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Olivieri A.,Marche Polytechnic University | Cimminiello M.,Uo Of Ematologia Centro Trapianto Of Cellule Staminali | Corradini P.,University of Milan | Mordini N.,Azienda Ospedaliera S. Croce e Carle | And 15 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2013

Forty adults aged 28 to 73 years were entered into a prospective trial of imatinib for the treatment of steroid-refractory chronic graft-versus-host disease (SR-cGVHD). After 6 months, intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis of 39 patients who received the drug, regardless of the duration of treatment, revealed 14 partial responses (PR), 4 minor responses (MR) with relevant steroid sparing (46%) according to Couriel criteria, and 20 ≥ PR (51.3%), as per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) criteria and NIH severity score changes. The best responses were seen in the lungs, gut, and skin (35%, 50%, and 32%, respectively). After a median follow-up of 40 months, 28 patients were alive, with a 3-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival of 72% and 46%, respectively. The 3-year OS was 94% for patients responding at 6 months and 58% for nonresponders according to NIH response, suggesting that these criteria represent a reliable tool for predicting OS after second-line treatment. Monitoring of anti-platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-R) antibodies showed a significant decrease in PDGF-R stimulatory activity in 7 responders, whereas it remained high in 4 nonresponders. This study confirms the efficacy of imatinib against SR-cGVHD and suggests that the response at 6 months significantly predicts long-term survival. © 2013 by The American Society of Hematology.


Marchioli R.,Consorzio Mario Negri Sud | Finazzi G.,Unit of Hematology and Transplant | Specchia G.,Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria | Cacciola R.,Unit of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant | And 29 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: Current treatment recommendations for patients with polycythemia vera call for maintaining a hematocrit of less than 45%, but this therapeutic strategy has not been tested in a randomized clinical trial. Methods: We randomly assigned 365 adults with JAK2-positive polycythemia vera who were being treated with phlebotomy, hydroxyurea, or both to receive either more intensive treatment (target hematocrit, <45%) (low-hematocrit group) or less intensive treatment (target hematocrit, 45 to 50%) (high-hematocrit group). The primary composite end point was the time until death from cardiovascular causes or major thrombotic events. The secondary end points were cardiovascular events, cardiovascular hospitalizations, incidence of cancer, progression to myelofibrosis, myelodysplasia or leukemic transformation, and hemorrhage. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed. Results: After a median follow-up of 31 months, the primary end point was recorded in 5 of 182 patients in the low-hematocrit group (2.7%) and 18 of 183 patients in the highhematocrit group (9.8%) (hazard ratio in the high-hematocrit group, 3.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45 to 10.53; P=0.007). The primary end point plus superficial-vein thrombosis occurred in 4.4% of patients in the low-hematocrit group, as compared with 10.9% in the high-hematocrit group (hazard ratio, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.19 to 6.12; P=0.02). Progression to myelofibrosis, myelodysplasia or leukemic transformation, and bleeding were observed in 6, 2, and 2 patients, respectively, in the low-hematocrit group, as compared with 2, 1, and 5 patients, respectively, in the high-hematocrit group. There was no significant between-group difference in the rate of adverse events. Conclusions: In patients with polycythemia vera, those with a hematocrit target of less than 45% had a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular death and major thrombosis than did those with a hematocrit target of 45 to 50%. (Funded by the Italian Medicines Agency and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01645124, and EudraCT number, 2007-006694-91). Copyright © 2012 Massachusetts Medical Society.


Bringhen S.,University of Turin | Larocca A.,University of Turin | Rossi D.,University of Piemonte Orientale | Cavalli M.,University of Catania | And 21 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2010

In a recent phase 3 trial, bortezomibmelphalan-prednisone-thalidomide followed by maintenance treatment with bortezomib-thalidomide demonstrated superior efficacy compared with bortezomib-melphalan-prednisone. To decrease neurologic toxicities, the protocol was amended and patients in both arms received once-weekly instead of the initial twice-weekly bortezomib infusions: 372 patients received once-weekly and 139 twice-weekly bortezomib. In this posthoc analysis we assessed the impact of the schedule change on clinical outcomes and safety. Long-term outcomes appeared similar: 3-year progression-free survival rate was 50% in the once-weekly and 47% in the twice-weekly group (P > .999), and 3-year overall survival rate was 88% and 89%, respectively (P = .54). The complete response rate was 30% in the onceweekly and 35% in the twice-weekly group (P = .27). Nonhematologic grade 3/4 adverse events were reported in 35% of once-weekly patients and 51% of twice-weekly patients (P = .003). The incidence of grade 3/4 peripheral neuropathy was 8% in the once-weekly and 28% in the twice-weekly group (P < .001); 5% of patients in the once-weekly and 15% in the twice-weekly group discontinued therapy because of peripheral neuropathy (P < .001). This improvement in safety did not appear to affect efficacy. This study is registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01063179. © 2010 by The American Society of Hematology.


