Autoantibodies against interferon-γ are associated with severe disseminated opportunistic infection, but their importance and prevalence are unknown.
We enrolled 203 persons from sites in Thailand and Taiwan in five groups: 52 patients with disseminated, rapidly or slowly growing, nontuberculous mycobacterial infection (group 1); 45 patients with another opportunistic infection, with or without nontuberculous mycobacterial infection (group 2); 9 patients with disseminated tuberculosis (group 3); 49 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (group 4); and 48 healthy controls (group 5). Clinical histories were recorded, and blood specimens were obtained.
Patients in groups 1 and 2 had CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts that were similar to those in patients in groups 4 and 5, and they were not infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Washed cells obtained from patients in groups 1 and 2 had intact cytokine production and a response to cytokine stimulation. In contrast, plasma obtained from these patients inhibited the activity of interferon-γ in normal cells. High-titer anti–interferon-γ autoantibodies were detected in 81% of patients in group 1, 96% of patients in group 2, 11% of patients in group 3, 2% of patients in group 4, and 2% of controls (group 5). Forty other anti-cytokine autoantibodies were assayed. One patient with cryptococcal meningitis had autoantibodies only against granulocyte–macrophage colony-stimulating factor. No other anti-cytokine autoantibodies or genetic defects correlated with infections. There was no familial clustering.
Neutralizing anti–interferon-γ autoantibodies were detected in 88% of Asian adults with multiple opportunistic infections and were associated with an adult-onset immunodeficiency akin to that of advanced HIV infection.
Previous results from our trial of early treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) versus early surfactant treatment in infants showed no significant difference in the outcome of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. A lower (vs. higher) target range of oxygen saturation was associated with a lower rate of severe retinopathy but higher mortality. We now report longer-term results from our prespecified hypotheses.
Using a 2-by-2 factorial design, we randomly assigned infants born between 24 weeks 0 days and 27 weeks 6 days of gestation to early CPAP with a limited ventilation strategy or early surfactant administration and to lower or higher target ranges of oxygen saturation (85 to 89% or 91 to 95%). The primary composite outcome for the longer-term analysis was death before assessment at 18 to 22 months or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months of corrected age.
The primary outcome was determined for 1234 of 1316 enrolled infants (93.8%); 990 of the 1058 surviving infants (93.6%) were evaluated at 18 to 22 months of corrected age. Death or neurodevelopmental impairment occurred in 27.9% of the infants in the CPAP group (173 of 621 infants), versus 29.9% of those in the surfactant group (183 of 613) (relative risk, 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 1.10; P = 0.38), and in 30.2% of the infants in the lower-oxygen-saturation group (185 of 612), versus 27.5% of those in the higher-oxygen-saturation group (171 of 622) (relative risk, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.32; P = 0.21). Mortality was increased with the lower-oxygen-saturation target (22.1%, vs. 18.2% with the higher-oxygen-saturation target; relative risk, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.55; P = 0.046).
We found no significant differences in the composite outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment among extremely premature infants randomly assigned to early CPAP or early surfactant administration and to a lower or higher target range of oxygen saturation. (Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; SUPPORT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00233324.)
Epidemiologic and genetic evidence links type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The tumor-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) has roles in both cellular growth and metabolic signaling. Germline PTEN mutations cause a cancer-predisposition syndrome, providing an opportunity to study the effect of PTEN haploinsufficiency in humans.
We measured insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in 15 PTEN mutation carriers and 15 matched controls. Insulin signaling was measured in muscle and adipose-tissue biopsy specimens from 5 mutation carriers and 5 well-matched controls. We also assessed the effect of PTEN haploinsufficiency on obesity by comparing anthropometric indexes between the 15 patients and 2097 controls from a population-based study of healthy adults. Body composition was evaluated by means of dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry and skinfold thickness.
Measures of insulin resistance were lower in the patients with a PTEN mutation than in controls (e.g., mean fasting plasma insulin level, 29 pmol per liter [range, 9 to 99] vs. 74 pmol per liter [range, 22 to 185]; P = 0.001). This finding was confirmed with the use of hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamping, showing a glucose infusion rate among carriers 2 times that among controls (P = 0.009). The patients’ insulin sensitivity could be explained by the presence of enhanced insulin signaling through the PI3K-AKT pathway, as evidenced by increased AKT phosphorylation. The PTEN mutation carriers were obese as compared with population-based controls (mean body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], 32 [range, 23 to 42] vs. 26 [range, 15 to 48]; P<0.001). This increased body mass in the patients was due to augmented adiposity without corresponding changes in fat distribution.
