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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
The NOTCH pathway is recurrently mutated in diffuse large B cell lymphoma associated with hepatitis C virus infection.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 11-09-2014
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Hepatitis C virus has been found to be associated with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas, mostly marginal zone lymphomas and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Deregulation of signaling pathways involved in normal marginal zone development (NOTCH pathway, NF-?B, and BCR signaling) has been demonstrated in splenic marginal zone lymphoma. We studied mutations of NOTCH pathway signaling in 46 patients with hepatitis C virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and in 64 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma unrelated to HCV. NOTCH2 mutations were detected in 9/46 (20%) hepatitis C virus-positive patients, and NOTCH1 mutations in 2/46 (4%). By contrast, only 1/64 HCV-negative patients had a NOTCH1 or NOTCH2 mutation. The frequency of the NOTCH pathway lesions was significantly higher in hepatitis C virus- positive patients (P=.002). The 5-year overall survival was 27% (95% CI, 5%-56%) for hepatitis C virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients carrying a NOTCH pathway mutation versus 62% (95%CI: 42%-77%) for those without these genetic lesions. By univariate analysis, age >60 years, NOTCH2 mutation, and any mutation of the NOTCH pathway (NOTCH2, NOTCH1, SPEN) were associated with shorter overall survival. Mutation of the NOTCH pathway retained an independent significance (P=.029). In conclusion, a subset of patients with hepatitis C virus -positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma displays a molecular signature of splenic marginal zone and has a worse clinical outcome.
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Extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) promotes M2 macrophage polarization in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 11-05-2014
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Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is the rate-limiting enzyme in NAD biosynthesis. In the extracellular compartment it exhibits cytokine/adipokine-like properties, suggesting that it stands at the crossroad between metabolism and inflammation. Here we show that both intracellular and extracellular NAMPT levels are increased cells and plasma of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. The extracellular form (eNAMPT) is produced by CLL lymphocytes upon B-cell receptor, toll-like receptor and NF-kB signaling pathway activation. eNAMPT is important for differentiation of resting monocytes, polarizing them towards tumor-supporting M2 macrophages. These cells express high levels of CD163, CD206 and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), and secrete immunosuppressive (IL-10, CCL18) and tumor-promoting (IL-6, IL-8) cytokines. NAMPT-primed M2 macrophages activate ERK1/2, STAT3 and NF-kB signaling, promote leukemic cell survival and reduce T cell responses. These effects are independent of the enzymatic activity of NAMPT, as inferred from the use of an enzymatically inactive mutant. Overall, these results reveal that eNAMPT is a critical element in the induction of an immunosuppressive and tumor-promoting microenvironment of CLL.
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Minimal residual disease after conventional treatment significantly impacts on progression-free survival of patients with follicular lymphoma: the FIL FOLL05 trial.
Clin. Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 10-16-2014
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Purpose. The role of the minimal residual disease (MRD) in follicular lymphoma (FL) is still debated. In this study we assessed if the BCL2/IGH rearrangement could have a prognostic role in patients receiving R-CHOP, R-FM, or R-CVP. Experimental design. DNAs from 415 patients among the 504 cases enrolled in the FOLL05 trial were centralized and assessed for the BCL2/IGH at diagnosis, at the end of treatment, and after 12 and 24 months. Results. At diagnosis, the molecular marker was detected in 53% of cases. Patients without molecular marker or with a low molecular tumor burden (<1x10-4 copies) showed higher CR rate and longer PFS (3-year PFS 80% versus 59%; p=0.015). PFS was significantly conditioned by the PCR status at 12 and 24 months, with 3-year PFS of 66% for MRD- cases versus 41% for those MRD+ at 12 months (p=0.015), and 84% vs 50% at 24 months (p= 0.014). The MRD negativity at 12 and 24 months resulted in an improved PFS both in CR and in PR patients (3-year PSF=72% for cases CR/PCR- vs 32% for those CR/PCR+ vs 62% for those PR/PCR- and 25% for patients in PR /PCR+; p=0.001). The prognostic value of MRD at 12 and 24 months of follow-up was confirmed also in multivariate analysis. Conclusions. In this study, standardized molecular techniques have been adopted and applied on bone marrow samples from a large cohort. Data reported show that the MRD detection is a powerful independent predictor of PFS in FL patients receiving conventional chemo-immunotherapy. Conclusions:
