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.)
Resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome–positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-positive ALL) is frequently caused by mutations in the BCR-ABL kinase domain. Ponatinib (AP24534) is a potent oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks native and mutated BCR-ABL, including the gatekeeper mutant T315I, which is uniformly resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
In this phase 1 dose-escalation study, we enrolled 81 patients with resistant hematologic cancers, including 60 with CML and 5 with Ph-positive ALL. Ponatinib was administered once daily at doses ranging from 2 to 60 mg. Median follow-up was 56 weeks (range, 2 to 140).
Dose-limiting toxic effects included elevated lipase or amylase levels and pancreatitis. Common adverse events were rash, myelosuppression, and constitutional symptoms. Among Ph-positive patients, 91% had received two or more approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and 51% had received all three approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Of 43 patients with chronic-phase CML, 98% had a complete hematologic response, 72% had a major cytogenetic response, and 44% had a major molecular response. Of 12 patients who had chronic-phase CML with the T315I mutation, 100% had a complete hematologic response and 92% had a major cytogenetic response. Of 13 patients with chronic-phase CML without detectable mutations, 100% had a complete hematologic response and 62% had a major cytogenetic response. Responses among patients with chronic-phase CML were durable. Of 22 patients with accelerated-phase or blast-phase CML or Ph-positive ALL, 36% had a major hematologic response and 32% had a major cytogenetic response.
Ponatinib was highly active in heavily pretreated patients with Ph-positive leukemias with resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including patients with the BCR-ABL T315I mutation, other mutations, or no mutations. (Funded by Ariad Pharmaceuticals and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00660920.)
Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)–associated vasculitis is a severe condition encompassing two major syndromes: granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly known as Wegener’s granulomatosis) and microscopic polyangiitis. Its cause is unknown, and there is debate about whether it is a single disease entity and what role ANCA plays in its pathogenesis. We investigated its genetic basis.
A genomewide association study was performed in a discovery cohort of 1233 U.K. patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis and 5884 controls and was replicated in 1454 Northern European case patients and 1666 controls. Quality control, population stratification, and statistical analyses were performed according to standard criteria.
We found both major-histocompatibility-complex (MHC) and non-MHC associations with ANCA-associated vasculitis and also that granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis were genetically distinct. The strongest genetic associations were with the antigenic specificity of ANCA, not with the clinical syndrome. Anti–proteinase 3 ANCA was associated with HLA-DP and the genes encoding α1-antitrypsin (SERPINA1) and proteinase 3 (PRTN3) (P = 6.2×10−89, P = 5.6×10−12, and P = 2.6×10−7, respectively). Anti–myeloperoxidase ANCA was associated with HLA-DQ (P = 2.1×10−8).
This study confirms that the pathogenesis of ANCA-associated vasculitis has a genetic component, shows genetic distinctions between granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis that are associated with ANCA specificity, and suggests that the response against the autoantigen proteinase 3 is a central pathogenic feature of proteinase 3 ANCA–associated vasculitis. These data provide preliminary support for the concept that proteinase 3 ANCA–associated vasculitis and myeloperoxidase ANCA–associated vasculitis are distinct autoimmune syndromes. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others.)
Antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the incidence of acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in men who have sex with men and is a promising approach for preventing HIV-1 in heterosexual populations.
We conducted a randomized, three-arm trial of oral antiretroviral PrEP among heterosexual couples from Kenya and Uganda in which one member was HIV-1 seronegative and the other HIV-1 seropositive. Seronegative partners were randomly assigned to once-daily tenofovir (TDF), combination emtricitabine/tenofovir (FTC/TDF), or matching placebo and followed monthly for up to 36 months. At enrollment, HIV-1 seropositive partners were not eligible for antiretroviral therapy under national guidelines. All couples received standard HIV-1 treatment and prevention services, including individual and couples risk-reduction counseling and condoms.
4758 couples were enrolled; for 62%, the HIV-1 seronegative partner was male. For HIV-1 seropositive participants, the median CD4 count was 495 cells/μL (interquartile range 375–662). Of 82 post-randomization HIV-1 infections, 17 were among those assigned TDF (incidence 0.65 per 100 person-years), 13 among those assigned FTC/TDF (incidence 0.50 per 100 person-years), and 52 among those assigned placebo (incidence 1.99 per 100 person-years), indicating a 67% relative reduction in HIV-1 incidence for TDF (95% CI 44 to 81, p<0.001) and 75% for FTC/TDF (95% CI 55 to 87, p<0.001). HIV-1 protective effects of FTC/TDF and TDF were not significantly different (p=0.23), and both study medications significantly reduced HIV-1 incidence in both men and women. The rate of serious medical events was similar across the study arms.
