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1.  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
2.  MYC Rearrangement Involving a Novel Non-immunoglobulin Chromosomal Locus in Precursor B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2012;32(4):289-293.
MYC rearrangement, a characteristic cytogenetic abnormality of Burkitt lymphoma and several subsets of other mature B-cell neoplasms, typically involves an immunoglobulin gene partner. Herein, we describe a case of precursor B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia harboring a MYC rearrangement with a novel non-immunoglobulin partner locus. The patient was a 4-yr-old Korean boy with ALL of the precursor B-cell immunophenotype. At the time of the second relapse, cytogenetic analyses revealed t(4;8)(q31.1;q24.1) as a clonal evolution. The MYC rearrangement was confirmed by FISH analysis. He died 3 months after the second relapse without achieving complete remission. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a case of MYC rearrangement with a non-immunoglobulin partner in precursor B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia.
doi:10.3343/alm.2012.32.4.289
PMCID: PMC3384811  PMID: 22779071
Precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia; MYC gene rearrangement; Non-immunoglobulin partner
3.  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
4.  Clinical and hematologic manifestations in patients with Diamond Blackfan anemia in Korea 
The Korean Journal of Hematology  2012;47(2):131-135.
Background
Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), characterized by impaired red cell production, is a rare condition that is usually symptomatic in early infancy. The purpose of this study was to assess nationwide experiences of DBA encountered over a period of 20 years.
Methods
The medical records of 56 patients diagnosed with DBA were retrospectively reviewed from November 1984 to July 2010. Fifteen institutions, including 13 university hospitals, participated in this study.
Results
The male-to-female ratio of patients with DBA was 1.67:1. The median age of diagnosis was 4 months, and 74.1% were diagnosed before 1 year of age. From 2000 to 2009, annual incidence was 6.6 cases per million. Excluding growth retardation, 38.2% showed congenital defects: thumb deformities, ptosis, coarctation of aorta, ventricular septal defect, strabismus, etc. The mean hemoglobin concentration was 5.1±1.9 g/dL, mean corpuscular volume was 93.4±11.6 fL, and mean number of reticulocytes was 19,700/mm3. The mean cellularity of bone marrow was 75%, with myeloid:erythroid ratio of 20.4:1. After remission, 48.9% of patients did not need further steroids. Five patients with DBA who received hematopoietic transplantation have survived. Cancer developed in 2 cases (3.6%).
Conclusion
The incidence of DBA is similar to data already published, but our study had a male predilection. Although all patients responded to initial treatment with steroids, about half needed further steroids after remission. It is necessary to collect further data, including information regarding management pathways, from nationwide DBA registries, along with data on molecular analyses.
doi:10.5045/kjh.2012.47.2.131
PMCID: PMC3389062  PMID: 22783360
Diamond Blackfan anemia; Anemia; Congenital defects
5.  Successful and safe treatment of hemangioma with oral propranolol in a single institution 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2012;55(5):164-170.
Purpose
Dramatic improvement of hemangioma to propranolol has been recently reported; however, details on dose and duration of treatment, potential risks, and monitoring have not been determined. The objective of this study is to describe and analyze the use of propranolol as a first-line treatment or as a single therapy in management of complicated hemangioma.
Methods
A retrospective chart review of eight patients diagnosed with hemangioma and treated with propranolol in Kangbuk Samsung Hospital from February 2010 to April 2011 was performed.
Results
Eight patients with hemangioma with functional impairment, cosmetic disfigurement, or rapid growth were treated with propranolol. Five patients had solitary facial hemangioma. The mean age of symptoms at onset was 5 weeks. The median age for starting propranolol treatment was 5.5 months. Propranolol at 2 mg/kg/day was finally administered in divided doses with a gradual increase. Significant regression was observed in seven patients, and shrinkage in size, softening in consistency, and decrease in redness were evident within 4 weeks. Among them, six patients were still taking propranolol, and one patient had stopped after 12 months. Other one patient did not show significant improvement with satisfactory result after 3 months of propranolol use. Treatment with propranolol was well tolerated and had few side effects. No rebound growth was observed in any of the patients.
Conclusion
We observed that use of propranolol was very effective in treatment of hemangioma without obvious adverse effects or relapse.
doi:10.3345/kjp.2012.55.5.164
PMCID: PMC3362730  PMID: 22670151
Hemangioma; Propranolol; Treatment
6.  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
7.  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

Results 1-7 (7)