Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) has been considered as the treatment of choice for patients with high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (i.e., refractory to purine analogues, short response (< 24 months) to chemoimmunotherapy, and/or presence of 17p-/TP53 mutations). Currently, treatment algorithms for HR-CLL are being challenged by the introduction of novel classes of drugs. Among them, BCR-signal inhibitors (BCRi) and BCL2 antagonists (BCL2a) appear particularly promising. As a result of the growing body of favourable outcome data reported for BCRi/BCL2a, uncertainty is emerging on how to advise patients with high-risk CLL about indication and timing of HSCT. This position paper provides an overview of currently available evidence and theoretical considerations to guide this difficult decision process. As long as the risks and benefits of different treatment strategies are not settled, all patients with high-risk CLL should be considered for treatment with BCRi/BCL2a. For those patients responding to these agents there are two treatment possibilities: (1) performing an HSCT, and (2) to continue on the novel drug. Individual disease-specific and transplant-related risk factors, along with patient's preferences, should be taken into account when advising one of these treatments over the other.
A number of single nucleotide polymorphisms have been associated with disease predisposition in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the MDM2 promotor region, MDM2SNP309, was shown to soothe the p53 pathway. In the current study, we aimed to clarify the effect of the MDM2SNP309 on chronic lymphocytic leukemia characteristics and outcome. We performed a meta-analysis of data from 2598 individual patients from 10 different cohorts. Patients' data and genetic analysis for MDM2SNP309 genotype, immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region mutation status and fluorescence in situ hybridization results were collected. There were no differences in overall survival based on the polymorphism (log rank test, stratified by study cohort; P=0.76; GG genotype: cohort-adjusted median overall survival of 151 months; TG: 153 months; TT: 149 months). In a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, advanced age, male sex and unmutated immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region genes were associated with inferior survival, but not the MDM2 genotype. The MDM2SNP309 is unlikely to influence disease characteristics and prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Studies investigating the impact of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms on prognosis are often controversial. This may be due to selection bias and small sample size. A meta-analysis based on individual patient data provides a reasonable strategy for prognostic factor analyses in the case of small individual studies. Individual patient data-based meta-analysis can, therefore, be a powerful tool to assess genetic risk factors in the absence of large studies.
We investigated the clinico-biological features, outcomes, and prognosis of 949 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia according to age. No biological differences (cytogenetics by fluorescent in situ hybridization, IGHV, ZAP-70, CD38, NOTCH1, SF3B1) were found across age groups. Elderly patients (>70 years; n=367) presented more frequently with advanced disease (Binet C/Rai III-IV: 10/12% versus 5/5%; P<0.001), were treated less frequently (23.8% versus 41.9% at 3 years; P<0.001) and in most cases did not receive highly effective regimens and thus had a lower overall response rate (49% with 14% having complete responses versus 69% with 31% having complete responses; P<0.001). The elderly patients also had a shorter overall survival (6.6 versus 13.3 years; P<0.001) and higher disease-unrelated mortality (34.9% versus 6.9% at 10 years; P<0.001). However, disease-attributable mortality was not significantly different between younger and older patients. A combination of Binet stage, ZAP-70 level, ?2-microglobulin concentration and comorbidity identified two risk groups (low-risk: 0-1 parameters; high-risk: 2-4 parameters) with different overall survivals (median: 6.8 versus 11.4 years, P<0.001). In patients requiring treatment, comorbidity at treatment (Cumulative Illness Rating Scale-T>4; hazard ratio 2.2, P<0.001) and response (treatment failure versus response: hazard ratio 1.60, P<0.04) were the most important prognostic factors for overall survival. In conclusion, in our series, elderly patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia did not present with any biological features distinct from those of younger patients, but did have a poorer clinical outcome. This study highlights the importance of comprehensive medical care, achieving response to therapy, and specific management strategies for elderly patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a neoplasia characterized by the rapid expansion of immature myeloid blasts in the bone marrow, and marked by poor prognosis and frequent relapse. As such, new therapeutic approaches are required for remission induction and prevention of relapse. Due to the higher chemotherapy sensitivity and limited life span of more differentiated AML blasts, differentiation-based therapies are a promising therapeutic approach. Based on public available gene expression profiles, a myeloid-specific differentiation-associated gene expression pattern was defined as the therapeutic target. A XIAP inhibitor (Dequalinium chloride, DQA) was identified in an in silico screening searching for small molecules that induce similar gene expression regulation. Treatment with DQA, similarly to Embelin (another XIAP inhibitor), induced cytotoxicity and differentiation in AML. XIAP inhibition differentially impaired cell viability of the most primitive AML blasts and reduced clonogenic capacity of AML cells, sparing healthy mature blood and hematopoietic stem cells. Taken together, these results suggest that XIAP constitutes a potential target for AML treatment and support the evaluation of XIAP inhibitors in clinical trials.
