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1.  Ofatumumab-based chemoimmunotherapy is effective and well tolerated in patients with previously untreated CLL 
Cancer  2013;119(21):3788-3796.
Although rituximab-based chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) has substantially improved clinical outcomes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), only 40-50% of patients achieve a complete remission (CR). There remains interest in identifying new approaches to improve the effectiveness of CIT. Ofatumumab is a fully human anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with greater apparent single agent activity than rituximab in CLL patients.
Previously untreated CLL patients in need of therapy received 6 cycles of CIT induction with pentostatin, cyclophosphamide and ofatumumab (PCO) followed by response assessment.
Of the 48 patients enrolled, 77% completed PCO induction. Adverse events during induction included grade 3+ hematologic toxicity (27%) and grade 3+ non-hematologic toxicity (23%). Median CD4 count post induction and 6 months later were 186 ×106/L and 272 ×106/L. The overall response rate was 96% (46/48) and the CR rate was 46% (22/48). Among the 38 patients who underwent minimal residual disease (MRD) evaluation, 7 (18%) were MRD negative. After median follow-up of 24 months, 10 (21%) patients have progressed and 8 (17%) have required retreatment. The efficacy and toxicity of ofatumumab-based CIT compare favorably to our historical trials of rituximab-based CIT using an identical chemotherapy backbone (n=64). Time to retreatment also appeared longer for ofatumumab-based CIT (free of retreatment at 24 months: 86% [95%CI: 75-99] vs 68% [95% CI: 56-81]).
Ofatumumab-based CIT is well tolerated in patients with previously untreated CLL. The efficacy of ofatumumab-based CIT compares favorably to historical trials of rituximab-based CIT suggesting randomized trials comparing ofatumumab-based CIT and rituximab-based CIT should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3894149  PMID: 23922059
chronic lymphocytic leukemia(CLL; small lymphocytic lymphoma(SLL); treatment; ofatumumab; chemoimmunotherapy
2.  Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (Richter Syndrome) in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia: A Cohort Study of Newly Diagnosed Patients 
British journal of haematology  2013;162(6):774-782.
Nearly all information about patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) who develop diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (Richter syndrome [RS]) is derived from retrospective case series or patients treated on clinical trials. We used the Mayo Clinic CLL Database to identify patients with newly diagnosed CLL (1/2000–7/2011). Individuals who developed biopsy-proven RS during follow-up were identified. After median follow-up of 4 years, 37/1641 (2.3%) CLL patients developed RS. The rate of RS was approximately 0.5%/year. Risk of RS was associated with advanced Rai stage at diagnosis (p<0.001), high-risk FISH (p<0.0001), unmutated IGHV (p=0.003), and expression of ZAP-70 (p=0.02) and CD38 (p=0.001). The rate of RS doubled in patients treated for CLL (1%/year). Stereotyped B-cell receptors (odds-ratio=4.2; p=0.01) but not VH4–39 was associated with increased risk of RS. Treatment with combination of purine analogues and alkylating agents increased the risk of RS 3-fold (odds-ratio= 3.26, p=0.0003). Median survival after RS diagnosis was 2.1 years. The RS prognosis score stratified patients into three risk groups with median survivals of 0.5 years, 2.1 years and not reached. Both underlying characteristics of the CLL clone and subsequent CLL therapy influence the risk of RS. Survival after RS remains poor and new therapies are needed.
PMCID: PMC4098845  PMID: 23841899
transformation; aggressive lymphoma; stem cell transplantation; purine analogues; RS survival score
3.  Phase II Trials of Single Agent Anti-VEGF Therapy for Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2010;51(12):2222-2229.
Between 2005 and 2008, we conducted separate phase II clinical testing of 3 distinct anti-VEGF therapies for patients with relapsed/refractory CLL. Collectively, 46 patients were accrued to trials of single-agent anti-VEGF antibody (bevacizumab, n=13) or 1 of 2 receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (AZD2171, n=15; sunitinib malate, n=18). All patients have completed treatment. Patients received a median of 2 cycles of bevacizumab, AZD2171, or sunitinib malate. All 3 trials were closed early due to lack of efficacy. No complete or partial remissions were observed. Individually and collectively, these studies indicate single-agent anti-VEGF therapy has minimal clinical activity for patients with relapsed/refractory CLL.
