Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous B-cell trophic herpesvirus associated with a variety of histologically diverse B-cell lymphomas, each associated with specific viral-latency gene expression programs. Initial infection drives resting B-cells to differentiate via an atypical germinal centre reaction into memory B-cells, where the virus resides in a latent state. The mechanisms that underpin this process have yet to be fully elucidated. EBV expresses more than 40 microRNAs (miRNAs). The alternatively spliced BamHI A rightward transcripts (BARTs) are the template for two large miRNA clusters (BARTs A and B), that comprise the majority of all known EBV-miRNAs. Although BART-miRNAs are abundantly expressed in all latency programs, few BART-miRNA targets have been identified and their function is poorly understood. The early B-cell factor 1 (EBF1) was identified using bioinformaticss analysis as a novel target of EBV-miRNA BART11-5p, encoded by BART cluster B. EBF1 is an important B-cell transcription factor that regulates many B-cell specific genes including Pax5, BCR and CD40 and is critical for germinal centre formation. Using luciferase reporter assays and a series of BART-constructs, we confirmed silencing via the EBF1 3’ untranslated region (UTR) and identified the target site as 2137-2159 bp after the stop codon. Results were confirmed following transfection of a BART11-5p mimic, which was able to silence via the predicted target site. Our findings highlight a potential role of BART-miRNAs in the regulation of B-cell differentiation.
EBV; microRNA; BamHI A rightward transcripts; early B-cell transcription factor; B-cell
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a clonal myeloproliferative disease characterized by a reciprocal translocation between long arms of chromosomes 9 and 22 t(9;22) that generates the BCR-ABL fusion gene. If left untreated, newly diagnosed chronic phase CML patients finally progress to accelerated and blastic phase. After the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), treatment strategies of CML changed dramatically. However, the development of resistance to TKIs started to create problems over time. In this review, the current information about CML biology before and after imatinib mesylate treatment is summarized.
Chronic myeloid leukemia; moleculer biology; imatinib mesylate
Background: Several studies revealed that MSC from human bone marrow can downregulate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic HSCT. Methods: Herein we present 50 patients with acute GVHD who got 74 (1-4) MSC infusions for 54 separate episodes of aGVHD. Results: aGVHD was defined as steroid resistant grade IV aGVHD in 42 cases. The major presentation was gastrointestinal GVHD; two (n=18) or more (n=21) systems were involved in the majority of cases. The 1st infusion with MSC was given on day +27 (range, 1 to 136); d+45 (range, +11 to +150) post diagnosis of aGVHD and HSCT, respectively. In 2/3 of the cases treatment was performed with frozen stocked MSCs; in 62 cases early passages (1-3) were used. The median number of infused cells was 1.14±0.47 million per kg in the first injection and up to 4.27 (1.70±1.10) millions in total. The two patients with aggressive liver GVHD received MSCs injections intra hepatic arteries without changes of blood flow or evidence cytolysis, but also without a visible effect. Disease free survival at 3.6 years was 56%. We observed better overall survival in patients with GVHD grade < 4, in responders to the 1st treatment with MSC, and in pediatric group. The multivariate analysis demonstrated independent influence on survival of initial response and younger age. There were no immediate or late toxicity or side effects. Conclusion: Injection of MSCs seems to be a promising and safe treatment of GVHD. The encouraging results obviously should be confirmed in a randomized prospective study.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC); mesenchymal stem cells; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; graft versus host disease; steroid resistance
Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) encompass a range of myeloid neoplasms characterised by a defect in haematopoietic stem cell maturation, resulting in peripheral cytopenias. As a major consequence, most MDS patients become anaemic, so as to require red blood cell transfusions. To investigate the costs and the impact on quality of life (QOL) of MDS-separately in transfusion-independent (TI) and -dependent (TD) patients-a literature search was conducted. From Medline and Embase, 742 studies were identified, of which 17 were considered eligible. Total medical costs per patient/year range from $ 9,840 to $ 19,811 for the TI condition and from $ 29,608 to $ 51,066 in the TD condition, more than doubling when moving from the former condition to the latter. With regard to QOL, in the transition from TI to TD, QOL could be reduced by half depending on the studies. The TD condition negatively impacts on costs and the QOL of patients with MDS. Therapeutic strategies that reduce transfusion dependence may lead to broad benefits for patients and the community.