Chemoimmunotherapy is the gold standard of therapy for patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), resulting in high and durable complete response rates. However, all patients eventually relapse and CLL remains incurable. Newer and more rationally developed compounds are needed to improve CLL therapy, particularly in cases of refractory disease.
The effectiveness of rituximab maintenance therapy in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia has been investigated in a phase 2 clinical trial that included an initial treatment with rituximab 500 mg/m2 on day 1 (375 mg/m2 the first cycle), fludarabine 25 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3, cyclophosphamide 200 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3, and mitoxantrone 6 mg/m2 on day 1 (R-FCM), for 6 cycles, followed by a maintenance phase with rituximab 375 mg/m2 every 3 months for 2 years. Sixty-seven patients having achieved complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) with R-FCM were given maintenance therapy. At the end of maintenance, 40.6% of patients were in CR with negative minimal residual disease (MRD), 40.6% were in CR MRD-positive, 4.8% remained in PR, and 14% were considered failures. Six of 29 patients (21%) who were in CR MRD-positive or in PR after R-FCM improved their response upon rituximab maintenance. The 4-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival rates were 74.8% and 93.7%, respectively. MRD status after R-FCM induction was the strongest predictor of PFS. Maintenance with rituximab after R-FCM improved the quality of the response, particularly in patients MRD-positive after initial treatment, and obtained a prolonged PFS. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu as identifier #2005-001569-33.
The two tumour necrosis factor family proteins BAFF (TNFSF13B) and APRIL (TNFSF13) and their receptors [BAFF-R (TNFRSF13C), TACI (TNFRSF13B), BCMA (TNFRSF17)] play a critical role in the survival of normal B cells. The sensitivity of normal B cells to BAFF and APRIL can be modulated by signals regulated by their receptors. This modulation, however, has not been extensively investigated in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells. We evaluated the expression, regulation and signalling of BAFF and APRIL receptors in normal and in CLL cells upon stimulation through CD40+IL4R and BCR. We further analysed the prognostic value of BAFF and APRIL receptors expression in patients with CLL. BCMA expression was significantly higher on CLL cells than on normal B cells. BCR and CD40+IL4R stimulation promoted an increase in TACI and BCMA expression, cell viability and activation in normal B cells. A similar effect was observed in CLL cells after CD40+IL4R but not BCR stimulation. BCMA expression correlated with unmutated IGHV genes, poor-risk cytogenetics, and short progression-free survival. These findings further characterize the link between CD40+IL4R regulatory signals, BAFF, APRIL and their receptors and the survival of leukaemic cells and clinical features of CLL.
The combination of purine analogues (PA) and rituximab (chemoimmunotherapy) is considered the treatment of choice for CLL. The aim of this study was to determine whether chemoimmunotherapy prolonged the overall survival in patients with CLL from a single center.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is frequently associated with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). However, the mechanisms governing the association between CLL and AIHA are poorly understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been associated with different clinico-biological forms of CLL and are also known to play a substantial role in autoimmunity. However, there are no studies correlating miRNA expression with the likelihood that patients with CLL will develop AIHA. In this study, we found that malignant B-cells from patients with CLL subsequently developing AIHA present nine down-regulated (i.e. miR-19a, miR-20a, miR-29c, miR-146b-5p, miR-186, miR-223, miR-324-3p, miR-484 and miR-660) miRNAs. Interestingly, two of these miRNAs (i.e. miR-20a and miR-146b-5p) are involved in autoimmune phenomena, and one (i.e. miR-146b-5p) in both autoimmunity and CLL. Furthermore, we demonstrated that miR-146b-5p modulates CD80, a molecule associated with the B-T-cell synapse and in restoration of the antigen presenting cell capacity of CLL cells.
