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1.  Circulating Levels of Adipokines Predict the Occurrence of Acute Graft-versus-host Disease 
Immune Network  2015;15(2):66-72.
Currently, detecting biochemical differences before and after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) for improved prediction of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) is a major clinical challenge. In this pilot study, we analyzed the kinetics of circulating adipokine levels in patients with or without aGVHD before and after allogeneic SCT. Serum samples were obtained and stored at -80℃ within 3 hours after collection, prior to conditioning and at engraftment after transplantation. A protein array system was used to measure the levels of 7 adipokines of patients with aGVHD (n=20) and without aGVHD (n=20). The resistin level at engraftment was significantly increased (p<0.001) after transplantation, regardless of aGVHD occurrence. In the non-aGVHD group, the concentrations of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) (mean values±SD; 206.6±34.3 vs. 432.3±108.9 pg/ml, p=0.040) and angiopoietin-2 (ANG-2) (mean values±SD; 3,197.2±328.3 vs. 4,471.8±568.4 pg/ml, p=0.037) at engraftment were significantly higher than those of the pre-transplant period, whereas in the aGVHD group, the levels of adipokines did not change after transplantation. Our study suggests that changes in serum HGF and ANG-2 levels could be considered helpful markers for the subsequent occurrence of aGVHD.
PMCID: PMC4411511  PMID: 25922595
Adipokines; Acute graft-versus-host disease; Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
2.  Anti-leukemic properties of deferasirox via apoptosis in murine leukemia cell lines 
Blood research  2015;50(1):33-39.
Although deferasirox (DFX) is reported to have anti-tumor effects, its anti-leukemic activity remains unclear. We evaluated the effect of DFX treatment on two murine lymphoid leukemia cell lines, and clarified the mechanisms underlying its potential anti-leukemic activity.
L1210 and A20 murine lymphoid leukemia cell lines were treated with DFX. Cell viability and apoptosis were evaluated by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthaizol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethylphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis, respectively. Immunoblotting was performed to detect the expression of key apoptotic proteins.
In dose- and time-dependent manner, DFX decreased viability and increased apoptosis of murine leukemic cells. Fas expression was significantly higher in A20 cells than in L1210 cells at all DFX concentrations tested. Although both cell lines exhibited high caspase 3 and caspase 9 expression, a critical component of the intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, expression was greater in L1210 cells. In contrast, caspase 8, a key factor in the extrinsic apoptotic pathway, showed greater expression in A20 cells. Cytochrome c expression was significantly higher in L1210 cells. In both cell lines, co-treatment with ferric chloride and DFX diminished the expression of these intracellular proteins, as compared to DFX treatment alone.
Treatment with DFX increased caspase-dependent apoptosis in two murine lymphoid leukemia cell lines, with differing apoptotic mechanisms in each cell line.
PMCID: PMC4377336  PMID: 25830128
Lymphoid leukemia; Deferasirox; Apoptosis; Caspase
3.  Efficacy of imatinib mesylate-based front-line therapy in pediatric chronic myelogenous leukemia 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(8):343-350.
Despite the established role of imatinib (IM) in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in adults, there are few reports on its efficacy in children. In this study, we compared the outcomes of children with CML before and after the advent of IM-based treatment.
The study cohort consisted of 52 patients treated for CML at the Department of Pediatrics, The Catholic University of Korea from January 1995 to October 2010. Patients were divided and analyzed according to the preImatinib group (pre-IMG) and imatinib group (IMG).
Median age at diagnosis for the overall cohort (pre-IMG, n=27; IMG, n=25) was 9 years, with a median follow-up duration of survivors of 84 months. Except for 5 patients in the IMG, all were diagnosed in chronic phase (CP). The overall survival (OS) of patients diagnosed in CP was 45.7% and 89.7% for pre-IMG and IMG, respectively (P=0.025). The OS of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients in the 2 groups was similar, but the OS of patients diagnosed in CP who did not receive HSCT was superior in IMG (91.7% vs. 16.7%, P=0.014). Of the 12 patients in IMG who remained on IM without HSCT, 2 showed disease progression, compared to 11 of 12 in pre-IMG. No difference was observed in the progression free survival (PFS) of matched donor HSCT recipients and IM-based treatment recipients.