Myelodysplastic syndromes; anemia; transfusion dependence; quality of life; medical costs
Neutrophils provide first-line defense against infections and are potent effectors in innate and adaptive immunity. Recently neutrophils have been shown to play important roles in multiple antitumor reactions. A subset of mature neutrophils in human systemic inflammation has been identified as a unique circulating population of myeloid cells, which is capable of inhibiting T cell responses. These neutrophils show unique immunophenotype (CD11c bright/CD62L dim/CD11b bright/CD16 bright). This study reports detection of mature neutrophils with similar immunophenotype in the peripheral blood samples of cancer patients using flow cytometry analysis. This population of neutrophils is not detected in peripheral blood samples of normal controls. Thus this finding suggests the involvement of mature neutrophils in antitumor immunity.
Neutrophils; immunosuppressive; cancer; CD62L
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remains an incurable disease, with all patients who require therapy destined to relapse and understanding of the pathophysiology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia has advanced significantly. It is now clear that chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a relatively proliferative disorder that requires the help of its microenvironment to be maintained and to progress. The stimulation of the chronic lymphatic leukemia cell occurs in most, if not all, patients through antigen stimulation via the B cell receptors. In addition, there is now a appreciation of the role of the p53 pathway leading to chemoresistance and the elucidation of the molecular and intracellular signaling mechanisms of disease is just beginning to facilitate the development of several targeted small molecules that promise to revolutionize the treatment of Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; pathophysiology; target therapy
Delayed recovery of platelet count post allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) has been associated with worse transplant outcomes. Thrombopoietic agents have been successfully used in immune mediated thrombocytopenia or thrombocytopenia from bone marrow failure syndromes; however, the experience regarding their use after allo-HSCT is limited. Here we report on the safety and efficacy of romiplostim used in 3 consecutive patients with thrombocytopenia post allogeneic transplantation. Two patients had prolonged platelet recovery due to poor graft function while one had secondary failure of platelet recovery, likely immune mediated, post transplantation. Successful use of such agents post-transplant may improve platelet recovery, decrease rates of complications and potentially improve outcomes.
Post-transplant thrombocytopenia; romiplostim; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Background: Platelet microparticles (PM) are the most abundant cell-derived microparticles in the blood, and accumulate in thrombo-inflammatory diseases. Platelets produce PM upon aging via an apoptosis-like process and by activation with strong agonists. We previously showed that long-term treatment of monocytic cells with apoptosis-induced PM (PMap) promotes their differentiation into resident macrophages. Here we investigated shorter term effects of various types of PM on monocyte signalling and function. Methods and results: Flow cytometry and scanning electron microscopy revealed that PM formed upon platelet aging (PMap) or ultra-sonication (PMsonic) expressed activated αIIbβ3 integrins and tended to assemble into aggregates. In contrast, PM formed upon platelet activation with thrombin (PMthr) or Ca2+ ionophore (PMiono) had mostly non-activated αIIbβ3 and little aggregate formation, but had increased CD63 expression. PM from activated and sonicated platelets expressed phosphatidylserine at their surface, while only the latter were enriched in the receptors CD40L and CX3CR1. All PM types expressed P-selectin, interacted with monocytic cells via this receptor, and were internalised into these cells. The various PM types promoted actin cytoskeletal rearrangements and hydrogen peroxide production by monocytic cells. Markedly, both aging- and activation-induced PM types stimulated the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway, suppressing apoptosis induced by several agonists, in a P-selectin-dependent manner. On the other hand, the PM types differentially influenced monocyte signalling in eliciting Ca2+ fluxes (particularly PMap) and in releasing secondary mediators (complement factor C5a with PMap, and pro-inflammatory tumour necrosis factor-α with PMthr). Conclusions: In spite of their common anti-apoptotic potential via Akt activation, aging- and activation-induced PM cause different Ca2+ signalling events and mediator release in monocytic cells. By implication, aging and activated platelets may modulate monocyte function in different way by the shedding of different PM types.
