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1.  Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Fanconi Anemia in Patients With Pretransplantation Cytogenetic Abnormalities, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or Acute Leukemia 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2013;31(13):1669-1676.
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) can cure bone marrow failure in patients with Fanconi anemia (FA). Data on outcomes in patients with pretransplantation cytogenetic abnormalities, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), or acute leukemia have not been separately analyzed.
Patients and Methods
We analyzed data on 113 patients with FA with cytogenetic abnormalities (n = 54), MDS (n = 45), or acute leukemia (n = 14) who were reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research from 1985 to 2007.
Neutrophil recovery occurred in 78% and 85% of patients at days 28 and 100, respectively. Day 100 cumulative incidences of acute graft-versus-host disease grades B to D and C to D were 26% (95% CI, 19% to 35%) and 12% (95% CI, 7% to 19%), respectively. Survival probabilities at 1, 3, and 5 years were 64% (95% CI, 55% to 73%), 58% (95% CI, 48% to 67%), and 55% (95% CI, 45% to 64%), respectively. In univariate analysis, younger age was associated with superior 5-year survival (≤ v > 14 years: 69% [95% CI, 57% to 80%] v 39% [95% CI, 26% to 53%], respectively; P = .001). In transplantations from HLA-matched related donors (n = 82), younger patients (≤ v > 14 years: 78% [95% CI, 64% to 90%] v 34% [95% CI, 20% to 50%], respectively; P < .001) and patients with cytogenetic abnormalities only versus MDS/acute leukemia (67% [95% CI, 52% to 81%] v 43% [95% CI, 27% to 59%], respectively; P = .03) had superior 5-year survival.
Our analysis indicates that long-term survival for patients with FA with cytogenetic abnormalities, MDS, or acute leukemia is achievable. Younger patients and recipients of HLA-matched related donor transplantations who have cytogenetic abnormalities only have the best survival.
PMCID: PMC3635221  PMID: 23547077
2.  Characteristics of Responders to a Request for a Buccal Cell Specimen Among Survivors of Childhood Cancer and Their Siblings 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;55(1):165-170.
Analysis of biological samples in large cohort studies may provide insight into the mechanism of, and risk factors for, disease onset and progression.
This study describes the methods used to collect biological samples from a large multi-center cohort of childhood cancer survivors and siblings of childhood cancer survivors, and evaluates the predictors of a positive response among these individuals.
Among survivors, female sex, white race/ethnicity, college graduation, never smoking, accessing the health care system in the past two years, and having a second malignant neoplasm were the strongest predictors of returning a sample. Among siblings, a similar demographic profile defined those likely to submit the requested sample.
To reduce selection bias and increase the value of these samples for future analysis, additional phone calls and reminders targeting non-responders are needed to improve response rates among those least likely to respond to a single mailed request.
PMCID: PMC2909600  PMID: 20486182
neoplasm; pediatric; buccal mucosa; cohort study; DNA
3.  Concomitant Inactivation of Foxo3a and Fancc or Fancd2 Reveals a Two-Tier Protection from Oxidative Stress-Induced Hydrocephalus 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2014;21(12):1675-1692.
Aims: This study seeks at investigating the cause of hydrocephalus, and at identifying therapeutic targets for the prevention of hydrocephalus. Results: In this study, we show that inactivation of the Foxo3a gene in two mouse models of Fanconi anemia (FA) leads to the development of hydrocephalus in late embryonic stage and after birth. More than 50% of Foxo3a−/− Fancc−/− or Foxo3a−/− Fancd2−/− mice die during embryonic development or within 6 months of life as a result of hydrocephalus characterized by cranial distortion, dilation of the ventricular system, reduced thickness of the cerebral cortex, and disorganization of the ependymal cilia and subcommissural organ. Combined deficiency of Foxo3a and Fancc or Fancd2 not only impairs the self-renewal capacity but also markedly increases the apoptosis of neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs), leading to defective neurogenesis. Increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequently de-regulated mitosis and ultimately apoptosis in the neural stem or progenitor cells is identified as one of the potential mechanisms of congenital obstructive hydrocephalus. Innovation: The work unravels a two-tier protective mechanism for preventing oxidative stress-induced hydrocephalus. Conclusion: The deletion of Foxo3a in FA mice increased the accumulation of ROS and subsequently de-regulated mitosis and ultimately apoptosis in the NSPCs, leading to hydrocephalus development. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 21, 1675–1692.
