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1.  Etoposide sensitizes neuroblastoma cells expressing caspase 8 to TRAIL 
TRAIL [TNF (tumour necrosis factor)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand] is a promising agent for clinical use since it kills a wide range of tumour cells without affecting normal cells. We provide evidence that pretreatment with etoposide significantly enhanced TRAIL-mediated apoptosis via up-regulation of DR5 (death receptor 5 or TRAIL-R2) expression in the caspase 8 expressing neuroblastoma cell line, SK-N-MC. In addition, sequential treatment with etoposide and TRAIL increased caspases 8, 9 and 3 activation, Mcl-1 cleavage and Bid truncation, which suggests that the ability of etoposide and TRAIL to induce apoptosis is mediated through activation of an intrinsic signalling pathway. Although TRAIL-R2 expression increased in IMR-32 cells in response to etoposide treatment, cell death was not increased by concurrent treatment with TRAIL compared with etoposide alone, because the cells lacked caspase 8 expression. Restoration of caspase 8 expression by exposure to IFNγ (interferon γ) sensitizes IMR-32 cells to TRAIL. Moreover, pretreatment with etoposide increased TRAIL-induced apoptosis in caspase 8 restored IMR-32 cells through activation of a caspase cascade that included caspases 8, 9 and 3. These results indicate that the etoposide-mediated sensitization of neuroblastoma cells to TRAIL is associated with an increase in TRAIL-R2 expression and requires caspase 8 expression. These observations support the potential use of a combination of etoposide and TRAIL in future clinical trials.
doi:10.1042/CBR20110008
PMCID: PMC3475444  PMID: 23124518
caspase 8; death receptor; etoposide; inferferon γ; mitochondrial cascade; TRAIL; AzaC, 5-aza-2′ deoxycytidine; BCA, bicinchoninic acid; DD, death domain; DcR, decoy receptor; DR5, death receptor 5; FADD, Fas-associated death domain; FBS, fetal bovine serum; IFNγ, interferon γ; NF-κB, nuclear factor κB; PARP, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; TNF, tumour necrosis factor; TRAIL, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand
2.  Excellent outcome of medical treatment for Kasabach-Merritt syndrome: a single-center experience 
Blood research  2016;51(4):256-260.
Background
Kasabach-Merritt syndrome (KMS) is a rare but life-threatening illness. The purpose of this study is to report our single-center experience with KMS.
Methods
We reviewed the medical records of 13 patients who were diagnosed with KMS between 1997 and 2012 at Samsung Medical Center. Treatment response was defined as follows: 1) hematologic complete response (HCR) – platelet count >130×109/L without transfusion; 2) clinical complete response (CCR) – complete tumor disappearance or small residual vascular tumor displaying lack of proliferation for at least 6 months after treatment discontinuation.
Results
Participants included 7 male and 6 female patients. The median initial hemoglobin levels and platelet counts were 9.7 g/dL (range, 6.6–11.6 g/dL) and 11×109/L (range, 3–38×109/L), respectively. Twelve patients received corticosteroid and interferon-alpha as initial treatment, and the remaining patient received propranolol instead of corticosteroid. Two patients with unsatisfactory response to the initial treatment received weekly vincristine. Successful discontinuation of medication was possible at a median of 301 days (range, 137–579) in all patients except one who was lost to follow-up. The median times to achieve HCR and CCR were 157 days and 332 days, respectively. The probabilities of achieving HCR and CCR were 77% and 54% at 1 year, and 88% and 86% at 2.5 years, respectively.
Conclusion
The prognosis of KMS in our cohort was excellent. Our data suggest that individualized treatment adaptation according to response may be very important for the successful treatment of patients with KMS.
doi:10.5045/br.2016.51.4.256
PMCID: PMC5234231  PMID: 28090488
Kasabach-Merritt syndrome; Treatment; Response; Prognosis
3.  Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms in children and adolescents 
Blood research  2016;51(4):242-248.
Background
This retrospective study aimed to characterize and analyze the outcome of therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs) in children and adolescents.
Methods
The medical records of 16 patients under 21 years of age at the time of t-MN diagnosis were reviewed.
Results
The median patient age was 11.5 years (range, 1.6–20.4 yr). Twelve patients had therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia, 3 patients had myelodysplastic syndrome, and 1 patient had chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. The median latency period was 29 months (range, 11–68 mo). Fourteen patients had cytogenetic aberrations, 8 of whom had an 11q23 abnormality. Of the 13 patients treated with curative intent, 12 patients received myeloid-type induction therapy that led to complete remission (CR) in 8 patients. Nine patients underwent allogeneic transplantation; 4 patients did not undergo transplantation due to chemotherapy-related toxic death (N=3) or parental refusal (N=1). The 5-year overall survival and event-free survival of the 13 patients treated with a curative intent were 46.2% and 30.8%, respectively. For the 9 patients who underwent allogeneic transplantation, the 5-year event-free survival was 66.7%.
