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1.  Efficacy of azacitidine compared with that of conventional care regimens in the treatment of higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes: a randomised, open-label, phase III study 
The lancet oncology  2009;10(3):223-232.
Summary
Background
Drug treatments for patients with high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes provide no survival advantage. In this trial, we aimed to assess the effect of azacitidine on overall survival compared with the three commonest conventional care regimens.
Methods
In a phase III, international, multicentre, controlled, parallel-group, open-label trial, patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes were randomly assigned one-to-one to receive azacitidine (75 mg/m² per day for 7 days every 28 days) or conventional care (best supportive care, low-dose cytarabine, or intensive chemotherapy as selected by investigators before randomisation). Patients were stratified by French–American–British and international prognostic scoring system classifications; randomisation was done with a block size of four. The primary endpoint was overall survival. Efficacy analyses were by intention to treat for all patients assigned to receive treatment. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00071799.
Findings
Between Feb 13, 2004, and Aug 7, 2006, 358 patients were randomly assigned to receive azacitidine (n=179) or conventional care regimens (n=179). Four patients in the azacitidine and 14 in the conventional care groups received no study drugs but were included in the intention-to-treat efficacy analysis. After a median follow-up of 21·1 months (IQR 15·1–26·9), median overall survival was 24·5 months (9·9–not reached) for the azacitidine group versus 15·0 months (5·6–24·1) for the conventional care group (hazard ratio 0·58; 95% CI 0·43–0·77; stratified log-rank p=0·0001). At last follow-up, 82 patients in the azacitidine group had died compared with 113 in the conventional care group. At 2 years, on the basis of Kaplan-Meier estimates, 50·8% (95% CI 42·1–58·8) of patients in the azacitidine group were alive compared with 26·2% (18·7–34·3) in the conventional care group (p<0·0001). Peripheral cytopenias were the most common grade 3–4 adverse events for all treatments.
Interpretation
Treatment with azacitidine increases overall survival in patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes relative to conventional care.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(09)70003-8
PMCID: PMC4086808  PMID: 19230772
2.  Costs and quality of life in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes 
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.
PMCID: PMC3755523  PMID: 23997987
Myelodysplastic syndromes; anemia; transfusion dependence; quality of life; medical costs
3.  Outcome of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms treated with azacitidine 
Background
Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN), including myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia (t-MDS and t-AML) are associated to clinical and biologic unfavorable prognostic features, including high levels of DNA methylation.
Methods
We retrospectively evaluated 50 t-MN patients (34 MDS and 16 AML) selected among all patients receiving azacitidine (AZA) at 10 Italian Hematology Centers. Patients had developed a t-MN at a median of 6.5 years (range 1.7- 29) after treatment of the primary tumor (hematological neoplasm, 27 patients; solid tumor, 23 patients).
Results
The overall response rate was 42% (complete remission: 10 patients, partial remission: 2 and hematological improvement: 8 patients) and was obtained after a median of 3 cycles (range 1–6). Median overall survival (OS) was 21 months (range 1–53.6+) from AZA start. OS was significantly better in patients with less than 20% blasts, in normal karyotype t-AML and when AZA was used as front-line treatment. This was confirmed by the multivariate analysis.
Conclusions
This study reports efficacy of AZA in the largest series of therapy-related MN patients treated with 5-AZA. Our data show that blasts and karyotype maintain their important prognostic role in t-MN also in the azacitidine era.
doi:10.1186/1756-8722-5-44
PMCID: PMC3419605  PMID: 22853048
Therapy related myeloid neoplasms; Hypomethylating agents
4.  Quality of life and physicians' perception in myelodysplastic syndromes 
To detect factors associated with quality of life (QOL) of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and to compare the MDS patients’ self-assessed QOL with that perceived by their physicians. In an observational, non-interventional, prospective, multicentre study, QOL was evaluated in 148 patients with newly diagnosed low- and intermediate-risk IPSS MDS. QOL measures (QOL-E v.2, LASA and EQ-5D) and patient-related candidate determinants of QOL were assessed for up to 18 months. Patients' QOL scores were compared with those obtained by appointed hematologists’ assessment and with ECOG performance status (PS). Fatigue was not prevalent at diagnosis, though physical QOL and energy levels were low. Transfusion-dependent patients had worse QOL scores. In multivariate analysis, Hb levels and comorbidities were a major determinant of QOL. Physicians’ perception of patients’ well-being correlated with patients’ QOL. Physicians underestimated the impact of disturbances on patients’ QOL, mainly in the MDS-specific components. ECOG PS did not discriminate patients according to QOL status. In conclusion, the association of anemia with QOL is confirmed, while co-morbidities emerge as an independent predictor of QOL in MDS. Fatigue is not a major concern. ECOG PS is not a valuable surrogate of patient’s QOL, thus highlighting that physician’s judgment of patient’s well-being must not substitute patient-reported outcomes. Appropriate questionnaires should be used to assess MDS patients’ QOL in order to improve communication and therapeutic choice.
PMCID: PMC3384400  PMID: 22762033
Myelodysplastic syndromes; quality of life; comorbidities; anemia; transfusion-dependence; patient-reported outcomes
5.  SNPs Array Karyotyping Reveals a Novel Recurrent 20p13 Amplification in Primary Myelofibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27560.
The molecular pathogenesis of primary mielofibrosis (PMF) is still largely unknown. Recently, single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays (SNP-A) allowed for genome-wide profiling of copy-number alterations and acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) at high-resolution. In this study we analyzed 20 PMF patients using the Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 in order to identify novel recurrent genomic abnormalities. We observed a complex karyotype in all cases, detecting all the previously reported lesions (del(5q), del(20q), del(13q), +8, aUPD at 9p24 and abnormalities on chromosome 1). In addition, we identified several novel cryptic lesions. In particular, we found a recurrent alteration involving cytoband 20p13 in 55% of patients. We defined a minimal affected region (MAR), an amplification of 9,911 base-pair (bp) overlapping the SIRPB1 gene locus. Noteworthy, by extending the analysis to the adjacent areas, the cytoband was overall affected in 95% of cases. Remarkably, these results were confirmed by real-time PCR and validated in silico in a large independent series of myeloproliferative diseases. Finally, by immunohistochemistry we found that SIRPB1 was over-expressed in the bone marrow of PMF patients carrying 20p13 amplification. In conclusion, we identified a novel highly recurrent genomic lesion in PMF patients, which definitely warrant further functional and clinical characterization.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027560
PMCID: PMC3215741  PMID: 22110671

Results 1-6 (6)