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1.  A phase II study of dacetuzumab (SGN-40) in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and correlative analyses of patient-specific factors 
Background
Patients with DLBCL who are ineligible for or have relapsed after aggressive salvage chemotherapy have a poor prognosis. CD40 is expressed on multiple B-cell neoplasms including DLBCL and is a potential target for immunotherapy. Dacetuzumab (SGN-40), a non-blocking, partial agonist, humanized IgG1, anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody, has previously demonstrated anti-lymphoma activity in a phase I study.
Methods
A phase II study was undertaken to evaluate the rate and duration of objective responses and safety of single-agent dacetuzumab in relapsed DLBCL. Forty-six adult patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL received up to 12 cycles of intravenous dacetuzumab using intrapatient dose-escalation to a target dose of 8 mg/kg/week in an initial 5-week cycle, followed by 4-week cycles of 8 mg/kg/week. Study endpoints included rate and duration of objective responses, safety, survival, pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, and exploratory correlative studies.
Results
Overall response rate was 9% and disease control rate (complete remission + partial remission + stable disease) was 37%. Common non-hematologic adverse events (AEs) included fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and nausea. The most frequent Grade 3–4 non-hematologic AE was deep venous thrombosis (3 patients). Grade 3–4 lymphopenia (41%), neutropenia (13%), or thrombocytopenia (19%) occurred without associated infection or bleeding. Reversible ocular events, including conjunctivitis and ocular hyperemia, occurred in 8 patients (17%). Patient-specific factors, including Fc-gamma-RIIIa polymorphism, did not appear to correlate with antitumor activity.
Conclusions
Single-agent dacetuzumab has modest activity and manageable toxicity in unselected patients with relapsed DLBCL. Combination regimens and robust methods of patient selection may be necessary for further development.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00435916.
doi:10.1186/1756-8722-7-44
PMCID: PMC4065310  PMID: 24919462
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; DLBCL; Dacetuzumab; CD40
2.  Targeting BTK with Ibrutinib in Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
BACKGROUND
The treatment of relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has resulted in few durable remissions. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), an essential component of B-cell–receptor signaling, mediates interactions with the tumor microenvironment and promotes the survival and proliferation of CLL cells.
METHODS
We conducted a phase 1b–2 multicenter study to assess the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ibrutinib (PCI-32765), a first-in-class, oral covalent inhibitor of BTK designed for treatment of B-cell cancers, in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma. A total of 85 patients, the majority of whom were considered to have high-risk disease, received ibrutinib orally once daily; 51 received 420 mg, and 34 received 840 mg.
RESULTS
Toxic effects were predominantly grade 1 or 2 and included transient diarrhea, fatigue, and upper respiratory tract infection; thus, patients could receive extended treatment with minimal hematologic toxic effects. The overall response rate was the same in the group that received 420 mg and the group that received 840 mg (71%), and an additional 20% and 15% of patients in the respective groups had a partial response with lymphocytosis. The response was independent of clinical and genomic risk factors present before treatment, including advanced-stage disease, the number of previous therapies, and the 17p13.1 deletion. At 26 months, the estimated progression-free survival rate was 75% and the rate of overall survival was 83%.
CONCLUSIONS
Ibrutinib was associated with a high frequency of durable remissions in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma, including patients with high-risk genetic lesions. (Funded by Pharmacyclics and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01105247.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1215637
PMCID: PMC3772525  PMID: 23782158
3.  A phase III study of anti-B4-blocked ricin as adjuvant therapy post-autologous bone marrow transplant: CALGB 9254 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2011;52(4):587-596.
Anti-B4-blocked ricin (anti-B4-bR) is a potent immunotoxin directed against the CD 19 antigen. Previous phase I and II studies suggested a possible role for anti-B4-bR as consolidation after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant. Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9254 is a phase III study which randomized 157 patients with B-cell lymphoma in complete remission following autologous transplant to treatment with anti-B4-bR or observation. With a median follow-up time for patients of 5.8 years, the median event-free survival for protocol treatment and observation are 2.1 and 2.9 years, respectively (p = 0.275). The median overall survival for treatment and observation are 6.1 years and not reached, respectively (p = 0.063). Therefore, no differences were found in event-free survival and overall survival between protocol treatment and observation, although there was a trend toward improved survival with observation. These data fail to support a role for anti-B4-bR as consolidative therapy after bone marrow transplant in patients with B-cell lymphoma.