PMCID: PMC4186827  PMID: 24483844
4.  An Intermediate Alemtuzumab Schedule Reduces the Incidence of Mixed Chimerism Following Reduced-Intensity Conditioning Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation for Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis 
Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) improves the outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Proximal (ie, close to graft infusion) dosing of alemtuzumab is associated with a high incidence of mixed chimerism, whereas distal (ie, distant from graft infusion) dosing is associated with less mixed chimerism but more acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The alemtuzumab dose per kilogram of body weight also influences these outcomes. We hypothesized that an intermediate alemtuzumab dosing schedule would reduce mixed chimerism and maintain a low incidence of acute GVHD. In this study, 24 consecutive HCTs were performed in patients with HLH or a related disorder using a novel intermediate alemtuzumab schedule of 1 mg/kg starting on day -14. The cumulative incidences (CIs) of mixed chimerism, upfront acute GVHD grades II-IV, and receipt of additional hematopoietic cell products after HCT were compared in patients treated with a distal alemtuzumab schedule (n = 15) and those treated with a proximal alemtuzumab schedule (n = 33). All patients received fludarabine and melphalan. The CI of mixed chimerism was 31% in the intermediate group, 72% in the proximal group (P < .01), and 75% in the distal group patients who received ≥2 mg/kg alemtuzumab (P = .03). The CI of acute GVHD grades II-IV before the development of mixed chimerism was 4% in the intermediate group, 0% in the proximal group, and 13% in the distal group (P = .04, proximal versus distal). The 1-year CI of administration of additional hematopoietic cell products for mixed chimerism (donor lymphocyte infusion ± hematopoietic stem cell boost ± repeat HCT) was 14% in the intermediate group, 53% in the proximal group (P = .01), and 38% in the distal ≥2 mg/kg alemtuzumab group (P = .02). Our findings indicate that intermediate RIC reduces the incidence of mixed chimerism, is associated with a low incidence of upfront acute GVHD, and decreases the need for additional hematopoietic cell products after HCT.
PMCID: PMC4167781  PMID: 24035782
Hemophagocytic; lymphohistiocytosis; Familial hemophagocytic; lymphohistiocytosis; Bone marrow transplantation; Hematopoietic cell; transplantation; XIAP deficiency; SAP deficiency; X-linked lymphoproliferative; disease; Reduced-intensity conditioning; Alemtuzumab
5.  The successful use of alemtuzumab for treatment of steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease in pediatric patients 
Pediatric transplantation  2013;18(1):94-102.
SR-aGVHD remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in allogeneic HCT recipients. Alemtuzumab has been used with success in adult patients but has not been studied in the pediatric setting. To estimate the effectiveness of alemtuzumab for the treatment of SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 19 patients (median age 4 yr, range 0.5–28 years) with grades II (n = 3), III (n = 10), or IV (n = 6) SR-aGVHD who received alemtuzumab treatment. Patients received a median dose of 0.9 mg/kg alemtuzumab (range 0.3–2 mg/kg) divided over 2–6 days. Eighty-nine percent of patients received additional courses. A complete response, defined as GVHD of grade 0 at four wk following the first alemtuzumab course, was observed in nine patients (47%). A partial response, defined as an improvement in grade after four wk, was observed in five patients (26%). There was no response in five patients (26%). The overall response rate at four wk was 73%. Infectious complications included bacteremia (47%), presumed or documented fungal infections (21%), adenovirus viremia (52%), EBV viremia (36%), and CMV viremia (36%). We conclude that alemtuzumab is effective for SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients with a tolerable spectrum of complications.