Oral TDF and FTC/TDF provided substantial protection against HIV-1 acquisition in heterosexual men and women, with comparable efficacy of TDF and FTC/TDF. (Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT00557245)
HIV-1 serodiscordant couples; pre-exposure prophylaxis; HIV-1 prevention; randomized clinical trial; Africa
Of the cancers treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is most sensitive to natural killer (NK)–cell reactivity. The activating killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) 2DS1 has ligand specificity for HLA-C2 antigens and activates NK cells in an HLA-dependent manner. Donor-derived NK reactivity controlled by KIR2DS1 and HLA could have beneficial effects in patients with AML who undergo allogeneic HSCT.
We assessed clinical data, HLA genotyping results, and donor cell lines or genomic DNA for 1277 patients with AML who had received hematopoietic stem-cell transplants from unrelated donors matched for HLA-A, B, C, DR, and DQ or with a single mismatch. We performed donor KIR genotyping and evaluated the clinical effect of donor KIR genotype and donor and recipient HLA genotypes.
Patients with AML who received allografts from donors who were positive for KIR2DS1 had a lower rate of relapse than those with allografts from donors who were negative for KIR2DS1 (26.5% vs. 32.5%; hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61 to 0.96; P = 0.02). Of allografts from donors with KIR2DS1, those from donors who were homozygous or heterozygous for HLA-C1 antigens could mediate this antileukemic effect, whereas those from donors who were homozygous for HLA-C2 did not provide any advantage (24.9% with homozygosity or heterozygosity for HLA-C1 vs. 37.3% with homozygosity for HLA-C2; hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.75; P = 0.002). Recipients of KIR2DS1-positive allografts mismatched for a single HLA-C locus had a lower relapse rate than recipients of KIR2DS1-negative allografts with a mismatch at the same locus (17.1% vs. 35.6%; hazard ratio, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.78; P = 0.007). KIR3DS1, in positive genetic linkage disequilibrium with KIR2DS1, had no effect on leukemia relapse but was associated with decreased mortality (60.1%, vs. 66.9% without KIR3DS1; hazard ratio, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.71 to 0.96; P = 0.01).
Activating KIR genes from donors were associated with distinct outcomes of allogeneic HSCT for AML. Donor KIR2DS1 appeared to provide protection against relapse in an HLA-C–dependent manner, and donor KIR3DS1 was associated with reduced mortality. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
New biomarkers are needed to detect pleural mesothelioma at an earlier stage and to individualize treatment strategies. We investigated whether fibulin-3 in plasma and pleural effusions could meet sensitivity and specificity criteria for a robust biomarker.
We measured fibulin-3 levels in plasma (from 92 patients with mesothelioma, 136 asbestos-exposed persons without cancer, 93 patients with effusions not due to mesothelioma, and 43 healthy controls), effusions (from 74 patients with mesothelioma, 39 with benign effusions, and 54 with malignant effusions not due to mesothelioma), or both. A blinded validation was subsequently performed. Tumor tissue was examined for fibulin-3 by immunohistochemical analysis, and levels of fibulin-3 in plasma and effusions were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Plasma fibulin-3 levels did not vary according to age, sex, duration of asbestos exposure, or degree of radiographic changes and were significantly higher in patients with pleural mesothelioma (105±7 ng per milliliter in the Detroit cohort and 113±8 ng per milliliter in the New York cohort) than in asbestos-exposed persons without mesothelioma (14±1 ng per milliliter and 24±1 ng per milliliter, respectively; P<0.001). Effusion fibulin-3 levels were significantly higher in patients with pleural mesothelioma (694±37 ng per milliliter in the Detroit cohort and 636±92 ng per milliliter in the New York cohort) than in patients with effusions not due to mesothelioma (212±25 and 151±23 ng per milliliter, respectively; P<0.001). Fibulin-3 preferentially stained tumor cells in 26 of 26 samples. In an overall comparison of patients with and those without mesothelioma, the receiver-operating-characteristic curve for plasma fibulin-3 levels had a sensitivity of 96.7% and a specificity of 95.5% at a cutoff value of 52.8 ng of fibulin-3 per milliliter. In a comparison of patients with early-stage mesothelioma with asbestos-exposed persons, the sensitivity was 100% and the specificity was 94.1% at a cutoff value of 46.0 ng of fibulin-3 per milliliter. Blinded validation revealed an area under the curve of 0.87 for plasma specimens from 96 asbestos-exposed persons as compared with 48 patients with mesothelioma.