doi:10.3109/10428194.2010.543714
PMCID: PMC3682835  PMID: 21275630
Lymphoma; anti-B4-blocked ricin; autologous transplant; adjuvant therapy
4.  Stromal endothelial cells establish a bidirectional crosstalk with chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells through the TNF-related factors BAFF, APRIL and CD40L 
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clonal B cell disorder of unknown origin. Accessory signals from the microenvironment are critical for the survival, expansion and progression of malignant B cells. We found that the CLL stroma included microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) expressing BAFF and APRIL, two TNF family members related to the T cell-associated B cell-stimulating molecule CD40 ligand (CD40L). Constitutive release of soluble BAFF and APRIL increased upon engagement of CD40 on MVECs by CD40L aberrantly expressed on CLL cells. In addition to enhancing MVEC expression of the CD40 receptor, leukemic CD40L induced cleavases that elicited intracellular processing of pro-BAFF and pro-APRIL proteins in MVECs. The resulting soluble BAFF and APRIL proteins delivered survival, proliferation, Ig gene-remodeling and differentiation signals by activating CLL cells through TACI, BAFF-R and BCMA receptors. BAFF and APRIL further amplified CLL cell survival by up-regulating the expression of leukemic CD40L. Inhibition of TACI, BCMA and BAFF-R expression on CLL cells, abrogation of CD40 expression in MVECs, or suppression of BAFF and APRIL cleavases in MVECs reduced the survival and diversification of malignant B cells. These data indicate that BAFF, APRIL and CD40L form a CLL-enhancing bidirectional signaling network linking neoplastic B cells with the microvascular stroma.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1102066
PMCID: PMC3370079  PMID: 22593611
Human; B cells; Antibodies; Cell Activation; Neoplasia
5.  Atypical serum immunofixation patterns frequently emerge in immunomodulatory therapy and are associated with a high degree of response in multiple myeloma 
British journal of haematology  2008;143(5):654-660.
Summary
The M-protein is the major reference measure for response in multiple myeloma (MM) and its correct interpretation is key to clinical management. The emergence of oligoclonal banding is recognized as a benign finding in the post-autologous stem cell transplantation setting (ASCT) for MM but its significance during non-myeloablative therapy is unknown. In a study of the immunomodulatory combination BiRD, (lenalidomide and dexamethasone with clarithromycin), we frequently detected the emergence of mono- and oligo-clonal immunoglobulins unrelated to the baseline diagnostic M-protein. The new M-proteins seen on serum immunofixation electrophoresis were clearly different in either heavy or light chain component(s) from the original M-spike protein and were called atypical serum immunofixation patterns (ASIPs). Overall, 24/72 (33%) patients treated with BiRD developed ASIPs. Patients who developed ASIPs compared with patients treated with BiRD without ASIPs, had a significantly greater overall response (100% vs. 85%) and complete response rates (71% vs. 23%). ASIPs were not associated with new clonal plasma cells or other lymphoproliferative processes, and molecular remissions were documented. This is the first time this phenomenon has been seen with regularity in non-myeloablative therapy for MM. Analogous to the ASCT experience, ASIPs do not signal incipient disease progression, but rather herald robust response.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2008.07374.x
PMCID: PMC3626496  PMID: 18950461
lenalidomide; multiple myeloma; atypical serum immunofixation patterns; M-protein
6.  CD39 Expression on T Lymphocytes Correlates With Severity of Disease in Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia 
Introduction
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a B-cell disorder, but it is also associated with abnormalities in T-lymphocyte function. In this study we examine changes in T-lymphocyte CD39 and CD73 expression in patients with CLL.
Methods
Blood samples were drawn from 34 patients with CLL and 31 controls. The cells were stained for CD3, CD4, CD8, CD19, CD39, and CD73 and analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results
Overall, patients with CLL had a higher percentage of CD39+ T lymphocytes than did controls. The percentage of cells expressing CD39 was higher in both CD4+ cells and CD8+ cells. Higher CD3/CD39 expression was associated with a later disease stage. No correlations between T-lymphocyte CD39 levels and CD38 or Zap-70 expression were observed. In contrast, the percentage of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes that expressed CD73 was decreased in patients with CLL. Average B-lymphocyte CD73 expression was decreased in CLL because the majority of CLL clones were CD73. However a minority of CLL clones were CD73+, and patients with CD73+ clones tended to have earlier stage disease.
Conclusion
T-lymphocyte CD39 and CD73 expression may be useful prognostic markers in patients with CLL. Expression of CD73 on the malignant cell population in CLL may be a marker of better prognosis.
doi:10.1016/j.clml.2011.06.005
PMCID: PMC3590911  PMID: 21816376
CD39; Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Prognosis; T lymphocyte
7.  NK/T cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a HIV-positive patient 
Journal of Hematopathology  2010;3(1):35-40.
