Publications by authors named "Wolf-Karsten Hofmann"

210 Publications

High erythroferrone expression in CD71 erythroid progenitors predicts superior survival in myelodysplastic syndromes.

Br J Haematol 2021 Mar 24;192(5):879-891. Epub 2021 Jan 24.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

Ineffective erythropoiesis and iron overload are common in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Erythroferrone (ERFE) and growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) are two regulators of iron homeostasis produced by erythroid progenitors. Elevated systemic levels of ERFE and GDF15 in MDS are associated with dysregulated iron metabolism and iron overload, which is especially pronounced in MDS with SF3B1 gene mutations. However, the role of ERFE and GDF15 in MDS pathogenesis and their influence on disease progression are largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the expression of ERFE and GDF15 in CD71 erythroid progenitors of n = 111 MDS patients and assessed their effects on patient survival. The expression of ERFE and GDF15 in MDS was highly aberrant. Unexpectedly, ERFE expression in erythroprogenitors was highly relevant for MDS prognosis and independent of International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) stratification. Although ERFE expression was increased in patients with SF3B1 mutations, it predicted overall survival (OS) in both the SF3B1wt and SF3B1mut subgroups. Of note, ERFE overexpression predicted superior OS in the IPSS low/Int-1 subgroup and in patients with normal karyotype. Similar observations were made for GDF15, albeit not reaching statistical significance. In summary, our results revealed a strong association between ERFE expression and MDS outcome, suggesting a possible involvement of ERFE in molecular MDS pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjh.17314DOI Listing
March 2021

Molecular and phenotypic diversity of CBL-mutated juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.

Haematologica 2020 12 30;Online ahead of print. Epub 2020 Dec 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Benioff Children's Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco.

Mutations in the gene CBL were first identified in adults with various myeloid malignancies. Some patients with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) were also noted to harbor mutations in CBL, but were found to have generally less aggressive disease courses compared to other forms of Ras pathway-mutant JMML. Importantly, and in contrast to most reports in adults, the majority of CBL mutations in JMML patients are germline with acquired uniparental disomy occurring in affected marrow cells. Here, we systematically studied a large cohort of 33 JMML patients with CBL mutations and found this disease to be highly diverse in presentation and overall outcome. Moreover, we discovered somatically-acquired CBL mutations in 15% of pediatric patients who presented with more aggressive disease. Neither clinical features nor methylation profiling were able to distinguish somatic CBL patients from germline CBL patients, highlighting the need for germline testing. Overall, we demonstrate that disease courses are quite heterogeneous even among germline CBL patients. Prospective clinical trials are warranted to find ideal treatment strategies for this diverse cohort of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.270595DOI Listing
December 2020

Clinical Response to the CD95-Ligand Inhibitor Asunercept Is Defined by a Pro-Inflammatory Serum Cytokine Profile.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Dec 8;12(12). Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Internal Medicine V, University Hospital Heidelberg, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Asunercept (APG101) is a well-tolerated CD95-ligand inhibitor that showed promising efficacy in a prospective, single-arm phase I study in anemic, transfusion-dependent patients with low and intermediate risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). In this retrospective post hoc analysis, serum levels of biomarkers were measured in study patients focusing on cytokines associated with erythropoiesis, inflammation, apoptosis, bone marrow fibrosis, and inflammasome activity. Baseline serum biomarkers were correlated with treatment response, in order to propose a hypothetical responder serum profile. After an updated median follow-up of 54 months (range 7-65), response to asunercept was associated with improved overall survival (at 3-years: 67% [95%CI 36-97] versus 13% [95%CI 0-36] in responders versus non-responders, respectively). Higher baseline values of interleukin-18 (IL-18), S100 calcium-binding protein A9 (S100A9) and soluble p53 were predictive of non-response to asunercept (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.79-0.82). Furthermore, non-responding patients showed a distinct, pro-inflammatory serum cytokine profile which was persistent throughout the first half of the treatment phase and appeared unaffected by asunercept. Although prospective validation is required, our post hoc analysis suggests that serum cytokine profiling based on IL-18, S100A9 and soluble p53 may represent an approach to identify and select low-risk MDS patients most likely to benefit from asunercept treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123683DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7764464PMC
December 2020

Topical Treatment of Acyclovir-Resistant Herpes Simplex Virus Stomatitis after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

Oncol Res Treat 2020 16;43(12):672-678. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

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

Introduction: We report on patients who developed severe acyclovir-resistant (ACVr) herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) stomatitis after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).

Patients: HCT patients suffering from HSV-1 stomatitis without response after 1 week of high-dose acyclovir (ACV) were tested for ACV resistance. Patients with proven ACV resistance were treated either topically with cidofovir solution and gel or with topical foscavir cream or with intravenous foscavir.

Results: Among 214 consecutive HCT patients, 6 developed severe ACVr HSV-1 stomatitis (WHO grade III n = 1, WHO grade IV n = 5). All 6 patients suffered from relapse of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after HCT. ACVr stomatitis was treated topically with first-line (n = 4) or second-line (n = 2) cidofovir. Topical foscavir cream was applied as first-line (n = 1) or second-line (n = 1) therapy. Intravenous foscavir was used in 3 patients (first-line therapy, n = 1; second-line therapy, n = 2). Complete remission was reached by topical cidofovir (n = 3), topical foscavir (n = 1), and intravenous foscavir (n = 1), respectively. Five of the 6 patients died due to progression of leukemia. Only 1 patient survived.

Conclusions: ACVr HSV-1 stomatitis is a severe complication in AML patients relapsing after HCT. It reflects the seriously impaired general condition of these patients. This analysis shows that topical treatment with cidofovir or foscavir might be a sufficient first-line therapy approach in ACVr HSV-1 stomatitis. It might serve as a less toxic alternative to intravenous foscavir.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000510988DOI Listing
October 2020

Replication stress signaling is a therapeutic target in myelodysplastic syndromes with splicing factor mutations.

Haematologica 2020 Sep 14;Online ahead of print. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim of the Heidelberg University, Mannheim.