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Clinical heterogeneity and predictors of outcome in primary autoimmune hemolytic anemia: a GIMEMA study of 308 patients.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 09-16-2014
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The clinical outcome, response to treatment, and occurrence of acute complications were retrospectively investigated in 308 primary autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) cases and correlated with serological characteristics and severity of anemia at onset. Patients had been followed up for a median of 33 months (range 12-372); 60% were warm AIHA, 27% cold hemagglutinin disease, 8% mixed, and 5% atypical (mostly direct antiglobulin test negative). The latter 2 categories more frequently showed a severe onset (hemoglobin [Hb] levels ?6 g/dL) along with reticulocytopenia. The majority of warm AIHA patients received first-line steroid therapy only, whereas patients with mixed and atypical forms were more frequently treated with 2 or more therapy lines, including splenectomy, immunosuppressants, and rituximab. The cumulative incidence of relapse was increased in more severe cases (hazard ratio 3.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.44-6.57 for Hb ?6 g/dL; P < .001). Thrombotic events were associated with Hb levels ?6 g/dL at onset, intravascular hemolysis, and previous splenectomy. Predictors of a fatal outcome were severe infections, particularly in splenectomized cases, acute renal failure, Evans syndrome, and multitreatment (4 or more lines). The identification of severe and potentially fatal AIHA in a largely heterogeneous disease requires particular experienced attention by clinicians.
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Comparison of different DNA extraction methods from peripheral blood cells: advices from the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi - MRD Network.
Leuk. Lymphoma
PUBLISHED: 08-12-2014
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Abstract Genomic DNA extraction is a primary component for genomic research and diagnostic routine analyses. Recently, the importance of this process has been highlighted by necessity to standardize the diagnostic procedure. On this regard, the minimal residual disease (MRD) network of the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi (FIL MRD Network) has performed a comparative study of four different commercially available kits for DNA extraction applying them on a panel of cellular pellets with the aim to define possible technical recommendations in order to harmonize and standardize the diagnostic procedures in the clinical setting. Overall, all four kits most often allowed the recovery of a significant quantity of high quality DNA (in most conditions) although, specific indications could be addressed for cellular pellets of different size.
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MDM2 promotor polymorphism and disease characteristics in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: results of an individual patient data-based meta-analysis.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 08-02-2014
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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.
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Chromosome 1 abnormalities in elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma treated with novel therapies.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 07-11-2014
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Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell disorder characterized by malignant plasma cell infiltration in the bone marrow, serum and/or urine monoclonal protein and organ damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of chromosome 1 abnormalities in a group of elderly patients (>65 years) with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma enrolled in the GIMEMA-MM-03-05 trial and treated with bortezomib, melphalan and prednisone or bortezomib, melphalan, prednisone and thalidomide followed by bortezomib and thalidomide maintenance. We also evaluated the link between chromosome 1 abnormalities and other clinical, genetic and immunophenotypic features by a multivariate logistic regression model. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on immunomagnetically purified plasma cells and bone marrow multiparameter flow cytometry were employed. A multivariate Cox model showed that chromosome 1 abnormalities, age >75 years and a CD19(+)/CD117(-) immunophenotype of bone marrow plasma cells were independent risk factors for overall survival in elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Moreover, a detrimental effect of thalidomide, even when administered in association with bortezomib, was observed in patients with abnormal chromosome 1 as well as in those with 17p deletion, while the benefit of adding thalidomide to the bortezomib-melphalan-prednisone regimen was noted in patients carrying an aggressive CD19(+)/CD117(-) bone marrow plasma cell immunophenotype. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltri-als.gov as #NCT01063179.