Similar PFS of patients treated with IM and those who received matched donor HSCT underscore the potential of IM as effective first-line treatment in childhood CML.
PMCID: PMC3764259  PMID: 24019845
Chronic myelogenous leukemia; Imatinib mesylate; Allogeneic transplantation; Children
4.  Prognostic Implications of the NIH Consensus Criteria in Children with Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2011;52(5):779-786.
In this study, we analyzed a cohort of children with chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) according to the NIH consensus classification (NCC) in order to observe whether global assessment at diagnosis correlates with GvHD-specific endpoints. We then studied the clinical course of these patients, specifically with regards to episodes of GvHD exacerbation requiring treatment escalation.
Materials and Methods
Recipients of either allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) or peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) from January 2006 to August 2008 at the Department of Pediatrics, The Catholic University of Korea were evaluated for chronic GvHD, which was diagnosed according to the NCC. The course of chronic GvHD in these patients was then followed.
Of 59 evaluable patients, 23 developed chronic GvHD for a cumulative incidence of 39.3%. Upon multivariate analysis, previous acute GvHD (≥grade II) had a significant impact on chronic GvHD incidence. With a median duration of systemic treatment for chronic GvHD of 501 days, no significant relationship was found between initial global severity of chronic GvHD and either duration of immunosuppressive treatment or final clinical response to treatment. Fifteen patients (65%) experienced at least one episode of chronic GvHD exacerbation during the period of follow-up, with a median of four exacerbations in the subgroup of patients who experienced such events. Lung GvHD resulted in the highest number of exacerbations per diagnosed patient, followed by oral GvHD.
Analysis of this small cohort indicates that global assessment as proposed by the NCC may have limited correlations with GvHD-specific endpoints, possibly due to the favorable response of children to treatment.
PMCID: PMC3159944  PMID: 21786443
Chronic GvHD; NIH consensus criteria; children
5.  The treatment of pediatric chronic myelogenous leukemia in the imatinib era 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2011;54(3):111-116.
Childhood chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a rare hematologic disease, with limited literature on the methods of treatment. Previously, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was considered the only curative treatment for this disease. Treatment with imatinib, a selective inhibitor of the BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase (TKI), has resulted in prolonged molecular response with limited drug toxicity. Imatinib is now implemented in the primary treatment regimen for children, but the paucity of evidence on its ability to result in permanent cure and the potential complications that may arise from long-term treatment with TKIs have prevented imatinib from superseding HSCT as the primary means of curative treatment in children. The results of allogeneic HSCT in children with CML are similar to those observed in adults; HSCT-related complications such as transplant-related mortality and graft-versus-host disease remain significant challenges. An overall consensus has been formed with regards to the need for HSCT in patients with imatinib resistance or those with advanced-phase disease. However, issues such as when to undertake HSCT in chronic-phase CML patients or how best to treat patients who have relapsed after HSCT are still controversial. The imatinib era calls for a reevaluation of the role of HSCT in the treatment of CML. Specific guidelines for the treatment of pediatric CML have not yet been formulated, underscoring the importance of prospective studies on issues such as duration of imatinib treatment, optimal timing of HSCT and the type of conditioning utilized, possible treatment pre- and post-HSCT, and the role of second-generation TKIs.
PMCID: PMC3120996  PMID: 21738540
Chronic myelogenous leukemia; Children; Treatment; Imatinib; Transplantation; Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
7.  A Novel Syntaxin 11 Gene (STX11) Mutation c.650T>C, p.Leu217Pro, in a Korean Child With Familial Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2015;36(2):170-173.
