (62%). After a median follow up of 34 months (range, 12-161) overall estimated TFR was 62% (95%CI: 56;68). At 12 months, TFR was 68% (95%CI: 62;74) for imatinib, 73% (95%CI: 64;83) for second generation TKI. Overall median time to restart treatment was six months (IQR 4;11). No progressions occurred. Although our study has the limitation of a retrospective study, our experience within the Italian population confirms that discontinuation of imatinib and second generation TKI is feasible and safe in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.205054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669161PMC
August 2019

Progression in patients with low- and intermediate-1-risk del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes is predicted by a limited subset of mutations.

Haematologica 2017 03 24;102(3):498-508. Epub 2016 Nov 24.

Department of Medicine, Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

A high proportion of patients with lower-risk del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes will respond to treatment with lenalidomide. The median duration of transfusion-independence is 2 years with some long-lasting responses, but almost 40% of patients progress to acute leukemia by 5 years after starting treatment. The mechanisms underlying disease progression other than the well-established finding of small -mutated subclones at diagnosis remain unclear. We studied a longitudinal cohort of 35 low- and intermediate-1-risk del(5q) patients treated with lenalidomide (n=22) or not (n=13) by flow cytometric surveillance of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell subsets, targeted sequencing of mutational patterns, and changes in the bone marrow microenvironment. All 13 patients with disease progression were identified by a limited number of mutations in , , and , respectively, with and occurring in one patient each. mutations were found in seven of nine patients who developed acute leukemia, and were documented to be present in the earliest sample (n=1) and acquired during lenalidomide treatment (n=6). By contrast, analysis of the microenvironment, and of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells by flow cytometry was of limited prognostic value. Based on our data, we advocate conducting a prospective study aimed at investigating, in a larger number of cases of del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes, whether the detection of such mutations before and after lenalidomide treatment can guide clinical decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2016.152025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394951PMC
March 2017

Anemia in the Elderly: not Always what it Seems.

Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 2016 25;8(1):e2016017. Epub 2016 Feb 25.

Hematology Division, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy.

Anemia in the elderly is a common but challenging clinical scenario. Here we describe the case of an older woman who presented with anemia and elevated inflammation markers. After a complete diagnostic work-up, a definite etiology of the anemia could not be found so eventually a bone marrow biopsy was performed and she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome. She responded well to erythropoietin treatment but her inflammation markers remained elevated thus a positron emission tomography was performed. It turned out that the patient suffered from giant cell artheritis and her anemia completely resolved after steroid treatment. Our case outlines that it is necessary to pay particular attention to anemia of inflammation, which could be due to several and often masked conditions. Myelodysplatic syndromes should be considered when other causes have been ruled out, but their diagnosis can be difficult and requires expertise in the field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4084/MJHID.2016.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771143PMC
March 2016

Survival improvement of poor-prognosis AML/MDS patients by maintenance treatment with low-dose chemotherapy and differentiating agents.

Ann Hematol 2014 Aug 6;93(8):1391-400. Epub 2014 Apr 6.

Section of Hematology, Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Turin, via Genova, 3, 10126, Turin, Italy,

We evaluated a maintenance, post-remission treatment with low-dose chemotherapy plus differentiating agents on poor-prognosis acute myeloid leukemia (AML)/myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) patients ineligible to allografting. Patients had either age over 60 and/or secondary AML, therapy-related AML, previous relapse, high-risk MDS. Forty-five patients received the maintenance therapy based on two alternated schedules: (a) 6-thioguanine + 13-cis retinoic acid + dihydroxylated vitamin D3 and (b) low-dose cytarabine + 6-mercaptopurine + all-trans retinoic acid + dihydroxylated vitamin D3. We compared their outcome, at a median follow-up of 52 months, to that of a matched population of 49 patients who stopped treatments after consolidation. Maintenance group had a lower relapse incidence (70.3 vs. 86.4 % at 5 years p = 0.007) and a longer disease-free survival (median 21.2 vs. 8.7 months, p = 0.017). The relapse reduction improved overall survival: median 40.4 months (35.9 % at 5 years) for maintenance group vs. 15.8 (14.2 % at 5 years) for controls (p = 0.005). At multivariate Cox analysis, both cytogenetic and maintenance therapies resulted independent outcome predictors for overall survival. Maintenance treatment also reduced minimal residual disease (detected by WT1 and CBFβ-MYH11) in five of eight evaluable patients. The present results suggest that our strategy of maintenance therapy might improve the outcome of poor-risk AML/MDS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-014-2047-7DOI Listing
August 2014

The transporter ABCB7 is a mediator of the phenotype of acquired refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts.