The analysis of chromosomal abnormalities provides significant prognostic information in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), a disease with a highly heterogeneous clinical course. Chromosomal abnormalities commonly found are trisomy 12, del(13)(q14), del(11)(q22-23), del(17)(p13) and del(6)(q21). Translocations are present in some patients and affect regions recurrently involved in CLL. This report describes the clinical and pathological characteristics of four CLL patients showing a new recurrent chromosomal abnormality dic(8;17)(p11;p11), that implied loss of the TP53 gene in all cases. In addition, TP53 gene was mutated in three out of four patients. Mechanically, Low Copy Repeats (LCR) in 17p12 and 8p11 may explain the origin of the translocation by non-allelic homologous recombination (NAHR). Isolated dic(8;17)(p11;p11) in patients with mutated IGHV genes status may not have the same prognostic impact as other mutations or deletions affecting the TP53 gene. Larger series are needed to better evaluate the clinical impact of this chromosomal aberration during the course of the disease.
B-cell activating factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL) are regulators of normal B-cell development and survival. We investigated their role in chronic lymphocyticleukemia (CLL) by relating serum protein levels and CLL cell mRNA expression with clinical factors and disease progression. In patients with CLL, BAFF serum levels were significantly lower than in controls (0.64 ng/mL vs. 0.77 ng/mL, p = 0.014), and APRIL serum levels were significantly higher (4.10 ng/mL vs. 1.84 ng/mL, p = 0.041). CLL cells expressed BAFF and APRIL mRNA at lower levels than normal B-cells. Low BAFF serum levels were significantly correlated with a high blood lymphocyte count and advanced clinical stage, whereas APRIL levels were correlated with CD38 expression. In a multivariate analysis, the combined analysis of BAFF and APRIL serum levels emerged as an independent predictor of disease progression.
Few large, international series of enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL) have been reported. We studied a cohort of 62 patients with EATL among 1153 patients with peripheral T-cell or natural killer (NK)-cell lymphoma from 22 centers worldwide. The diagnosis was made by a consensus panel of 4 expert hematopathologists using World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Clinical correlations and survival analyses were performed. EATL comprised 5.4% of all lymphomas in the study and was most common in Europe (9.1%), followed by North America (5.8%) and Asia (1.9%). EATL type 1 was more common (66%) than type 2 (34%), and was especially frequent in Europe (79%). A clinical diagnosis of celiac sprue was made in 32.2% of the patients and was associated with both EATL type 1 and type 2. The median overall survival was only 10 months, and the median failure-free survival was only 6 months. The International Prognostic Index (IPI) was not as good a predictor of survival as the Prognostic Index for Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma (PIT). Clinical sprue predicted for adverse survival independently of the PIT. Neither EATL subtype nor other biologic parameters accurately predicted survival. Our study confirms the poor prognosis of patients with EATL and the need for improved treatment options.
Autoimmune cytopenia, especially autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), appears in 5-10% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). In these patients, the prognosis is not as poor as in those cases in which the cytopenia is due to a massive bone marrow infiltration by the disease, and their treatment requires special considerations. For these reasons, the diagnosis of autoimmune cytopenia should be entertained in any patient with CLL presenting with cytopenia. In patients with autoimmune cytopenia and CLL, treatment is as for idiopathic autoimmune cytopenia, with most patients responding to corticosteroids. For patients not responding to corticosteroids, splenectomy is a reasonable treatment choice. Monoclonal antibodies and thrombopoietin analogues have shown enough activity to support their use, especially within clinical studies, in selected cases not responding to corticosteroids and before splenectomy. In patients with resistant immune cytopenia, the most effective treatment is that of the underlying CLL. Fear of fludarabine-associated AIHA is no longer appropriate in the age of chemo-immunotherapy. Finally, prospective studies are required to better identify the optimal therapy for these patients.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with some B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B cell-NHLs). Patients with HCV infection frequently show co-infections with GB virus C (GBV-C, formerly known as hepatitis G virus), and some studies have suggested a higher incidence of GBV-C infection in patients with B cell-NHLs. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the association between HCV and/or GBV-C infection and B cell-NHLs in different geographic areas. One hundred thirty-seven lymphoma cases and 125 non-lymphoma matched controls were enrolled in an international case-control study conducted in Switzerland (Bellinzona), Spain (Barcelona) and England (Southampton) on samples collected from 2001 to 2002. In Bellinzona (41 cases and 81 controls), the overall prevalence of HCV was 3.3% (4.9% in NHLs), and the overall prevalence of GBV-C was 24% (22% in NHLs). In Barcelona (46 cases and 44 controls), the prevalence of HCV was 10% (8.7% in NHLs) and the prevalence of GBV-C 20% (13% in NHLs). There was no statistically significant difference in the frequency of both infections between patients with NHL and controls. In Southampton, 50 NHL cases were analysed, none of them was found to be HCV-positive; therefore, no control group was analysed and GBV-C analysis was not performed, too. Both in Bellinzona and in Barcelona, the seropositivity rate was significantly lower for HCV than for GBV-C, suggesting that their transmission can be independent. The incidence of HCV was significantly higher in Barcelona than that in Bellinzona. This study confirmed the existence of marked geographic differences in the prevalence of HCV in NHL but cannot provide any significant evidence for an association between HCV and/or GBV-C and B-cell NHLs.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most frequent leukaemia in adults in Western countries, is a heterogeneous disease with variable clinical presentation and evolution. Two major molecular subtypes can be distinguished, characterized respectively by a high or low number of somatic hypermutations in the variable region of immunoglobulin genes. The molecular changes leading to the pathogenesis of the disease are still poorly understood. Here we performed whole-genome sequencing of four cases of CLL and identified 46 somatic mutations that potentially affect gene function. Further analysis of these mutations in 363 patients with CLL identified four genes that are recurrently mutated: notch 1 (NOTCH1), exportin 1 (XPO1), myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MYD88) and kelch-like 6 (KLHL6). Mutations in MYD88 and KLHL6 are predominant in cases of CLL with mutated immunoglobulin genes, whereas NOTCH1 and XPO1 mutations are mainly detected in patients with unmutated immunoglobulins. The patterns of somatic mutation, supported by functional and clinical analyses, strongly indicate that the recurrent NOTCH1, MYD88 and XPO1 mutations are oncogenic changes that contribute to the clinical evolution of the disease. To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive analysis of CLL combining whole-genome sequencing with clinical characteristics and clinical outcomes. It highlights the usefulness of this approach for the identification of clinically relevant mutations in cancer.
Follicular lymphoma (FL), a typically nodal disease, can arise in extranodal sites in about 10% of cases. The present study aimed to analyse the main differential features of patients with primary extranodal FL. Thirty-nine patients with primary extranodal FL were identified from a series of 354 patients with FL diagnosed at a single institution and their main clinicobiological features were analysed. Twenty patients (5·6%) had a primary extranodal non-cutaneous FL, and 19 (5·4%) a cutaneous FL. BCL2(+) and CD10(+) expression and BCL2/IGHJ@ rearrangement were less frequently observed in cutaneous FL. Absence of B-symptoms, early stage, absence of bone marrow involvement and low-risk Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) were more frequent in extranodal FL. Five-year overall survival (OS) was 100%, 83% and 78% for cutaneous, non-cutaneous and nodal FL, respectively. When stage I patients were analysed separately, no differences were seen in terms of OS. In multivariate analysis, FLIPI was the most important variable to predict outcome. In conclusion, extranodal FLs, particularly cutaneous, have particular clinico-biological features, which differentiate them from nodal cases. Nevertheless, primary site of the disease is not the main issue to predict outcome.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is frequently associated with immune disturbances. The relationship between chronic lymphocytic leukemia and autoimmune cytopenias, particularly autoimmune hemolytic anemia and immune thrombocytopenia, is well established. The responsible mechanisms, particularly the role of leukemic cells in orchestrating the production of polyclonal autoantibodies, are increasingly well understood. Recent studies show that autoimmune cytopenia is not necessarily associated with poor prognosis. On the contrary, patients with anemia or thrombocytopenia due to immune mechanisms have a better outcome than those in whom these features are due to bone marrow infiltration by the disease. Moreover, fears about the risk of autoimmune hemolysis following single agent fludarabine may no longer be appropriate in the age of chemo-immunotherapy regimens. However, treatment of patients with active hemolysis may pose important problems needing an individualized and clinically sound approach. The concept that autoimmune cytopenia may precede the leukemia should be revisited in the light of recent data showing that autoimmune cytopenia may be observed in monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis, a condition that can only be detected by using sensitive flow cytometry techniques. On the other hand, there is no evidence of an increased risk of non-hemic autoimmune disorders in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Likewise, there is no epidemiological proof of an increased risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients with non-hemic autoimmunity. Finally, since immune disorders are an important part of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, studies aimed at revealing the mechanisms linking the neoplastic and the immune components of the disease should help our understanding of this form of leukemia.