We report the first Far Eastern case of a Korean child with familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) caused by a novel syntaxin 11 (STX11) mutation. A 33-month-old boy born to non-consanguineous Korean parents was admitted for intermittent fever lasting one week, pancytopenia, hepatosplenomegaly, and HLH in the bone marrow. Under the impression of HLH, genetic study revealed a novel homozygous missense mutation of STX11: c.650T>C, p.Leu217Pro. Although no large deletion or allele drop was identified, genotype analysis demonstrated that the homozygous c.650T>C may have resulted from the duplication of a maternal (unimaternal) chromosomal region and concurrent loss of the other paternal allele, likely caused by meiotic errors such as two crossover events. A cumulative study of such novel mutations and their effects on specific protein interactions may deepen the understanding of how abnormal STX1 expression results in deficient cytotoxic function.
PMCID: PMC4713852  PMID: 26709266
Syntaxin 11; Mutation; Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis; Korean
8.  Hepatic veno-occlusive disease may develop in secondary iron overloaded mice after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with total body irradiation 
Blood research  2015;50(3):140-146.
The outcome of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is poor in patients with secondary iron overload (SIO). We evaluated the relationship between SIO and veno-occlusive disease (VOD) in an animal model with radiation for HSCT.
We used a 6-week-old female BDF1 (H-2b/d) and a male C57/BL6 (H-2b) as recipient and donor, respectively. Recipient mice were injected intraperitoneally with 10 mg of iron dextran (cumulative doses of 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg). All mice received total body irradiation for HSCT. We obtained peripheral blood for alanine transaminase (ALT) and liver for pathologic findings, lipid hyperoxide (LH) as reactive oxygen species (ROS), and liver iron content (LIC) on post-HSCT day 1 and day 7. The VOD score was assessed by pathologic findings.
ALT levels increased depending on cumulative iron dose, with significant differences between days 1 and 7 for mice loaded with 200 mg of iron (P<0.01). LH levels significantly increased in mice loaded with 200 mg of iron compared to those in other groups (P<0.01). For mice loaded with 100 mg of iron, the LH level depended on the radiation dose (P<0.01). There was a statistically significant relationship among ALT, LH, and LIC parameters (P<0.05). Pathologic scores for VOD correlated with LIC (P<0.01).
Livers with SIO showed high ROS levels depending on cumulative iron dose, and correlations with elevated liver enzyme and LIC. The pathologic score for VOD was associated with the LIC. Our results suggest that SIO may induce VOD after HSCT with irradiation.
PMCID: PMC4595579  PMID: 26457280
Iron overload; Hepatic veno-occlusive disease; Radiation; Reactive oxygen species
9.  Clinical Features and Prognosis of Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis in Korean Children with Hematologic/Oncologic Diseases 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2015;30(8):1121-1128.
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is the most frequent form of invasive fungal diseases in immunocompromised patients. However, there are only a few studies on IPA in immunocompromised children in Korea. This study was designed to characterize IPA in Korean children with hematologic/oncologic diseases. Medical records of children with hematologic/oncologic diseases receiving antifungal therapy were reviewed. The enrolled children were divided into the IPA group (proven and probable IPA) and non-IPA group, and the clinical characteristics and prognosis were compared between the two groups. During the study period, 265 courses of antifungal therapy were administered to 166 children. Among them, two (0.8%) episodes of proven IPA, 35 (13.2%) of probable IPA, and 52 (19.6%) of possible IPA were diagnosed. More children in the IPA group suffered from neutropenia lasting for more than two weeks (51.4% vs. 21.9%, P<0.001) and showed halo signs on the chest computed tomography (78.4% vs. 40.7%, P<0.001) than in the non-IPA group. No other clinical factors showed significant differences between the two groups. Amphotericin B deoxycholate was administered as a first line antifungal agent in 33 (89.2%) IPA group episodes, and eventually voriconazole was administered in 27 (73.0%) episodes. Ten (27.0%) children in the IPA group died within 12 weeks of antifungal therapy. In conclusion, early use of chest computed tomography to identify halo signs in immunocompromised children who are expected to have prolonged neutropenia can be helpful for early diagnosis of IPA and improving prognosis of children with IPA.