Aging; apoptosis; microparticles; monocytes; platelet activation; tumour necrosis factor
We describe a case of post-polycythemic myelofibrosis harboring der(Y)t(Y;1)(q12;q12). The patient was a 69-year-old man and was initially diagnosed with polycythemia vera. During the clinical course of his condition, the polycythemia developed into myelofibrosis. Chromosome analysis detected der(Y)t(Y;1)(q12;q12). We discuss the association between der(Y)t(Y;1)(q11~12;q12~21) and tumorigenesis along with a review of literature.
Post-polycythemic myelofibrosis; der(Y)t(Y;1)(q12;q12); chromosomal abnormality
Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is a hematopoietic neoplasm characterized by pathologic expansion of tissue mast cells in one or more extracutaneous organs. In most children and most adult patients, skin involvement is found. Childhood patients frequently suffer from cutaneous mastocytosis without systemic involvement, whereas most adult patients are diagnosed as suffering from SM. In a smaller subset of patients, SM without skin lesions develops which is a diagnostic challenge. In the current article, a diagnostic algorithm for patients with suspected SM is proposed. In adult patients with skin lesions and histologically confirmed mastocytosis in the skin (MIS), a bone marrow biopsy is recommended regardless of the serum tryptase level. In adult patients without skin lesions who are suffering from typical mediator-related symptoms, the basal serum tryptase level is an important diagnostic parameter. In those with slightly elevated tryptase (15-30 ng/ml), additional non-invasive investigations, including a KIT mutation analysis of peripheral blood cells and sonographic analysis, is performed. In adult patients in whom i) KIT D816V is detected or/and ii) the basal serum tryptase level is clearly elevated (> 30 ng/ml) or/and iii) other clinical or laboratory features are suggesting the presence of occult mastocytosis, a bone marrow biopsy should be performed. In the absence of KIT D816V and other indications of mastocytosis, no bone marrow investigation is required, but the patient’s course and the serum tryptase levels are examined in the follow-up.
Mastocytosis; tryptase; KIT D816V; diagnostic algorithm; staging
Immune surveillance is a dynamic process that involves an intact immune system to identify and protect the host against tumor development. The increased understanding of the genetics, infections and hematological malignancies in congenital immune deficiency states supports the concept that impaired T cells and Natural-killer/T cells leads to B-cell lymphoma. Furthermore, severe combined immunodeficient mice are prone to spontaneous tumor development and therefore serve as experimental models. Here we discuss the acquired conditions and mechanisms involved in dysregulation of the immune system that lead to lymphoma. Preemptive strategies to improve immune regulation and response and restore a competent immune system may lead to a decrease in lymphoid malignancies.
Lymphoma; immune surveillance; immune deficiency
MyD88 was originally described as a primary response gene up-regulated during myeloid differentiation after IL-6 induction. Later, MyD88 was shown to be a key molecule necessary for IL1, IL18 and Toll-like receptor signaling. Since these receptors recognize abundantly produced cytokines during infection or molecular patterns of pathogens, MyD88 itself was suggested to be an important regulator of the first line of defense against invading pathogens, including the differentiation and maturation of myeloid cells. Here we describe that MyD88 is important for early and late hematopoietic events that occur independently of antigen under steady-state conditions. In MyD88-deficient mice the earliest alteration in hematopoiesis was found at the level of long-term hematopoietic stem cells. Moreover, we found that MyD88 influences not only the development of the myeloid lineage but also the differentiation of B cells. The B cell defect observed in Btk-deficient mice is further enhanced when both molecules, Btk and MyD88, are not expressed. Therefore, MyD88 affects myeloid as well as lymphoid hematopoiesis. Since Btk and MyD88 deficiencies influence differentially myeloid and lymphoid development, both molecules seem to act in different signaling pathways important for appropriate developmental events during myelo- and lymphopoiesis.