Over the past several years, we have witnessed rapid advances in our understanding of the biology and treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). New prognostic factors have been characterized that help identify patients at high risk of rapid disease progression, refractoriness to treatment, and short overall survival (OS). These advances have led to a significant paradigm shift in the management of CLL. Novel therapeutic strategies, including combinations of monoclonal antibodies with conventional chemotherapy, have dramatically improved response rates, remission duration, and recently, OS. However, these benefits do not appear to extend to certain patient subsets, especially those with unfavorable clinical or cytogenetic risk factors. The majority of patients with CLL will invariably relapse following first-line therapy and can acquire high-risk genetic abnormalities. Repeated treatment leads to eventual therapeutic refractoriness and shortened survival compared with age-matched healthy individuals. Several novel agents and strategies, including next-generation anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, the alkylating agent bendamustine, the immunomodulatory agent lenalidomide, the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol, and small-molecule Bcl2 inhibitors, are currently under clinical investigation as novel agents that will hopefully improve treatment outcomes for CLL. Though allogeneic stem cell transplantation offers curative potential, it also presents clinical challenges in terms of patient appropriateness, donor availability, and timing. The merits and challenges of incorporating these treatment modalities into the treatment algorithm for patients with CLL, as discussed by a panel of experts in CLL, are outlined in this article.
We analyzed prevalence, characteristics, clinical correlates, and prognostic significance of autoimmune cytopenia in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Seventy of 960 unselected patients (7%) had autoimmune cytopenia, of whom 19 were detected at diagnosis, 3 before diagnosis, and 48 during the course of the disease. Forty-nine patients had autoimmune hemolytic anemia, 20 had immune thrombocytopenic purpura, and 1 had both conditions. A clear association was observed between autoimmune cytopenia and poor prognostic variables (ie, high blood lymphocyte count, rapid blood lymphocyte doubling time, increased serum ?-2 microglobulin level, and high expression of ?-associated protein 70 and CD38). Nevertheless, the outcome of patients with autoimmune cytopenia as a whole was not significantly different from that of patients without this complication. Furthermore, no differences were observed according to time at which cytopenia was detected (ie, at diagnosis, during course of disease). Importantly, patients with advanced (Binet stage C) disease because of an autoimmune mechanism had a significantly better survival than patients in advanced stage related to a massive bone marrow infiltration (median survivals: 7.4 years vs 3.7 years; P = .02). These results emphasize the importance of determining the origin of cytopenia in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia for both treatment and prognostic purposes.
The concept of "accelerated" chronic lymphocytic leukemia is frequently used by both pathologists and clinicians. However, neither histological criteria to define this form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia nor its clinical correlates and prognostic impact have been formally defined in large series of patients.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is typically a very aggressive disease with poor outcomes, but some cases display an indolent behavior that might not necessitate treatment at diagnosis. To define molecular criteria that might permit recognition of such cases, we compared the clinicopathologic features, gene expression, and genomic profile of patients who had indolent or conventional disease (iMCL or cMCL). Patients with iMCL displayed nonnodal leukemic disease with predominantly hypermutated IGVH and noncomplex karyotypes. iMCL and cMCL shared a common gene expression profile that differed from other leukemic lymphoid neoplasms. However, we identified a signature of 13 genes that was highly expressed in cMCL but underexpressed in iMCL. SOX11 was notable in this signature and we confirmed a restriction of SOX11 protein expression to cMCL. To validate the potential use of SOX11 as a biomarker for cMCL, we evaluated SOX11 protein expression in an independent series of 112 cases of MCL. Fifteen patients with SOX11-negative tumors exhibited more frequent nonnodal presentation and better survival compared with 97 patients with SOX11-positive MCL (5-year overall survival of 78% versus 36%, respectively; P = 0.001). In conclusion, we defined nonnodal presentation, predominantly hypermutated IGVH, lack of genomic complexity, and absence of SOX11 expression as qualities of a specific subtype of iMCL with excellent outcomes that might be managed more conservatively than cMCL.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are negative regulators of expression of genes involved in hematopoiesis. The present study sought to link hematopoiesis-relevant miRNAs with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and MDS progression to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We assessed 25 mature miRNAs in total RNA from bone marrow (BM) and peripheral blood (PB) of 25 newly diagnosed patients with MDS and 12 controls. Twelve miRNAs in BM and six in PB were differentially expressed between patients with MDS and controls. Three of these miRNAs, belonging to the cluster 17-92, were overexpressed in both BM and PB. miR-15a in BM ( p = 0.034) and miR-16 in PB ( p = 0.005) were differentially expressed between low-risk and high-risk groups. miR-222 ( p = 0.0023) and miR-181a ( p = 0.014) expression was higher in AML than in MDS in both BM and PB. This study adds further evidence to the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis of MDS and their transformation into AML.
