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1.  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
2.  Outcome of Very Late Relapse in Patients with Hodgkin's Lymphomas 
Advances in Hematology  2010;2011:707542.
Recurrences of Hodgkin's Lymphoma (HL) 5 years after the initial therapy are rare. The aim of this study is to report a single centre experience of the clinical characteristics, outcome, and toxicity of pts who experienced very late relapses, defined as relapses that occurred 5 or more years after the achievement of first complete remission. Of 532 consecutive pts with classical HL treated at our Institute from 1985 to 1999, 452 pts (85%) achieved a complete remission. Relapse occurred in 151 pts: 135 (29.8%) within 5 years and 16 over 5 years (3.5%, very late relapses). Very late relapses occurred after a median disease-free interval of 7 years (range: 5–18). Salvage treatment induced complete remission in 14 pts (87.5%). At a median of 4 years after therapy for very late relapse, 10 pts (63%) are still alive and free of disease and 6 (37%) died (1 from progressive HL, 1 from cardiac disease, 1 from thromboembolic disease, 1 from HCV reactivation, and 2 from bacterial infection). The probability of failure-free survival at 5 years was 75%. The majority of deaths are due to treatment-related complications. Therapy regimens for very late relapse HL are warranted to minimize complications.
PMCID: PMC3023035  PMID: 21253449
3.  Daunorubicin Versus Mitoxantrone Versus Idarubicin As Induction and Consolidation Chemotherapy for Adults With Acute Myeloid Leukemia: The EORTC and GIMEMA Groups Study AML-10 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(32):5397-5403.
To compare the antitumor efficacy of three different anthracyclines in combination with cytarabine and etoposide in adult patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Patients and Methods
We randomly assigned 2,157 patients (age range, 15 to 60 years) to receive intensive induction-consolidation chemotherapy containing either daunorubicin, idarubicin, or mitoxantrone. After achieving complete remission (CR), patients were assigned to undergo either allogeneic or autologous stem-cell transplantation (SCT), depending on the availability of a sibling donor.
The overall CR rate (69%) was similar in the three groups. Autologous SCT was performed in 37% of cases in the daunorubicin arm versus only 29% and 31% in mitoxantrone and idarubicin, respectively (P < .001). However, the disease-free survival (DFS) and survival from CR were significantly shorter in the daunorubicin arm: the 5-year DFS was 29% versus 37% and 37% in mitoxantrone and idarubicin, respectively. The proportion of patients who underwent allogeneic SCT (22%) was equivalent in the three treatment groups, and the outcome was similar as well: the 5-year overall survival rates were 34%, 34%, and 31%, respectively.
In adult patients with AML who do not receive an allogeneic SCT, the use of mitoxantrone or idarubicin instead of daunorubicin enhances the long-term efficacy of chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2773224  PMID: 19826132
4.  Non random distribution of genomic features in breakpoint regions involved in chronic myeloid leukemia cases with variant t(9;22) or additional chromosomal rearrangements 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:120.
The t(9;22)(q34;q11), generating the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome, is found in more than 90% of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). As a result of the translocation, the 3' portion of the ABL1 oncogene is transposed from 9q34 to the 5' portion of the BCR gene on chromosome 22 to form the BCR/ABL1 fusion gene. At diagnosis, in 5-10% of CML patients the Ph chromosome is derived from variant translocations other than the standard t(9;22).
We report a molecular cytogenetic study of 452 consecutive CML patients at diagnosis, that revealed 50 cases identifying three main subgroups: i) cases with variant chromosomal rearrangements other than the classic t(9;22)(q34;q11) (9.5%); ii) cases with cryptic insertions of ABL1 into BCR, or vice versa (1.3%); iii) cases bearing additional chromosomal rearrangements concomitant to the t(9;22) (1.1%). For each cytogenetic group, the mechanism at the basis of the rearrangement is discussed.
All breakpoints on other chromosomes involved in variant t(9;22) and in additional rearrangements have been characterized for the first time by Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) experiments and bioinformatic analyses. This study revealed a high content of Alu repeats, genes density, GC frequency, and miRNAs in the great majority of the analyzed breakpoints.
Taken together with literature data about CML with variant t(9;22), our findings identified several new cytogenetic breakpoints as hotspots for recombination, demonstrating that the involvement of chromosomes other than 9 and 22 is not a random event but could depend on specific genomic features. The presence of several genes and/or miRNAs at the identified breakpoints suggests their potential involvement in the CML pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2887383  PMID: 20500819

Results 1-4 (4)