MyD88; Btk; hematopoiesis; myelopoiesis; lymphopoiesis
Patients over age 60 comprise the majority of those diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but treatment approaches in this population are variable, with many uncertainties and controversies. Our group conducted a literature review to summarize the latest information and to develop a consensus document with practical treatment recommendations. We addressed five key questions: selection criteria for patients to receive intensive induction chemotherapy; optimal induction and post-remission regimens; allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); treatment of patients not suitable for induction chemotherapy; and treatment of patients with prior hematological disorders or therapy-related AML. Relevant literature was identified through a PubMed search of publications from 1991 to 2012. Key findings included the recognition that cytogenetics and molecular markers are major biologic determinants of treatment outcomes in the older population, both during induction therapy and following HSCT. Although disease-specific and patient-specific risk factors for poor outcomes are more common in the older population, age is not in itself sufficient grounds for withholding established treatments, including induction and consolidation chemotherapy. The role of HSCT and use of hypomethylating agents are discussed. Finally, suggested treatment algorithms are outlined, based on these recommendations.
Acute myeloid leukemia; chemotherapy; cytogenetics; prognosis; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; hypomethylating agent
Purpose: Recent whole genome and/or exome sequencing in a cohort of 32 Multiple Myeloma (MΜ) patients reported the incidence of BRAF mutations at 4%, while in another exome sequencing study, BRAF mutations were reported in up to 13% of cases tested. We ran a confirmatory study by using High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRMA), which is a low-cost, straightforward and sensitive screening test for detection of BRAF exon 15 mutations in MM and Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM) patients, in order to investigate their incidence in every day clinical practice. We considered this investigation to be of clinical relevance following the recent emergence of potent anti-BRAF compounds. Patients and Methods: We used genomic DNA isolated from 31 bone marrow aspirates obtained from 25 MM patients and 3 patients with WM (14 female; 14 male) who signed an informed consent. Patients’ median age was 69 years (range 43-86) and median follow-up time was 45 months. Myeloma subtypes were as follows: 7 IgGκ, 6 IgGλ, 7 IgAλ, 4 IgAλ and 1 non-secretory. The bone marrow plasma cells ranged from 12 to 100% (mean/median value 45%). By International Staging System (ISS) 9/25 patients were stage Ι, 6/25 stage ΙΙ, 7/25 stage ΙΙΙ, while in 3 cases staging information was missing. In 3 MM cases matched paired samples at diagnosis and at relapse were also available. DNA samples were screened using HRMA. HRMA results were confirmed by subsequent ds-bi-directional sequencing (Sanger method) for somatic mutations in exon 15 of BRAF. Results: At a limit of detection ≥2.5% mutant allelic content by HRMA, we did not detect any BRAF mutations in exon 15 in any of our 31 samples. Conclusions: By using HRMA we do not confirm previously reported results. Lack of detection of BRAF exon 15 mutations in our MM and WM series may be related to different sensitivity of the assays used and/or the relatively small sample size. In any case, we consider that existing data should be taken into account when considering the clinical development of BRAF inhibitors in plasma cell neoplasms.
Multiple myeloma; BRAF; mutation; WaldenstrÖm’s macroglobulinemia; high resolution melting analysis
We are celebrating one millionth transplant in year 2013! With continued improvement in hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) outcome, the indications for HCT continue to grow. Furthermore the sources of stem cells and the number of suitable matches are expanding. At the same time, modified transplantation regimens have facilitated safer procedures despite increase in patient’s age and comorbidies. In the current era, any patient indicated for HCT has a stem cell source and therefore steps to HCT and coordinated pre-transplant care is an integral part of management to improve transplant outcome. This review discusses our approach to the transplant evaluation process and this article will serve as a valuable tool for primary care physicians and referring hematologists/oncologists.