The proliferation of new techniques that allow a multiparametric study of gene expression, the mutational state of genomic DNA, DNA methylation and the phosphorylation of receptor and adaptor proteins has led to an increased understanding of the origin of different cancers, the definition of new prognosis markers and the response to treatment profiles. Gene profiling studies on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) are at the origin of new prognosis markers such as zeta-associated protein-70 (ZAP-70), LPL and CLLU1, which, at present, are under study for their application to clinical practice. An increased resolution in the mutational state at genomic level has underscored the importance of deletion 13q14 at the origin of CLL and 13q and 17p in response to treatment. Some new insights regarding changes in gene expression in CLL cells depending on the microenvironment have been described, but more work is yet to be done in the field.
The addition of monoclonal antibodies to chemotherapy has significantly improved treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Based on excellent results with the chemotherapy-only regimen fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and mitoxantrone (FCM), we built a new chemoimmunotherapy combination--rituximab plus FCM (R-FCM). We report a phase II clinical trial consisting of an initial treatment with R-FCM followed by rituximab maintenance.
The behavior of classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is determined by both the intrinsic features of the tumor cells and the characteristics of the microenvironment, making the analysis of entire lymph nodes an effective approach to understanding the disease. We examined the influence of our previously reported 25-microRNA signature for cHL on clinical outcome in 89 homogeneously treated cHL patients with a median follow-up of 80 months. Patients with low miR-135a expression had a higher probability of relapse (P = .04) and a shorter disease-free survival (P = .02). Functional analysis of cHL cell lines showed that mature miR-135a levels increased after pre-miR-135a transfection, causing apoptosis and decreased cell growth. Target analysis showed a direct regulation by miR-135a of JAK2, a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase involved in a specific subset of cytokine receptor signaling pathways. miR-135a-mediated JAK2 down-regulation led to decreased mRNA and protein levels of the antiapoptotic gene Bcl-xL, suggesting a role for Bcl-xL in miR-135a/JAK2-mediated apoptosis. Our findings confirm the critical role of miR-135a in the survival of cHL cells and in the prognosis of cHL patients, indicating that novel treatment approaches targeting miR-135a may potentially benefit these patients.
The combination of the neoplastic accumulation of mature B lymphocytes with the presence of autoimmune phenomena is a characteristic finding in chronic B cell lymphoproliferative disorders, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Identification of mechanisms linking neoplasia to the autoimmune defects is important for a better understanding and improving the treatment of these conditions. Among such mechanisms, the B cell activator factor (BAFF) and a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), two members of the tumor necrosis factor family, play an important role. BAFF and APRIL have both been associated with autoimmunity, with their underlying mechanism of action most likely being related to the rescue of autoreactive B cells. In addition, BAFF and APRIL are crucial in B cell development and homeostasis particularly via the activation of NF-kappaB pathway-mediated survival signals. These two proteins, therefore, constitute a paradigm of pathophysiological defects linking neoplasia and autoimmunity, thereby providing a better understanding of chronic B cell lymphoproliferative disorders.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is an incurable disease derived from the monoclonal expansion of CD5(+) B lymphocytes. High expression levels of ZAP-70 or CD38 and deletions of 17p13 (TP53) and 11q22-q23 (ATM) are associated with poorer overall survival and shorter time to disease progression. DNA damage and p53 play a pivotal role in apoptosis induction in response to conventional chemotherapy, because deletions of ATM or p53 identify CLL patients with resistance to treatment. Forodesine is a transition-state inhibitor of the purine nucleoside phosphorylase with antileukemic activity. We show that forodesine is highly cytotoxic as single agent or in combination with bendamustine and rituximab in primary leukemic cells from CLL patients regardless of CD38/ZAP-70 expression and p53 or ATM deletion. Forodesine activates the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway by decreasing the levels of antiapoptotic MCL-1 protein and induction of proapoptotic BIM protein. Forodesine induces transcriptional up-regulation of p73, a p53-related protein able to overcome the resistance to apoptosis of CLL cells lacking functional p53. Remarkably, no differences in these apoptotic markers were observed based on p53 or ATM status. In conclusion, forodesine induces apoptosis of CLL cells bypassing the DNA-damage/ATM/p53 pathway and might represent a novel chemotherapeutic approach that deserves clinical investigation.