Plasma fibulin-3 levels can distinguish healthy persons with exposure to asbestos from patients with mesothelioma. In conjunction with effusion fibulin-3 levels, plasma fibulin-3 levels can further differentiate mesothelioma effusions from other malignant and benign effusions. (Funded by the Early Detection Research Network, National Institutes of Health, and others.)
The course of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is often associated with pain, hypertension, and kidney failure. Preclinical studies indicated that vasopressin V2-receptor antagonists inhibit cyst growth and slow the decline of kidney function.
In this phase 3, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-year trial, we randomly assigned 1445 patients, 18 to 50 years of age, who had ADPKD with a total kidney volume of 750 ml or more and an estimated creatinine clearance of 60 ml per minute or more, in a 2:1 ratio to receive tolvaptan, a V2-receptor antagonist, at the highest of three twice-daily dose regimens that the patient found tolerable, or placebo. The primary outcome was the annual rate of change in the total kidney volume. Sequential secondary end points included a composite of time to clinical progression (defined as worsening kidney function, kidney pain, hypertension, and albuminuria) and rate of kidney-function decline.
Over a 3-year period, the increase in total kidney volume in the tolvaptan group was 2.8% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 3.1), versus 5.5% per year in the placebo group (95% CI, 5.1 to 6.0; P<0.001). The composite end point favored tolvaptan over placebo (44 vs. 50 events per 100 follow-up-years, P = 0.01), with lower rates of worsening kidney function (2 vs. 5 events per 100 person-years of follow-up, P<0.001) and kidney pain (5 vs. 7 events per 100 person-years of follow-up, P = 0.007). Tolvaptan was associated with a slower decline in kidney function (reciprocal of the serum creatinine level, −2.61 [mg per milliliter]−1 per year vs. −3.81 [mg per milliliter]−1 per year; P<0.001). There were fewer ADPKD-related adverse events in the tolvaptan group but more events related to aquaresis (excretion of electrolyte-free water) and hepatic adverse events unrelated to ADPKD, contributing to a higher discontinuation rate (23%, vs. 14% in the placebo group).
Tolvaptan, as compared with placebo, slowed the increase in total kidney volume and the decline in kidney function over a 3-year period in patients with ADPKD but was associated with a higher discontinuation rate, owing to adverse events. (Funded by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization; TEMPO 3:4 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00428948.)
Data are lacking on whether lenalidomide maintenance therapy prolongs the time to disease progression after autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation in patients with multiple myeloma.
Between April 2005 and July 2009, we randomly assigned 460 patients who were younger than 71 years of age and had stable disease or a marginal, partial, or complete response 100 days after undergoing stem-cell transplantation to lenalidomide or placebo, which was administered until disease progression. The starting dose of lenalidomide was 10 mg per day (range, 5 to 15).
The study-drug assignments were unblinded in 2009, when a planned interim analysis showed a significantly longer time to disease progression in the lenalidomide group. At unblinding, 20% of patients who received lenalidomide and 44% of patients who received placebo had progressive disease or had died (P<0.001); of the remaining 128 patients who received placebo and who did not have progressive disease, 86 crossed over to lenalidomide. At a median follow-up of 34 months, 86 of 231 patients who received lenalidomide (37%) and 132 of 229 patients who received placebo (58%) had disease progression or had died. The median time to progression was 46 months in the lenalidomide group and 27 months in the placebo group (P<0.001). A total of 35 patients who received lenalidomide (15%) and 53 patients who received placebo (23%) died (P=0.03). More grade 3 or 4 hematologic adverse events and grade 3 non-hematologic adverse events occurred in patients who received lenalidomide (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Second primary cancers occurred in 18 patients who received lenalidomide (8%) and 6 patients who received placebo (3%).
Lenalidomide maintenance therapy, initiated at day 100 after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, was associated with more toxicity and second cancers but a significantly longer time to disease progression and significantly improved overall survival among patients with myeloma. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00114101.)