Graphical Abstract
PMCID: PMC4520943  PMID: 26240490
Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis; Immunocompromised Host; Child
10.  Serum galactomannan index for early prediction of mortality in immunocompromised children with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:271.
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is the most common invasive fungal disease in immunocompromised patients, and it has a 30 % mortality rate despite appropriate antifungal therapy. This retrospective study was performed to determine risk factors for mortality in immunocompromised children with IPA.
Medical records of 45 probable/proven IPA cases diagnosed in children with hematologic/oncologic diseases were reviewed. Selected cases were divided into the survival (n = 30) and fatality (n = 15) groups based on survival at 12 weeks after antifungal therapy. Clinical characteristics and serum galactomannan indices (GMIs) were compared between the two groups.
Significantly more children in the fatality group were male (p = 0.044), not in complete remission of the underlying malignancies (p = 0.016), and had received re-induction/salvage or palliative chemotherapy (p = 0.035) than those in the survival group. However, none of these factors was significantly associated with mortality in a multivariate analysis. Serum GMIs were higher in the fatality group than in the survival group during the entire period of antifungal therapy, and serum GMI at 1 week after antifungal therapy was most significantly associated with mortality. A serum GMI > 1.50 at 1 week after antifungal therapy exhibited a sensitivity and specificity of 61.5 % and 89.3 %, respectively, in predicting mortality within 12 weeks after antifungal therapy.
Higher serum GMI in the early phase of antifungal therapy was associated with mortality in immunocompromised children with IPA. These children should receive more intensive care for IPA than others.
PMCID: PMC4501281  PMID: 26168914
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis; Galactomannan; Prognosis; Immunocompromised host; Child
12.  Early Left Ventricular Dysfunction in Children after Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Acute Leukemia: A Case Control Study Using Speckle Tracking Echocardiography 
Korean Circulation Journal  2015;45(1):51-58.
Background and Objectives
Cardiovascular complications are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood cancer survivors. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curable therapy for pediatric cancer. However, changes in cardiac function in children after HSCT are not well known. We assessed left ventricular (LV) function in children after HSCT using speckle tracking echocardiography (STE).
Subjects and Methods
Forty consecutive patients with median age of 11.9 years (range, 1.5-16 years) who received HSCT for acute leukemia and had comprehensive echocardiography before and after (median 9.2 month) HSCT were included in this study. The LV function parameters including conventional tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) and STE data were collected from pre- and post-HSCT echocardiography. These data were compared to those of 39 age-matched normal controls.
Compared to normal controls, post HSCT patients had similar (p=0.06) LV ejection fraction. However, the following three LV function parameters were significantly decreased in post HSCT patients: rate-corrected velocity of circumferential fiber shortening (p=0.04), mitral inflow E velocity (p<0.001), and mitral septal annular E' velocity (p=0.03). The following four STE parameters were also significantly decreased in post HSCT patients: LV global circumferential systolic strain (p<0.01), strain rate (SR, p=0.01), circumferential diastolic SR (p<0.01), and longitudinal diastolic SR (p<0.001). There was no significant change in TDI or STE parameters after HSCT compared to pre-HSCT. Patients with anthracycline cumulative dose >400 mg/m2 showed significantly (p<0.05) lower circumferential systolic strain and circumferential diastolic SR.
Subclinical cardiac dysfunction is evident in children after HSCT. It might be associated with pre-HSCT anthracycline exposure with little effect of conditioning regimens. Serial monitoring of cardiac function is mandatory for all children following HSCT.
PMCID: PMC4310980  PMID: 25653704
Childhood leukemia; Stem cell transplantation; Heart function; Speckle tracking; Echocardiography; Strain rate
14.  Current insights into inherited bone marrow failure syndromes 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2014;57(8):337-344.