PMCID: PMC4167786  PMID: 24384050
steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease; graft-versus-host disease; alemtuzumab; Campath
6.  Factors Associated With Parental Activation in Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant 
Patient activation, the extension of self-efficacy into self-management, is an essential component of effective chronic care. In pediatric populations, caregiver activation is also needed for proper disease management. This study investigates the relationships between parental activation and other characteristics of parent–child dyads (N = 198) presenting for pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Parental activation concerning their child’s health was assessed using the Parent Patient Activation Measure (Parent-PAM), a modified version of the well-validated Patient Activation Measure (PAM). Using hierarchical linear regression and following the Belsky process model for determining parenting behaviors, a multivariate model was created for parental activation on behalf of their child that showed that the parent’s age, rating of their own general health, self-activation, and duration of the child’s illness were significantly related to Parent-PAM score. Our findings characterize a potentially distinct form of activation in a parent–child cohort preparing for a demanding clinical course.
PMCID: PMC4160822  PMID: 22203645
cancer; oncology; hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT); children; patient activation; Patient Activation Measure
We describe outcomes after allogeneic transplantation in 34 patients with dyskeratosis congenita transplanted between 1981 and 2009. The median age at transplantation was 13 years (range 2 – 35). Approximately 50% of transplants were from related donors. Bone marrow was the predominant source of stem cells (n=24/34). The day-28 probability of neutrophil recovery was 73% and the day-100 platelet recovery was 72%. The day-100 probability of grade II-IV acute GVHD and the 3-year probability of chronic GVHD were 24% and 37%, respectively. The 10-year probability of survival was 30%; 14 patients were alive at last follow-up. Ten deaths occurred within 4 months from transplantation due to graft failure (n=6) or other transplant-related complications; 9 of these patients had been transplanted from mismatched related or from unrelated donors. Another 10 deaths occurred after 4 months; 6 of them occurred more than 5 years from transplantation, 4 of these were attributed to pulmonary failure. Transplant-regimen intensity and transplants from mismatched related or unrelated donors were associated with early mortality. Transplantation of grafts from HLA-matched siblings with cyclophosphamide-containing non-radiation regimens was associated with early low toxicity. Late mortality was attributed mainly to pulmonary complications and likely related to the underlying disease.
PMCID: PMC3736557  PMID: 23751955
8.  BK Viremia Precedes Hemorrhagic Cystitis in Children Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation 
BK virus is associated with hemorrhagic cystitis after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), although evidence supporting a causal relationship remains limited. Although BK viruria is common after HSCT, BK viremia may better predict clinically significant cystitis, similar to its predictive value for nephropathy after kidney transplantation. We hypothesized that BK viremia would precede hemorrhagic cystitis in a cohort of 88 consecutive children prospectively enrolled to originally study thrombotic microangiopathy in the first 100 days after allogeneic HSCT. Cox regression models with time-varying covariates assessed the association between different BK viremia cutoffs and the development of hemorrhagic cystitis, defined as at least macroscopic hematuria. Subjects with a peak plasma BK viral load 1 to 9999 copies/mL had an adjusted hazard ratio of 4.2 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3 to 13.7) for the development of hemorrhagic cystitis. Those with peak BK viremia >100,000 copies/mL had an adjusted hazard ratio of 116.8 (95% CI, 12 to 1136) for cystitis. Other independent risk factors for hemorrhagic cystitis included age >7 years and HHV-6 viremia. Neither graft-versus-host disease nor achieving engraftment increased the risk for cystitis. If therapeutic strategies are found to be effective, these observations may support screening for BK viremia after HSCT, as currently recommended for other DNA viruses.
PMCID: PMC3774139  PMID: 23665115
BK virus; Hemorrhagic cystitis; Transplantation; Pediatrics
9.  ARID5B and IKZF1 variants, selected demographic factors, and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A report from the Children’s Oncology Group 
Leukemia research  2013;37(8):936-942.
Interactions between common germline variants in ARID5B and IKZF1 and other known childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) risk factors were queried using biospecimens and data from 770 ALL cases and 384 controls. Case-control comparisons revealed dosedependent associations between ARID5B rs10821936, ARID5B rs10994982, and IKZF1 rs11978267 and childhood ALL overall, and B lineage and B lineage hyperdiploid ALL examined separately (all allelic odds ratios≥1.33, Ptrend≤0.001). No heterogeneity was observed between ORs for males and females (all Pinteraction≥0.48). Likewise, no significant genotype-birth weight interactions were detected (all Pinteraction≥0.12) among cases. These results indicate similar ALL risk across strata of known risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3731070  PMID: 23692655
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; children; genetic susceptibility; gene-environment interaction
Bone marrow transplantation  2013;48(8):1056-1064.