Approximately 50% of melanomas harbor activating (V600) mutations in the serine–threonine protein kinase B-RAF (BRAF). The oral BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (PLX4032) frequently produced tumor regressions in patients with BRAF V600–mutant metastatic melanoma in a phase 1 trial and improved overall survival in a phase 3 trial.
We designed a multicenter phase 2 trial of vemurafenib in patients with previously treated BRAF V600–mutant metastatic melanoma to investigate the efficacy of vemurafenib with respect to overall response rate (percentage of treated patients with a tumor response), duration of response, and overall survival. The primary end point was the overall response rate as ascertained by the independent review committee; overall survival was a secondary end point.
A total of 132 patients had a median follow-up of 12.9 months (range, 0.6 to 20.1). The confirmed overall response rate was 53% (95% confidence interval [CI], 44 to 62; 6% with a complete response and 47% with a partial response), the median duration of response was 6.7 months (95% CI, 5.6 to 8.6), and the median progression-free survival was 6.8 months (95% CI, 5.6 to 8.1). Primary progression was observed in only 14% of patients. Some patients had a response after receiving vemurafenib for more than 6 months. The median overall survival was 15.9 months (95% CI, 11.6 to 18.3). The most common adverse events were grade 1 or 2 arthralgia, rash, photosensitivity, fatigue, and alopecia. Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas (the majority, keratoacanthoma type) were diagnosed in 26% of patients.
Vemurafenib induces clinical responses in more than half of patients with previously treated BRAF V600–mutant metastatic melanoma. In this study with a long follow-up, the median overall survival was approximately 16 months. (Funded by Hoffmann–La Roche; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00949702.)
Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas are common findings in patients treated with BRAF inhibitors.
We performed a molecular analysis to identify oncogenic mutations (HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, CDKN2A, and TP53) in the lesions from patients treated with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib. An analysis of an independent validation set and functional studies with BRAF inhibitors in the presence of the prevalent RAS mutation was also performed.
Among 21 tumor samples, 13 had RAS mutations (12 in HRAS). In a validation set of 14 samples, 8 had RAS mutations (4 in HRAS). Thus, 60% (21 of 35) of the specimens harbored RAS mutations, the most prevalent being HRAS Q61L. Increased proliferation of HRAS Q61L–mutant cell lines exposed to vemurafenib was associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)–pathway signaling and activation of ERK-mediated transcription. In a mouse model of HRAS Q61L–mediated skin carcinogenesis, the vemurafenib analogue PLX4720 was not an initiator or a promoter of carcinogenesis but accelerated growth of the lesions harboring HRAS mutations, and this growth was blocked by concomitant treatment with a MEK inhibitor.
Mutations in RAS, particularly HRAS, are frequent in cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas that develop in patients treated with vemurafenib. The molecular mechanism is consistent with the paradoxical activation of MAPK signaling and leads to accelerated growth of these lesions. (Funded by Hoffmann–La Roche and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00405587, NCT00949702, NCT01001299, and NCT01006980.)
It is unknown whether warfarin or aspirin therapy is superior for patients with heart failure who are in sinus rhythm.
We designed this trial to determine whether warfarin (with a target international normalized ratio of 2.0 to 3.5) or aspirin (at a dose of 325 mg per day) is a better treatment for patients in sinus rhythm who have a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). We followed 2305 patients for up to 6 years (mean [±SD], 3.5±1.8). The primary outcome was the time to the first event in a composite end point of ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, or death from any cause.
The rates of the primary outcome were 7.47 events per 100 patient-years in the warfarin group and 7.93 in the aspirin group (hazard ratio with warfarin, 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 1.10; P = 0.40). Thus, there was no significant overall difference between the two treatments. In a time-varying analysis, the hazard ratio changed over time, slightly favoring warfarin over aspirin by the fourth year of follow-up, but this finding was only marginally significant (P = 0.046). Warfarin, as compared with aspirin, was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of ischemic stroke throughout the follow-up period (0.72 events per 100 patient-years vs. 1.36 per 100 patient-years; hazard ratio, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.82; P = 0.005). The rate of major hemorrhage was 1.78 events per 100 patient-years in the warfarin group as compared with 0.87 in the aspirin group (P<0.001). The rates of intracerebral and intracranial hemorrhage did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups (0.27 events per 100 patient-years with warfarin and 0.22 with aspirin, P = 0.82).
Among patients with reduced LVEF who were in sinus rhythm, there was no significant overall difference in the primary outcome between treatment with warfarin and treatment with aspirin. A reduced risk of ischemic stroke with warfarin was offset by an increased risk of major hemorrhage. The choice between warfarin and aspirin should be individualized.
Isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) belonging to a single lineage are often indistinguishable by means of current typing techniques. Whole-genome sequencing may provide improved resolution to define transmission pathways and characterize outbreaks.
We investigated a putative MRSA outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit. By using rapid high-throughput sequencing technology with a clinically relevant turnaround time, we retrospectively sequenced the DNA from seven isolates associated with the outbreak and another seven MRSA isolates associated with carriage of MRSA or bacteremia in the same hospital.
We constructed a phylogenetic tree by comparing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the core genome to a reference genome (an epidemic MRSA clone, EMRSA-15 [sequence type 22]). This revealed a distinct cluster of outbreak isolates and clear separation between these and the nonoutbreak isolates. A previously missed transmission event was detected between two patients with bacteremia who were not part of the outbreak. We created an artificial “resistome” of antibiotic-resistance genes and demonstrated concordance between it and the results of phenotypic susceptibility testing; we also created a “toxome” consisting of toxin genes. One outbreak isolate had a hypermutator phenotype with a higher number of SNPs than the other outbreak isolates, highlighting the difficulty of imposing a simple threshold for the number of SNPs between isolates to decide whether they are part of a recent transmission chain.
Whole-genome sequencing can provide clinically relevant data within a time frame that can influence patient care. The need for automated data interpretation and the provision of clinically meaningful reports represent hurdles to clinical implementation. (Funded by the U.K. Clinical Research Collaboration Translational Infection Research Initiative and others.)
There is debate about the value of assessing levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and other biomarkers of inflammation for the prediction of first cardiovascular events.
We analyzed data from 52 prospective studies that included 246,669 participants without a history of cardiovascular disease to investigate the value of adding CRP or fibrinogen levels to conventional risk factors for the prediction of cardiovascular risk. We calculated measures of discrimination and reclassification during follow-up and modeled the clinical implications of initiation of statin therapy after the assessment of CRP or fibrinogen.
The addition of information on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol to a prognostic model for cardiovascular disease that included age, sex, smoking status, blood pressure, history of diabetes, and total cholesterol level increased the C-index, a measure of risk discrimination, by 0.0050. The further addition to this model of information on CRP or fibrinogen increased the C-index by 0.0039 and 0.0027, respectively (P<0.001), and yielded a net reclassification improvement of 1.52% and 0.83%, respectively, for the predicted 10-year risk categories of “low” (<10%), “intermediate” (10% to <20%), and “high” (≥20%) (P<0.02 for both comparisons). We estimated that among 100,000 adults 40 years of age or older, 15,025 persons would initially be classified as being at intermediate risk for a cardiovascular event if conventional risk factors alone were used to calculate risk. Assuming that statin therapy would be initiated in accordance with Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines (i.e., for persons with a predicted risk of ≥20% and for those with certain other risk factors, such as diabetes, irrespective of their 10-year predicted risk), additional targeted assessment of CRP or fibrinogen levels in the 13,199 remaining participants at intermediate risk could help prevent approximately 30 additional cardiovascular events over the course of 10 years.
In a study of people without known cardiovascular disease, we estimated that under current treatment guidelines, assessment of the CRP or fibrinogen level in people at intermediate risk for a cardiovascular event could help prevent one additional event over a period of 10 years for every 400 to 500 people screened. (Funded by the British Heart Foundation and others.)
Homozygous loss-of-function mutations in TREM2, encoding the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 protein, have previously been associated with an autosomal recessive form of early-onset dementia.
We used genome, exome, and Sanger sequencing to analyze the genetic variability in TREM2 in a series of 1092 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 1107 controls (the discovery set). We then performed a meta-analysis on imputed data for the TREM2 variant rs75932628 (predicted to cause a R47H substitution) from three genomewide association studies of Alzheimer's disease and tested for the association of the variant with disease. We genotyped the R47H variant in an additional 1887 cases and 4061 controls. We then assayed the expression of TREM2 across different regions of the human brain and identified genes that are differentially expressed in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and in control mice.