Inherited bone marrow failure syndrome (IBMFS) encompasses a heterogeneous and complex group of genetic disorders characterized by physical malformations, insufficient blood cell production, and increased risk of malignancies. They often have substantial phenotype overlap, and therefore, genotyping is often a critical means of establishing a diagnosis. Current advances in the field of IBMFSs have identified multiple genes associated with IBMFSs and their pathways: genes involved in ribosome biogenesis, such as those associated with Diamond-Blackfan anemia and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome; genes involved in telomere maintenance, such as dyskeratosis congenita genes; genes encoding neutrophil elastase or neutrophil adhesion and mobility associated with severe congenital neutropenia; and genes involved in DNA recombination repair, such as those associated with Fanconi anemia. Early and adequate genetic diagnosis is required for proper management and follow-up in clinical practice. Recent advances using new molecular technologies, including next generation sequencing (NGS), have helped identify new candidate genes associated with the development of bone marrow failure. Targeted NGS using panels of large numbers of genes is rapidly gaining potential for use as a cost-effective diagnostic tool for the identification of mutations in newly diagnosed patients. In this review, we have described recent insights into IBMFS and how they are advancing our understanding of the disease's pathophysiology; we have also discussed the possible implications they will have in clinical practice for Korean patients.
PMCID: PMC4155177  PMID: 25210520
Bone marrow failure syndromes; Fanconi anemia; Diamond-Blackfan anemia; Shwachman-Diamond syndrome; Severe congenital neutropenia
15.  Use of intravenous immunoglobulin in a disseminated varicella infection in an immunocompromised child 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2014;57(8):370-373.
Varicella-zoster virus infection can lead to severe illness in immunocompromised patients. Further the mortality rate of disseminated varicella infection is extremely high particularly in immunocompromised children. We report a case of disseminated varicella infection in a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who was receiving chemotherapy, but was initially admitted with only for acute abdominal pain. The patient rapidly developed severe complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute hepatitis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and encephalopathy. Acyclovir is a highly potent inhibitor of varicella-zoster virus infection. However, owing to rapid disease progression, it might not be sufficient to control a disseminated varicella infection, especially in immunocompromised patients. Immunoglobulin neutralize virus invasion and suppress viremia, acting synergistically with acyclovir. In this case, early administration of acyclovir and a high-dose of immunoglobulin, combined with mechanical respiratory support, proved adequate for treatment of this severe illness.
PMCID: PMC4155182  PMID: 25210525
Varicella-zoster virus; Acyclovir; Immunoglobulin
16.  Ribosomal protein mutations in Korean patients with Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is a congenital bone marrow failure syndrome characterized by hypoproliferative anemia, associated physical malformations and a predisposition to cancer. DBA has been associated with mutations and deletions in the large and small ribosomal protein genes, and genetic aberrations have been detected in ∼50–60% of patients. In this study, nine Korean DBA patients were screened for mutations in eight known DBA genes (RPS19, RPS24, RPS17, RPS10, RPS26, RPL35A, RPL5 and RPL11) using the direct sequencing method. Mutations in RPS19, RPS26 and RPS17 were detected in four, two and one patient, respectively. Among the mutations detected in RPS19, two mutations were novel (c.26T>A, c.357-2A>G). For the mutation-negative cases, array-CGH analysis was performed to identify copy-number variations, and no deletions involving the known DBA gene regions were identified. The relative mRNA expression of RPS19 estimated using real-time quantitative PCR analysis revealed two- to fourfold reductions in RPS19 mRNA expression in three patients with RPS19 mutations, and p53 protein expression analysis by immunohistochemistry showed variable but significant nuclear staining in the DBA patients. In conclusion, heterozygous mutations in the known DBA genes RPS19, RPS26 and RPS17 were detected in seven out of nine Korean DBA patients. Among these patients, RPS19 was the most frequently mutated gene. In addition, decreased RPS19 mRNA expression and p53 overexpression were observed in the Korean DBA patients, which supports the hypothesis that haploinsufficiency and p53 hyperactivation represent a central pathway underlying the pathogenesis of DBA.
PMCID: PMC3972785  PMID: 24675553
array-CGH; Diamond-Blackfan anemia; ribosomal protein; sequencing
18.  Incidence and Risk Factors for Early-Onset Hypertension after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Children 
Korean Circulation Journal  2013;43(12):804-810.