While the role of auto-HCT is well established in neuroblastoma, the role of allo-HCT is controversial. The CIBMTR conducted a retrospective review of 143 allo-HCT for NBL reported in 1990-2007. Patients were categorized into two different groups: those who had not (Group 1) and had (Group 2) undergone a prior auto HCT (n=46 and 97, respectively). One-year and five-year overall survival (OS) were 59% and 29% for Group 1 and 50% and 7% for Group 2. Amongst donor types, disease free survival (DFS) and OS were significantly lower for unrelated transplants at 1 and 3 years but not 5 years post-HCT. Patients in complete response (CR) or very good partial response (VGPR) at transplant had lower relapse rates and better DFS and OS, compared to those not in CR or VGPR. Our analysis indicates that allo-HCT can cure some neuroblastoma patients, with lower relapse rates and improved survival in patients without a history of prior auto-HCT as compared to those patients who had previously undergone auto-HCT. Although the data do not address why either strategy was chosen for patients, allo-HCT after a prior auto-HCT appears to offer minimal benefit. Disease recurrence remains the most common cause of treatment failure.
PMCID: PMC3661721  PMID: 23419433
neuroblastoma; allogeneic HCT; autologous HCT; CIBMTR
11.  Comparison of Outcomes after HLA-matched Sibling and Unrelated Donor Transplantation for Children with High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
We compared outcomes after 94 HLA-matched sibling, 168 unrelated donor bone marrow (BM) (n=81 matched and n=88 mismatched) and 86 cord blood transplantations in patients aged 1–15 years with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in second complete remission (CR). All patients had their first bone marrow relapse within 3 years from diagnosis. Cox regression models were constructed to examine for differences in transplant-outcome by donor source. Risks of grade 2–4 acute GVHD and chronic GVHD, when compared to HLA-matched sibling transplants, were higher after matched unrelated donor BM (RR 2.42, p=0.001; RR 5.12, p<0.001, respectively), mismatched BM (RR 3.24, p<0.001; 5.19, p<0.001, respectively) and cord blood (RR 2.67, p<0.001; 2.54, p=0.024, respectively) transplants. Though non-relapse mortality was higher after transplantation of mismatched unrelated donor BM and cord blood, there were no differences in leukemia-free survival (LFS) between HLA-matched sibling and any of the unrelated donor transplantations. The 3-year probabilities of LFS were 50% after HLA-matched sibling and 44% after matched unrelated BM, 44% after mismatched unrelated BM and 43% after cord blood transplantation. Our observations support transplantation of BM or cord blood from a suitably matched unrelated donor or cord blood for patients without an HLA-matched sibling with ALL in second CR.
PMCID: PMC3890239  PMID: 22406037
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; unrelated donor transplant; early relapse
12.  Genetic Variants Modify Susceptibility to Leukemia in Infants: A Children’s Oncology Group Report 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2012;60(1):31-34.
The mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene is commonly rearranged in infant leukemia (IL). Genetic determinants of susceptibility to IL are unknown. Recent genome wide association studies for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have identified susceptibility loci at IKZF1, ARID5B, and CEBPE.
We genotyped these loci in 171 infants with leukemia and 384 controls and evaluated associations overall, by subtype (ALL, acute myeloid leukemia (AML)), and by presence (+) or absence (−) of MLL rearrangements.
Homozygosity for a variant IKZF1 allele (rs11978267) increased risk of infant AML (Odds Ratio (OR)=3.9, 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=1.8–8.4); the increased risk was similar for AML/MLL+ and MLL− cases. In contrast, risk of ALL/MLL− was increased in infants homozygous for the IKZF1 variant (OR=5.1, 95%CI=1.8–14.5) but the variant did not modify risk of ALL/MLL+. For ARID5B (rs10821936), homozygosity for the variant allele increased risk for the ALL/MLL− subgroup only (OR=7.2, 95%CI=2.5–20.6). There was little evidence of an association with the CEBP variant (rs2239633).