Conclusion
A significant proportion of young patients with t-MNs can experience long-term survival, and allogeneic transplantation plays a key role for attaining cure in these patients.
doi:10.5045/br.2016.51.4.242
PMCID: PMC5234240  PMID: 28090486
Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms; Pediatric population; Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
4.  Effect of Ex Vivo Culture Conditions on Immunosuppression by Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:154919.
A microarray analysis was performed to investigate whether ex vivo culture conditions affect the characteristics of MSCs. Gene expression profiles were mainly influenced by the level of cell confluence rather than initial seeding density. The analysis showed that 276 genes were upregulated and 230 genes downregulated in MSCs harvested at ~90% versus ~50% confluence (P < 0.05, FC > 2). The genes that were highly expressed in MSCs largely corresponded to chemotaxis, inflammation, and immune responses, indicating direct or indirect involvement in immunomodulatory functions. Specifically, PTGES and ULBP1 were up-regulated in MSCs harvested at high density. Treatment of MSCs with PTGES or ULBP1 siRNA reversed their inhibition of T-cell proliferation in vitro. The culture conditions such as cell confluence at harvest seem to be important for gene expression profile of MSCs; therefore, the results of this study may provide useful guidelines for the harvest of MSCs that can appropriately suppress the immune response.
doi:10.1155/2013/154919
PMCID: PMC3687591  PMID: 23862134
5.  Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell gene expression patterns vary with culture conditions 
Blood research  2013;48(2):107-114.
Background
Because of the heterogeneity of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), methods for cell expansion in culture and the effects on gene expression are critical factors that need to be standardized for preparing MSCs. We investigated gene expression patterns of MSCs with different seeding densities and culture times.
Methods
Bone marrow-derived MSCs were plated at densities from 200 cells/cm2 to 5,000 cells/cm2, and the gene expression patterns were evaluated over time using a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assay.
Results
The mRNA levels of factors that play a critical role in cell migration and tissue regeneration, such as podocalyxin-like protein (PODXL), α4-integrin, α6-integrin, and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), were higher in MSCs plated at 200 cells/cm2 than in MSCs plated at 5,000 cells/cm2. The mRNA levels of these factors gradually increased for 10 days and then decreased by day 15 in culture. MSCs seeded at 200 cells/cm2 that were cultured for 10 days expressed high levels of Oct-4 and Nanog. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, cyclooxygenase-1, and hepatocyte growth factor expression were upregulated in the presence of the proinflammatory cytokine interferon-γ in these cells.
Conclusion
We found differences in the gene expression patterns of MSCs under different culture conditions. MSCs from 10-day cultures seeded at a low density were efficiently expanded, expressed PODXL, α6-integrin, α4-integrin, and LIF, and maintained properties like stemness and immunomodulation. Therefore, ex vivo expansion of MSCs maintained for an adequate culture time after plating at low cell density can provide an effective regenerative medicinal strategy for cell therapies using MSCs.
doi:10.5045/br.2013.48.2.107
PMCID: PMC3698395  PMID: 23826579
Mesenchymal stem cell; Gene expression pattern; Seeding density; Culture time; Cell therapy
6.  Tandem High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation for Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor 
Purpose
We prospectively evaluated the effectiveness of tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/auto-SCT) in improving the survival of patients with atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors while reducing the risks of late adverse effects from radiotherapy (RT).
Materials and Methods
For young children (< 3 years old), tandem HDCT/auto-SCT was administered after six cycles of induction chemotherapy. RT was deferred until after 3 years of age unless the tumor showed relapse or progression. For older patients (> 3 years old), RT including reduced-dose craniospinal RT (23.4 or 30.6 Gy) was administered either after two cycles of induction chemotherapy or after surgery, and tandem HDCT/auto-SCT was administered after six cycles of induction chemotherapy.
Results
A total of 13 patients (five young and eight older) were enrolled from November 2004 to June 2012. Eight patients, including all five young patients, had metastatic disease at diagnosis. Six patients (four young and two older) experienced progression before initiation of RT, and seven were able to proceed to HDCT/auto-SCT without progression during induction treatment. Three of six patients who experienced progression during induction treatment underwent HDCT/auto-SCT as salvage treatment. All five young patients died from disease progression. However, four of the eight older patients remain progression-freewith a median follow-up period of 64 months (range, 39 to 108 months). Treatment-related late toxicities were acceptable.