Leukemia 2013 Apr 16;27(4):889-896. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Center for Hematology and Regenerative Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.

Refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts (RARS) is characterized by mitochondrial ferritin (FTMT) accumulation and markedly suppressed expression of the iron transporter ABCB7. To test the hypothesis that ABCB7 is a key mediator of ineffective erythropoiesis of RARS, we modulated its expression in hematopoietic cells. ABCB7 up and downregulation did not influence growth and survival of K562 cells. In normal bone marrow, ABCB7 downregulation reduced erythroid differentiation, growth and colony formation, and resulted in a gene expression pattern similar to that observed in intermediate RARS erythroblasts, and in the accumulation of FTMT. Importantly, forced ABCB7 expression restored erythroid colony growth and decreased FTMT expression level in RARS CD34+ marrow cells. Mutations in the SF3B1 gene, a core component of the RNA splicing machinery, were recently identified in a high proportion of patients with RARS and 11 of the 13 RARS patients in this study carried this mutation. Interestingly, ABCB7 exon usage differed between normal bone marrow and RARS, as well as within the RARS cohort. In addition, SF3B1 silencing resulted in downregulation of ABCB7 in K562 cells undergoing erythroid differentiation. Our findings support that ABCB7 is implicated in the phenotype of acquired RARS and suggest a relation between SF3B1 mutations and ABCB7 downregulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/leu.2012.298DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3794445PMC
April 2013

Telomere loss in Philadelphia-negative hematopoiesis after successful treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia: evidence for premature aging of the myeloid compartment.

Mech Ageing Dev 2012 Jul 9;133(7):479-88. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

Division of Hematology, University of Turin, A.O.U. San Giovanni Battista, Turin, Italy.

Telomere shortening, a well-known marker of aging and cellular stress, occurs under several conditions in the hematopoietic compartment, including aplastic anemia and following iatrogenic noxae. We decided to verify whether pathological telomere erosion also arises in restored Philadelphia-negative (Ph-negative) hematopoiesis following successful treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Eighty-one CML patients in complete cytogenetic remission were compared to 76 age-matched healthy subjects. Myeloid cells of CML patients had shorter telomeres than controls (6521 bp vs 7233 bp, p<0.001). This difference was specific for the myeloid compartment, since it was not observed in lymphoid cells (6774 bp vs 6909 bp, p=0.620). Acquired Ph-negative cytogenetic abnormalities (p=0.010), lack of complete molecular remission (p=0.016) and age (p=0.013) were independent predictors of telomere shortening. Telomere dynamics were assessed over a median follow-up period of 22 months. We documented accelerated non-physiological ongoing telomere shortening in 17/59 CML patients (28%). Patients experiencing grade 2-4 hematological toxicity, during CML remission possessed significantly shorter telomeres compared to those lacking toxicity (p=0.005 for any toxicity, p=0.007 for anemia). CML patients suffer from significant and often ongoing telomere stress resulting in premature and selective aging of the myeloid compartment which might have long-term consequences on function and integrity of Ph-negative hematopoiesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mad.2012.05.007DOI Listing
July 2012

A retrospective study on 226 polycythemia vera patients: impact of median hematocrit value on clinical outcomes and survival improvement with anti-thrombotic prophylaxis and non-alkylating drugs.

Ann Hematol 2010 Jul 10;89(7):691-9. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Divisione di Ematologia dell' Università di Torino, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Giovanni Battista di Torino, via Genova 3, 10126 Turin, Italy.