Somatic mutations in genes coding for splicing factors, e.g. SF3B1, U2AF1, SRSF2, and others are found in approximately 50% of patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS). These mutations have been predicted to frequently occur early in the mutational hierarchy of the disease therefore making them particularly attractive potential therapeutic targets. Recent studies in cell lines engineered to carry splicing factor mutations have revealed a strong association with elevated levels of DNA:RNA intermediates (R-loops) and a dependency on proper ATR function. However, data confirming this hypothesis in a representative cohort of primary MDS patient samples have so far been missing. Using CD34+ cells isolated from MDS patients with and without splicing factor mutations as well as healthy controls we show that splicing factor mutation-associated R-loops lead to elevated levels of replication stress and ATR pathway activation. Moreover, splicing factor mutated CD34+ cells are more susceptible to pharmacological inhibition of ATR resulting in elevated levels of DNA damage, cell cycle blockade, and cell death. This can be enhanced by combination treatment with low-dose splicing modulatory compound Pladienolide B. We further confirm the direct association of R-loops and ATR sensitivity with the presence of a splicing factor mutation using lentiviral overexpression of wild-type and mutant SRSF2 P95H in cord blood CD34+ cells. Collectively, our results from n=53 MDS patients identify replication stress and associated ATR signaling to be critical pathophysiological mechanisms in primary MDS CD34+ cells carrying splicing factor mutations, and provide a preclinical rationale for targeting ATR signaling in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.254193DOI Listing
September 2020

RNA-sequencing of acute promyelocytic leukemia primary blasts reveals novel molecular biomarkers of early death events.

Leuk Lymphoma 2020 12 29;61(13):3066-3077. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

Although acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) has evolved to the AML entity with the best prognosis, typical 'early death' (ED) events still account for mortality rates of ∼20% in population-based studies. To investigate this poorly understood issue we performed whole transcriptome analysis of  = 7 APL ED cases compared to  = 7 APL cases with long term remission. We discovered the proteins S100A8/S100A9 and EFEMP1 as the most differentially expressed factors. In an independent cohort of  = 58 APL patients EFEMP1 over-expression was associated with a worse overall survival. Furthermore, a subgroup analysis of ED caused by hemorrhagic complications revealed an association of metallothioneins (MT1G/MT1E) with higher bleeding rates, ED events and negative prognostic effects on overall survival. Finally, we identified a novel TPM4-KLF2 fusion transcripts in 44/64 APL samples. In summary, we report a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis and novel potential biomarkers of ED biology, which highlight novel pathways in ED events in APL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1797006DOI Listing
December 2020

Importance of Adequate Diagnostic Workup for Correct Diagnosis of Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020 Oct 15;8(9):3121-3127.e1. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: Little is known about the epidemiology of advanced systemic mastocytosis (advSM).

Objectives: To investigate epidemiologic features and diagnostic pitfalls of advSM in Germany.

Methods: Therefore, 140 patients from a single German reference center of the European Competence Network on Mastocytosis between 2003 and 2018 were analyzed.

Results: The patients' median age was 68 years (range, 26-86 years), and male versus female ratio was 2:1. An elevated serum tryptase, a KIT D816 mutation, and additional somatic mutations, for example, in SRSF2, ASXL1, or RUNX1, were identified in 95%, 91%, and 74% of patients, respectively. Median overall survival was 3.5 years (range, 0.03-14.3 years; male vs female 2.6 vs 4.2 years; P = .02). Two categories of misdiagnoses were identified in 51 of 140 (36%) patients: First, systemic mastocytosis (SM) was overlooked in 28 of 140 (20%) patients primarily diagnosed with various subtypes of myeloid neoplasms. Second, 23 of 140 (16%) patients were diagnosed with supposed progression from indolent SM to advSM; however, combination of an elevated KIT D816V variant allele frequency in peripheral blood (n = 22), monocytosis (n = 9), eosinophilia (n = 6), and/or mutations in SRSF2, ASXL1, or RUNX1 (n = 10) suggest that distinct signs of potential advSM were overlooked in virtually all patients. Based on locally diagnosed patients in an area of 2.5 million inhabitants, but obviously without considering more, yet unrecognized cases, the incidence and prevalence of advSM is at least 0.8 and 5.2, respectively, per 1 million inhabitants.

Conclusions: Adequate analyses of tryptase levels, bone marrow morphology, and genetics in patients with myeloid neoplasms or SM would help to prevent the significant underdiagnosis of advSM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2020.05.005DOI Listing
October 2020

Response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in myeloid neoplasms associated with PCM1-JAK2, BCR-JAK2 and ETV6-ABL1 fusion genes.

Am J Hematol 2020 07 28;95(7):824-833. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

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

We report on 18 patients with myeloid neoplasms and associated tyrosine kinase (TK) fusion genes on treatment with the TK inhibitors (TKI) ruxolitinib (PCM1-JAK2, n = 8; BCR-JAK2, n = 1) and imatinib, nilotinib or dasatinib (ETV6-ABL1, n = 9). On ruxolitinib (median 24 months, range 2-36 months), a complete hematologic response (CHR) and complete cytogenetic response (CCR) was achieved by five of nine and two of nine patients, respectively. However, ruxolitinib was stopped in eight of nine patients because of primary resistance (n = 3), progression (n = 3) or planned allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo SCT, n = 2). At a median of 36 months (range 4-78 months) from diagnosis, five of nine patients are alive: four of six patients after allo SCT and one patient who remains on ruxolitinib. In ETV6-ABL1 positive patients, a durable CHR was achieved by four of nine patients (imatinib with one of five, nilotinib with two of three, dasatinib with one of one). Because of inadequate efficacy (lack of hematological and/or cytogenetic/molecular response), six of nine patients (imatinib, n = 5; nilotinib, n = 1) were switched to nilotinib or dasatinib. At a median of 23 months (range 3-60 months) from diagnosis, five of nine patients are in CCR or complete molecular response (nilotinib, n = 2; dasatinib, n = 2; allo SCT, n = 1) while two of nine patients have died. We conclude that (a) responses on ruxolitinib may only be transient in the majority of JAK2 fusion gene positive patients with allo SCT being an important early treatment option, and (b) nilotinib or dasatinib may be more effective than imatinib to induce durable complete remissions in ETV6-ABL1 positive patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.25825DOI Listing
July 2020

Separase activity distribution can be a marker of major molecular response and proliferation of CD34 cells in TKI-treated chronic myeloid leukemia patients.