Background and Objectives
Survivors of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) are at risk for developing hypertension. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors of early onset hypertension during the engraftment period after HSCT.
Subjects and Methods
This is a retrospective study of 157 consecutive patients (mean age at HSCT: 9.1±5.1 years) who underwent HSCT for acute myeloid leukemia (n=47), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n=43), severe aplastic anemia (n=41), and other reasons (n=26). Blood pressure data were collected at five time points: 0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 days after HSCT. Hypertension was defined as having systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥95th percentile according to age, gender, and height. To analyze the risk factors related to hypertension, data, including patients' demographic and transplant characteristics, were reviewed.
Hypertension developed in 59 patients (38%), among whom 12 (7.6%) required long term therapy. Thirty-two (54%) patients had systolic and diastolic, 8 (14%) had only systolic, and 19 (32%) had only diastolic hypertension. Younger age, acute graft-versus-host disease, sinusoidal obstruction syndrome, treatment with antifungal agent, and greater increase in serum creatinine (Cr) levels were associated with hypertension. Multivariate analysis showed that younger age at HSCT and greater increase in serum Cr level were independent risk factors for hypertension.
Prevalence of hypertension during immediate post-HSCT period is high, especially in younger children. A greater increase in Cr after HSCT was significantly associated with hypertension. Further study is needed to elucidate long-term cardiovascular complications in pediatric HSCT survivors.
PMCID: PMC3875696  PMID: 24385991
Hematopoletic stem cell transplantation; Child; Incidence; Blood pressure; Hypertension
19.  Factors Related to Decreased Bone Mineral Density in Childhood Cancer Survivors 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(11):1632-1638.
The risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia is known to increase after childhood cancer treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate patterns of bone mineral density (BMD) and to identify factors related to the decreased BMD in childhood cancer survivors. We studied 78 patients (34 boys, 44 girls) treated for childhood cancer. Twenty (25.7%) patients had lumbar BMD (LBMD) standard deviation score (SDS) lower than -2. Nineteen (24.4%) patients had femur neck BMD (FNBMD) SDS lower than -2. The patients treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation had lower LBMD SDS (-1.17 ± 1.39 vs -0.43 ± 1.33, P = 0.025). The risk of having LBMD SDS < -2 was higher in the patients treated with glucocorticoid (GC) for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) (36.6% vs 13.5%; odds ratio [OR], 3.7; P = 0.020). In multivariate logistic regression analysis, longer duration of GC treatment for GVHD (OR, 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.20) and lower body mass index (BMI) SDS (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.36-0.95) were associated with decreased LBMD SDS. These findings suggest that prolonged GC use and reduction in BMI are risk factors for decreased BMD in childhood cancer survivors. Anticipatory follow-up and appropriate treatment are necessary, especially for the patients with risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3835506  PMID: 24265527
Bone Density; Neoplasms; Glucocorticoids
20.  Evaluation of risk for graft-versus-host disease in children who receive less than the full doses of mini-dose methotrexate for graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(11):490-495.
The use of cyclosporine and mini-dose methotrexate (MTX) is a common strategy for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis in allogeneic transplants. We investigated whether patients who receive fewer than the planned MTX doses are at increased risk for GVHD.
The study cohort included 103 patients who received allogeneic transplants at the Department of Pediatrics of The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, from January 2010 to December 2011. MTX was administered on days 1, 3, 6, and 11 after transplant at a dose of 5 mg/m2 each. Within the cohort, 76 patients (74%) received all 4 doses of MTX [MTX(4) group], while 27 patients (26%) received 0-3 doses [MTX(0-3) group].
Although there was no difference in neutrophil engraftment between the 2 groups, platelet engraftment was significantly faster in the MTX(4) group (median, 15 days), compared to the MTX(0-3) group (median, 25 days; P=0.034). The incidence of grades II-IV acute GVHD was not different between the MTX(4) and MTX(0-3) groups (P=0.417). In the multivariate study, human leukocyte antigen mismatch was the most significant factor causing grades II-IV acute GVHD (P=0.002), followed by female donor to male recipient transplant (P=0.034). No difference was found between the MTX(4) and MTX (0-3) groups regarding grades III-IV acute GVHD, chronic GVHD, and disease-free survival.
