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Vicenza, Italy

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

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. Source

Trecarichi E.M.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Pagano L.,Catholic University of the Sacred Heart | Candoni A.,University of Udine | Pastore D.,Ematologia con Trapianto Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Policlinico | And 8 more authors.
Clinical Microbiology and Infection

A prospective cohort study was conducted in nine hematology wards at tertiary care centres or at university hospitals located throughout Italy from January 2009 to December 2012. All of the cases of bacterial bloodstream infection (BBSI) occurring in adult patients with hematologic malignancies were included. A total of 668 bacterial isolates were recovered in 575 BBSI episodes. Overall, the susceptibility rates of Gram-negative bacteria were 59.1% to ceftazidime, 20.1% to ciprofloxacin, 79.1% to meropenem, 85.2% to amikacin, 69.2% to gentamicin and 69.8% to piperacillin/tazobactam. Resistance to third-generation cephalosporins was found in 98/265 (36.9%) of Enterobacteriaceae isolates. Among Klebsiella pneumoniae strains, 15/43 (34.9%) were resistant to carbapenems. Of 66 Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates, 46 (69.7%) were multidrug resistant. Overall, the susceptibility rates of Gram-positive bacteria were 97.4% to vancomycin and 94.2% to teicoplanin. Among the monomicrobial cases of BBSI, the 21-day mortality rate was significantly higher for those caused by Gram-negative bacteria compared to those caused by Gram-positive bacteria (47/278, 16.9% vs. 12/212, 5.6%; p<0.001). Among Gram-negative bacteria, the mortality rate was significantly higher for BBSI caused by K.pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii. Our results confirm the recently reported shift of prevalence from Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria as causative agents of BBSIs among patients with hematologic malignancies and highlight a worrisome increasing frequency in antimicrobial resistance among Gram-negative bacteria. © 2014 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Source

Tacchetti P.,University of Bologna | Terragna C.,University of Bologna | Galli M.,Ospedali Riuniti | Zamagni E.,University of Bologna | And 16 more authors.
American Journal of Hematology

A subanalysis of the GIMEMA-MMY-3006 trial was performed to characterize treatment-emergent peripheral neuropathy (PN) in patients randomized to thalidomide-dexamethasone (TD) or bortezomib-TD (VTD) before and after double autologous transplantation (ASCT) for multiple myeloma (MM). A total of 236 patients randomized to VTD and 238 to TD were stratified according to the emergence of grade ≥2 PN. Gene expression profiles (GEP) of CD138+ plasma cells were analyzed in 120 VTD-treated patients. The incidence of grade ≥2 PN was 35% in the VTD arm and 10% in the TD arm (P<0.001). PN resolved in 88 and 95% of patients in VTD and TD groups, respectively. Rates of complete/near complete response, progression-free and overall survival were not adversely affected by emergence of grade ≥2 PN. Baseline characteristics were not risk factors for PN, while GEP analysis revealed the deregulated expression of genes implicated in cytoskeleton rearrangement, neurogenesis, and axonal guidance. In conclusion, in comparison with TD, incorporation of VTD into ASCT was associated with a higher incidence of PN which, however, was reversible in most of the patients and did not adversely affect their outcomes nor their ability to subsequently receive ASCT. GEP analysis suggests an interaction between myeloma genetic profiles and development of VTD-induced PN. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

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.

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. Source

Bringhen S.,University of Turin | Mateos M.V.,Hospital Universitario Of Salamanca | Zweegman S.,VU University Amsterdam | Larocca A.,University of Turin | And 24 more authors.

Thalidomide and bortezomib are extensively used to treat elderly myeloma patients. In these patients, treatmentrelated side effects are frequent and full drug doses difficult to tolerate. We retrospectively analyzed data from 1435 elderly patients enrolled in 4 European phase III trials including thalidomide and/or bortezomib. After a median follow up of 33 months (95%CI: 10-56 months), 513 of 1435 patients (36%) died; median overall survival was 50 months (95%CI: 46-60 months). The risk of death was increased in patients aged 75 years or over (HR 1.44, 95%CI: 1.20-1.72; P<0.001), in patients with renal failure (HR 2.02, 95%CI: 1.51-2.70; P<0.001), in those who experienced grade 3-4 infections, cardiac or gastrointestinal adverse events during treatment (HR 2.53, 95%CI: 1.75-3.64; P<0.001) and in those who required drug discontinuation due to adverse events (HR 1.67, 95%CI; 1.12- 2.51; P=0.01). This increased risk was restricted to the first six months after occurrence of adverse events or drug discontinuation and declined over time. More intensive approaches, such as the combination of bortezomibthalidomide, negatively affected outcome. Bortezomib-based combinations may overcome the negative impact of renal failure. Age 75 years or over or renal failure at presentation, occurrence of infections, cardiac or gastrointestinal adverse events negatively affected survival. A detailed geriatric assessment, organ evaluation and less intense individualized approaches are suggested in elderly unfit subjects. © 2013 Ferrata Storti Foundation. Source

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