IKZF1 is expressed in early hematopoiesis, including precursor myeloid cells. Our data provide the first evidence that IKZF1 modifies susceptibility to infant AML, irrespective of MLL rearrangements, and could provide important new etiologic insights into this rare and heterogeneous hematopoietic malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3381932  PMID: 22422485
leukemia; genetic susceptibility; infants
13.  Fanconi Anemia Links Reactive Oxygen Species to Insulin Resistance and Obesity 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;17(8):1083-1098.
Aims: Insulin resistance is a hallmark of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been proposed to play a causal role in insulin resistance. However, evidence linking ROS to insulin resistance in disease settings has been scant. Since both oxidative stress and diabetes have been observed in patients with the Fanconi anemia (FA), we sought to investigate the link between ROS and insulin resistance in this unique disease model. Results: Mice deficient for the Fanconi anemia complementation group A (Fanca) or Fanconi anemia complementation group C (Fancc) gene seem to be diabetes-prone, as manifested by significant hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, and rapid weight gain when fed with a high-fat diet. These phenotypic features of insulin resistance are characterized by two critical events in insulin signaling: a reduction in tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor (IR) and an increase in inhibitory serine phosphorylation of the IR substrate-1 in the liver, muscle, and fat tissues from the insulin-challenged FA mice. High levels of ROS, spontaneously accumulated or generated by tumor necrosis factor alpha in these insulin-sensitive tissues of FA mice, were shown to underlie the FA insulin resistance. Treatment of FA mice with the natural anti-oxidant Quercetin restores IR signaling and ameliorates the diabetes- and obesity-prone phenotypes. Finally, pairwise screen identifies protein-tyrosine phosphatase (PTP)-α and stress kinase double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) that mediate the ROS effect on FA insulin resistance. Innovation: These findings establish a pathogenic and mechanistic link between ROS and insulin resistance in a unique human disease setting. Conclusion: ROS accumulation contributes to the insulin resistance in FA deficiency by targeting both PTP-α and PKR. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000–000.
PMCID: PMC3423795  PMID: 22482891
It is uncertain whether late mortality rates after hematopoietic cell transplantation for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), non-SCID primary immunodeficiency diseases (non-SCID PIDD) and inborn error of metabolism (IEM) return to rates observed in the general population, matched for age, sex and nationality. We studied patients with SCID (n=201), non-SCID PIDD (n=405) and IEM (n=348) who survived for at least two years after transplantation with normal T-cell function (SCID) or >95% donor chimerism (non-SCID PIDD and IEM). Importantly, mortality rates were significantly higher than for the general population for several years after transplantation. This decreases towards normal rates in patients with SCID and non-SCID PIDD beyond 6 years after transplantation but not for IEM. Active chronic graft-versus-host disease at 2-years was associated with higher risks of late mortality for all diseases (HR 1.87, p=0.05). Additionally, for non-SCID PIDD, late mortality was higher in recipients of T-cell depleted grafts (HR 4.16, p=0.007) and for IEM, after unrelated donor (HR 2.72, p=0.03) and mismatched related donor (HR 3.76, p=0.01) transplants. The higher mortality rates in these long-term survivors for many years after transplantation confirm the need for long-term surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3390445  PMID: 22430083
Late mortality; primary immunodeficiency; inborn error of metabolism
15.  Frameshift mutation in p53 regulator RPL26 is associated with multiple physical abnormalities and a specific pre-rRNA processing defect in Diamond-Blackfan anemia 
Human Mutation  2012;33(7):1037-1044.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA) is an inherited form of pure red cell aplasia that usually presents in infancy or early childhood and is associated with congenital malformations in ~30-50% of patients. DBA has been associated with mutations in nine ribosomal protein (RP) genes in about 53% of patients. We completed a large scale screen of 79 RP genes by sequencing 16 RP genes (RPL3, RPL7, RPL8, RPL10, RPL14, RPL17, RPL19, RPL23A, RPL26, RPL27, RPL35, RPL36A, RPL39, RPS4X, RPS4Y1, and RPS21) in 96 DBA probands. We identified a de novo two-nucleotide deletion in RPL26 in one proband associated with multiple severe physical abnormalities. This mutation gives rise to a remarkable ribosome biogenesis defect that affects maturation of both the small and the large subunits. We also found a deletion in RPL19 and missense mutations in RPL3 and RPL23A, which may be variants of unknown significance. Together with RPL5, RPL11, and RPS7, RPL26 is the fourth ribosomal protein regulating p53 activity that is linked to DBA.