Ann Hematol 2020 May 6;99(5):991-1006. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Mannheim, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

Separase, a cysteine endopeptidase, is a key player in mitotic sister chromatid separation, replication fork dynamics, and DNA repair. Aberrant expression and/or altered separase proteolytic activity are associated with aneuploidy, tumorigenesis, and disease progression. Since genomic instability and clonal evolution are hallmarks of progressing chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), we have comparatively examined separase proteolytic activity in TKI-treated chronic phase CML. Separase proteolytic activity was analyzed on single cell level in 88 clinical samples and in 14 healthy controls by a flow cytometric assay. In parallel, BCR-ABL1 gene expression and replication fork velocity were measured by qRT-PCR and DNA fiber assays, respectively. The separase activity distribution (SAD) value indicating the occurrence of MNCs with elevated separase proteolytic activity within samples was found to positively correlate with BCR-ABL1 gene expression levels and loss of MMR (relapse) throughout routine BCR-ABL1 monitoring. Analyses of CD34 cells and MNCs fractionized by flow cytometric cell sorting according to their separase activity levels (H- and L-fractions) revealed that CD34 cells with elevated separase activity levels (H-fractions) displayed enhanced proliferation/viability when compared with cells with regular (L-fraction) separase activity (mean 3.3-fold, p = 0.0011). BCR-ABL1 gene expression positivity prevailed in MNC H-fractions over L-fractions (42% vs. 8%, respectively). Moreover, expanding CD34 cells of H-fractions showed decreased replication fork velocity compared with cells of L-fractions (p < 0.0001). Our data suggests an association between high separase activity, residual BCR-ABL1 gene expression, and enhanced proliferative capacity in hematopoietic cells within the leukemic niche of TKI-treated chronic phase CML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-020-04007-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196950PMC
May 2020

Influence of the Insertion Site on Central Venous Catheter-Related Complications in Patients Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2020 06 18;26(6):1189-1194. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address:

Central venous catheters (CVCs) are extensively used in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). In these patients CVC are placed routinely either via the internal jugular vein (IJV) or the subclavian vein (SCV). Purpose of this study was to systematically analyze complications of CVC at different insertion sites in HCT recipients. In this retrospective analysis, all consecutive patients (n = 56) who received a CVC (n = 101) due to allogeneic HCT at our institution between January 2011 and June 2013 were included. Three-lumen standard, nontunneled CVCs were placed via either the IJV (n = 60; 59%) or the SCV (n = 41; 41%). Study endpoints were time to local inflammation at the insertion site, time to fever, time to a combined endpoint of inflammation and fever, central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI), duration of catheterization, catheter lumen obstruction, deep-vein thrombosis, pneumothorax, and catheter-related death. The median duration of catheterization per CVC was almost identical for the IJV and SCV sites (18 days versus 17 days; P not significant). There were no differences in the frequency of CLABSI, deep-vein thrombosis, pneumothorax, and catheter lumen obstruction between IJV and SCV CVC insertion sites. None of the patients died due to a CVC-related cause. Local inflammation occurred less frequently (48% versus 71%; P = .025) and later (median time to local inflammation, 25 days versus 12 days; P = .01) in IJV CVCs versus SCV CVCs. There was a trend toward a median longer time to the occurrence of fever for IJV CVCs compared with SCV CVCs (20 days versus 13 days; P = .07). In the multivariate analysis, diagnosis of acute leukemia (hazard ratio [HR], 1.696; P = .036), SCV CVC (HR, 1.617; P  = .039), and neutropenic CVC-days (HR, 2.477; P = .01) were identified as risk factors for the occurrence of local inflammation or fever. In contrast to earlier studies in patients without hematologic malignancies, these data demonstrate that CVCs placed in the SCV are not superior over IJV CVCs. Moreover, local inflammation occurred earlier and more frequently in patients with an SCV CVC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbmt.2020.02.007DOI Listing
June 2020

DNA Damage and DNA Damage Response in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Feb 11;21(4). Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68167 Mannheim, Germany.

DNA damage and alterations in the DNA damage response (DDR) are critical sources of genetic instability that might be involved in BCR-ABL1 kinase-mediated blastic transformation of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Here, increased DNA damage is detected by γH2AX foci analysis in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of de novo untreated chronic phase (CP)-CML patients ( = 5; 2.5 γH2AX foci per PBMC ± 0.5) and blast phase (BP)-CML patients ( = 3; 4.4 γH2AX foci per PBMC ± 0.7) as well as CP-CML patients with loss of major molecular response (MMR) ( = 5; 1.8 γH2AX foci per PBMC ± 0.4) when compared to DNA damage in PBMC of healthy donors ( = 8; 1.0 γH2AX foci per PBMC ± 0.1) and CP-CML patients in deep molecular response or MMR ( = 26; 1.0 γH2AX foci per PBMC ± 0.1). Progressive activation of erroneous non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair mechanisms during blastic transformation in CML is indicated by abundant co-localization of γH2AX/53BP1 foci, while a decline of the DDR is suggested by defective expression of (p-)ATM and (p-)CHK2. In summary, our data provide evidence for the accumulation of DNA damage in the course of CML and suggest ongoing DNA damage, erroneous NHEJ repair mechanisms, and alterations in the DDR as critical mediators of blastic transformation in CML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041177DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7072846PMC
February 2020

Treatment-free remission in FIP1L1-PDGFRA-positive myeloid/lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia after imatinib discontinuation.

Blood Adv 2020 Feb;4(3):440-443

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

FIP1L1-PDGFRA-positive myeloid/lymphoid neoplasms with eosinophilia (MLN-eo) are exquisitely sensitive to imatinib. Almost all patients achieve a complete molecular remission (CMR) by nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, which can be maintained with low-dose imatinib (eg, 3 × 100 mg/wk). Because imatinib can be safely stopped in a substantial proportion of patients with BCR-ABL1-positive CML, we sought to analyze the clinical and molecular follow-up of 12 FIP1L1-PDGFRA-positive patients with MLN-eo in chronic phase who discontinued imatinib after achievement of a CMR. Median time of treatment and median time of CMR before imatinib discontinuation (last dose at 3 × 100 mg/wk, n = 8; or 100 mg/d, n = 4) were 80 (range, 43-175) and 66 (range, 37-174) months, respectively. A molecular relapse was observed in 4 patients after 10, 22 (n = 2), and 24 months. A second CMR was achieved in 3 patients after 3, 4, and 21 months. Eight patients (62%) are in ongoing CMR (median, 17 months; range, 3-71 months). Molecular relapse-free survival was 91% at 12 months and 65% at 24 months. No significant differences (eg, dose and duration of imatinib treatment or duration of CMR before imatinib discontinuation) were identified between patients with and without molecular relapse. Our data demonstrate that imatinib can be safely stopped in FIP1L1-PDGFRA-positive MLN-eo because of a high treatment-free remission at 12 and 24 months and because most patients achieve a rapid second CMR after restart of imatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7013256PMC
February 2020

An increased bone mineral density is an adverse prognostic factor in patients with systemic mastocytosis.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2020 Apr 24;146(4):945-951. Epub 2020 Jan 24.