Barcellini W.,U.O. Ematologia e CTMO | Zaja F.,Clinica Ematologica | Zaninoni A.,U.O. Ematologia e CTMO | Imperiali F.G.,U.O. Ematologia e CTMO | And 6 more authors.
European Journal of Haematology | Year: 2013

Objectives: To evaluate the sustained response to low-dose (LD) rituximab in autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), the ex vivo effect on anti-RBC antibody production by mitogen-stimulated direct antiglobulin test (MS-DAT), and the in vitro dose effect of the drug on the production of anti-RBC antibodies. Methods: Thirty two patients, 18 warm (W) AIHA and 14 cold hemagglutinin disease (CHD), were treated with LD rituximab (100 mg fixed dose ×4 weekly infusions) along with a short course of oral prednisone. Complete clinical examination, blood counts, and hemolytic markers were performed at enrollment and at month 6, 12, 24, and 36. Results: Hematological parameters significantly improved at all time points compared to enrollment. The overall response was 90%, 100%, 100%, and 89% and the relapse-free survival 87%, 79%, 68%, and 68% at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months, respectively. Response rates were slightly better in WAIHA than in CHD, and relapse risk was greater in cold than warm forms (HR 2.1, 95% CI 0.6-7.9). Four patients were retreated (one patient twice), all achieving a response, lasting a median of 18 months (range 9-30). Treatment was well tolerated without adverse events or infections. Anti-RBC antibody production by MS-DAT significantly decreased over time. In vitro studies showed that rituximab effectively inhibited anti-RBC antibody production at 50 μg/mL, 1/6 of the drug concentration after therapy with standard doses. Conclusions: These data confirm that LD rituximab treatment is effective and induces sustained responses in AIHA, and that a lower dose of the drug is enough to down-regulate autoantibody production. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Golay J.,Ospedale Papa Giovanni XXIII | Semenzato G.,University of Padua | Rambaldi A.,Ospedale Papa Giovanni XXIII | Foa R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 7 more authors.
mAbs | Year: 2013

The anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (RTX; Rituxan®, MabThera®) was the first anti-cancer antibody approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997 and it is now the most-studied unconjugated therapeutic antibody. The knowledge gained over the past 15 y on the pharmacodynamics (PD) of this antibody has led to the development of a new generation of anti-CD20 antibodies with enhanced efficacy in vitro. Studies on the pharmacokinetics (PK) properties and the effect of factors such as tumor load and localization, antibody concentration in the circulation and gender on both PK and clinical response has allowed the design of optimized schedules and novel routes of RTX administration. Although clinical results using newer anti-CD20 antibodies, such as ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, and novel administration schedules for RTX are still being evaluated, the knowledge gained so far on RTX PK and PD should also be relevant for other unconjugated monoclonal antibody therapeutics, and will be critically reviewed here. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.


Gay F.,University of Turin | Larocca A.,University of Turin | Wijermans P.,Haga Hospital | Cavallo F.,University of Turin | And 18 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2011

Complete response (CR) was an uncommon event in elderly myeloma patients until novel agents were combined with standard oral melphalan-prednisone. This analysis assesses the impact of treatment response on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). We retrospectively analyzed 1175 newly diagnosed myeloma patients, enrolled in 3 multicenter trials, treated with melphalanprednisone alone (n = 332), melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide (n = 332), melphalanprednisone-bortezomib (n = 257), or melphalan-prednisone-bortezomib- thalidomide (n = 254). After a median follow-up of 29 months, the 3-year PFS andOSwere 67% and 27% (hazard ratio = 0.16; P < .001), and 91% and 70% (hazard ratio = 0.15; P < .001) in patients who obtained CR and in those who achieved very good partial response, respectively. Similar results were observed in patients older than 75 years. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the achievement of CR was an independent predictor of longer PFS and OS, regardless of age, International Staging System stage, and treatment. These findings highlight a significant association between the achievement of CR and long-term outcome, and support the use of novel agents to achieve maximal response in elderly patients, including those more than 75 years. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00232934, #ISRCTN 90692740, and #NCT01063179. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.