PTEN haploinsufficiency is a monogenic cause of profound constitutive insulin sensitization that is apparently obesogenic. We demonstrate an apparently divergent effect of PTEN mutations: increased risks of obesity and cancer but a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes owing to enhanced insulin sensitivity. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and others.)
Lacunar infarcts are a frequent type of stroke caused mainly by cerebral small-vessel disease. The effectiveness of antiplatelet therapy for secondary prevention has not been defined.
We conducted a double-blind, multicenter trial involving 3020 patients with recent symptomatic lacunar infarcts identified by magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 75 mg of clopidogrel or placebo daily; patients in both groups received 325 mg of aspirin daily. The primary outcome was any recurrent stroke, including ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage.
The participants had a mean age of 63 years, and 63% were men. After a mean follow-up of 3.4 years, the risk of recurrent stroke was not significantly reduced with aspirin and clopidogrel (dual antiplatelet therapy) (125 strokes; rate, 2.5% per year) as compared with aspirin alone (138 strokes, 2.7% per year) (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 1.16), nor was the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.09) or disabling or fatal stroke (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.64). The risk of major hemorrhage was almost doubled with dual antiplatelet therapy (105 hemorrhages, 2.1% per year) as compared with aspirin alone (56, 1.1% per year) (hazard ratio, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.41 to 2.71; P<0.001). Among classifiable recurrent ischemic strokes, 71% (133 of 187) were lacunar strokes. All-cause mortality was increased among patients assigned to receive dual antiplatelet therapy (77 deaths in the group receiving aspirin alone vs. 113 in the group receiving dual antiplatelet therapy) (hazard ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.04; P = 0.004); this difference was not accounted for by fatal hemorrhages (9 in the group receiving dual antiplatelet therapy vs. 4 in the group receiving aspirin alone).
Among patients with recent lacunar strokes, the addition of clopidogrel to aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of recurrent stroke and did significantly increase the risk of bleeding and death. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and others; SPS3 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00059306.)
A patient with a 20-year history of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis had progressive, bilateral tumor invasion of the lung parenchyma. We used conditional reprogramming to generate cell cultures from the patient’s normal and tumorous lung tissue. Analysis revealed that the laryngeal tumor cells contained a wild-type 7.9-kb human papillomavirus virus type 11 (HPV-11) genome, whereas the pulmonary tumor cells contained a 10.4-kb genome. The increased size of the latter viral genome was due to duplication of the promoter and oncogene regions. Chemosensitivity testing identified vorinostat as a potential therapeutic agent. At 3 months after treatment initiation, tumor sizes had stabilized, with durable effects at 15 months.
Hospitals are increasingly adopting 24-hour intensivist physician staffing as a strategy to improve intensive care unit (ICU) outcomes. However, the degree to which nighttime intensivists are associated with improvements in the quality of ICU care is unknown.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study involving ICUs that participated in the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) clinical information system from 2009 through 2010, linking a survey of ICU staffing practices with patient-level outcomes data from adult ICU admissions. Multivariate models were used to assess the relationship between nighttime intensivist staffing and in-hospital mortality among ICU patients, with adjustment for daytime intensivist staffing, severity of illness, and case mix. We conducted a confirmatory analysis in a second, population-based cohort of hospitals in Pennsylvania from which less detailed data were available.
The analysis with the use of the APACHE database included 65,752 patients admitted to 49 ICUs in 25 hospitals. In ICUs with low-intensity daytime staffing, nighttime intensivist staffing was associated with a reduction in risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio for death, 0.62; P = 0.04). Among ICUs with high-intensity daytime staffing, nighttime intensivist staffing conferred no benefit with respect to risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.08; P = 0.78). In the verification cohort, there was a similar relationship among daytime staffing, nighttime staffing, and in-hospital mortality. The interaction between nighttime staffing and daytime staffing was not significant (P = 0.18), yet the direction of the findings were similar to those in the APACHE cohort.