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

Purpose: Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is characterized by the expansion of clonal mast cells that infiltrate various organ systems. The extent of organ infiltration and subsequent organ damage distinguishes between indolent SM (ISM) defined by a nearly normal life expectancy and advanced SM (AdvSM) defined by poor prognosis. In ISM, measurement of the bone mineral density (BMD) frequently reveals osteoporosis. In contrast, the clinical implication of an increased BMD and osteosclerosis remains unclear.

Methods: BMD was evaluated in 61 patients with mastocytosis (ISM, n = 29, 48%; AdvSM, n = 32, 52%). We correlated the prevalence of osteoporosis, increased BMD and osteosclerosis with clinical parameters, disease variant and prognosis.

Results: Osteoporosis was detected in 11/29 (38%) patients with ISM but only in 2/32 (6%) patients with AdvSM (p = 0.004). An increased BMD was detected in 1/29 (3%) patients with ISM and 24/32 (75%) patients with AdvSM (p < 0.001) while osteosclerosis was only detected in AdvSM patients (16/32, 50%). AdvSM patients with increased BMD had higher levels of bone marrow mast cell infiltration, higher serum tryptase and alkaline phosphatase levels compared to ISM as well as higher number of high-molecular risk mutations (p < 0.05). In addition, we found that the prognosis of AdvSM patients with increased BMD is inferior compared to those without increased BMD (median overall survival 3.6 years versus not reached, p = 0.031).

Conclusions: Osteoporosis is a common feature in ISM but not in AdvSM. An increased BMD is frequently present in AdvSM but not in ISM and is associated with more advanced disease and inferior outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-019-03119-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7085471PMC
April 2020

Magnetic resonance imaging reveals distinct bone marrow patterns in indolent and advanced systemic mastocytosis.

Ann Hematol 2019 Dec 5;98(12):2693-2701. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

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

Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is broadly subcategorized according to mast cell (MC) burden and organ involvement into indolent (ISM), smoldering (SSM), and advanced SM (AdvSM). However, the pattern and extent of bone involvement remains controversial. In this institutional review board (IRB)-approved study, 115 patients with different forms of SM (ISM (n = 37, 32%), SSM (n = 9, 8%), and AdvSM (n = 69, 60%)) underwent a whole-body magnetic resonance imaging including sagittal and coronal T1 and turbo inversion recovery magnitude (TIRM) sequences of the spine. The evaluation included the pattern and extent of pathologic bone marrow (BM) signals in the spine and extremities, osteolytic lesions, and vertebral fractures. A pathologic BM pattern was observed in 4/37 (11%), 8/9 (89%), and 66/69 (96%); affection of the appendicular skeleton in 3/37 (8%), 8/9 (89%), and 67/69 (97%); and vertebral fractures in 7/37 (19%), 0/9, and 13/69 (19%) patients with ISM, SSM, and AdvSM, respectively. In AdvSM, pathologic BM pattern included activated (62%), diffuse sclerotic (25%), and small-spotted BM (9%), respectively. Only activated/sclerotic BM was associated with significantly higher MC burden, organ damage, and inferior median survival (2.9 years, p = 0.04). Vertebral fractures resembled classical multi-segmental osteoporotic fractures in ISM but not in AdvSM in which they were only found in activated/sclerotic BM. Only one patient with AdvSM had a focal osteolytic lesion in the femur. Activated/sclerotic BM changes of the spine and affection of the appendicular skeleton are indicative for SSM or AdvSM. Osteolytic lesions, which are very rare, and osteoporotic fractures are ineligible for the diagnosis of AdvSM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-019-03826-4DOI Listing
December 2019

Antileukemic Efficacy in Vitro of Talazoparib and APE1 Inhibitor III Combined with Decitabine in Myeloid Malignancies.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Oct 3;11(10). Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68167 Mannheim, Germany.

Malignant hematopoietic cells of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)/chronic myelomonocytic leukemias (CMML) and acute myeloid leukemias (AML) may be vulnerable to inhibition of poly(ADP ribose) polymerase 1/2 (PARP1/2) and apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1). PARP1/2 and APE1 are critical enzymes involved in single-strand break repair and base excision repair, respectively. Here, we investigated the cytotoxic efficacy of talazoparib and APE1 inhibitor III, inhibitors of PARP1/2 and APE1, in primary CD34+ MDS/CMML cell samples ( = 8; 4 MDS and 4 CMML) and in primary CD34+ or CD34- AML cell samples ( = 18) in comparison to healthy CD34+ donor cell samples ( = 8). Strikingly, talazoparib and APE1 inhibitor III demonstrated critical antileukemic efficacy in selected MDS/CMML and AML cell samples. Low doses of talazoparib and APE1 inhibitor III further increased the cytotoxic efficacy of decitabine in MDS/CMML and AML cells. Moreover, low doses of APE1 inhibitor III increased the cytotoxic efficacy of talazoparib in MDS/CMML and AML cells. In summary, talazoparib and APE1 inhibitor III demonstrated substantial antileukemic efficacy as single agents, in combination with decitabine, and combined with each other. Hence, our findings support further investigation of these agents in sophisticated clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11101493DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826540PMC
October 2019

MARS: Mutation-Adjusted Risk Score for Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis.

J Clin Oncol 2019 11 11;37(31):2846-2856. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

University Hospital Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

Purpose: To develop a risk score for patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM) that integrates clinical and mutation characteristics.

Patients And Methods: The study included 383 patients with AdvSM from the German Registry on Disorders of Eosinophils and Mast Cells (training set; n = 231) and several centers for mastocytosis in the United States and Europe, all within the European Competence Network on Mastocytosis (validation set; n = 152). A Cox multivariable model was used to select variables that were predictive of overall survival (OS).