PubMed | Ospedali Riuniti, Clinica Ematologica, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Udine, University of Turin and 10 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Annals of hematology | Year: 2016

The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether the presence of comorbidities was associated with a lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in elderly patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). A sample of 174 CML patients aged 60years or above was analyzed. HRQOL was assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). A number of pre-selected sociodemographic and disease-related factors were considered as potential confounding factors for the association between comorbidity and HRQOL. Mean age of the 174 patients analyzed was 70years (range 60-87years) and 55% were male. Overall, 111 patients (64%) reported at least one comorbidity. Analysis stratified by age group category showed a greater proportion of patients with comorbidities in the older sub-group population (70years) compared to younger patients (60 to 69years). Differences in HRQOL outcomes between patients with no comorbidity at all and those with two or more comorbid conditions were at least twice the magnitude of a clinically meaningful difference in all the physical and mental health scales of the SF-36. In multivariate analysis, after adjusting for key confounding factors, the following scales were significantly lower in those with comorbidity: general health (p<0.001), bodily pain (p<0.001), physical functioning (p=0.002), and vitality (p=0.002). Assessing comorbidity in elderly patients with CML is important to facilitate identification of those most in need of HRQOL improvements.


PubMed | University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Unita Operativa Complessa di Ematologia, University Cattolica ore, Ematologia and 7 more.
Type: | Journal: Blood reviews | Year: 2016

Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. Patients with hematological malignancies undergoing conventional chemotherapy, autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are considered at high risk, and Aspergillus spp. represents the most frequently isolated micro-organisms. In the last years, attention has also been focused on other rare molds (e.g., Zygomycetes, Fusarium spp.) responsible for devastating clinical manifestations. The extensive use of antifungal prophylaxis has reduced the infections from yeasts (e.g., candidemia) even though they are still associated with high mortality rates. This paper analyzes concurrent multiple predisposing factors that could favor the onset of fungal infections. Although neutropenia is common to almost all hematologic patients, other factors play a key role in specific patients, in particular in patients with AML or allogeneic HSCT recipients. Defining those patients at higher risk of IFIs may help to design the most appropriate diagnostic work-up and antifungal strategy.


PubMed | SODc Ematologia, UOS Ematologia Ospedale Versilia USL12 Lido Di Camaiore, U.O.C. Di Ematologia, University of Milan Bicocca and 8 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: American journal of hematology | Year: 2016

In patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) refractory to corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), splenectomy may result at higher risk of peri-operative complications and, for this reason, potentially contraindicated. The thrombopoietin receptor agonists (TPO-RAs) romiplostim and eltrombopag have shown high therapeutic activity in primary ITP, but data of efficacy and safety regarding their use in preparation for splenectomy are missing. Thirty-one adult patients, median age 50 years, with corticosteroids and/or IVIG refractory persistent and chronic ITP who were treated with TPO-RAs (romiplostim= 24; eltrombopag= 7) with the aim to increase platelet count and allow a safer execution of splenectomy were retrospectively evaluated. Twenty-four patients (77%) responded to the use of TPO-RAs with a median platelet count that increased from 11 10(9) /L before starting TPO-RAs to 114 10(9) /L pre-splenectomy, but a concomitant treatment with corticosteroids and/or IVIG was required in 19 patients. Twenty-nine patients underwent splenectomy while two patients who responded to TPO-RAs subsequently refused surgery. Post-splenectomy complications were characterized by two Grade 3 thrombotic events (1 portal vein thrombosis in the patient with previous history of HCV hepatitis and 1 pulmonary embolism), with a platelet count at the time of thrombosis of 260 and 167 10(9) /L, respectively and one Grade 3 infectious event. TPO-RAs may represent a therapeutic option to improve platelet count and reduce the risk of peri-operative complications in ITP candidates to splenectomy. An increased risk of post-splenectomy thromboembolic events cannot be ruled out and thromboprophylaxis with low-molecular weight heparin is generally recommended.


Barcellini W.,Unita Operativa Ematologia 2 | Zaja F.,Clinica Ematologica | Zaninoni A.,Unita Operativa Ematologia 2 | Imperiali F.G.,Unita Operativa Ematologia 2 | And 7 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2012

This prospective study investigated the efficacy, safety, and response duration of low-dose rituximab (100 mg fixed dose for 4 weekly infusions) together with a short course of steroids as first- or second-line therapy in 23 patients with primary autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). The overall response was 82.6% at month +2, and subsequently stabilized to ∼90% at months +6 and +12; the response was better in warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (WAIHA; overall response, 100% at all time points) than in cold hemagglutinin disease (CHD; average, 60%); the relapse-free survival was 100% for WAIHA at +6 and +12 months versus 89% and 59% in CHD, respectively, and the estimated relapse-free survival at 2 years was 81% and 40% for the warm and cold forms, respectively. The risk of relapse was higher in CHD and in patients with a longer interval between diagnosis and enrollment. Steroid administration was reduced both as cumulative dose (∼50%) and duration compared with the patient's past history. Treatment was well tolerated and no adverse events or infections were recorded; retreatment was also effective. The clinical response was correlated with amelioration biologic markers such as cytokine production (IFN-γ, IL-12, TNF-α, and IL-17), suggesting that low-dose rituximab exerts an immu-nomodulating activity. This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01345708. © 2012 by The American Society of Hematology.

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