PMCID: PMC3928074  PMID: 21054149
chronic lymphocytic leukemia; angiogenesis; vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); therapy; bevacizumab; receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor
5.  Age at Diagnosis and the Utility of Prognostic Testing in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) 
Cancer  2010;116(20):4777-4787.
To analyze the survival of CLL patients relative to age-matched individuals in the general population and determined the age-stratified utility of prognostic testing.
All 2487 patients diagnosed with CLL between January 1995 and June 2008 and cared for in the Mayo Division of Hematology were categorized by age at diagnosis and evaluated for differences in clinical characteristics, time to first treatment(TFT), and overall survival(OS).
Among Rai stage 0 patients, survival was shorter than the age-matched general population for patients age<55 years(p<0.001), 55-64 years(p<0.001), and 65-74 years(p<0.001) but not those age≥75 at diagnosis(p=NS). CD38, IGHV mutation, and ZAP-70 each predicted TFT independent of stage for all age groups(all p <0.04) but had less value for predicting OS, particularly as age increased. IGHV and FISH predicted OS independent of stage for patients
Survival of CLL patients age<75 is shorter than the age-matched general population regardless of disease stage. Among patients age<75, the simple combinations of stage and IGHV or stage and FISH identifies those with excess risk of death relative to the age-matched population. Although useful for predicting TFT independent of stage for patients of all ages, prognostic testing had little utility for predicting OS independent of stage among patients age≥75.
PMCID: PMC3902481  PMID: 20578179
British journal of haematology  2008;141(5):10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07070.x.
Patients with CLL have a variable clinical course. Identification of modifiable characteristics related to CLL-specific survival may provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention. The absolute number of T-cell and natural kill(NK)-cells was calculated for 166 consecutive patients with CLL evaluated by flow cytometry at Mayo Clinic <2 months of diagnosis. The size of the T-cell/NK-cell compartment relative to the size of the malignant monoclonal B-cell(MBC) compartment was evaluated by calculating NK:MBC and T:MBC ratios. Patients exhibited substantial variation in the absolute number of T and NK-cells as well as T:MBC and NK:MBC ratios at diagnosis. Higher T:MBC and NK:MBC ratios were observed among patients with early stage and mutated IgVH genes(all P<0.0003). As continuous variables, both T:MBC ratio(p value=0.03) and NK:MBC ratio(p value=0.02) were associated with time to treatment(TTT). On multivariate Cox modeling including stage, CD38, absolute MBC count, NK:MBC ratio, and T:MBC ratio, the independent predictors of TTT were stage, T:MBC ratio, and NK:MBC ratio. These findings suggest measurable characteristics of the host immune system relate to the rate of disease progression in patients with newly diagnosed CLL. These characteristics can be modified and continued evaluation of immunomodulatory drugs, vaccination strategies, and cellular therapies to delay/prevent disease progression are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3840945  PMID: 18384436
CLL; prognosis; immune system; T-cells; natural killer cells
Case Reports in Hematology  2013;2013:458303.
Clonal eosinophilic disorders are rare among hematological malignancies. Most eosinophilia tends to be due to secondary causes such as infections, hypersensitivity conditions, drug reactions, and connective tissue disorders. The presence of a primary clonal eosinophilic disorder such as chronic eosinophilic leukemia—not otherwise specified (NOS) in the presence of a synchronous large cell lymphoma—is rare making the diagnosis challenging. We present a case of a 51-year-old female with the aforementioned presentation and demonstrate the extensive workup performed to identify the diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3809936  PMID: 24224106
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70554.
The biology of the malignant plasma cells (PCs) in multiple myeloma (MM) is highly influenced by the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment in which they reside. More specifically, BM stromal cells (SCs) are known to interact with MM cells to promote MM cell survival and proliferation. By contrast, it is unclear if innate immune cells within this same space also actively participate in the pathology of MM. Our study shows for the first time that eosinophils (Eos) can contribute to the biology of MM by enhancing the proliferation of some malignant PCs. We first demonstrate that PCs and Eos can be found in close proximity in the BM. In culture, Eos were found to augment MM cell proliferation that is predominantly mediated through a soluble factor(s). Fractionation of cell-free supernatants and neutralization studies demonstrated that this activity is independent of Eos-derived microparticles and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), respectively. Using a multicellular in vitro system designed to resemble the native MM niche, SCs and Eos were shown to have non-redundant roles in their support of MM cell growth. Whereas SCs induce MM cell proliferation predominantly through the secretion of IL-6, Eos stimulate growth of these malignant cells via an IL-6-independent mechanism. Taken together, our study demonstrates for the first time a role for Eos in the pathology of MM and suggests that therapeutic strategies targeting these cells may be beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3718740  PMID: 23894671
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2012;87(1):25-33.