Conclusion
The required dose of craniospinal RT might be reduced in older patients if the intensity of chemotherapy is increased. However, early administration of RT should be considered to prevent early progression in young patients.
doi:10.4143/crt.2015.347
PMCID: PMC5080816  PMID: 27034140
Brain neoplasms; Chemotherapy; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Radiotherapy
7.  Clinical Significance of Tyrosine Hydroxylase mRNA Transcripts in Peripheral Blood at Diagnosis in Patients with Neuroblastoma 
Purpose
The purpose of this study is to investigate the clinical significance of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in peripheral blood (PB) at diagnosis in patients with neuroblastoma.
Materials and Methods
TH mRNA expression in PB was measured by reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in 210 patients who were newly diagnosed with neuroblastoma from July 2005 to June 2015 and the clinical significance of TH expression in PB at diagnosis was evaluated.
Results
TH expression was positive in 60 patients (28.6%). Fifty of 60 TH-positive patients had metastatic tumors and the remaining 10 had localized tumors. TH expression was associated with high-risk features (i.e., advanced stage, older age, unfavorable pathology, and MYCN amplification) at diagnosis. Among TH-positive patients, higher TH expression level was observed in high-risk patients than in low- or intermediate-risk patients (p=0.035). The probability of 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) was lower in TH-positive patients than in TH-negative patients (63.8±6.9% vs. 94.7±2.1%, p < 0.001). In analysis confined to high-risk patients, the 5-year probability of PFS remained lower in TH-positive patients (55.7±8.2% vs. 89.6±5.8%, p < 0.001). Among TH-positive patients, a higher expression level of TH was associated with a worse outcome. In multivariate analyses, positive TH expression in PB at diagnosis was an independent poor prognostic factor for PFS.
Conclusion
The treatment intensity should be tailored according to TH expression in PB at diagnosis.
doi:10.4143/crt.2015.481
PMCID: PMC5080821  PMID: 27034145
Neuroblastoma; Tyrosine 3-monooxygenase; Polymerase chain reaction
8.  Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in children with acute leukemia: similar outcomes in recipients of umbilical cord blood versus marrow or peripheral blood stem cells from related or unrelated donors 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2012;55(3):93-99.
Purpose
This study compared outcomes in children with acute leukemia who underwent transplantations with umbilical cord blood (UCB), bone marrow, or peripheral blood stem cells from a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related donor (MRD) or an unrelated donor (URD).
Methods
This retrospective study included consecutive acute leukemia patients who underwent their first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at Samsung Medical Center between 2005 and 2010. Patients received stem cells from MRD (n=33), URD (n=46), or UCB (n=41).
Results
Neutrophil and platelet recovery were significantly longer after HSCT with UCB than with MRD or URD (P<0.01 for both). In multivariate analysis using the MRD group as a reference, the URD group had a significantly higher risk of grade III to IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD; relative risk [RR], 15.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2 to 186.2; P=0.03) and extensive chronic GVHD (RR, 6.9; 95% CI, 1.9 to 25.2; P<0.01). For all 3 donor types, 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival were similar. Extensive chronic GVHD was associated with fewer relapses (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.6; P<0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that lower EFS was associated with advanced disease at transplantation (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.3 to 7.8; P<0.01) and total body irradiation (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0 to 4.3; P=0.04).
Conclusion
Survival after UCB transplantation was similar to survival after MRD and URD transplantation. For patients lacking an HLA matched donor, the use of UCB is a suitable alternative.
doi:10.3345/kjp.2012.55.3.93
PMCID: PMC3315625  PMID: 22474464
Umbilical cord blood; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Stem cell donor
9.  Infectious Complications during Tandem High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation for Children with High-Risk or Recurrent Solid Tumors 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162178.
We retrospectively analyzed infectious complications during tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/auto-SCT) in children and adolescents with high-risk or recurrent solid tumors. A total of 324 patients underwent their first HDCT/auto-SCT between October 2004 and September 2014, and 283 of them proceeded to their second HDCT/auto-SCT (a total of 607 HDCT/auto-SCTs). During the early transplant period of 607 HDCT/auto-SCTs (from the beginning of HDCT to day 30 post-transplant), bacteremia, urinary tract infection (UTI), respiratory virus infection, and varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation occurred in 7.1%, 2.3%, 13.0%, and 2.5% of HDCT/auto-SCTs, respectively. The early transplant period of the second HDCT/auto-SCT had infectious complications similar to the first HDCT/auto-SCT. During the late transplant period of HDCT/auto-SCT (from day 31 to 1 year post-transplant), bacteremia, UTI, and VZV reactivation occurred in 7.5%, 2.5%, and 3.9% of patients, respectively. Most infectious complications in the late transplant period occurred during the first 6 months post-transplant. There were no invasive fungal infections during the study period. Six patients died from infectious complications (4 from bacterial sepsis and 2 from respiratory virus infection). Our study suggests that infectious complications are similar following second and first HDCT/auto-SCT in children.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162178
PMCID: PMC5023107  PMID: 27627440
10.  Responses and adverse effects of carboplatin-based chemotherapy for pediatric intracranial germ cell tumors 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2011;54(3):128-132.