NK/T lymphomas have rarely been reported in HIV/AIDS patients. Here we report a case of a 37-year-old woman, with AIDS and a recent diagnosis of Kaposi sarcoma in a mesenteric lymph node, who presented with extra-ocular nerve palsies and gastrointestinal bleeding. A small intestine resection specimen revealed an extra-nodal NK/T cell lymphoma, nasal type. The unique presentation of this rare and aggressive lymphoma in the setting of AIDS and Kaposi sarcoma underscores the importance of maintaining a broad differential diagnosis when evaluating a malignant neoplasm from a HIV-positive patient.
doi:10.1007/s12308-010-0057-5
PMCID: PMC2883910  PMID: 21373175
Natural killer/T cell lymphoma; AIDS; HIV; Kaposi sarcoma
8.  Durable Responses with the Metronomic Regimen RT-PEPC in Elderly Patients with Recurrent Mantle Cell Lymphoma 
Cancer  2010;116(11):2655-2664.
BACKGROUND
Targeting the tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis is a novel lymphoma therapeutic strategy. We report safety, activity and angiogenic profiling with the RT-PEPC regimen (rituximab with thalidomide, and prednisone, etoposide, procarbazine and cyclophosphamide) in recurrent mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
METHODS
RT-PEPC includes induction (months 1–3) of weekly rituximab × 4, daily thalidomide (50 mg) and PEPC, then maintenance thalidomide (100 mg), oral PEPC titrated to neutrophil count, and rituximab every 4 months. Endpoints included safety, efficacy, quality of life (QoL), and translational studies including tumor angiogenic phenotyping, plasma VEGF and circulating endothelial cells.
RESULTS
Twenty-five pts were enrolled (22 evaluable) with median age 68 yrs (range 52–81), 24 (96%) stage III/IV, 18 (72%) IPI 3–5, 20 (80%) high risk MIPI, median 2 prior therapies (range 1–7), and 15 (60%) bortezomib progressors. At a median follow-up of 38 months, ORR was 73% (32% CR/CRu, 41% PR, n=22) and median PFS 10 months. Four CRs are ongoing (6+, 31+, 48+ and 50+ months). Toxicities included grade 1–2 fatigue, rash, neuropathy and cytopenias including grade 1–2 thrombocytopenia (64%) and grade 3–4 neutropenia (64%). Two thromboses and 5 grade 3–4 infections occurred. QoL was maintained or improved. Correlative studies demonstrated tumor autocrine angiogenic loop (expression of VEGFA and VEGFR1) and heightened angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in stroma. Plasma VEGF and circulating endothelial cells trended down with treatment.
CONCLUSIONS
RT-PEPC has significant and durable activity in MCL, with manageable toxicity and maintained QoL. Novel low-intensity approaches warrant further evaluation, potentially as initial therapy in elderly patients.
doi:10.1002/cncr.25055
PMCID: PMC3004744  PMID: 20235190
10.  CD39 activity correlates with stage and inhibits platelet reactivity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia 
Background
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is characterized by accumulation of mature appearing lymphocytes and is rarely complicated by thrombosis. One possible explanation for the paucity of thrombotic events in these patients may be the presence of the ecto-nucleotidase CD39/NTDPase-1 on the surface of the malignant cells in CLL. CD39 is the major promoter of platelet inhibition in vivo via its metabolism of ADP to AMP. We hypothesize that if CD39 is observed on CLL cells, then patients with CLL may be relatively protected against platelet aggregation and recruitment and that CD39 may have other effects on CLL, including modulation of the disease, via its metabolism of ATP.
Methods
Normal and malignant lymphocytes were isolated from whole blood from patients with CLL and healthy volunteers. Enzyme activity was measured via radio-TLC assay and expression via FACS. Semi-quantititative RT-PCR for CD39 splice variants and platelet function tests were performed on several samples.
Results
Functional assays demonstrated that ADPase and ATPase activities were much higher in CLL cells than in total lymphocytes from the normal population on a per cell basis (p-value < 0.00001). CD39 activity was elevated in stage 0–2 CLL compared to stage 3–4 (p < 0.01). FACS of lymphocytes demonstrated CD39 expression on > 90% of normal and malignant B-lymphocytes and ~8% of normal T-lymphocytes. RT-PCR showed increased full length CD39 and splice variant 1.5, but decreased variant 1.3 in CLL cells. Platelet function tests showed inhibition of platelet activation and recruitment to ADP by CLL cells.
Conclusion
CD39 is expressed and active on CLL cells. Enzyme activity is higher in earlier stages of CLL and decreased enzyme activity may be associated with worsening disease. These results suggest that CD39 may play a role in the pathogenesis of malignancy and protect CLL patients from thrombotic events.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-5-23
PMCID: PMC1885243  PMID: 17480228

Results 1-10 (10)