Transplantation; hematological malignancies; preparation; evaluation
Chromosomal translocations resulting in chimeric fusion genes are prototypic for pediatric leukemia patients. The most known fusions are ETV6-RUNX1 or BCR-ABL1 in B-cell progenitor (BCP)-ALL, and rearrangements of MLL in pediatric ALL and AML. Genome-wide sequencing projects have revealed additional, recurrent gene mutations in B cell malignancies. One of these mutations comprises the IKZF1 gene, encoding the IKAROS transcription factor which is one of the essential transcription factors driving lymphoid development. IKZF1 deletions were first identified by SNP arrays in ALL patients, and later identified with a high prevalence in BCR-ABL1+ patients. IKZF1 deletions turned out to be an independent prognostic marker associated with a poor outcome. Here, we characterized IKZF1 deletions in pediatric BCP-ALL patients by combining MLPA mapping experiments with long distance inverse PCR. The aim of our study was also to compare existing methods with our approach. Our attempt confirmed many of the existing data but revealed a more complex pattern of recombination sites, including a total of 4 recombination hotspots. This extended knowledge was translated into a novel, multiplex PCR assay that allows to perform IKZF1 deletion analyses by using a 2-tube PCR approach.
Childhood leukemia; cancer genetics; gene deletion; IKAROS; IKZF1; leukemia markers
Extracellular ATP (eATP) is the most abundant among extracellular nucleotides and is commonly considered as a classical danger signal, which stimulates immune responses in the presence of tissue injury. In fact, increased nucleotide concentration in the extracellular space is generally closely associated with tissue stress or damage. However non-lytic nucleotide release may also occur in many cell types under a variety of conditions. Extracellular nucleotides are sensed by a class of plasma membrane receptors called P2 purinergic receptors (P2Rs). P2 receptors are expressed by all immunological cells and their activation elicits different responses. Extracellular ATP can act as an initiator or terminator of immune responses being able to induce different effects on immune cells depending on the pattern of P2 receptors engaged, the duration of the stimulus and its concentration in the extracellular milieu. Millimolar (high) concentrations of extracellular ATP, induce predominantly proinflammatory effects, while micromolar (low) doses exert mainly tolerogenic/immunosuppressive action. Moreover small, but significant differences in the pattern of P2 receptor expression in mice and humans confer diverse capacities of ATP in regulating the immune response.
Extracellular nucleotides; P2 purinergic receptors; extracellular ATP; innate immunity
Regulatory T (Treg) cells are now under extensive investigation in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This small subset of T-cells has been, in fact, considered to be involved in the pathogenesis and progression of CLL. However, whether Treg dysregulation in CLL plays a key role or it rather represents a simple epiphenomenon is still matter of debate. In the former case, Treg cells could be appealing for targeting therapies. Finally, Treg cells have also been proposed as a prognostic indicator of the disease clinical course.
Tregs; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; prognosis
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) can progress quickly and without treatment can become fatal in a short period of time. However, over the last 30 years fine-tuning of therapeutics have increased the rates of remission and cure. Cytogenetics and mutational gene profiling, combined with the option of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation offered in selected patients have further optimized AML treatment on a risk stratification basis in younger adults. However there is still an unmet medical need for effective therapies in AML since disease relapses in almost half of adult patients becoming refractory to salvage therapy. Improvements in the understanding of molecular biology of cancer and identification of recurrent mutations in AML provide opportunities to develop targeted therapies and improve the clinical outcome. In the spectrum of identified gene mutations, primarily targetable lesions are gain of function mutations of tyrosine kinases FLT3, JAK2 and cKIT for which specific, dual and multi-targeted small molecule inhibitors have been developed. A number of targeted compounds such as sorafenib, quizartinib, lestaurtinib, midostaurin, pacritinib, PLX3397 and CCT137690 are in clinical development. For loss-of-function gene mutations, which are mostly biomarkers of favorable prognosis, combined therapeutic approaches can maximize the therapeutic efficacy of conventional therapy. Apart from mutated gene products, proteins aberrantly overexpressed in AML appear to be clinically significant therapeutic targets. Such a molecule for which targeted inhibitors are currently in clinical development is PLK1. We review characteristic gene mutations, discuss their biological functions and clinical significance and present small molecule compounds in clinical development, which are expected to have a role in treating AML subtypes with characteristic molecular alterations.