To share our decades of experience with primary myelofibrosis and underscore the importance of outcomes research studies in designing clinical trials and interpreting their results.
Patients and Methods
One thousand consecutive patients with primary myelofibrosis seen at Mayo Clinic between November 4, 1977, and September 1, 2011, were considered. The International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS), dynamic IPSS (DIPSS), and DIPSS-plus were applied for risk stratification. Separate analyses were included for patients seen at time of referral (N=1000), at initial diagnosis (N=340), and within or after 1 year of diagnosis (N=660).
To date, 592 deaths and 68 leukemic transformations have been documented. Parameters at initial diagnosis vs time of referral included median age (66 vs 65 years), male sex (61% vs 62%), red cell transfusion need (24% vs 38%), hemoglobin level less than 10 g/dL (38% vs 54%), platelet count less than 100 × 109/L (18% vs 26%), leukocyte count more than 25 × 109/L (13% vs 16%), marked splenomegaly (21% vs 31%), constitutional symptoms (29% vs 34%), and abnormal karyotype (31% vs 41%). Mutational frequencies were 61% for JAK2V617F, 8% for MPLW515, and 4% for IDH1/2. DIPSS-plus risk distributions at time of referral were 10% low, 15% intermediate-1, 37% intermediate-2, and 37% high. The corresponding median survivals were 17.5, 7.8, 3.6, and 1.8 years vs 20.0, 14.3, 5.3, and 1.7 years for patients younger than 60 years of age. Compared with both DIPSS and IPSS, DIPSS-plus showed better discrimination among risk groups. Five-year leukemic transformation rates were 6% and 21% in low- and high-risk patients, respectively.
The current document should serve as a valuable resource for patients and physicians and provides context for the design and interpretation of clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3538387  PMID: 22212965
Monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is a hematologic condition wherein small B cell clones can be detected in the blood of asymptomatic individuals. Most MBL have an immunophenotype similar to chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and “CLL-like” MBL is a precursor to CLL. We used flow cytometry to identify MBL from unaffected members of CLL kindreds. We identified 101 MBL cases from 622 study subjects; of these, 82 individuals with MBL were further characterized. Ninety-one unique MBL clones were detected: 73 CLL-like MBL (CD5+CD20dimsIgdim), 11 atypical MBL (CD5+CD20+sIg+), and 7 CD5neg MBL (CD5negCD20+sIgneg). Extended immunophenotypic characterization of these MBL subtypes was performed, and significant differences in cell surface expression of CD23, CD49d, CD79b, and FMC-7 were observed among the groups. Markers of risk in CLL such as CD38, ZAP70, and CD49d were infrequently expressed in CLL-like MBL, but were expressed in the majority of atypical MBL. Interphase cytogenetics was performed in 35 MBL cases, and del 13q14 was most common (22/30 CLL-like MBL cases). Gene expression analysis using oligonucleotide arrays was performed on 7 CLL-like MBL, and showed activation of B cell receptor associated pathways. Our findings underscore the diversity of MBL subtypes and further clarify the relationship between MBL and other lymphoproliferative disorders.
PMCID: PMC3164475  PMID: 21617698
British journal of haematology  2010;151(2):152-158.
Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is an asymptomatic haematological condition characterized by low absolute levels of B-cell clones with a surface immunophenotype similar to that of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). In the general population, MBL increases with age with a prevalence of 5–9% in individuals over age 60 years. It has been reported to be higher among first-degree relatives from CLL families. We report results of multi-parameter flow cytometry among 505 first-degree relatives with no personal history of lymphoproliferative disease from 140 families having at least two cases of CLL. Seventeen percent of relatives had MBL. Age was the most important determinant where the probability for developing MBL by age 90 years was 61%. MBL clustered in certain families but clustering was independent of the number of known CLL cases in a family. As is the case with CLL, males had a significantly higher risk for MBL than did females (p=0.04). MBL patients had significantly higher mean absolute lymphocyte counts (2.4 × 109/l) and B-cell counts (0.53 × 109/l) than those with a normal B-cell immunophenotype. Our findings show that MBL occurs at a very high rate in high risk CLL families. Both the age and gender distribution of MBL are parallel to CLL, implying a shared inherited risk.