The clinical impact of polycythemia vera (PV) diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines is still undetermined. In particular, the recommended target of hematocrit (Hct) <0.45 has been recently questioned and alkylating drugs are still used for elderly patients. We revised, according to WHO criteria, 300 PV diagnosis and evaluated the impact on clinical outcome of median Hct and of the strategy to administer anti-thrombotic prophylaxis and to avoid alkylating chemotherapy in almost all patients. Of 226 patients with WHO-confirmed diagnosis (median age 66), 91.3% survived at the median follow-up of 5.84 years and 77.5% are projected alive at 13 years. Eighteen percent had major thrombosis and 2.7% acute myeloid leukemia. Twenty-two percent of patients maintained an Hct <0.45: their overall and thrombosis-free survival are similar to those of patients with a 0.45-0.48 value. Conversely, an Hct >0.48 and a "high thrombotic risk" according to ECLAP criteria were both significantly associated to shorter survival and higher thrombosis risk. Chemotherapy reduced thrombotic events without affecting survival. Our study revealed suboptimal compliance to published guidelines. However, in our casistic characterized by wide use of anti-platelet- and avoidance of alkylating drugs, patients' survival, although analyzed retrospectively, seemed to have improved compared to old literature data. The optimal Hct target was not clearly defined, although a value <0.48 looks highly advisable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-009-0899-zDOI Listing
July 2010

Efficacy of a combination of human recombinant erythropoietin + 13-cis-retinoic acid and dihydroxylated vitamin D3 to improve moderate to severe anaemia in low/intermediate risk myelodysplastic syndromes.

Br J Haematol 2009 Feb 19;144(3):342-9. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Divisione di Ematologia dell' Università di Torino, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Giovanni Battista di Torino, Torino, Italy.

The efficacy of human recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO) in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) has generally been best in untransfused patients with 'refractory anaemia' according to the World Health Organization (WHO). We treated 63 MDS patients [excluding refractory anaemia with excess blasts, type 2 (RAEB2)] with a previously tested combination of 13-cis-retinoic acid and dihydroxylated vitamin D3 +/- 6-thioguanine in addition to rEPO. Most patients were categorized as refractory cytopenia with multilineage dysplasia and RAEB1, with intermediate 1 International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) score; all had Hb <95 g/l, and 70% required regular erythrocyte transfusions. Treatment was well tolerated, and erythroid response rate according to new International Working Group criteria was 60%: 50% in RAEB1 and 64% in non-RAEB patients (P = 0.383). Response rate was not affected by transfusion requirement (63%; 58% in untransfused), IPSS and WHO Prognostic Scoring System scores, and weekly rEPO dosage (30-50 000 U vs. 80 000 U). Median response duration was 16 months. Median survival reached 14 months for RAEB1 and 55 months for non-RAEB patients, with a significant difference in the latter between responders and non-responders (median 82 months vs. 44 months; P = 0.036). Our combined therapy, independent of rEPO dosage, achieved in patients with unfavourable response predictors, a rate of anaemia improvement comparable to the best obtained in lower risk patients by high-dose rEPO.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07465.xDOI Listing
February 2009

CEP-18770: A novel, orally active proteasome inhibitor with a tumor-selective pharmacologic profile competitive with bortezomib.

Blood 2008 Mar 5;111(5):2765-75. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Center for Experimental Research and Medical Studies (CeRMS) and Department of Biomedical Sciences and Human Oncology, University of Torino, Via Santena 5, Turin, Italy

Modulating protein ubiquitination via proteasome inhibition represents a promising target for cancer therapy, because of the higher sensitivity of cancer cells to the cytotoxic effects of proteasome inhibition. Here we show that CEP-18770 is a novel orally-active inhibitor of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome that down-modulates the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activity and the expression of several NF-kappaB downstream effectors. CEP-18770 induces apoptotic cell death in multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines and in primary purified CD138-positive explant cultures from untreated and bortezomib-treated MM patients. In vitro, CEP-18770 has a strong antiangiogenic activity and potently represses RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. Importantly, CEP-18770 exhibits a favorable cytotoxicity profile toward normal human epithelial cells, bone marrow progenitors, and bone marrow-derived stromal cells. Intravenous and oral administration of CEP-18770 resulted in a more sustained pharmacodynamic inhibition of proteasome activity in tumors relative to normal tissues, complete tumor regression of MM xenografts and improved overall median survival in a systemic model of human MM. Collectively, these findings provide evidence for the utility of CEP-18770 as a novel orally active proteasome inhibitor with a favorable tumor selectivity profile for the treatment of MM and other malignancies responsive to proteasome inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2007-07-100651DOI Listing
March 2008