Acute myeloid leukemia; targeted therapy; mutation; FLT3; NPM1; CEBPA; JAK2
High dose cyclophosphamide (HiCY) without stem cell rescue has been shown to induce remissions in patients with severe autoimmune disorders (SADS). However, up to 80% of these patients ultimately relapse. Here we review the outcomes of seven patients treated with two cycles and one patient treated with three cycles of HiCY. The diseases re-treated were scleroderma, multiple sclerosis, three patients with severe aplastic anemia (SAA), and three patients with myasthenia gravis (MG). All but two patients with SAA had received standard immunomodulatory therapy for their disease up front and had been refractory. All patients had complete hematologic recovery. Overall survival in this cohort was 100%. All patients relapsed after the initial cycle but event free survival thereafter was 93.3%. All are still in remission except two MG patients, one of whom relapsed after a severe GI infection requiring hospitalization, and the other relapsed 3 years after the second treatment and she did not respond to the third treatment. This shows that HiCY can be safely re-administered in patients with SAA and refractory SADS. The quality and duration of second remissions appears to be equal or superior to the first remission.
Autoimmunity; cyclophosphamide; severe autoimmune diseases
Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins function in the JAK/STAT signaling pathway and are activated by phosphorylation. As a result of this signaling event, they affect many cellular processes including cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Increases in the expressions of STAT5A and STAT5B play a remarkable role in the development of leukemia in which leukemic cells gain uncontrolled proliferation and angiogenesis ability. At the same time, these cells acquire ability to escape from apoptosis and host immune system. In this study, we aimed to suppress STAT-5A and -5B genes in K562 CML cells by siRNA transfection and antisense oligonucleotides (ODN) targeting and then to evaluate apoptosis rate. Finally, we compared the transfection efficiencies of these approaches. Quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot results indicated that STAT expressions were downregulated at both mRNA and protein levels following siRNA transfection. However, electroporation mediated ODN transfection could only provide limited suppression rates at mRNA and protein levels. Moreover, it was displayed that apoptosis were significantly induced in siRNA treated leukemic cells as compared to ODN treated cells. As a conclusion, siRNA applications were found to be more effective in terms of gene silencing when compared to ODN treatment based on the higher apoptosis and mRNA suppression rates. siRNA application could be a new and alternative curative method as a supporting therapy in CML patients.
Chronic myeloid leukemia; K562; STAT5; siRNA knockdown; antisense oligonucleotides; apoptosis
The Ikaros transcription factor is crucial for many aspects of hematopoiesis. Loss of function mutations in IKZF1, the gene encoding Ikaros, have been implicated in adult and pediatric B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). These mutations result in haploinsufficiency of the Ikaros gene in approximately half of the cases. The remaining cases contain more severe or compound mutations that lead to the generation of dominant-negative proteins or complete loss of function. All IKZF1 mutations are associated with a poor prognosis. Here we review the current genetic, clinical and mechanistic evidence for the role of Ikaros as a tumor suppressor in B-ALL.