Constitutive nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Our purpose was to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying for the selective IkappaB kinase inhibitor BMS-345541 in CLL cells together with the analysis of its combination with several antineoplasic drugs.
Tumor microenvironment influences the behavior of follicular lymphoma (FL), although the specific cell subsets involved are not well known. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) -positive inhibitory immunoregulatory lymphoid cells in the clinicobiologic features and outcome of patients with FL.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells proliferate in pseudofollicles within the lymphatic tissues, where signals from the microenvironment and BCR signaling drive the expansion of the CLL clone. Mobilization of tissue-resident cells into the blood removes CLL cells from this nurturing milieu and sensitizes them to cytotoxic drugs. This concept recently gained momentum after the clinical activity of kinase inhibitors that target BCR signaling (spleen tyrosine kinase, Bruton tyrosine kinase, PI3K? inhibitors) was established. Besides antiproliferative activity, these drugs cause CLL cell redistribution with rapid lymph node shrinkage, along with a transient surge in lymphocytosis, before inducing objective remissions. Inactivation of critical CLL homing mechanism (chemokine receptors, adhesion molecules), thwarting tissue retention and recirculation into the tissues, appears to be the basis for this striking clinical activity. This effect of BCR-signaling inhibitors resembles redistribution of CLL cells after glucocorticoids, described as early as in the 1940s. As such, we are witnessing a renaissance of the concept of leukemia cell redistribution in modern CLL therapy. Here, we review the molecular basis of CLL cell trafficking, homing, and redistribution and similarities between old and new drugs affecting these processes. In addition, we outline how these discoveries are changing our understanding of CLL biology and therapy.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia among adults in Western countries. Chromosomal abnormalities commonly found using conventional cytogenetics and FISH are del(11)(q22-23), trisomy 12, del(13)(q14), and del(17)(p13). Trisomy 12 is the most frequent numerical abnormality in CLL. It can appear isolated or associated with other chromosomal aberrations, including t(14;18)(q32;q21) and trisomy 18. The aim of this study was to determine whether CLL patients with isolated trisomy 12 or associated with other chromosomal alterations have different clinico-pathological features, including a different distribution NOTCH1 mutation. Patients were classified into four groups: Group 1, isolated trisomy 12 (n=14); Group 2, trisomy 12 plus trisomy 18 (n=4); Group 3, trisomy 12 plus t(14;18) (n=8); and Group 4: patients with trisomy 12 plus other abnormalities not involving BCL2 (n=28). The Binet stage and expression of ZAP70 were significantly different among cytogenetic groups. NOTCH1 mutations were detected in 6/12 (50%) patients from Group 1, 4/25 (16%) patients from Group 4, and in no patient from groups 2 and 3 (P=0.020). Patients in Group 2 had a more rapid disease progression (median Treatment-free Survival 2 months) as against patients from Groups 1 (50 months), 3 (69 months), or 4 (68 months; P=0.001). These findings indicate that the distribution of NOTCH1 mutations in CLL with trisomy 12 is heterogeneous and that the presence of additional chromosomal abnormalities such as trisomy 18 could change the prognosis of these patients.
Chemoimmunotherapy is the new gold standard of therapy for patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, in spite of the high complete response rate achieved with chemoimmunotherapy, all patients eventually relapse and CLL is still incurable. Newer and more rationally developed compounds are clearly needed for these patients, in particular those with refractory disease. Among these agents, novel monoclonal antibodies, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, chromokine receptor antagonists, lenalidomide, signal transduction inhibitors and pro-apoptotic molecules have recently shown some efficacy in patients with relapsed or refractory disease. Hopefully, the combined use of these agents in risk-adapted treatment strategies will improve the outcome of patients with CLL and set the stage for their cure.
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