We found significantly more variants in exon 2 of TREM2 in patients with Alzheimer's disease than in controls in the discovery set (P = 0.02). There were 22 variant alleles in 1092 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 5 variant alleles in 1107 controls (P<0.001). The most commonly associated variant, rs75932628 (encoding R47H), showed highly significant association with Alzheimer's disease (P<0.001). Meta-analysis of rs75932628 genotypes imputed from genomewide association studies confirmed this association (P = 0.002), as did direct genotyping of an additional series of 1887 patients with Alzheimer's disease and 4061 controls (P<0.001). Trem2 expression differed between control mice and a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
Heterozygous rare variants in TREM2 are associated with a significant increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease. (Funded by Alzheimer's Research UK and others.)
Sequence variants, including the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E, have been associated with the risk of the common late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease. Few rare variants affecting the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease have been found.
We obtained the genome sequences of 2261 Icelanders and identified sequence variants that were likely to affect protein function. We imputed these variants into the genomes of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and control participants and then tested for an association with Alzheimer’s disease. We performed replication tests using case–control series from the United States, Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany. We also tested for a genetic association with cognitive function in a population of unaffected elderly persons.
A rare missense mutation (rs75932628-T) in the gene encoding the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), which was predicted to result in an R47H substitution, was found to confer a significant risk of Alzheimer’s disease in Iceland (odds ratio, 2.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.09 to 4.09; P = 3.42×10−10). The mutation had a frequency of 0.46% in controls 85 years of age or older. We observed the association in additional sample sets (odds ratio, 2.90; 95% CI, 2.16 to 3.91; P = 2.1×10−12 in combined discovery and replication samples). We also found that carriers of rs75932628-T between the ages of 80 and 100 years without Alzheimer’s disease had poorer cognitive function than noncarriers (P = 0.003).
Our findings strongly implicate variant TREM2 in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Given the reported antiinflammatory role of TREM2 in the brain, the R47H substitution may lead to an increased predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease through impaired containment of inflammatory processes. (Funded by the National Institute on Aging and others.)
This interactive feature addresses the diagnosis or management of a clinical case. A case vignette is followed by specific clinical options, neither of which can be considered either correct or incorrect. In short essays, experts in the field then argue for each of the options. Readers can participate in forming community opinion by choosing one of the options and, if they like, providing their reasons.
Intracranial-pressure monitoring is considered the standard of care for severe traumatic brain injury and is used frequently, but the efficacy of treatment based on monitoring in improving the outcome has not been rigorously assessed.
We conducted a multicenter, controlled trial in which 324 patients 13 years of age or older who had severe traumatic brain injury and were being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) in Bolivia or Ecuador were randomly assigned to one of two specific protocols: guidelines-based management in which a protocol for monitoring intra-parenchymal intracranial pressure was used (pressure-monitoring group) or a protocol in which treatment was based on imaging and clinical examination (imaging–clinical examination group). The primary outcome was a composite of survival time, impaired consciousness, and functional status at 3 months and 6 months and neuro-psychological status at 6 months; neuropsychological status was assessed by an examiner who was unaware of protocol assignment. This composite measure was based on performance across 21 measures of functional and cognitive status and calculated as a percentile (with 0 indicating the worst performance, and 100 the best performance).
There was no significant between-group difference in the primary outcome, a composite measure based on percentile performance across 21 measures of functional and cognitive status (score, 56 in the pressure-monitoring group vs. 53 in the imaging–clinical examination group; P = 0.49). Six-month mortality was 39% in the pressure-monitoring group and 41% in the imaging–clinical examination group (P = 0.60). The median length of stay in the ICU was similar in the two groups (12 days in the pressure-monitoring group and 9 days in the imaging–clinical examination group; P = 0.25), although the number of days of brain-specific treatments (e.g., administration of hyperosmolar fluids and the use of hyperventilation) in the ICU was higher in the imaging–clinical examination group than in the pressure-monitoring group (4.8 vs. 3.4, P = 0.002). The distribution of serious adverse events was similar in the two groups.
For patients with severe traumatic brain injury, care focused on maintaining monitored intracranial pressure at 20 mm Hg or less was not shown to be superior to care based on imaging and clinical examination. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01068522.)
T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia is a rare lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by the expansion of clonal CD3+CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and often associated with autoimmune disorders and immune-mediated cytopenias.
We used next-generation exome sequencing to identify somatic mutations in CTLs from an index patient with large granular lymphocytic leukemia. Targeted resequencing was performed in a well-characterized cohort of 76 patients with this disorder, characterized by clonal T-cell–receptor rearrangements and increased numbers of large granular lymphocytes.