Our results indicate that deviations from the full dose schedule of MTX for GVHD prophylaxis do not lead to increased incidence of either acute or chronic GVHD.
PMCID: PMC3859882  PMID: 24348662
Methotrexate; Graft-versus-host disease; Prophylaxis
21.  Risk factors for short term thyroid dysfunction after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(7):298-303.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate short-term thyroid dysfunction and related risk factors in pediatric patients who underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) during childhood.
We studied 166 patients (100 boys and 66 girls) who underwent HSCT at the Catholic HSCT Center from January 2004 through December 2009. The mean age at HSCT was 10.0±4.8 years. Thyroid function of the patients was tested before and during 3 months of HSCT.
Out of 166 patients, 165 (99.4%) underwent allotransplantation. Acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD, grades II to IV) developed in 76 patients. Conditioning regimens before HSCT include total body irradiation (n=57), busulfan (n=80), and reduced intensity (n=29). Forty-five (27.1%) had thyroid dysfunction during 3 months after HSCT (29 euthyroid sick syndrome [ESS], 6 subclinical hyperthyroidism, 4 subclinical hypothyroidism, 3 hypothyroxinemia, 2 overt hyperthyroidism, and 1 high T4 syndrome). In a univariate logistic regression analysis, age at HSCT (P=0.002) and acute GVHD (P=0.009) had statistically significant relationships with thyroid dysfunction during 3 months after HSCT. Also, in a univariate logistic regression analysis, ESS (P=0.014) showed a strong statistically significant association with mortality.
In our study 27.1% patients experienced thyroid dysfunction during 3 months after HSCT. Increase in age and acute GVHD may be risk factors for thyroid dysfunction during 3 months after HSCT. There was a significant association between ESS and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3728449  PMID: 23908670
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Thyroid dysfunction; Child; Graft-vs-host disease; Euthyroid sick syndrome
22.  Clinical characteristics and antimicrobial susceptibilities of viridans streptococcal bacteremia during febrile neutropenia in patients with hematologic malignancies: a comparison between adults and children 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:273.
This study was performed to compare the clinical characteristics and antibiotic susceptibilities of viridans streptococcal bacteremia (VSB) between febrile neutropenic adults and children with hematologic malignancies.
The consecutive medical records of neutropenic patients with hematologic malignancies who were admitted to the Catholic Blood and Marrow Transplantation Center between April 2009 and July 2012, and who were subsequently diagnosed with VSB were reviewed retrospectively. A comparison was made between the clinical and laboratory characteristics of adults and pediatric patients and also between patients with cefepime susceptible or not susceptible VSB.
A total of 202 episodes (141 in adults, 61 in children) of VSB were identified. Among them, 26 (12.9%) cases had severe complications including four (2.0%) cases of death attributable to VSB. For antibacterial prophylaxis, most adults received ciprofloxacin (97.1%), but children more frequently received trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (86.9%). Oral mucositis (p = 0.005) and abdominal pain (p = 0.001) were found more frequently in adults, and cough was found more frequently in children (p = 0.004). The occurrence rates of severe complications and death attributable to VSB were not significantly different between adults and children. Susceptibility rate to cefepime was significantly higher in adults than children (85.7% vs. 66.1%, p = 0.002). However, in multivariate analysis, cefepime susceptibility had no impact on clinical outcome.
There was no significant difference in clinical outcome between adults and children with VSB despite a difference in cefepime susceptibility. Hence, different antibiotic treatment strategies may not be necessary.
PMCID: PMC3685537  PMID: 23773209
Viridans streptococci; Bacteremia; Neutropenia; Fever
23.  Utility of a multiplex reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay (HemaVision) in the evaluation of genetic abnormalities in Korean children with acute leukemia: a single institution study 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(6):247-253.