Purpose
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy has been commonly used for the treatment of intracranial germ cell tumors (IC-GCTs). However, this treatment exhibits some adverse effects such as renal problems and hearing difficulty. Carboplatin-based chemotherapy was administered to pediatric patients with IC-GCTs from August 2004 at the Samsung Medical Center. In this study, we assessed the responses and adverse effects of carboplatin-based chemotherapy in pediatric IC-GCTs patients according to the risk group, and compared the results with those of the previous cisplatin-based chemotherapy.
Methods
We examined 35 patients (27 men and 8 women) diagnosed with IC-GCTs between August 2004 and April 2008 and received risk-adapted carboplatin-based chemotherapy at the Samsung Medical Center. Patients were divided into either low-risk (LR) or high-risk (HR) groups and a retrospective analysis was performed using information from the medical records.
Results
Although hematological complications were common, hearing difficulties or grade 3 or 4 creatinine level elevation were not observed in patients who underwent carboplatin-based chemotherapy. The frequency of febrile neutropenia did not differ between the risk groups. The overall survival was 100% and event-free survival (EFS) was 95.7%. The EFS rate was 100% in the LR group and 90% in the HR group, respectively.
Conclusion
Despite their common occurrence in high-risk patients, no lethal hematological complications were associated with carboplatin-based treatment. The current carboplatin-based chemotherapy protocol is safe and effective for the treatment of pediatric patients with IC-GCTs.
doi:10.3345/kjp.2011.54.3.128
PMCID: PMC3120999  PMID: 21738543
Intracranial germ cell tumor; Carboplatin; Adverse effects
11.  Detection of MYCN Amplification in Serum DNA Using Conventional Polymerase Chain Reaction 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2016;31(9):1392-1396.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extra-cranial solid tumor of childhood and is characterized by a wide range of clinical behaviors. Amplification of MYCN is a well-known poor prognostic factor in NB patients. As the MYCN amplification status is usually tested using tumor specimens, lengthy and invasive procedures are unavoidable. To evaluate the possibility of detecting MYCN amplification without invasive procedure, we performed conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to identify MYCN amplification using the preserved serum DNA. PCR of serum DNA was done in 105 NB patients whose MYCN status had been confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. MYCN amplification was evaluated as the ratio of signal intensities between MYCN and NAGK (M/N ratio). When regarding the tissue FISH results as a reference, 10 patients had MYCN-amplified (MNA) NB, and 95 had non-MNA NB. The M/N ratio of the MNA group (median 2.56, range 1.01-3.58) was significantly higher than that of the non-MNA group (median 0.97, range 0.67-5.18) (P < 0.001). In the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the area under the curve was 0.957 (95% confidence interval 0.898–1.000; P < 0.001), and it showed 90.9% sensitivity and 97.9% specificity with the selected cut-off value set as 1.6. The detection of MYCN amplification using conventional PCR analysis of serum samples seems to be a simple and promising method to evaluate the MYCN status of NB patients. Further study with a larger set of patients is needed to confirm the accuracy of this result.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.3346/jkms.2016.31.9.1392
PMCID: PMC4974179  PMID: 27510381
Neuroblastoma; MYCN Amplification; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Serum DNA
12.  Overexpression of X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (XIAP) is an Independent Unfavorable Prognostic Factor in Childhood de Novo Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2009;24(4):605-613.
The overexpression of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a member of IAP family protein, is intuitively expected to be associated with unfavorable clinical features in malignancies; however, there have been only a very limited number of studies reporting the clinical relevance of XIAP expression. This study was performed to investigate the prognostic relevance of XIAP expression in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In 53 children with de novo AML, the level of XIAP expression was determined by using quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and was analyzed with respect to the clinical characteristics at diagnosis and treatment outcomes. As a result, the XIAP expression was found to be higher in patients with extramedullary disease than in those without (P=0.014). In addition, XIAP overexpression (≥median expression) was associated with an unfavorable day 7 response to induction chemotherapy and also associated with a worse 3-yr relapsefree survival rate (52.7±20.9% vs. 85.9±14.8%, P=0.014). Multivariate analyses revealed that XIAP overexpression was an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for relapse-free survival (hazard ratio, 6.16; 95% confidence interval, 1.48-25.74; P=0.013). Collectively, XIAP overexpression may be used as an unfavorable prognostic marker in childhood AML.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2009.24.4.605
PMCID: PMC2719207  PMID: 19654940
X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein; Apoptosis; Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein; Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute
13.  Cotransplanted Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) Enhanced Engraftment of Hematopoietic Stem Cells in a MSC-dose Dependent Manner in NOD/SCID Mice 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2006;21(6):1000-1004.