Results: In multivariable analysis, the following risk factors were identified as being associated with OS: age greater than 60 years, anemia (hemoglobin < 10 g/dL), thrombocytopenia (platelets < 100 × 10/L), presence of one high molecular risk gene mutation (ie, in , , and/or ), and presence of two or more high molecular risk gene mutations. By assigning hazard ratio-weighted points to these variables, the following three risk categories were defined: low risk (median OS, not reached), intermediate risk (median OS, 3.9 years; 95% CI, 2.1 to 5.7 years), and high risk (median OS, 1.9 years; 95% CI, 1.3 to 2.6 years; < .001). The mutation-adjusted risk score (MARS) was independent of the WHO classification and was confirmed in the independent validation set. During a median follow-up time of 2.2 years (range, 0 to 23 years), 63 (16%) of 383 patients experienced a leukemic transformation to secondary mast cell leukemia (32%) or secondary acute myeloid leukemia (68%). The MARS was also predictive for leukemia-free survival ( < .001).

Conclusion: The MARS is a validated, five-parameter, WHO-independent prognostic score that defines three risk groups among patients with AdvSM and may improve up-front treatment stratification for these rare hematologic neoplasms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.00640DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823885PMC
November 2019

Aspergillus specific nested PCR from the site of infection is superior to testing concurrent blood samples in immunocompromised patients with suspected invasive aspergillosis.

Mycoses 2019 Nov;62(11):1035-1042

Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany.

Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a severe complication in immunocompromised patients. Early diagnosis is crucial to decrease its high mortality, yet the diagnostic gold standard (histopathology and culture) is time-consuming and cannot offer early confirmation of IA. Detection of IA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) shows promising potential. Various studies have analysed its diagnostic performance in different clinical settings, especially addressing optimal specimen selection. However, direct comparison of different types of specimens in individual patients though essential, is rarely reported. We systematically assessed the diagnostic performance of an Aspergillus-specific nested PCR by investigating specimens from the site of infection and comparing it with concurrent blood samples in individual patients (pts) with IA. In a retrospective multicenter analysis PCR was performed on clinical specimens (n = 138) of immunocompromised high-risk pts (n = 133) from the site of infection together with concurrent blood samples. 38 pts were classified as proven/probable, 67 as possible and 28 as no IA according to 2008 European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group consensus definitions. A considerably superior performance of PCR from the site of infection was observed particularly in pts during antifungal prophylaxis (AFP)/antifungal therapy (AFT). Besides a specificity of 85%, sensitivity varied markedly in BAL (64%), CSF (100%), tissue samples (67%) as opposed to concurrent blood samples (8%). Our results further emphasise the need for investigating clinical samples from the site of infection in case of suspected IA to further establish or rule out the diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/myc.12983DOI Listing
November 2019

Cancer patients and music: (prospective) results from a survey to evaluate potential complementary treatment approaches.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2019 Aug 5;145(8):2141-2148. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Department of Medicine III, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University Medical Center Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Germany.

Purpose: Many cancer patients (PTS) suffer from somatic or non-somatic symptoms. Studies have shown positive effects of music intervention (MI) on aspects of quality of life or symptom management.

Methods: Since there are poor data available about patient's needs regarding the use of MI as an adjunct to cancer treatment, n = 548 tumor PTS were polled anonymously at the outpatient department of the University Hospital Mannheim Tumor Center using a self-designed questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

Results: 486 data sets were eligible for analysis. 240 of the PTS were male and median age was 63 years. 38% had metastatic disease. 81% (n = 386) were currently receiving anti-tumor treatment. The majority of the PTS stated to have somatic symptoms. However, some of the PTS reported non-somatic symptoms like anxiety, loneliness, and depression. N = 187 (40%) of the PTS reported interest in complementary MI. In the univariate and multivariate analyses, especially PTS with non-somatic complaints and PTS, actively playing or making music showed significantly more interest in complementary MI, hoping for a relaxing therapeutic effect. PTS who play instruments would prefer more active forms of MI.

Conclusion: 40% of PTS reported interest in additional MI during cancer treatment. PTS with non-somatic symptoms as well as patients affine to music might benefit from the use of MI potentially reducing their symptom burden. The inconsistent and heterogeneous data from randomized trials underline the importance of systematic research approaches with more relevant and standardized endpoints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-019-02959-3DOI Listing
August 2019

Comparative analysis of clonal hematopoiesis of multipotent stem cells in healthy elderly in blood and bone marrow.

Leuk Res 2019 07 16;82:15-18. Epub 2019 May 16.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2019.05.005DOI Listing
July 2019

Inhibitory effects of midostaurin and avapritinib on myeloid progenitors derived from patients with KIT D816V positive advanced systemic mastocytosis.

Leukemia 2019 05 25;33(5):1195-1205. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.

Advanced systemic mastocytosis (advSM) is characterized by the presence of an acquired KIT D816V mutation in >90% of patients. In the majority of patients, KIT D816V is not only detected in mast cells but also in other hematopoietic lineages. We sought to investigate the effects of the KIT-inhibitors midostaurin and avapritinib on single-cell-derived myeloid progenitor cells using granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming-units of patients with KIT D816V positive advSM. Colonies obtained prior to treatment were incubated in vitro with midostaurin (n = 10) or avapritinib (n = 11) and showed a marked reduction (≥50%) of KIT D816V positive colonies in 3/10 (30%) and 7/11 (64%) patient samples, respectively. Three of those 7 (43%) avapritinib responders were resistant to midostaurin in both, in vitro and in vivo. Colonies from four patients with high-risk molecular profile and aggressive clinical course were resistant to both drugs. The in vitro activity of midostaurin strongly correlated with clinical and molecular responses, e.g., relative reduction of KIT D816V allele burden and the proportion of KIT D816V positive colonies obtained after six months midostaurin-treatment in vivo. We conclude that the colony inhibition assay provides useful information for prediction of responses on midostaurin and that avapritinib has a superior in vitro activity compared to midostaurin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-019-0450-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6756065PMC
May 2019

Diagnostic performance of the molecular BCR-ABL1 monitoring system may impact on inclusion of CML patients in stopping trials.