In children with acute leukemia, bone marrow genetic abnormalities (GA) have prognostic significance, and may be the basis for minimal residual disease monitoring. Since April 2007, we have used a multiplex reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction tool (HemaVision) to detect of GA.
In this study, we reviewed the results of HemaVision screening in 270 children with acute leukemia, newly diagnosed at The Catholic University of Korea from April 2007 to December 2011, and compared the results with those of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and G-band karyotyping.
Among the 270 children (153 males, 117 females), 187 acute lymphoblastic leukemia and 74 acute myeloid leukemia patients were identified. Overall, GA was detected in 230 patients (85.2%). HemaVision, FISH, and G-band karyotyping identified GA in 125 (46.3%), 126 (46.7%), and 215 patients (79.6%), respectively. TEL-AML1 (20.9%, 39/187) and AML1-ETO (27%, 20/74) were the most common GA in ALL and AML, respectively. Overall sensitivity of HemaVision was 98.4%, with false-negative results in 2 instances: 1 each for TEL-AML1 and MLL-AF4. An aggregate of diseasesspecific FISH showed 100% sensitivity in detection of GA covered by HemaVision for actual probes utilized. G-band karyotype revealed GA other than those covered by HemaVison screening in 133 patients (49.3%). Except for hyperdiplody and hypodiploidy, recurrent GA as defined by the World Health Organizationthat were not screened by HemaVision, were absent in the karyotype.
HemaVision, supported by an aggregate of FISH tests for important translocations, may allow for accurate diagnosis of GA in Korean children with acute leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3693043  PMID: 23807891
HemaVision; Acute leukemia; Child; Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Karyotype
24.  A case of familial X-linked thrombocytopenia with a novel WAS gene mutation 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(6):265-268.
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an inherited X-linked disorder. The WAS gene is located on the X chromosome and undergoes mutations, which affect various domains of the WAS protein, resulting in recurrent infection, eczema, and thrombocytopenia. However, the clinical features and severity of the disease vary according to the type of mutations in the WAS gene. Here, we describe the case of a 4-year-old boy with a history of marked thrombocytopenia since birth, who presented with recurrent herpes simplex infection and late onset of eczema. Examination of his family history revealed that older brother, who died from intracranial hemorrhage, had chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenia. Therefore, we proceeded with genetic analysis and found a new deletion mutation in the WAS gene: c.858delC (p.ser287Leufs*21) as a hemizygous form.
PMCID: PMC3693046  PMID: 23807894
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome; Mutation; Sequence deletion
25.  Immune reconstitution after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children: a single institution study of 59 patients 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2013;56(1):26-31.
Lymphocyte subset recovery is an important factor that determines the success of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Temporal differences in the recovery of lymphocyte subsets and the factors influencing this recovery are important variables that affect a patient's post-transplant immune reconstitution, and therefore require investigation.
The time taken to achieve lymphocyte subset recovery and the factors influencing this recovery were investigated in 59 children who had undergone HSCT at the Department of Pediatrics, The Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, and who had an uneventful follow-up period of at least 1 year. Analyses were carried out at 3 and 12 months post-transplant. An additional study was performed 1 month post-transplant to evaluate natural killer (NK) cell recovery. The impact of pre- and post-transplant variables, including diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNAemia posttransplant, on lymphocyte recovery was evaluated.
The lymphocyte subsets recovered in the following order: NK cells, cytotoxic T cells, B cells, and helper T cells. At 1 month post-transplant, acute graft-versus-host disease was found to contribute significantly to the delay of CD16+/56+ cell recovery. Younger patients showed delayed recovery of both CD3+/CD8+ and CD19+ cells. EBV DNAemia had a deleterious impact on the recovery of both CD3+ and CD3+/CD4+ lymphocytes at 1 year post-transplant.
In our pediatric allogeneic HSCT cohort, helper T cells were the last subset to recover. Younger age and EBV DNAemia had a negative impact on the post-transplant recovery of T cells and B cells.
PMCID: PMC3564027  PMID: 23390442
Lymphocyte subset; Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Child

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