The addition of nighttime intensivist staffing to a low-intensity daytime staffing model was associated with reduced mortality. However, a reduction in mortality was not seen in ICUs with high-intensity daytime staffing. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.)
The aromatase inhibitor anastrozole inhibits estrogen synthesis. Fulvestrant binds and accelerates degradation of estrogen receptors. We hypothesized that these two agents in combination might be more effective than anastrozole alone in patients with hormone-receptor (HR)–positive metastatic breast cancer.
Postmenopausal women with previously untreated metastatic disease were randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, to receive either 1 mg of anastrozole orally every day (group 1), with crossover to fulvestrant alone strongly encouraged if the disease progressed, or anastrozole and fulvestrant in combination (group 2). Patients were stratified according to prior or no prior receipt of adjuvant tamoxifen therapy. Fulvestrant was administered intramuscularly at a dose of 500 mg on day 1 and 250 mg on days 14 and 28 and monthly thereafter. The primary end point was progressionfree survival, with overall survival designated as a prespecified secondary outcome.
The median progression-free survival was 13.5 months in group 1 and 15.0 months in group 2 (hazard ratio for progression or death with combination therapy, 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68 to 0.94; P = 0.007 by the log-rank test). The combination therapy was generally more effective than anastrozole alone in all subgroups, with no significant interactions. Overall survival was also longer with combination therapy (median, 41.3 months in group 1 and 47.7 months in group 2; hazard ratio for death, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.65 to 1.00; P = 0.05 by the log-rank test), despite the fact that 41% of the patients in group 1 crossed over to fulvestrant after progression. Three deaths that were possibly associated with treatment occurred in group 2. The rates of grade 3 to 5 toxic effects did not differ significantly between the two groups.
The combination of anastrozole and fulvestrant was superior to anastrozole alone or sequential anastrozole and fulvestrant for the treatment of HR-positive metastatic breast cancer, despite the use of a dose of fulvestrant that was below the current standard.
Abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, improves overall survival (OS) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-chemotherapy. Many mCRPC patients never receive chemotherapy and thus cannot benefit from abiraterone acetate; we evaluated this agent in mCRPC patients who had not received chemotherapy.
In this double-blind study, 1088 patients were randomized 1:1 to abiraterone acetate (1000 mg) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone. Co-primary end points were radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) and OS. Secondary end points measured clinically relevant landmarks of mCRPC progression. Patient-reported outcomes included pain progression and quality of life.
The study was unblinded after a planned interim analysis (IA) at 43% of OS events. Treatment with abiraterone acetate-prednisone resulted in a 57% reduction in the risk of radiographic progression or death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.52; P<0.001; 13% OS events IA) and an estimated 25% decrease in the risk of death (HR, 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93; P=0.009; 43% OS events IA). Secondary end points supported superiority of abiraterone acetate-prednisone: time to cytotoxic chemotherapy initiation, opiate use for cancer-related pain, prostate-specific antigen progression (all P<0.001) and performance status deterioration (P=0.005). Self-reported time to pain progression and patient functional status degradation favored abiraterone acetate-prednisone (P=0.05 and P=0.003). Grade 3/4 mineralocorticoid-related adverse events and liver function test abnormalities were more common with abiraterone acetate-prednisone.
Abiraterone acetate produces OS and rPFS benefits, as well as significant delays in clinical deterioration and initiation of chemotherapy, in mCRPC.
Abiraterone acetate; prednisone; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; androgen; CYP17
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that is associated with criminal behavior. Pharmacological treatment is available for ADHD and may reduce the risk of criminality
We gathered information on all individuals with a diagnosis of ADHD (N=25,656), their pharmacological treatment, and subsequent criminal convictions in Sweden during 2006 to 2009 using Swedish national registers. We used stratified Cox regression analyses to compare the rate of criminality while on ADHD medication, compared with the rate for the same individual while off medication.
Compared to non-medication periods, the criminality rate while on medication was significantly decreased by 32% (stratified Cox Regression hazard ratio: 0.68; 95 % confidence interval: 0.63-0.73) for men and 41% (hazard ratio: 0.59; 95 % confidence interval: 0.50-0.70) for women. The rate reduction remained between 17-46% in sensitivity analyses among males, including different exposures (e.g., type of treatment – stimulant and non-stimulant) and outcomes (e.g., type of crime - less severe, violent, and substance-related conviction).