PMCID: PMC3370062  PMID: 22431104
Diamond-Blackfan anemia; ribosomal protein genes; RPL26; ribosome biogenesis
16.  MLL gene rearrangements in infant leukemia vary with age at diagnosis and selected demographic factors: A Children’s Oncology Group (COG) study 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2011;58(6):836-839.
Infant leukemias have a high frequency of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene rearrangements.
Using data from a large etiologic study, we evaluated the distribution of selected demographic factors among 374 infant leukemia cases by leukemic subtype, MLL status and diagnosis age.
Overall, 228 cases were MLL+. Compared to white infants, black infants were significantly less likely to have MLL+ leukemia. Further, there was a statistically significantly higher age at diagnosis for infants with t(9;11) translocations compared to all other translocation partners in both acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia cases.
These patterns may provide important etiological insight into the biology of infant leukemia.
PMCID: PMC3208122  PMID: 21800415
epidemiology; infants; leukemia; MLL
17.  The Fanconi Anemia Pathway Limits Human Papillomavirus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(15):8131-8138.
High-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) deregulate epidermal differentiation and cause anogenital and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). The E7 gene is considered the predominant viral oncogene and drives proliferation and genome instability. While the implementation of routine screens has greatly reduced the incidence of cervical cancers which are almost exclusively HPV positive, the proportion of HPV-positive head and neck SCCs is on the rise. High levels of HPV oncogene expression and genome load are linked to disease progression, but genetic risk factors that regulate oncogene abundance and/or genome amplification remain poorly understood. Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genome instability syndrome characterized at least in part by extreme susceptibility to SCCs. FA results from mutations in one of 15 genes in the FA pathway, whose protein products assemble in the nucleus and play important roles in DNA damage repair. We report here that loss of FA pathway components FANCA and FANCD2 stimulates E7 protein accumulation in human keratinocytes and causes increased epithelial proliferation and basal cell layer expansion in the HPV-positive epidermis. Additionally, FANCD2 loss stimulates HPV genome amplification in differentiating cells, demonstrating that the intact FA pathway functions to restrict the HPV life cycle. These findings raise the possibility that FA genes suppress HPV infection and disease and suggest possible mechanism(s) for reported associations of HPV with an FA cohort in Brazil and for allelic variation of FA genes with HPV persistence in the general population.
PMCID: PMC3421690  PMID: 22623785
18.  NCI, NHLBI First International Consensus Conference on Late Effects after Pediatric Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation: Etiology and Pathogenesis of Late Effects after HCT performed in Childhood – Methodological Challenges 
Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is now a curative option for certain categories of patients with hematological malignancies and other life-threatening illnesses. Technical and supportive care has resulted in survival rates that exceed 70% for those who survive the first two years after HSCT. However, long-term survivors carry a high burden of morbidity, including endocrinopathies, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiopulmonary compromise, and subsequent malignancies. Understanding the etiologic pathways that lead to specific post-HCT morbidities is critical to developing targeted prevention and intervention strategies. Understanding the molecular underpinnings associated with graft vs. host disease (GvHD), organ toxicity, relapse, opportunistic infection and other long-term complications now recognized as health care concerns will have significant impact on translational research aimed at developing novel targeted therapies for controlling chronic GvHD, facilitating tolerance and immune reconstitution, reducing risk of relapse and secondary malignancies, minimizing chronic metabolic disorders and improving quality of life. However, several methodological challenges exist in achieving these goals; these issues are discussed in detail in this article.
PMCID: PMC3177028  PMID: 21763253
19.  Analysis of risk factors influencing outcome in children with myelodysplastic syndrome after unrelated cord blood transplantation 
Leukemia  2010;25(3):449-454.