Transplantation of marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), expanded by culture in addition to whole bone marrow, has been shown to enhance engraftment of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Our hypothesis was that there might be an optimum ratio range that could enhance engraftment. We examined the percent donor chimerism according to the ratio of HSCs to MSCs in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice. We tested a series of ratios of co-transplanted CD34+-selected bone marrow cells, and marrow-derived MSCs into sublethally irradiated NOD/SCID mice. In all experiments, 1×105 bone marrow derived human CD34+ cells were administered to each mouse and human MSCs from different donors were infused concomitantly. We repeated the procedure three times and evaluated engraftment with flow cytometry four weeks after each transplantation. Serial ratios of HSCs to MSCs were 1:0, 1:1, 1:2 and 1:4, in the first experiment, 1:0, 1:1, 1:2, 1:4 and 1:8 in the second and 1:0, 1:1, 1:4, 1:8 and 1:16 in the third. Cotransplantation of HSCs and MSCs enhanced engraftment as the dose of MSCs increased. Our results suggest that the optimal ratio of HSCs and MSCs for cotransplantation might be in the range of 1:8-1:16; whereas, an excessive dose of MSCs might decrease engraftment efficiency.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2006.21.6.1000
PMCID: PMC2721918  PMID: 17179676
Hematopoietic Stem Cells; Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Transplantation; Mice, SCID; Engraftment
14.  Characteristics and Outcomes of Second Malignant Neoplasms after Childhood Cancer Treatment: Multi-Center Retrospective Survey 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2016;31(8):1254-1261.
This retrospective study investigated the clinical characteristics and outcomes of second malignant neoplasms (SMNs) in survivors of childhood cancer from multiple institutions in Korea. A total of 102 patients from 11 institutions who developed SMN after childhood cancer treatment between 1998 and 2011 were retrospectively enrolled. The most common primary malignant neoplasms (PMNs) were central nervous system (CNS) tumors (n = 17), followed by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (n = 16), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 13), and osteosarcoma (n = 12). The most common SMNs were therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MNs; acute myeloid leukemia [AML], 29 cases; myelodysplastic syndrome [MDS], 12 cases), followed by thyroid carcinomas (n = 15) and CNS tumors (n = 10). The median latency period was 4.9 years (range, 0.5–18.5 years). Among 45 patients with solid tumors defined as an SMN, 15 (33%) developed the lesion in a field previously subjected to radiation. The 5-year overall survival (OS) rate of patients with an SMN was 45% with a median follow-up time of 8.6 years. Patients with AML, MDS, and CNS tumors exhibited the poorest outcomes with 5-year OS rates of 18%, 33%, and 32%, respectively, whereas those with second osteosarcoma showed comparable outcomes (64%) to patients with primary counterpart and those with second thyroid carcinoma had a 100% OS rate. Further therapeutic efforts are recommended to improve the survival outcomes in patients with SMNs, especially in cases with t-MNs and CNS tumors.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.3346/jkms.2016.31.8.1254
PMCID: PMC4951555  PMID: 27478336
Childhood; Cancer; Survivors; Second Neoplasm
15.  High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Children with High-Risk or Recurrent Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2016;31(7):1055-1062.
Despite increasing evidence that high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/auto-SCT) might improve the survival of patients with high-risk or recurrent solid tumors, therapy effectiveness for bone and soft tissue sarcoma treatment remains unclear. This study retrospectively investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of HDCT/auto-SCT for high-risk or recurrent bone and soft tissue sarcoma. A total of 28 patients (18 high-risk and 10 recurrent) underwent single or tandem HDCT/auto-SCT between October 2004 and September 2014. During follow-up of a median 15.3 months, 18 patients exhibited disease progression and 2 died of treatment-related toxicities (1 veno-occlusive disease and 1 sepsis). Overall, 8 patients remained alive and progression-free. The 3-year overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) rates for all 28 patients were 28.7% and 26.3%, respectively. In the subgroup analysis, OS and EFS rates were higher in patients with complete or partial remission prior to HDCT/auto-SCT than in those with worse responses (OS, 39.1% vs. 0.0%, P = 0.002; EFS, 36.8% vs. 0.0%, P < 0.001). Therefore, careful selection of patients who can benefit from HDCT/auto-SCT and maximal effort to reduce tumor burden prior to treatment will be important to achieve favorable outcomes in patients with high-risk or recurrent bone and soft tissue sarcomas.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.3346/jkms.2016.31.7.1055
PMCID: PMC4900996  PMID: 27366002
Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcoma; Children; High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation
16.  Strategies to improve the immunosuppressive properties of human mesenchymal stem cells 
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are of particular interest for the treatment of immune-related diseases because of their immunosuppressive capacities. However, few clinical trials of MSCs have yielded satisfactory results. A number of clinical trials using MSCs are currently in progress worldwide. Unfortunately, protocols and methods, including optimized culture conditions for the harvest of MSCs, have not been standardized. In this regard, complications in the ex vivo expansion of MSCs and MSC heterogeneity have been implicated in the failure of clinical trials. In this review, potential strategies to obtain MSCs with improved immunosuppressive properties and the potential roles of specific immunomodulatory genes, which are differentially upregulated in certain culture conditions, will be discussed.
doi:10.1186/s13287-015-0178-y
PMCID: PMC4596374  PMID: 26445096
17.  Prognostic factors in children with extracranial germ cell tumors treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2015;58(10):386-391.