B cell leukemia; Ikaros; tumor suppressor
In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) signals from the B cell receptor (BCR) play a major role in disease development and progression. In this light, new therapies that specifically target signaling molecules downstream of the BCR continue to be developed. While first studies on the selective small molecule inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk), Ibrutinib (PCI-32765), demonstrated that Btk inhibition sensitizes CLL cells to apoptosis and alters their migratory behavior, these studies however did not address whether Btk-mediated signaling is involved in the process of CLL leukemogenesis. To investigate the requirement of Btk signaling for CLL development, we modulated Btk expression in the IgH.ETμ CLL mouse model, which is based on sporadic expression of the simian oncovirus SV40 T-antigen in mature B cells. To this end, we crossed IgH.ETμ mice on a Btk-deficient background or introduced a human Btk transgene (CD19-hBtk). Here we show that Btk deficiency fully abrogates CLL formation in IgH.ETμ mice, and that leukemias formed in Btk haplo-insufficient mice selectively expressed the wild-type Btk allele on their active X chromosome. Conversely, Btk overexpression accelerated CLL onset, increased mortality, and was associated with selection of non-stereotypical BCRs into CLL clones. Taken together, these data show that Btk expression represents an absolute prerequisite for CLL development and that Btk mediated signaling enhances leukemogenesis in mice. We therefore conclude that in CLL Btk expression levels set the threshold for malignant transformation.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL); bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk); B cell receptor signaling
Excess body iron could persist for years after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) with possible deleterious sequels. An iron depletive therapy with phlebotomy seems rational. Kinetics of iron removal by phlebotomy without erythropoietin support in non-thalassemic adult patients with iron overload after HCT and the impact of pre- and post-HCT hemochromatosis (HFE) genotype on iron mobilization were investigated. Patients and methods: Phlebotomy was initiated in 61 recipients of allografts due to hematologic malignancies (median age 48 years) after a median of 18 months. The prephlebotomy median serum ferritin (SF) was 1697ng/ml and the median number of blood transfusions 28 units. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)/aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphates (AP), and bilirubin were elevated in 55.7%, 64% and 11.5% patients respectively. HFE-genotype was elucidated by polymerase chain reaction using hybridization probes and melting curve analysis. Results: Phlebotomy was well-tolerated irrespective of age or conditioning. A negative iron balance in 80% of patients (median SF 1086 ng/ml) and a rise in hemoglobin were observed (p<0.0001). Higher transfusional burden and SF were associated with a greater iron mobilization per session (p=0.02). In 58% of patients, a plateau after an initial steady decline in SF was followed by a second decline under further phlebotomy. The improvement in ALT (p=0.002), AST (p=0.03), AP (p=0.01), and bilirubin (p<0.0001) did not correlate with the decline in SF. Mutant HFE-gene variants were detected in 14/55 (25%) pre-HCT and 22/55 (40%) patients post-HCT. Overall, dissimilar pre- and posttransplantational HFE-genotypes were detected in 20/55 (40%) patients. Posttransplantational mutant HFE variants correlated with a slower decline in SF (p=0.007). Conclusions: Phlebotomy is a convenient therapy of iron overload in survivors of HCT. A negative iron balance and a rise in hemoglobin were observed in the majority of patients. Liver dysfunction improved irrespective of SF reduction suggesting a probable rapid decline of the deleterious labile plasma iron. In recipients of grafts with mutant HFE variants a “mixed chimerism” of HFE in body tissues might be created with a change in the set point for iron regulation. The transient plateau in SF after an initial decline might reflect iron mobilization from various tissues.
Iron overload; ferritin; phlebotomy; allogeneic HCT
Advances in stem cell transplantation procedures and the overall improvement in the clinical management of hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients over the past 2 decades have led to an increase in survival duration, in part owing to better strategies for prevention and treatment of post-transplant complications, including opportunistic infections. However, post-HCT infections remain a concern for HCT recipients, particularly infections caused by community respiratory viruses (CRVs), which can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. These viruses can potentially cause lower respiratory tract illness, which is associated with a higher mortality rate among HCT recipients. Clinical management of CRV infections in HCT recipients includes supportive care and antiviral therapy, especially in high-risk individuals, when available. Directed antiviral therapy is only available for influenza infections, where successful use of neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir or zanamivir) and/or M2 inhibitors (amantadine or rimantadine) has been reported. Data on the successful use of ribavirin, with or without immunomodulators, for respiratory syncytial virus infections in HCT recipients has emerged over the past 2 decades but is still controversial at best because of a lack of randomized controlled trials. Because of the lack of directed antiviral therapy for most of these viruses, prevention should be emphasized for healthcare workers, patients, family, and friends and should include the promotion of the licensed inactivated influenza vaccine for HCT recipients, when indicated. In this review, we discuss the clinical management of respiratory viruses in this special patient population, focusing on commercially available antivirals, adjuvant therapy, and novel drugs under investigation, as well as on available means for prevention.
RSV; influenza; parainfluenza; adenovirus; rhinovirus; metapneumovirus; HCT; transplant; cancer; immunocompromised host; antiviral therapy; infection prevention