We describe 70 children with myelodysplastic syndrome [refractory cytopenia (n=31) and refractory anemia with excess blasts (n=30) or blasts in transformation (n=9)] who received umbilical cord blood (UCB) transplantation with a single UCB unit and a myeloablative conditioning regimen. Approximately 20% of children had secondary myelodysplastic syndrome. Median age at transplantation was 7 years and the median follow-up, 3 years. The day-60 probability of neutrophil recovery was 76%; recovery was faster after transplantation of matched or 1-locus mismatched UCB, irradiation-containing conditioning regimen, cell dose >6 × 107/kg and monosomy 7. Risks of treatment failure (recurrent disease or death) were lower in patients with monosomy 7 and transplantations after 2001. The 3-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 50% for transplantations after 2001 compared to 27% for the earlier period (p=0.018). Transplantations after 2001 occurred within 6 months after diagnosis and used UCB units with higher cell dose. DFS was highest in patients with monosomy 7 (61%) compared to other karyotypes (30%), p=0.017. These data suggest transplantation of mismatched UCB graft is an acceptable alternative for children without a matched sibling or suitably matched unrelated adult donor.
PMCID: PMC3365546  PMID: 21135856
myelodysplastic syndrome; cord blood transplantation; monosomy 7
We describe long-term disease-free survival after unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation (BMT) for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 118 patients aged ≤18 years. Forty-six patients had refractory cytopenia (RC), 55, refractory anemia with excess blasts (RAEB) and 17, refractory anemia with excess blasts in transformation (RAEB-t). Transplant-related mortality was higher after mismatched BMT (relative risk [RR] 3.29, p=0.002). Disease recurrence was more likely with advanced stages of MDS at the time of BMT: RAEB (RR 6.50, p=0.01) or RAEB-t (RR 11.00, p=0.004). Treatment failure (recurrent disease or death from any cause; inverse of disease-free survival [DFS]) occurred in 68 patients. Treatment failure was higher after mismatched BMT (RR 2.79, p=0.001) and in those with RAEB-t (RR 2.38, p=0.02). Secondary MDS or chemotherapy prior to BMT was not associated with recurrence or treatment failure. Similarly, cytogenetic abnormalities were not associated with transplant outcomes. Eight-year DFS for patients with RC after matched and mismatched unrelated donor BMT was 65% and 40%, respectively. Corresponding DFS for patients with RAEB and RAEB-t was 48% and 28%, respectively. When a matched adult unrelated donor is available, BMT should be offered as first-line therapy and children with RC can be expected to have the best outcome.
PMCID: PMC3033968  PMID: 20813197
pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome; unrelated donor; bone marrow transplantation
21.  Variation in Supportive Care Practices in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation 
Hematopoietic cell transplantation is an elective procedure that results in prolonged immune suppression and high treatment-related morbidity and mortality. Transplant centers and physicians use a variety of prophylaxis and monitoring strategies to prevent or minimize complications. Little is known about the variability in these practices. We conducted an international Internet-based survey of 526 physicians to describe the spectrum of supportive care practices employed. Consistency in pretransplant cardiac (96%) and pulmonary (95%) screening, informed consent documentation (93%), and use of antifungal prophylaxis (92%) was observed. Greater heterogeneity was seen in use of myelogenous growth factors, empiric antibiotic therapy, protective isolation procedures, posttransplant monitoring, and environmental and social restrictions. Although some practice differences were associated with physician characteristics and transplant type, most practice variation remained unexplained. These results suggest a need for well-designed observational and interventional studies to provide data about which supportive care practices improve outcomes. For practices proved to be beneficial, publication of guidelines and incorporation of monitoring into quality improvement initiatives may help standardize practices.
PMCID: PMC3304538  PMID: 18940677
Practice variation; Supportive care; Autologous stem cell transplantation; Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
22.  Comparative Analysis of Busulfan and Cyclophosphamide versus Cyclophosphamide and Total Body Irradiation in Full Intensity Unrelated Marrow Donor Transplantation for Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and Myelodysplasia 
Bone marrow transplantation  2010;46(1):34-43.