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Prevalence, severity and correlates of fatigue in newly diagnosed patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 06-05-2014
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The primary objective of this study was to investigate factors associated with fatigue severity in newly diagnosed patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The secondary objectives were to assess symptom prevalence and to examine the relationships between fatigue, quality of life (QoL) and overall symptom burden in these patients. The analyses were conducted in 280 higher-risk MDS patients. Pre-treatment patient-reported fatigue was evaluated with the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue scale and QoL was assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30). Female gender (P = 0·018), poor performance status (i.e., ECOG of 2-4) (P < 0·001) and lower levels of haemoglobin (Hb) (P = 0·026) were independently associated with higher fatigue severity. The three most prevalent symptoms were as follows: fatigue (92%), dyspnoea (63%) and pain (55%). Patients with higher levels of fatigue also had greater overall symptom burdens. The mean global QoL scores of patients with the highest versus those with the lowest levels of fatigue were 29·2 [standard deviation (SD), 18·3] and 69·0 (SD, 18·8), respectively and this difference was four times the magnitude of a clinically meaningful difference. Patient-reported fatigue severity revealed the effects of disease burden on overall QoL more accurately than did degree of anaemia. Special attention should be given to the female patients in the management of fatigue.
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NOTCH1 mutations identify a chronic lymphocytic leukemia patient subset with worse prognosis in the setting of a rituximab-based induction and consolidation treatment.
Ann. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2014
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Induction therapy with fludarabine followed by rituximab and consolidation plus maintenance with rituximab improved response duration (RD) and overall survival (OS) in our patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The aim of our study was to investigate the clinical impact of NOTCH1 mutations in this setting of patients. The study included 123 progressive CLL patients homogeneously assigned to first-line induction treatment with fludarabine followed by rituximab. Fifty-nine patients either in complete remission (CR) minimal residual disease positive (MRD+) after induction (n = 39) or in partial remission (PR, n = 20) underwent consolidation/maintenance therapy with rituximab. Sixteen patients in CR MRD?+ or PR underwent observation only. The presence of NOTCH1 mutations was investigated by amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS) PCR and by Sanger sequencing. NOTCH1 mutations occurred in 20 out of 123 (16.3 %) cases. Consolidated patients showed longer OS than unconsolidated patients (p = 0.030). Both NOTCH1 mutated and CR MRD+ or PR NOTCH1 mutated patients showed significantly shorter OS after treatment (p = 0.00014 and p = 0.0021, respectively). Moreover, NOTCH1 wild-type consolidated cases experienced significantly longer RD and OS than NOTCH1 mutated consolidated or not consolidated cases (p = 0.00001 and p = 0.018, respectively). Finally, the independent prognostic impact of NOTCH1 mutations for OS was confirmed in multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). The presence of NOTCH1 mutations identifies a CLL subset with worse prognosis in the setting of a rituximab-based induction and consolidation treatment.
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Microenvironmental interactions in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: the master role of CD49d.
Semin. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 05-15-2014
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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a clinically heterogeneous disease characterized by the accumulation/expansion of a clonal population of neoplastic cells with the morphologic appearance of small mature B lymphocytes in blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid organs. A combination of genetic lesions is primarily responsible for the first step(s) of neoplastic transformation, along with microenvironmental signals, which concurrently operate by enhancing proliferation and/or inhibiting apoptosis. In this context, CD49d is known to play a pivotal role in mediating both cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in CLL-involved tissues, eventually delivering pro-survival signals and protecting CLL cells from drug-induced damages. In the present review, we address, in detail, CD49d activities in the CLL microenvironment, CD49d functional and physical interactions with other microenvironmental receptors (including CD38 and B-cell receptor), and the relationship of CD49d expression with specific cytogenetic features in CLL.
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Lenalidomide plus R-CHOP21 in elderly patients with untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: results of the REAL07 open-label, multicentre, phase 2 trial.
Lancet Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 05-13-2014
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Up to 40% of elderly patients with untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) given a regimen of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone every 21 days (R-CHOP21) relapse or develop refractory disease. Lenalidomide has high activity in relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell lymphomas. In phase 2 of the REAL07 trial, we aimed to establish the safety and efficacy of the combination of lenalidomide and R-CHOP21 in elderly patients with untreated DLBCL.