We found statistically significant associations between ADHD medication and criminality in within-individual comparisons, with lower rates of criminality observed during periods on treatment. These findings raise the possibility that medication treatment reduces the risk of criminality among patients with ADHD.
Randomized trials have shown that the transplantation of filgrastim-mobilized peripheral-blood stem cells from HLA-identical siblings accelerates engraftment but increases the risks of acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), as compared with the transplantation of bone marrow. Some studies have also shown that peripheral-blood stem cells are associated with a decreased rate of relapse and improved survival among recipients with high-risk leukemia.
We conducted a phase 3, multicenter, randomized trial of transplantation of peripheral-blood stem cells versus bone marrow from unrelated donors to compare 2-year survival probabilities with the use of an intention-to-treat analysis. Between March 2004 and September 2009, we enrolled 551 patients at 48 centers. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to peripheral-blood stem-cell or bone marrow transplantation, stratified according to transplantation center and disease risk. The median follow-up of surviving patients was 36 months (interquartile range, 30 to 37).
The overall survival rate at 2 years in the peripheral-blood group was 51% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45 to 57), as compared with 46% (95% CI, 40 to 52) in the bone marrow group (P = 0.29), with an absolute difference of 5 percentage points (95% CI, −3 to 14). The overall incidence of graft failure in the peripheral-blood group was 3% (95% CI, 1 to 5), versus 9% (95% CI, 6 to 13) in the bone marrow group (P = 0.002). The incidence of chronic GVHD at 2 years in the peripheral-blood group was 53% (95% CI, 45 to 61), as compared with 41% (95% CI, 34 to 48) in the bone marrow group (P = 0.01). There were no significant between-group differences in the incidence of acute GVHD or relapse.
We did not detect significant survival differences between peripheral-blood stem-cell and bone marrow transplantation from unrelated donors. Exploratory analyses of secondary end points indicated that peripheral-blood stem cells may reduce the risk of graft failure, whereas bone marrow may reduce the risk of chronic GVHD. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–National Cancer Institute and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00075816.)
Children born to women with low thyroid hormone levels have been reported to have decreased cognitive function.
We conducted a randomized trial in which pregnant women at a gestation of 15 weeks 6 days or less provided blood samples for measurement of thyrotropin and free thyroxine (T4). Women were assigned to a screening group (in which measurements were obtained immediately) or a control group (in which serum was stored and measurements were obtained shortly after delivery). Thyrotropin levels above the 97.5th percentile, free T4 levels below the 2.5th percentile, or both were considered a positive screening result. Women with positive findings in the screening group were prescribed 150 μg of levothyroxine per day. The primary outcome was IQ at 3 years of age in children of women with positive results, as measured by psychologists who were unaware of the group assignments.
Of 21,846 women who provided blood samples (at a median gestational age of 12 weeks 3 days), 390 women in the screening group and 404 in the control group tested positive. The median gestational age at the start of levothyroxine treatment was 13 weeks 3 days; treatment was adjusted as needed to achieve a target thyrotropin level of 0.1 to 1.0 mIU per liter. Among the children of women with positive results, the mean IQ scores were 99.2 and 100.0 in the screening and control groups, respectively (difference, 0.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], −1.1 to 2.6; P = 0.40 by intention-to-treat analysis); the proportions of children with an IQ of less than 85 were 12.1% in the screening group and 14.1% in the control group (difference, 2.1 percentage points; 95% CI, −2.6 to 6.7; P = 0.39). An on-treatment analysis showed similar results.
Antenatal screening (at a median gestational age of 12 weeks 3 days) and maternal treatment for hypothyroidism did not result in improved cognitive function in children at 3 years of age. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust UK and Compagnia di San Paulo, Turin; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN46178175.)
Linezolid has antimycobacterial activity in vitro and is increasingly used for patients with highly drug-resistant tuberculosis.