Mutations in the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 gene (STAT3) were found in 31 of 77 patients (40%) with large granular lymphocytic leukemia. Among these 31 patients, recurrent mutational hot spots included Y640F in 13 (17%), D661V in 7 (9%), D661Y in 7 (9%), and N647I in 3 (4%). All mutations were located in exon 21, encoding the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain, which mediates the dimerization and activation of STAT protein. The amino acid changes resulted in a more hydrophobic protein surface and were associated with phosphorylation of STAT3 and its localization in the nucleus. In vitro functional studies showed that the Y640F and D661V mutations increased the transcriptional activity of STAT3. In the affected patients, downstream target genes of the STAT3 pathway (IFNGR2, BCL2L1, and JAK2) were up-regulated. Patients with STAT3 mutations presented more often with neutropenia and rheumatoid arthritis than did patients without these mutations.
The SH2 dimerization and activation domain of STAT3 is frequently mutated in patients with large granular lymphocytic leukemia; these findings suggest that aberrant STAT3 signaling underlies the pathogenesis of this disease. (Funded by the Academy of Finland and others.)
Ultrafiltration is an alternative strategy to diuretic therapy for the treatment of patients with acute decompensated heart failure. Little is known about the efficacy and safety of ultrafiltration in patients with acute decompensated heart failure complicated by persistent congestion and worsened renal function.
We randomly assigned a total of 188 patients with acute decompensated heart failure, worsened renal function, and persistent congestion to a strategy of stepped pharmacologic therapy (94 patients) or ultrafiltration (94 patients). The primary end point was the bivariate change from baseline in the serum creatinine level and body weight, as assessed 96 hours after random assignment. Patients were followed for 60 days.
Ultrafiltration was inferior to pharmacologic therapy with respect to the bivariate end point of the change in the serum creatinine level and body weight 96 hours after enrollment (P=0.003), owing primarily to an increase in the creatinine level in the ultrafiltration group. At 96 hours, the mean change in the creatinine level was −0.04±0.53 mg per deciliter (−3.5±46.9 μmol per liter) in the pharmacologic-therapy group, as compared with +0.23±0.70 mg per deciliter (20.3±61.9 μmol per liter) in the ultrafiltration group (P=0.003). There was no significant difference in weight loss 96 hours after enrollment between patients in the pharmacologic-therapy group and those in the ultrafiltration group (a loss of 5.5±5.1 kg [12.1±11.3 lb] and 5.7±3.9 kg [12.6±8.5 lb], respectively; P=0.58). A higher percentage of patients in the ultrafiltration group than in the pharmacologic-therapy group had a serious adverse event (72% vs. 57%, P=0.03).
In a randomized trial involving patients hospitalized for acute decompensated heart failure, worsened renal function, and persistent congestion, the use of a stepped pharmacologic-therapy algorithm was superior to a strategy of ultrafiltration for the preservation of renal function at 96 hours, with a similar amount of weight loss with the two approaches. Ultrafiltration was associated with a higher rate of adverse events.
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with accelerated loss of lung function and death. Identification of patients at risk for these events, particularly those requiring hospitalization, is of major importance. Severe pulmonary hypertension is an important complication of advanced COPD and predicts acute exacerbations, though pulmonary vascular abnormalities also occur early in the course of the disease. We hypothesized that a computed tomographic (CT) metric of pulmonary vascular disease (pulmonary artery enlargement, as determined by a ratio of the diameter of the pulmonary artery to the diameter of the aorta [PA:A ratio] of >1) would be associated with severe COPD exacerbations.
We conducted a multicenter, observational trial that enrolled current and former smokers with COPD. We determined the association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history at enrollment of severe exacerbations requiring hospitalization and then examined the usefulness of the ratio as a predictor of these events in a longitudinal follow-up of this cohort, as well as in an external validation cohort. We used logistic-regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses and adjusted for known risk factors for exacerbation.
Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed a significant association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history of severe exacerbations at the time of enrollment in the trial (odds ratio, 4.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43 to 6.65; P<0.001). A PA:A ratio of more than 1 was also independently associated with an increased risk of future severe exacerbations in both the trial cohort (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% CI, 2.78 to 4.25; P<0.001) and the external validation cohort (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 2.11 to 3.71; P<0.001). In both cohorts, among all the variables analyzed, a PA:A ratio of more than 1 had the strongest association with severe exacerbations.
Pulmonary artery enlargement (a PA:A ratio of >1), as detected by CT, was associated with severe exacerbations of COPD. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00608764 and NCT00292552.)