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Italian external and multicentric validation of the MD Anderson Cancer Center nomogram and prognostic index for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients: analysis of 1502 cases.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 05-06-2014
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We performed an external and multicentric validation of the nomogram and prognostic index (PI) proposed by the MD Anderson Cancer Center to prognostically stratify chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients in 1502 CLL cases. All six parameters involved in the nomogram and PI (age, sex, absolute lymphocyte count, number of lymph node groups, Rai stage and ?2-microglobulin) were independently associated with survival. The nomogram was accurate in predicting survival (c-index = 0·82). According to the PI, 38·7% of patients were at low-risk, 58·3% at intermediate-risk and 3% at high-risk. The estimated median survival times were: not reached for low-risk, 13·4 years for intermediate-risk and 3·4 years for high-risk. The estimated median and 5-year survival by PI were similar to those originally reported. The PI remained a predictor of survival when analysis was limited to 847 Rai stage 0 (P < 0·0001) and 151 clinical monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (cMBL) cases (P = 0·033). Finally, the PI allowed prediction of time to therapy in all patients (P < 0·0001), in Rai 0 (P < 0·0001) and in cMBL cases (P = 0·044). Our results confirm the ability of the PI to predict prognosis, even in early stage disease cases. The study also extended the utility of the PI to cMBL cases.
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NOTCH1, SF3B1, BIRC3 AND TP53 mutations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients undergoing first-line treatment: correlation with biological parameters and response to treatment.
Leuk. Lymphoma
PUBLISHED: 03-07-2014
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Abstract In chronic lymphocytic leukemia NOTCH1, SF3B1, BIRC3 and TP53 disruptions are recurrent and affect survival. To define their incidence and clinical impact in patients undergoing first-line treatment, we evaluated 163 cases enrolled in the GIMEMA LLC0405 protocol (fludarabine plus alemtuzumab or fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide), for young patients, or in the ML21445 protocol (chlorambucil plus rituximab), for elderly. NOTCH1, SF3B1, BIRC3 and TP53 disruptions were detected in 15.9%, 12.2%, 8.6% and 10.4% of cases. NOTCH1 mutations correlated with a shorter treatment-free interval (p=0.058), an unmutated immunoglobulin heavy variable genes (IGHV) status (p<0.0001), CD38 and ZAP-70 expression (p=0.0025 and 0.026, respectively) and trisomy 12 (p=0.0028), SF3B1 mutations with an unmutated IGHV status (p=0.02), and BIRC3 disruptions with an unmutated IGHV configuration (p=0.01) and 11q deletion (p<0.0001) NOTCH1 and SF3B1 did not appear to impact on overall response, while an inferior response was observed for BIRC3- and TP53-disrupted cases in the LLC0405 and ML21445 protocol, respectively. Progression-free survival, evaluable in the LLC0405 protocol - not affected by NOTCH1, SF3B1 and TP53 - appeared inferior for BIRC3 disruption. NOTCH1 and SF3B1 mutations may be overcome by aggressive regimens, while BIRC3 might impact on outcome also in intensive regimens.
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Genetic lesions associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia chemo-refractoriness.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 02-18-2014
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Fludarabine refractoriness (FR) represents an unsolved clinical problem of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) management. Although next-generation sequencing studies have led to the identification of a number of genes frequently mutated in FR-CLL, a comprehensive evaluation of the FR-CLL genome has not been reported. Toward this end, we studied 10 FR-CLLs by combining whole-exome sequencing and copy number aberration (CNA) analysis, which showed an average of 16.3 somatic mutations and 4 CNAs per sample. Screening of recurrently mutated genes in 48 additional FR-CLLs revealed that ~70% of FR-CLLs carry ?1 mutation in genes previously associated with CLL clinical course, including TP53 (27.5%), NOTCH1 (24.1%), SF3B1 (18.9%), and BIRC3 (15.5%). In addition, this analysis showed that 10.3% of FR-CLL cases display mutations of the FAT1 gene, which encodes for a cadherin-like protein that negatively regulates Wnt signaling, consistent with a tumor suppressor role. The frequency of FAT1-mutated cases was significantly higher in FR-CLL than in unselected CLLs at diagnosis (10.3% vs 1.1%, P = .004), suggesting a role in the development of a high-risk phenotype. These findings have general implications for the mechanisms leading to FR and point to Wnt signaling as a potential therapeutic target in FR-CLL.