PMCID: PMC2966536  PMID: 20738309
chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; high risk families; monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis; flow cytometry
There is strong and consistent evidence that a genetic component contributes to the etiology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of CLL identified 7 genetic variants that increased the risk of CLL within a European population.
We evaluated the association of these variants, or variants in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with these variants, with CLL risk in an independent sample of 438 CLL cases and 328 controls.
Of these 7 SNPs, 6 had p-trend < 0.05 and had estimated odds ratios (ORs) that were strikingly comparable to those of the previous study. Associations were seen for rs9378805 (OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.19, 1.80, p-trend = 0.0003) near IRF4 and rs735665 near GRAMD1B (OR= 1.47; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.89; p-trend = 0.003). However, no associations (P> 0.05) were found for rs11083846, nor were any found for any SNPs in LD with rs11083846.
Our results confirm the previous findings and further support the role of a genetic basis in the etiology of CLL; however, more research is needed to elucidate the causal SNP(s) and the potential manner in which these SNPs or linked SNPs function in CLL pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2852480  PMID: 20332261
IRF4; CLL; genetic association
Nature genetics  2010;42(8):661-664.
To identify susceptibility loci for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes, we conducted a three-stage genome-wide association study. We identified two variants associated with follicular lymphoma (FL) in 1,465 FL cases/6,958 controls at 6p21.32 (rs10484561, rs7755224, r2=1.0; combined p-values=1.12×10-29, 2.00×10-19), providing further support that MHC genetic variation influences FL susceptibility. Confirmatory evidence of a previously reported association was also found between chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma and rs735665 (combined p-value=4.24×10-9).
PMCID: PMC2913472  PMID: 20639881
Cytometry. Part B, Clinical cytometry  2010;78(Suppl 1):S35-S41.
The pathology and clinical course of patients with CD5+ chronic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders, excluding those that present with typical chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL) or mantle cell lymphoma, (i.e. CD5+B-CLPD) are poorly defined.
We studied patients with CD5+B-CLPD to 1) more completely define the clinical features and pathology of CD5+B-CLPD, 2) compare these features to patients presenting with typical CLL, and 3) test the hypothesis that a subset of patients with CD5+B-CLPD could have a unique B-cell malignancy.
We identified 229 patients with CD5+B-CLPD. A definitive pathological diagnosis was made in all 61 (27%) CD5+B-CLPD patients with non-bone marrow (BM) biopsy specimens considered adequate for a comprehensive pathological examination. The most common diagnosis among these 61 patients was CLL (44%) followed by the leukemic phase of marginal zone lymphoma (34%), lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma (11%), diffuse large B cell lymphoma (8%), and high grade B cell lymphoma not otherwise specified (2%). In contrast, among 168 patients without a non-BM tissue biopsy specimen, a specific diagnosis could be made on review of all available data in only 24 (14%) with 144 (86%) remaining “unclassified”.
In patients with CD5+B-CLPD, a definitive diagnosis can be made on an adequate non-BM tissue biopsy suggesting that this entity does not include a novel disease. We recommend that all patients with CD5+B-CLPD should have a non-BM tissue biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis prior to initiation of treatment.
PMCID: PMC2943034  PMID: 20568273
CD5; chronic lymphoproliferative disorders; CLL; SLL; lymphoma
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(24):3959-3963.
The diagnosis of monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is used to characterize patients with a circulating population of clonal B cells, a total B-cell count of less than 5 × 109/L, and no other features of a B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder including lymphadenopathy/organomegaly. The natural history of clinically identified MBL is unclear. The goal of this study was to explore the outcome of patients with MBL relative to that of individuals with Rai stage 0 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Patients and Methods
We used hematopathology records to identify a cohort of 631 patients with newly diagnosed MBL or Rai stage 0 CLL. Within this cohort, 302 patients had MBL (B-cell counts of 0.02 to 4.99 × 109/L); 94 patients had Rai stage 0 CLL with an absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) ≤ 10 × 109/L; and 219 patients had Rai stage 0 CLL with an ALC more than 10 × 109/L. Data on clinical outcome were abstracted from medical records.
The percentage of MBL patients free of treatment at 1, 2, and 5 years was 99%, 98%, and 93%, respectively. B-cell count as a continuous variable (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.9, P = .04) and CD38 status (HR = 10.8, P = .006) predicted time to treatment (TTT) among MBL patients. The likelihood of treatment for MBL patients was lower (HR = 0.32, P = .04) than that of both Rai stage 0 CLL patients with an ALC less than 10 × 109/L (n = 94) and Rai stage 0 CLL patients with an ALC more than 10 × 109/L (n = 219; P = .0003).