We enrolled 41 patients who had sputum-culture–positive extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis and who did not have a response to any available chemotherapeutic option during the previous 6 months. Patients were randomly assigned to linezolid therapy that started immediately or after 2 months, at a dose of 600 mg per day, without a change in their background regimen. The primary end point was the time to sputum-culture conversion on solid medium, with data censored 4 months after study entry. After confirmed sputum-smear conversion or 4 months (whichever came first), patients underwent a second randomization to continued linezolid therapy at a dose of 600 mg per day or 300 mg per day for at least an additional 18 months, with careful toxicity monitoring.
By 4 months, 15 of the 19 patients (79%) in the immediate-start group and 7 of the 20 (35%) in the delayed-start group had culture conversion (P = 0.001). Most patients (34 of 39 [87%]) had a negative sputum culture within 6 months after linezolid had been added to their drug regimen. Of the 38 patients with exposure to linezolid, 31 (82%) had clinically significant adverse events that were possibly or probably related to linezolid, including 3 patients who discontinued therapy. Patients who received 300 mg per day after the second randomization had fewer adverse events than those who continued taking 600 mg per day. Thirteen patients completed therapy and have not had a relapse. Four cases of acquired resistance to linezolid have been observed.
Linezolid is effective at achieving culture conversion among patients with treatment-refractory XDR pulmonary tuberculosis, but patients must be monitored carefully for adverse events. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, South Korea; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00727844.)
Poor engraftment due to low cell doses restricts the usefulness of umbilical-cord-blood transplantation. We hypothesized that engraftment would be improved by transplanting cord blood that was expanded ex vivo with mesenchymal stromal cells.
We studied engraftment results in 31 adults with hematologic cancers who received transplants of 2 cord-blood units, 1 of which contained cord blood that was expanded ex vivo in cocultures with allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells. The results in these patients were compared with those in 80 historical controls who received 2 units of unmanipulated cord blood.
Coculture with mesenchymal stromal cells led to an expansion of total nucleated cells by a median factor of 12.2 and of CD34+ cells by a median factor of 30.1. With transplantation of 1 unit each of expanded and unmanipulated cord blood, patients received a median of 8.34×107 total nucleated cells per kilogram of body weight and 1.81×106 CD34+ cells per kilogram — doses higher than in our previous transplantations of 2 units of unmanipulated cord blood. In patients in whom engraftment occurred, the median time to neutrophil engraftment was 15 days in the recipients of expanded cord blood, as compared with 24 days in controls who received unmanipulated cord blood only (P<0.001); the median time to platelet engraftment was 42 days and 49 days, respectively (P = 0.03). On day 26, the cumulative incidence of neutrophil engraftment was 88% with expansion versus 53% without expansion (P<0.001); on day 60, the cumulative incidence of platelet engraftment was 71% and 31%, respectively (P<0.001).
Transplantation of cord-blood cells expanded with mesenchymal stromal cells appeared to be safe and effective. Expanded cord blood in combination with unmanipulated cord blood significantly improved engraftment, as compared with unmanipulated cord blood only. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00498316.)
Family history is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer, although the molecular basis for this association is poorly understood. Linkage studies have implicated chromosome 17q21-22 as a possible location of a prostate-cancer susceptibility gene.
We screened more than 200 genes in the 17q21-22 region by sequencing germline DNA from 94 unrelated patients with prostate cancer from families selected for linkage to the candidate region. We tested family members, additional case subjects, and control subjects to characterize the frequency of the identified mutations.
Probands from four families were discovered to have a rare but recurrent mutation (G84E) in HOXB13 (rs138213197), a homeobox transcription factor gene that is important in prostate development. All 18 men with prostate cancer and available DNA in these four families carried the mutation. The carrier rate of the G84E mutation was increased by a factor of approximately 20 in 5083 unrelated subjects of European descent who had prostate cancer, with the mutation found in 72 subjects (1.4%), as compared with 1 in 1401 control subjects (0.1%) (P = 8.5×10−7). The mutation was significantly more common in men with early-onset, familial prostate cancer (3.1%) than in those with late-onset, nonfamilial prostate cancer (0.6%) (P = 2.0×10−6).
The novel HOXB13 G84E variant is associated with a significantly increased risk of hereditary prostate cancer. Although the variant accounts for a small fraction of all prostate cancers, this finding has implications for prostate-cancer risk assessment and may provide new mechanistic insights into this common cancer. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)