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CD49d is the strongest flow cytometry-based predictor of overall survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
J. Clin. Oncol.
PUBLISHED: 02-10-2014
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Although CD49d is an unfavorable prognostic marker in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), definitive validation evidence is lacking. A worldwide multicenter analysis was performed using published and unpublished CLL series to evaluate the impact of CD49d as an overall (OS) and treatment-free survival (TFS) predictor.
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BCL2 mutation spectrum in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas and patterns associated with evolution of follicular lymphoma.
Hematol Oncol
PUBLISHED: 02-06-2014
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BCL2 is a target of somatic hypermutation in t(14;18) positive and also in a small fraction of t(14;18) negative diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), suggesting an aberrant role of somatic hypermutation (ASHM). To elucidate the prevalence of BCL2 mutations in lymphomas other than DLBCL, we Sanger-sequenced the hypermutable region of the BCL2 gene in a panel of 69 mature B-cell lymphomas, including Richter's syndrome DLBCL, marginal-zone lymphomas, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders, HIV-associated and common-variable immunodeficiency-associated DLBCL, all known to harbour ASHM-dependent mutations in other genes, as well as 16 t(14,18) negative and 21 t(14;18) positive follicular lymphomas (FLs). We also investigated the pattern of BCL2 mutations in longitudinal samples from 10 FL patients relapsing to FL or transforming to DLBCL (tFL). By direct sequencing, we found clonally represented BCL2 mutations in 2/16 (13%) of t(14;18) negative FLs, 2/16 (13%) HIV-DLBCLs, 1/9 (11%) of Richter's syndrome DLBCL, 1/17 (6%) of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders and 1/2 (50%) common-variable immunodeficiency-associated DLBCL. The proportion of mutated cases was significantly lower than in FLs carrying the t(14;18) translocation (15/21, 71%). However, the absence of t(14;18) by FISH or PCR and the molecular features of the mutations strongly suggest that BCL2 represents an additional target of ASHM in these entities. Analysis of the BCL2 mutation pattern in clonally related FL/FL and FL/tFL samples revealed two distinct scenarios of genomic evolution: (i) direct evolution from the antecedent FL clone, with few novel clonal mutations acquired by the tFL major clone, and (ii) evolution from a common mutated long-lived progenitor cell, which subsequently acquired distinct mutations in the FL and in the relapsed or transformed counterpart. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Clinical impact of small TP53 mutated subclones in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 02-05-2014
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TP53 mutations are strong predictors of poor survival and refractoriness in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and have direct implications for disease management. Clinical information on TP53 mutations is limited to lesions represented in >20% leukemic cells. Here, we tested the clinical impact and prediction of chemorefractoriness of very small TP53 mutated subclones. The TP53 gene underwent ultra-deep-next generation sequencing (NGS) in 309 newly diagnosed CLL. A robust bioinformatic algorithm was established for the highly sensitive detection of few TP53 mutated cells (down to 3 out of ?1000 wild-type cells). Minor subclones were validated by independent approaches. Ultra-deep-NGS identified small TP53 mutated subclones in 28/309 (9%) untreated CLL that, due to their very low abundance (median allele frequency: 2.1%), were missed by Sanger sequencing. Patients harboring small TP53 mutated subclones showed the same clinical phenotype and poor survival (hazard ratio = 2.01; P = .0250) as those of patients carrying clonal TP53 lesions. By longitudinal analysis, small TP53 mutated subclones identified before treatment became the predominant population at the time of CLL relapse and anticipated the development of chemorefractoriness. This study provides a proof-of-principle that very minor leukemia subclones detected at diagnosis are an important driver of the subsequent disease course.