Purpose
To evaluate the outcomes and prognostic factors in children with extracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) treated at a single institution.
Methods
Sixty-six children diagnosed with extracranial GCTs between 1996 and 2012 were included in the study. Primary treatment was surgical excision, followed by six cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy. The survival rates were compared according to the International Germ Cell Cancer Cooperative Group classification used for GCTs in adults to validate the classification guidelines for GCTs in children.
Results
The median patient age was 4.4 years. In 34 patients (51.5%), the primary tumor site was the gonad. Extragonadal GCTs were detected in 32 patients. The 5-year overall survival and event-free survival (EFS) were 92.0%±3.5% and 90.4%±3.7%, respectively. In univariate analysis, tumor histology, metastasis, and elevated alpha-fetoprotein were not prognostic factors in children with extracranial GCTs. However, EFS was poorer in patients with mediastinal disease (n=12, 66.7%±13.6 %) than in those with nonmediastinal disease (n=54, 96.0%±2.8%) (P=0.001). The 5-year EFS was lower in patients older than 10 years, (n=21, 80.0%±8.9%) compared with those younger than 10 years (n=45, 95.2%±3.3%) (P=0.04). Multivariate analysis identified the mediastinal tumor site as the only independent prognostic factor.
Conclusion
The prognosis of children with extracranial GCTs was favorable. However, nongerminomatous mediastinal tumors were associated with poor survival in children. Further research is needed to improve the prognosis of children with malignant mediastinal GCTs.
doi:10.3345/kjp.2015.58.10.386
PMCID: PMC4644767  PMID: 26576183
Germ cell and embryonal neoplasms; Child; Prognosis; Mediastinum; Survival
18.  Differential Migration of Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Ischemic Regions after Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0134920.
To evaluate the optimal timing of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation following stroke, rats were transplanted with MSCs at 1 (D1), 4 (D4), and 7 days (D7) after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Rats in the D1 group showed a better functional recovery than those in the D4 or D7 groups after MCAo. MSCs preferentially migrated to the cortex in the D1 group, while the MSCs in the D4 or D7 groups preferentially migrated to the striatum. Interestingly, the level of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) in the cortex was highest at 1 day after MCAo, while the level of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) in the striatum was lowest at 1 day after MCAo and then increased over time. The pattern of MCP-1 and SDF-1 level changes according to the time after MCAo was consistent with in vivo and in vitro migration patterns of MSCs. The results suggest that an earlier MSC transplantation is associated with a better functional recovery after stroke, which could be explained by the preferential migration of MSCs to the cortex in the early transplantation group. The time-dependent differential expression of MCP-1 and SDF-1 between ischemic regions seemed to mediate the differential migration of MSCs. Highest level of MCP-1 at one day of stroke may induce preferential migration of MSCs to the cortex, then better functional improvement.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134920
PMCID: PMC4524688  PMID: 26241653
19.  Clinical Significance of Persistent Tumor in Bone Marrow during Treatment of High-risk Neuroblastoma 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2015;30(8):1062-1067.
The records of 63 high-risk neuroblastoma patients with bone marrow (BM) tumors at diagnosis were retrospectively reviewed. All patients received nine cycles of induction chemotherapy followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/auto-SCT). Follow-up BM examination was performed every three cycles during induction chemotherapy and every three months for one year after the second HDCT/auto-SCT. BM tumor cells persisted in 48.4%, 37.7%, 23.3%, and 20.4% of patients after three, six, and nine cycles of induction chemotherapy and three months after the second HDCT/auto-SCT, respectively. There was no difference in progression-free survival (PFS) rate between patients with persistent BM tumor and those without during the induction treatment. However, after tandem HDCT/auto-SCT, the PFS rate was worse in patients with persistent BM tumor than in those without (probability of 5-yr PFS 14.7% ± 13.4% vs. 64.2% ± 8.3%, P = 0.009). Persistent BM tumor during induction treatment is not associated with a worse prognosis when intensive tandem HDCT/auto-SCT is given as consolidation treatment. However, persistent BM tumor after tandem HDCT/auto-SCT is associated with a worse prognosis. Therefore, further treatment might be needed in patients with persistent BM tumor after tandem HDCT/auto-SCT.
