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Falanga A.,Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo
Thrombosis research | Year: 2012

Microparticles (MP) are shed from the surface of activated or apoptotic blood cells and their levels in plasma reflect a balance between cell stimulation, proliferation, and death. MP production occurs through vesiculation of cell membranes, and involves cytoskeletal changes and a shift in the normal phospholipid asymmetry. The expression on the majority of MP of the anionic phosphatidylserine (PS) is responsible for the capacity of MP to support blood coagulation activation. In some cases, PS expression is also associated, in the same MP, with the presence of active Tissue Factor, the main activator of blood coagulation. Elevation in plasma levels of MP have been described in numerous clinical conditions, most of which also associated with an increased thrombotic risk. Particularly, MP have been found to be increased in both solid and hematological malignancies, including myeloproliferative neoplasms. A role of MP in tumor progression has been suggested by both in vitro and in vivo studies. Evidence exists that MP of platelet origin are the main players in this process, being rich in pro-angiogenic factors. The utility of measuring MP as a diagnostic and prognostic marker is currently a subject of intense investigation. The possibility to inhibit MP production by pharmacological interventions represents a future challenge. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Barbui T.,Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo | Thiele J.,University of Cologne | Vannucchi A.M.,University of Florence | Tefferi A.,Mayo Medical School
Leukemia | Year: 2013

Reproducibility and clinical usefulness of the WHO classification of chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) persist to be a controversial issue. Major arguments are focused on the critical impact of histopathology, particularly concerning the distinction between essential thrombocythemia (ET) versus early/prefibrotic primary myelofibrosis (PMF). Regarding bone marrow morphology, WHO guidelines strictly require the recognition of characteristic histological patterns based on standardized features and a consensus of clinical and molecular-genetic data. Molecular-genetic findings as JAK2V617F, may aid to exclude reactive thrombocytosis, although in ET and PMF only 50-60% of the cases show these aberrations. Considerable doubts over the existence of early/prefibrotic PMF have been expressed with the consequence to include this entity in the ET category. On the other hand, it has to be argued that some of the critical studies failed to adhere very strictly to the WHO guidelines. Contrasting this situation, recently published retrospective and prospective clinico-pathological studies featuring the WHO criteria provided an important information on disease outcomes supporting the existence of early/prefibrotic PMF as a distinct clinico-pathologic entity in patients presenting clinically with ET. Therefore, this controversy suggests a scientific project, including the community of pathologists and hematologists, for providing sound, objective and reproducible criteria for diagnosing early/prefibrotic PMF. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Primary antithrombotic prevention with aspirin is not indicated in asymptomatic patients with confirmed antiphospholipid (aPL) positivity without systemic autoimmune disorders because: a) the estimated prevalence of thrombosis in unselected cases is about 1% patient-years (range 0-2.8); b) this level of thrombotic risk is equivalent to that of major bleeding associated with the use of aspirin and therefore the expected benefit does not outweigh the risk; c) these expectations have been confirmed by at least one randomized clinical trial, although with methodological limits. The management of modifiable thrombotic risk factors can be an alternative and safer strategy, considering that many vascular events occur in the presence of concomitant non-aPL triggering conditions. Whether primary prophylaxis with aspirin may be useful for some subsets of aPL patients at particularly high thrombotic risk, such as those with overt systemic autoimmune disorders or with special patterns of antibodies ('triple positivity'), remains to be established. © The Author(s), 2012. Reprints and permissions: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/ journalsPermissions.nav. Source

Finazzi G.,Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo
Leukemia | Year: 2012

I use the hematological, morphological and molecular criteria recently established by the World Health Organization to diagnose essential thrombocytemia. In these patients, major causes of morbidity and mortality are represented by thrombosis and bleeding, whereas progression to myelofibrosis and transformation to acute leukemia are more rare. Myelosuppressive therapy can reduce the rate of vascular complications, but there is some concern about treatment-related toxicity. Therefore, I follow a risk-oriented therapeutic approach to avoid inappropriate exposure to cytotoxic drugs on one side or suboptimal treatment on the other. Established predictors of cardiovascular events are represented by older age and previous thrombosis, whereas recent data suggest a prognostic role for novel risk factors, including leukocytosis and JAK2V617F mutational status. There is no indication for therapeutic intervention in asymptomatic, low-risk patients, while I treat high-risk patients with hydroxyurea (HU) first. Other therapeutic options, such as interferon alpha or anagrelide, may find place in selected patients including those who are resistant or intolerant to HU. I follow a risk-oriented approach also for management of pregnancy. Low-risk women are given low-dose aspirin throughout pregnancy and prophylactic low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) post partum, whereas LMWH throughout pregnancy and/or interferon-alpha can be required in high-risk cases. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Falanga A.,Ospedali Riuniti di Bergamo
Hematology / the Education Program of the American Society of Hematology. American Society of Hematology. Education Program | Year: 2012

Thrombosis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), particularly polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia. Mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the acquired thrombophilic state associated with these diseases include abnormalities of MPN clone-derived blood cells, which display prothrombotic features, and abnormalities of normal vascular cells, which become procoagulant in response to inflammatory stimuli. Ultimately, the release into the blood of elevated levels of procoagulant microparticles by platelets and vascular cells and the increase in the global thrombin generation due to an acquired activated protein C resistance result in a highly prothrombotic scenario in patients with polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia. The acquired point mutation in the pseudokinase domain of JAK2 (JAK2V617F) in these disorders is variably associated with thrombosis and, more consistently, with elevations in WBC counts and alterations in biomarkers of blood-clotting abnormalities. The predictive value of these biomarkers for thrombosis remains to be established to identify subsets of patients at elevated risk who may benefit from prophylaxis with antithrombotic drugs. Source

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