PLoS One 2019 21;14(3):e0214305. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

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

In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the duration of deep molecular response (MR) before treatment cessation (MR4 or deeper, corresponding to BCR-ABL1 ≤ 0.01% on the International Scale (IS)) is considered as a prognostic factor for treatment free remission in stopping trials. MR level determination is dependent on the sensitivity of the monitoring technique. Here, we compared a newly established TaqMan (TM) and our so far routinely used LightCycler (LC) quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR systems for their ability to achieve the best possible sensitivity in BCR-ABL1 monitoring. We have comparatively analyzed RNA samples from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 92 randomly chosen patients with CML resembling major molecular remission (MMR) or better and of 128 CML patients after treatment cessation (EURO-SKI stopping trial). While our LC system utilized ABL1, the TM system is based on GUSB as reference gene. We observed 99% concordance with respect to achievement of MMR. However, we found that 34 of the 92 patients monitored by TM/GUSB were re-classified to the next inferior MR log level, especially when LC/ABL1-based results were borderline to thresholds. Thirteen patients BCR-ABL1 negative in LC/ABL1 became positive after TM/GUSB analysis. In the 128 patients included in the EURO-SKI trial identical molecular findings were achieved for 114 patients. However, 14 patients were re-classified to the next inferior log-level by the TM/GUSB combination. Eight of these patients relapsed after treatment cessation; two of them were re-classified from MR4 to MMR and therefore did not meet inclusion criteria anymore. In conclusion, we consider both methods as comparable and interchangeable in terms of achievement of MMR and of longitudinal evaluation of clinical courses. However, in LC/ABL1 negative samples, slightly enhanced TM/GUSB sensitivity may lead to inferior classification of clinical samples in the context of TFR.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0214305PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428315PMC
December 2019

Deep sequencing of bone marrow microenvironments of patients with del(5q) myelodysplastic syndrome reveals imprints of antigenic selection as well as generation of novel T-cell clusters as a response pattern to lenalidomide.

Haematologica 2019 07 17;104(7):1355-1364. Epub 2019 Jan 17.

Department of Oncology and Hematology, BMT with Pneumology section, Hubertus Wald Tumorzentrum / UCCH, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

In myelodysplastic syndromes with a partial deletion of the long arm of chromosome 5, del(5q), lenalidomide is believed to reverse anergic T-cell immunity in the bone marrow resulting in suppression of the del(5q) clone. In this study we used next-generation sequencing of immunoglobulin heavy chain ( and T-cell receptor beta () rearrangements in bone marrow-residing and peripheral blood-circulating lymphocytes of patients with del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes to assess the immune architecture and track adaptive immune responses during treatment with lenalidomide. The baseline bone marrow B-cell space in patients was comparable to that of age-matched healthy controls in terms of gene usage and clonality, but showed a higher percentage of hypermutated sequences, indicating an expanded number of antigen-experienced B lineage cells. Bone marrow B lineage clonality decreased significantly and hypermutated clones normalized upon lenalidomide treatment, well in line with the proliferative effect on healthy antigen-inexperienced B-cell precursors previously described for this drug. The T-cell space in bone marrow of patients with del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes showed higher clonality compared to that of healthy controls. Upon lenalidomide treatment, myelodysplastic syndrome-specific T-cell clusters with low to medium spontaneous generation probabilities emerged; these clusters were shared across patients, indicating a common antigen-driven T-cell response pattern. Hence, we observed B lineage diversification and generation of new, antigen-dependent T-cell clusters, compatible with a model of adaptive immunity induced against the del(5q) clone by lenalidomide. Overall, this supports the concept that lenalidomide not only alters the functional T-cell state, but also the composition of the T- and B-cell repertoires in del(5q) myelodysplastic syndromes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.208223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6601099PMC
July 2019

KIT D816 mutated/CBF-negative acute myeloid leukemia: a poor-risk subtype associated with systemic mastocytosis.

Leukemia 2019 05 11;33(5):1124-1134. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

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

KIT D816 mutations (KIT D816) are strongly associated with systemic mastocytosis (SM) but are also detectable in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), where they represent an adverse prognostic factor in combination with core binding factor (CBF) fusion genes. Here, we evaluated the clinical and molecular features of KIT D816/CBF-negative (CBF) AML, a previously uncharacterized combination. All KIT D816/CBF cases (n = 40) had histologically proven SM with associated AML (SM-AML). Molecular analyses revealed at least one additional somatic mutation (median, n = 3) beside KIT D816 (e.g., SRSF2, 38%; ASXL1, 31%; RUNX1, 34%) in 32/32 (100%) patients. Secondary AML evolved in 29/40 (73%) patients from SM ± associated myeloid neoplasm. Longitudinal molecular and cytogenetic analyses revealed the acquisition of new mutations and/or karyotype evolution in 15/16 (94%) patients at the time of SM-AML. Median overall survival (OS) was 5.4 months. A screen of two independent AML databases (AML) revealed remarkable similarities between KIT D816/CBF SM-AML and KIT D816/CBF AML (n = 69) with regard to KIT D816 variant allele frequency, mutation profile, aberrant karyotype, and OS suggesting underlying SM in a significant proportion of AML patients. Bone marrow histology and reclassification as SM-AML has important clinical implications regarding prognosis and potential inclusion of KIT inhibitors in treatment concepts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-018-0346-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6756067PMC
May 2019

Accumulation of DNA damage and alteration of the DNA damage response in monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Leuk Lymphoma 2019 03 31;60(3):795-804. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

a Department of Hematology and Oncology , Heidelberg University , Mannheim , Germany.

Accumulation of DNA damage and alteration of the DNA damage response (DDR) are critical features of genetic instability that is presumed to be implicated in the pathogenesis of monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Here, we show increased numbers of γH2AX foci, a marker of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), in CD19+ cells of CLL patients as compared to CD19+ cells of MBL patients and healthy individuals. Furthermore, numerous γH2AX/53BP1 foci in CLL cells suggest activation of error-prone non-homologous end-joining repair mechanisms. Signatures of DDR proteins further indicate alterations of the DDR in CLL in contrast to a largely regular activation in MBL and healthy controls. In summary, our results provide evidence for the stepwise accumulation of DNA damage in the progression of MBL towards CLL and suggest increased DNA damage, error-prone DNA repair and altered DDR signaling to be critical mechanisms of clonal evolution in MBL and CLL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2018.1498494DOI Listing
March 2019

Tolerability and efficacy of deferasirox in patients with transfusional iron overload: results from a German 2-year non-interventional study.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2018 Aug 14;144(8):1531-1538. Epub 2018 May 14.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Mannheim, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Germany.

Background: Iron overload (IOL) due to repetitive transfusions of packed red blood cells (pRBC) has a major impact on morbidity and mortality in patients with inherited bone marrow failure syndromes and hemoglobinopathies such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease. However, whether IOL influences the outcome of elderly patients with myeloid malignancies is not yet clear. Moreover, clinical trials have reported high drop-out rates during treatment with the oral iron chelator deferasirox (DFX).