We retrospectively compared clinical outcomes in 1593 T-repleted URD marrow transplant recipients with AML, MDS and CML who received myeloablative conditioning regimens of either busulfan and cyclophosphamide (BuCy), standard-dose Cy/TBI (1,000-1,260 cGy) or high-dose Cy/TBI (1,320-1,500 cGy). Subjects were drawn from patients transplanted between 1991 and 1999 facilitated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). Patients who received high-dose Cy/TBI regimens were slightly younger, more likely to receive a mismatched transplant and to have intermediate or advanced disease compared to patients in the BuCy or standard-dose TBI group. Neutrophil recovery was significantly higher in the standard dose CY/TBI group compared to the high-dose Cy/TBI or BuCy group. Patients who received the high-dose Cy/TBI regimen had an increased risk of developing grade III-IV aGVHD when compared to the control group who received BuCy (p=0.011). Overall survival (OS), disease free survival (DFS), transplant-related mortality (TRM) and relapse were not significantly different between any of the regimens. We conclude that BuCy, standard-dose and high dose Cy/TBI regimens have equivalent efficacy profiles for OS, DFS, TRM and relapse risk in patients undergoing T-replete URD marrow transplantation for AML, CML and MDS.
PMCID: PMC3169009  PMID: 20400989
Unrelated donor transplantation; TBI conditioning regimens; Busulfan
Bone marrow transplantation  2008;41(10):867-872.
The aim of this study was to identify risk factors associated with progression-free survival in patients with Ewing sarcoma undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT); 116 patients underwent ASCT in 1989-2000 and reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. Eighty patients (69%) received ASCT as first-line therapy and 36 (31%), for recurrent disease. Risk factors affecting ASCT were analyzed with use of the Cox regression method. Metastatic disease at diagnosis, recurrence prior to ASCT and performance score <90 were associated with higher rates of disease recurrence/progression. Five-year probabilities of progression-free survival in patients with localized and metastatic disease at diagnosis who received ASCT as first-line therapy were 49% (95% CI 30 – 69) and 34% (95% CI 22 – 47) respectively. The 5-year probability of progression-free survival in patients with localized disease at diagnosis, and received ASCT after recurrence was 14% (95% CI 3 – 30). Progression-free survival rates after ASCT are comparable to published rates in patients with similar disease characteristics treated with conventional chemotherapy, surgery and irradiation suggesting a limited role for ASCT in these patients. Therefore, ASCT if considered should be for high-risk patients in the setting of carefully controlled clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3164955  PMID: 18246113
Autologous transplant; Ewing sarcoma; Progression-free survival
Reduced intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens have been used extensively in adults with hematological malignancies. To address whether this is a feasible approach for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), we evaluated transplant outcomes in 38 recipients transplanted from 1995–2005 for whom this was their first transplant. The median age at transplant was 12 years and 47% had performance scores <90%. Disease status was first complete remission (CR) in 13%, ≥CR2 in 60% of patients and 22% had active disease at transplantation. Matched related donors were available for a third of patients and about half of whom received bone marrow (BM) and the others, peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPC). Sixty percent of unrelated donor transplant recipients received PBPC. The day-100 probability of grade 2–4 acute GVHD was 37% and the 3-year probability of chronic GVHD, 26%. At 3-years, the probability of transplant related mortality was 40%, relapse, 37% and disease-free survival (DFS), 30%. These data indicate long-term DFS can be achieved using RIC regimens in children with ALL. Given the relatively small cohort, these findings must be validated in a larger population.
PMCID: PMC2904410  PMID: 20302960
pediatric; ALL; reduced intensity conditioning
25.  MDM2 Polymorphism Increases Susceptibility to Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia: A Report from the Children’s Oncology Group 
Pediatric blood & cancer  2010;55(2):248-253.
The variant polymorphism in the gene MDM2, SNP309, leads to increased level of mdm2 protein and subsequent downregulation of p53 tumor suppressor pathway. Presence of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been associated with earlier tumorigenesis in patients with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, as well as decreased survival in patients with CLL. In addition, cells homozygous (G/G) for SNP 309 were found to have ten fold increase resistance to topoisomerase II inhibitors in vitro.
We genotyped children (n=575) with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treated on three Children’s Oncology Group protocols (CCG 2941/2961/AAML 03P1) for the presence of SNP309. Healthy blood donors were genotyped as control population.
The variant G/G genotype was associated with an increased susceptibility to AML (OR 1.5; p=0.049). However, the presence of the variant allele at SNP309 did not modify disease response or toxicity in children treated on CCG protocols 2941/2961.
The variant SNP 309 influences susceptibility to pediatric AML, but does not impact overall response to therapy.
PMCID: PMC2915901  PMID: 20582981
AML; MDM2; SNP 309; Children’s Oncology Group; susceptibility

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