Graphical Abstract
doi:10.3346/jkms.2015.30.8.1062
PMCID: PMC4520936  PMID: 26240483
Neuroblastoma; Bone Marrow Tumors; Prognosis; Treatment
20.  Reduced-dose craniospinal radiotherapy followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation in patients with high-risk medulloblastoma 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;15(3):352-359.
Background
We assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of reduced-dose craniospinal (CS) radiotherapy (RT) followed by tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) in reducing late adverse effects without jeopardizing survival among children with high-risk medulloblastoma (MB).
Methods
From October 2005 through September 2010, twenty consecutive children aged >3 years with high-risk MB (presence of metastasis and/or postoperative residual tumor >1.5 cm2) were assigned to receive 2 cycles of pre-RT chemotherapy, CSRT (23.4 or 30.6 Gy) combined with local RT to the primary site (total 54.0 Gy), and 4 cycles of post-RT chemotherapy followed by tandem HDCT/autoSCT. Carboplatin-thiotepa-etoposide and cyclophosphamide-melphalan regimens were used for the first and second HDCT, respectively.
Results
Of 20 patients with high-risk MB, 17 had metastatic disease and 3 had a postoperative residual tumor >1.5 cm2 without metastasis. The tumor relapsed/progressed in 4 patients, and 2 patients died of toxicities during the second HDCT/autoSCT. Therefore, 14 patients remained event-free at a median follow-up of 46 months (range, 23−82) from diagnosis. The probability of 5-year event-free survival was 70.0% ± 10.3% for all patients and 70.6% ± 11.1% for patients with metastases. Late adverse effects evaluated at a median of 36 months (range, 12−68) after tandem HDCT/autoSCT were acceptable.
Conclusions
In children with high-risk MB, CSRT dose might be reduced when accompanied by tandem HDCT/autoSCT without jeopardizing survival. However, longer follow-up is needed to evaluate whether the benefits of reduced-dose CSRT outweigh the long-term risks of tandem HDCT/autoSCT.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos304
PMCID: PMC3578484  PMID: 23258845
autologous stem cell transplantation; high-dose chemotherapy; late effect; medulloblastoma; radiotherapy
21.  Gene Expression Profiles of Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Are Modified by Cell Culture Density 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e83363.
Previous studies conducted cell expansion ex vivo using low initial plating densities for optimal expansion and subsequent differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). However, MSC populations are heterogeneous and culture conditions can affect the characteristics of MSCs. In this study, differences in gene expression profiles of adipose tissue (AT)-derived MSCs were examined after harvesting cells cultured at different densities. AT-MSCs from three different donors were plated at a density of 200 or 5,000 cells/cm2. After 7 days in culture, detailed gene expression profiles were investigated using a DNA chip microarray, and subsequently validated using a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. Gene expression profiles were influenced primarily by the level of cell confluence at harvest. In MSCs harvested at ∼90% confluence, 177 genes were up-regulated and 102 genes down-regulated relative to cells harvested at ∼50% confluence (P<0.05, FC>2). Proliferation-related genes were highly expressed in MSCs harvested at low density, while genes that were highly expressed in MSCs harvested at high density (∼90% confluent) were linked to immunity and defense, cell communication, signal transduction and cell motility. Several cytokine, chemokine and growth factor genes involved in immunosuppression, migration, and reconstitution of damaged tissues were up-regulated in MSCs harvested at high density compared with MSCs harvested at low density. These results imply that cell density at harvest is a critical factor for modulating the specific gene-expression patterns of heterogeneous MSCs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083363
PMCID: PMC3882209  PMID: 24400072
22.  Optimal Time to Start Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection in Children with High-Risk Solid Tumors 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;29(1):110-116.
In order to clarify the optimal timing for peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collection, PBSC collection records of 323 children who were scheduled to undergo autologous stem cell transplantation from two study periods differing in the timing of PBSC collection were analyzed. In the early study period (March 1998 to August 2007, n=198), PBSC collection was initiated when the peripheral WBC count exceeded 1,000/µL during recovery from chemotherapy. Findings in this study period indicated that initiation of PBSC collection at a higher WBC count might result in a greater CD34+ cell yield. Therefore, during the late study period (September 2007 to December 2012, n=125), PBSC collection was initiated when the WBC count exceeded 4,000/µL. Results in the late study period validated our conclusion from the early study period. Collection of a higher number of CD34+ cells was associated with a faster hematologic recovery after transplant in the late study period. Initiation of PBSC collection at WBC count > 4,000/µL was an independent factor for a greater CD34+ cell yield. In conclusion, PBSC collection at a higher WBC count is associated with a greater CD34+ cell yield, and consequently a faster hematologic recovery after transplant.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2014.29.1.110
PMCID: PMC3890460  PMID: 24431914
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Collection
23.  Therapy-Related Myeloid Neoplasms in 39 Korean Patients: A Single Institution Experience 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2013;33(2):97-104.