Aim: Here we report the results of a 2-year prospective observational study that aimed at describing the routine use of DFX in patients with hematological malignancies with regard to safety, efficacy and handling of the drug in a routine setting.

Results: A total of 406 patients were included. 58% of the patients were male. Most of the patients had myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) (68%) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) (14%). Median time from first transfusion to study enrollment was 1.1 years (0-25.5 years) and most patients were chelation naive (91%) at enrollment. With regard to transfusion burden, most of the patients were moderately or mildly transfusion-dependent with 53% receiving 2-4 and 27% receiving less than 2 units of pRBC per month. Serum ferritin decreased from a mean of 2305 μg/l (± 1449 μg/l) to a mean of 1910 μg/l (± 1529 μg/l) at 24 months. There was no substantial change in transfusion-dependence during the observation period. Dose adjustments were reported in 48% of the patients with dose-escalation strategies being the most frequent reason for dosage increases (49%). The median observation time was 355 days (5-1080 days). Median duration of exposure to DFX was 322 days (2-1078 days). Two-hundred and ninety (72%) patients discontinued the trial prematurely after a median time of 235 days (1-808 days). Death (29%) and adverse events (23%) were the main reasons for discontinuation. Eleven percent of the patients discontinued treatment due to sufficient decrease in serum ferritin. Most frequent adverse events were decrease in creatinine clearance (22%), increase in serum creatinine (18%) and diarrhea (16%).

Conclusion: This descriptive trial confirms the efficacy of DFX in decreasing the serum ferritin. Moreover, the high drop-out rates seen in prospective trials are recapitulated in this study, which can be attributed to adverse events in a substantial proportion of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-018-2665-xDOI Listing
August 2018

Discontinuation of tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in chronic myeloid leukaemia (EURO-SKI): a prespecified interim analysis of a prospective, multicentre, non-randomised, trial.

Lancet Oncol 2018 06 4;19(6):747-757. Epub 2018 May 4.

Bergonié Cancer Institute, Inserm Unit 916, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France. Electronic address:

Background: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have improved the survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia. Many patients have deep molecular responses, a prerequisite for TKI therapy discontinuation. We aimed to define precise conditions for stopping treatment.

Methods: In this prospective, non-randomised trial, we enrolled patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia at 61 European centres in 11 countries. Eligible patients had chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukaemia, had received any TKI for at least 3 years (without treatment failure according to European LeukemiaNet [ELN] recommendations), and had a confirmed deep molecular response for at least 1 year. The primary endpoint was molecular relapse-free survival, defined by loss of major molecular response (MMR; >0·1% BCR-ABL1 on the International Scale) and assessed in all patients with at least one molecular result. Secondary endpoints were a prognostic analysis of factors affecting maintenance of MMR at 6 months in learning and validation samples and the cost impact of stopping TKI therapy. We considered loss of haematological response, progress to accelerated-phase chronic myeloid leukaemia, or blast crisis as serious adverse events. This study presents the results of the prespecified interim analysis, which was done after the 6-month molecular relapse-free survival status was known for 200 patients. The study is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01596114.

Findings: Between May 30, 2012, and Dec 3, 2014, we assessed 868 patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia for eligibility, of whom 758 were enrolled. Median follow-up of the 755 patients evaluable for molecular response was 27 months (IQR 21-34). Molecular relapse-free survival for these patients was 61% (95% CI 57-64) at 6 months and 50% (46-54) at 24 months. Of these 755 patients, 371 (49%) lost MMR after TKI discontinuation, four (1%) died while in MMR for reasons unrelated to chronic myeloid leukaemia (myocardial infarction, lung cancer, renal cancer, and heart failure), and 13 (2%) restarted TKI therapy while in MMR. A further six (1%) patients died in chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukaemia after loss of MMR and re-initiation of TKI therapy for reasons unrelated to chronic myeloid leukaemia, and two (<1%) patients lost MMR despite restarting TKI therapy. In the prognostic analysis in 405 patients who received imatinib as first-line treatment (learning sample), longer treatment duration (odds ratio [OR] per year 1·14 [95% CI 1·05-1·23]; p=0·0010) and longer deep molecular response durations (1·13 [1·04-1·23]; p=0·0032) were associated with increasing probability of MMR maintenance at 6 months. The OR for deep molecular response duration was replicated in the validation sample consisting of 171 patients treated with any TKI as first-line treatment, although the association was not significant (1·13 [0·98-1·29]; p=0·08). TKI discontinuation was associated with substantial cost savings (an estimated €22 million). No serious adverse events were reported.

Interpretation: Patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia who have achieved deep molecular responses have good molecular relapse-free survival. Such patients should be considered for TKI discontinuation, particularly those who have been in deep molecular response for a long time. Stopping treatment could spare patients from treatment-induced side-effects and reduce health expenditure.

Funding: ELN Foundation and France National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30192-XDOI Listing
June 2018

The benefit of quality control charts (QCC) for routine quantitative BCR-ABL1 monitoring in chronic myeloid leukemia.

PLoS One 2018 24;13(4):e0196326. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

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

Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is state of the art in molecular monitoring of minimal residual disease in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). In this context, maintenance of assay fidelity and detection of technical inaccuracy are crucial. Beside multiple common negative controls for the clinical sample preparations, quality control charts (QCC) are a common validation tool to sustain high process quality by continuously recording of qRT-PCR control parameters. Here, we report on establishment and benefit of QCC in qRT-PCR-based CML diagnostics. The absolute quantification of BCR-ABL1 fusion transcripts in patient samples is based on coamplification of a serially diluted reference plasmid (pME-2). For QCC establishment the measured Ct values of each pME-2 standard dilution (4-400,000) of a test set resembling 21 sequential qRT-PCR experiments were recorded and statistically evaluated. Test set data were used for determination of warning limits (mean +/- 2-fold standard deviation) and control (intervention) limits (mean +/- 3-fold standard deviation) to allow rapid detection of defined out-of-control situations which may require intervention. We have retrospectively analyzed QCC data of 282 sequential qRT-PCR experiments (564 reactions). Data evaluation using QCCs revealed three out-of-control situations that required intervention like experiment repeats, renewal of pME-2 standards, replacement of reagents or personnel re-training. In conclusion, with minimal more effort and hands-on time QCC rank among the best tools to grant high quality and reproducibility in CML routine molecular diagnosis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0196326PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5916859PMC
August 2018

Comparison of Two Molecular Assays for Detection and Characterization of Triazole Resistance and Mutations in Clinical Isolates and Primary Clinical Samples of Immunocompromised Patients.