Individuals with MBL identified in clinical practice have a low risk for progression at 5 years. Because B-cell count seems to relate to TTT as a continuous variable, additional studies are needed to determine what B-cell count should be used to distinguish between MBL and CLL.
PMCID: PMC2734397  PMID: 19620484
Cancer  2009;115(2):363-372.
The clinical course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is highly variable. A prognostic index based on widely available clinical and laboratory features was recently developed to predict survival among patients with previously untreated CLL. This index requires validation in an independent series of patients before widespread use can be recommended.
We used the Mayo Clinic CLL database to evaluate the validity and reproducibility of the new prognostic index.
We identified 440 patients with newly diagnosed CLL who were seen at Mayo Clinic within 12 months of diagnosis and who had data to calculate index score. Patients were classified as low, intermediate, or high risk using the prognostic index. The estimated median survival times were: not reached for low risk; 10.1 years for intermediate risk; and 7.2 years for high risk. Estimated median and 5 year survival by prognostic index category were similar to those originally reported. The prognostic index added predictive value beyond that of Rai risk alone (p=0.004). Prognostic index risk category remained a predictor of survival when analysis was limited to Rai stage 0 (p=0.03) and non-referred patients (p<0.0001) and also predicted time to treatment (p<0.0001).
We confirm the ability of a newly developed prognostic index to predict survival among patients with previously untreated CLL. We also extend the utility of the index by demonstrating that it is useful at diagnosis, retains prognostic value when applied exclusively to Rai stage 0 patients, is effective in non-referred patients, and predicts time to treatment.
PMCID: PMC2629134  PMID: 19090008
CLL; prognosis; stage; survival
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2009;84(12):1114-1119.
In the past 20 years, management of primary myelofibrosis (PMF) has incorporated new treatment approaches, but survival benefits have not been confirmed in controlled studies. This retrospective study includes 176 consecutive patients younger than age 60 years in whom PMF was diagnosed during a 30-year period (1976-2005). Median age at diagnosis was 50 years (range, 18-59 years), and 98 patients (55%) were men. At the time of this report, 99 patients (56%) had died; the 77 surviving patients were followed up for a median of 8 years (range, 4-24 years). Overall median survival was 9.2 years, and 15- and 20-year survival rates were 32% and 20%, respectively. According to the Dupriez Prognostic Scoring System (PSS), median survivals were 12.7, 4.8, and 2.4 years in low- (n=117), intermediate- (n=44) and high- (n=15) risk patients (P<.001). According to the International PSS, median survivals were 13.4, 9.7, 3.3, and 2.4 years in low- (n=76), intermediate-1 (n=50), intermediate-2 (n=29), and high-risk patients (n=8; P<.001). To examine the effect of decade of diagnosis on survival, we divided study patients into 3 groups by year of diagnosis: 1976-1985 (n=36), 1986-1995 (n=45), and 1996-2005 (n=95). The corresponding median survivals were 4.8, 7.3, and “not reached” (P=.003), and the difference in survival was significant during multivariable analysis that included risk scores according to the aforementioned PSSs and age as covariates. The improvement in survival in recent years was most apparent in patients with high/intermediate-risk disease (P<.002), not in those with low-risk disease (P=.42). These observations are encouraging and suggest a salutary effect from modern therapeutic approaches in PMF.
PMCID: PMC2787396  PMID: 19955247
Leukemia research  2008;32(9):1458-1461.
To eliminate overlap with monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL), some have proposed basing the diagnosis of CLL on B lymphocyte count rather than absolute lymphocyte count (ALC). Such criteria should be based, in part, on patient outcomes. We evaluated the clinical implications of the proposed re-classification in 112 consecutive newly diagnosed Rai stage 0 patients. The new criteria would have changed the diagnosis from CLL to MBL in 47/112 (42%) patients. There was no difference in time to treatment (TTT) between those classified as MBL and CLL under the new criteria. In contrast, CD38 predicted TTT (p=0.02) regardless of the proposed new classification. Molecular characteristics of the leukemic clone are a better predictor of progression than an arbitrary ALC or B lymphocyte count threshold.
PMCID: PMC2587320  PMID: 18179821

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