Background
Therapy-related myeloid neoplasms (t-MN) occur as late complications of cytotoxic therapy. This study reviewed clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of patients with t-MN at a single institution in Korea.
Methods
The study subjects included 39 consecutive patients diagnosed with t-MN. Each subject's clinical history of previous diseases, treatments, and laboratory data was reviewed, including cytogenetics. The primary diagnosis was hematologic malignancy in 14 patients and solid tumor in 25 patients.
Results
Therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML, 66.7%) was found to be more common than therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome (t-MDS). Primary hematologic malignancies that were commonly implicated included mature B-cell neoplasm and acute leukemia. Breast cancer was the most common primary solid tumor. The mean time interval from cytotoxic therapy initiation to t-MN detection was 49 months. Chromosomal aberrations were observed in 35 patients, and loss of chromosome 5, 7, or both accounted for 41% of all cases. Balanced rearrangements occurred in 13 patients; these patients showed shorter latency intervals (mean, 38 months) than patients with loss of chromosome 5 or 7 (mean, 61 months).
Conclusions
In this study, we determined the clinical and cytogenetic characteristics of Korean patients with t-MN. Although our results were generally consistent with those of previous reports, we found that t-MN resulting from de novo leukemia was common and that t-AML was more common than t-MDS at presentation. Multi-institutional studies involving a larger number of patients and additional parameters are required to investigate the epidemiology, genetic predisposition, and survival rate of t-MN in Korea.
doi:10.3343/alm.2013.33.2.97
PMCID: PMC3589647  PMID: 23483787
Therapy-related neoplasms; Myelodysplastic syndrome; Acute myeloid leukemia; Cytogenetics; Korea
24.  Hematologic Recovery after Tandem High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Children with High-Risk Solid Tumors 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2013;28(2):220-226.
Although the number of studies using tandem high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT) for the treatment of high-risk pediatric solid tumors has been increasing, documentation of hematologic recovery after tandem HDCT/autoSCT is very limited. For this reason, we retrospectively analyzed the hematologic recovery of 236 children with high-risk solid tumors who underwent tandem HDCT/autoSCT. The median numbers of CD34+ cells transplanted during the first and second HDCT/autoSCT were 4.3 × 106/kg (range 0.6-220.2) and 4.1 × 106/kg (range 0.9-157.6), respectively (P = 0.664). While there was no difference in neutrophil recovery between the first and second HDCT/autoSCT, platelet and RBC recoveries were significantly delayed in the second HDCT/autoSCT (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Delayed recovery in the second HDCT/autoSCT was more prominent when the number of transplanted CD34+ cells was lower, especially if it was < 2 × 106/kg. A lower CD34+ cell count was also associated with increased RBC transfusion requirements and a higher serum ferritin level after tandem HDCT/autoSCT. More CD34+ cells need to be transplanted during the second HDCT/autoSCT in order to achieve the same hematologic recovery as the first HDCT/autoSCT.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2013.28.2.220
PMCID: PMC3565133  PMID: 23400387
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; CD34+ Cells; Hematologic Recovery; Iron Overload
25.  Iron Overload during Follow-up after Tandem High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with High-Risk Neuroblastoma 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2012;27(4):363-369.
Multiple RBC transfusions inevitably lead to a state of iron overload before and after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (HDCT/autoSCT). Nonetheless, iron status during post-SCT follow-up remains unknown. Therefore, we investigated post-SCT ferritin levels, factors contributing to its sustained levels, and organ functions affected by iron overload in 49 children with high-risk neuroblastoma who underwent tandem HDCT/autoSCT. Although serum ferritin levels gradually decreased during post-SCT follow-up, 47.7% of the patients maintained ferritin levels above 1,000 ng/mL at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT. These patients had higher serum creatinine (0.62 vs 0.47 mg/mL, P = 0.007) than their counterparts (< 1,000 ng/mL). Post-SCT transfusion amount corresponded to increased ferritin levels at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT (P < 0.001). A lower CD34+ cell count was associated with a greater need of RBC transfusion, which in turn led to a higher serum ferritin level at 1 yr after HDCT/autoSCT. The number of CD34+ cells transplanted was an independent factor for ferritin levels at 1 yr after the second HDCT/autoSCT (P = 0.019). Consequently, CD34+ cells should be transplanted as many as possible to prevent the sustained iron overload after tandem HDCT/autoSCT and consequent adverse effects.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2012.27.4.363
PMCID: PMC3314847  PMID: 22468098
High-Dose Chemotherapy; Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation; Iron Overload; Deferasirox; Iron Chelation Treatment; Neuroblastoma

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