Front Microbiol 2018 27;9:555. Epub 2018 Mar 27.

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

In hematological patients, the incidence of invasive aspergillosis (IA) caused by azole resistant (ARAf) is rising. As the diagnosis of IA is rarely based on positive culture in this group of patients, molecular detection of resistance mutations directly from clinical samples is crucial. In addition to the in-house azole resistance ARAf polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays detecting the frequent mutation combinations TR34/L98H, TR46/Y121F/T289A, and M220 in the () gene by subsequent DNA sequence analysis, we investigated in parallel the commercially available AsperGenius® real time PCR system in detecting the alterations TR34/L98H and Y121F/T289A directly from 52 clinical samples (15 biopsies, 22 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), 15 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples) and ARAf isolates ( = 3) of immunocompromised patients. We analyzed DNA aliquots and compared both methods concerning amplification and detection of DNA and alterations. As positive control for the feasibility of our novel Y121F and T289A PCR assays, we used two isolates with the TR46/Y121F/T289A mutation combination isolated from hematological patients with known C alterations and a lung biopsy sample of a patient with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The rate of positive ARAf PCR results plus successful sequencing using the ARAf PCR assays was 61% in biopsies, 29% in CSF, 67% in BAL samples and 100% in isolates. In comparison the amount of positive PCRs using the AsperGenius® assays was 47% in biopsies, 42% in CSF, 59% in BAL samples and 100% in isolates. Altogether 17 alterations were detected using our ARAf PCRs plus DNA sequencing and therefrom 10 alterations also by the AsperGenius® system. The comparative evaluation of our data revealed that our conventional PCR assays are more sensitive in detecting ARAf in BAL and biopsy samples, whereby differences were not significant. The advantage of the AsperGenius® system is the time saving aspect. We consider non-culture based molecular detection of triazole resistance to be of high epidemiological and clinical relevance in patients with hematological malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.00555DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5890139PMC
March 2018

Enhanced labile plasma iron and outcome in acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome after allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplantation (ALLIVE): a prospective, multicentre, observational trial.

Lancet Haematol 2018 May 5;5(5):e201-e210. Epub 2018 Apr 5.

Medizinische Fakultät Carl-Gustav-Carus der Technischen Universität, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, University Hospital Carl-Gustav-Carus, Dresden, Germany; National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT)-Partner Site Dresden, Dresden, Germany; German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Partner Site Dresden, Germany.

Background: The effect of systemic iron overload on outcomes after allogeneic haemopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has been a matter of substantial debate. We aimed to investigate the predictive value of both stored (MRI-derived liver iron content) and biologically active iron (enhanced labile plasma iron; eLPI) on post-transplantation outcomes in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome undergoing allogenic HCT.

Methods: The prospective, multicentre, observational, ALLogeneic Iron inVEstigators (ALLIVE) trial recruited patients at five centres in Germany. We enrolled patients with acute myeloid leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome undergoing allogeneic HCT. Patients underwent cytotoxic conditioning for a median of 6 days (IQR 6-7) before undergoing allogeneic HCT and were followed up for up to 1 year (±3 months) post-transplantation. eLPI was measured in serum samples with the FeROS eLPI kit (Aferrix, Tel-Aviv, Israel) and values greater than 0·4 μmol/L were considered to represent raised eLPI. Liver iron content was measured by MRI. The primary endpoints were the quantitative delineation of eLPI dynamics during allogeneic HCT and the correlation coefficient between liver iron content before HCT and dynamic eLPI (eLPI; maximum eLPI minus baseline eLPI). All patients with available data were included in all analyses. This is the final analysis of this completed trial, which is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01746147.

Findings: Between Dec 13, 2012, and Dec 23, 2014, 112 patients underwent allogeneic HCT. Liver iron content before allogeneic HCT was not significantly correlated with eLPI (ρ=0·116, p=0·22). Serum eLPI concentrations rapidly increased during conditioning, and most (79 [73%] of 108) patients had raised eLPI by the day of transplantation. Patients with a pretransplant liver iron content greater than or equal to 125 μmol/g had an increased incidence of non-relapse mortality (20%, 95% CI 14-26) compared with those with lower concentrations (7%, 2-12; p=0·039) at day 100. Patients who had raised eLPI at baseline also had a significantly increased incidence of non-relapse mortality at day 100 (33%, 15-52) compared with those who had normal eLPI at baseline (7%, 2-13; p=0·00034).

Interpretation: eLPI is a possible biological mediator of iron-related toxicity. Peritransplantation eLPI-scavenging strategies could be explored in prospective interventional clinical trials for patients with systemic iron overload.

Funding: The Technical University of Dresden and Novartis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3026(18)30036-XDOI Listing
May 2018

Safety and efficacy of the CD95-ligand inhibitor asunercept in transfusion-dependent patients with low and intermediate risk MDS.

Leuk Res 2018 05 10;68:62-69. Epub 2018 Mar 10.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, University Hospital Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany; Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address:

In low risk MDS, increased apoptosis of erythroid progenitors mediated via CD95 (Fas) activation has been described to result in peripheral cytopenia. Blockade of the CD95 system can improve erythropoiesis in MDS. Asunercept (APG101) is a fusion protein consisting of the extracellular domain of human CD95 and the Fc domain of human IgG1 blocking the interaction between CD95 and its ligand. Here we report on results from a phase I study in 20 transfusion-dependent low and intermediate risk MDS patients treated with intravenous asunercept (EudraCT 2012-003027-37). Primary objectives were safety and tolerability as well as pharmacodynamic effects. Secondary objectives were hematologic improvement, incidence and time to leukemic progression as well as overall survival. Frequency and severity of adverse events were in range of what could be expected in a patient cohort comprising of elderly MDS patients. Two patients experienced a serious adverse event with a suspected relationship to asunercept. The incidence of disease progression was low. In the 20 patients a decrease of the transfusion need from a mean of 10,8 (±5,1) pRBCs during the 12 weeks treatment phase to a mean of 10,0 (±4,2) pRBCs at the end of the study was observed. In conclusion, asunercept was well tolerated and showed efficacy in transfusion-dependent low and intermediate risk MDS patients. Further clinical investigation is warranted, particularly in combination with erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.leukres.2018.03.007DOI Listing
May 2018