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Clinical activity of everolimus in relapsed/refractory marginal zone B-cell lymphomas: results of a phase II study of the International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 01-27-2014
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The International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group coordinated a phase II trial to evaluate the activity and safety of everolimus in marginal zone lymphomas (MZLs). Thirty patients with relapsed/refractory MZLs received everolimus for six cycles or until dose-limiting toxicity or progression. Median age was 71 years (range, 51-88 years). Twenty patients had extranodal, six splenic, four nodal MZL. Twenty-four patients had stage III-IV. Median number of prior therapies was two (range 1-5). Seventeen patients had early treatment discontinuation, in most cases due to toxicity. Median number of cycles was 4.5 (range, 1-16). Among the 24 assessable patients, the overall response rate (ORR) was 25% (95% confidence interval: 10-47). Grade 3-4 adverse events were neutropenia and thrombocytopenia (17% of patients, each), infections (17%), mucositis and odontogenic infections (13%) and lung toxicity (3%). The median response duration was 6.8 months (range, 1.4-11.1+). After a median follow-up of 14.5 months, five deaths were reported: four deaths were due to lymphoma, one was due to toxicity. In an intent-to-treat analysis, the projected median progression-free survival was 14 months. The moderate antitumour activity of everolimus in relapsed/refractory MZLs and the observed toxicity limit its therapeutical applicability in these indolent entities. Lower doses of the drug and, perhaps, different strategies including combination with additional agents need to be explored.
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PBSC mobilization in lymphoma patients: analysis of risk factors for collection failure and development of a predictive score based on the kinetics of circulating CD34+ cells and WBC after chemotherapy and G-CSF mobilization.
Hematol Oncol
PUBLISHED: 01-24-2014
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Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) is a potentially curative treatment of lymphoma, but peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) mobilization fails in some patients. PBSC mobilizing agents have recently been proved to improve the PBSC yield after a prior mobilization failure. Predictive parameters of mobilization failure allowing for a preemptive, more cost-effective use of such agents during the first mobilization attempt are still poorly defined, particularly during mobilization with chemotherapy?+?granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). We performed a retrospective analysis of a series of lymphoma patients who were candidates for ASCT, to identify factors influencing PBSC mobilization outcome. Premobilization parameters-age, histology, disease status, mobilizing protocol, and previous treatments-as well as white blood cell (WBC) and PBSC kinetics, markers potentially able to predict failure during the ongoing mobilization attempt, were analyzed in 415 consecutive mobilization procedures in 388 patients. We used chemotherapy?+?G-CSF in 411 (99%) of mobilization attempts and PBSC collection failed (<2?×?10(6) CD34+ PBSC/kg) in 13%. Multivariable analysis showed that only a low CD34+ PBSC count and CD34+ PBSC/WBC ratio, together with the use of nonplatinum-containing chemotherapy, independently predicted mobilization failure. Using these three parameters, we established a scoring system to predict risk of failure during mobilization ranging from 2 to 90%, thus allowing a selective use of a preemptive mobilization policy. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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High-throughput sequencing for the identification of NOTCH1 mutations in early stage chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: biological and clinical implications.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2014
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NOTCH1 mutations have recently emerged as new genetic lesions significantly correlated with survival in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). We performed deep next generation sequencing of the NOTCH1 mutation hotspot in 384 cases at diagnosis, including 100 monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis (MBL) and 284 Binet stage A CLL cases, enrolled in the Gruppo Italiano Studio Linfomi O-CLL1 multicentre trial. The NOTCH1 c.7541_7542delCT dinucleotide deletion was detected and confirmed by an extremely sensitive polymerase chain reaction-based approach in 11% of MBL and 13·4% of CLL patients. Remarkably, the NOTCH1 mutation was often observed at low clonal level, mainly in MBL patients. Sequential analyses in a fraction of cases showed that the NOTCH1 mutation generally does not occur during the disease course and that the mutational load in positive cases tends to be stable over time. NOTCH1-mutated cases, even at low clonal level, displayed a significant reduction in median progression-free survival, although NOTCH1 mutation lost its prognostic impact in a multivariate analysis including 11q and/or 17p deletion, IGHV mutational status, and MBL or CLL status. Our data highlight the importance of using highly sensitive methods to measure NOTCH1 mutations, in order to improve prognostic stratification and obtain useful information for potential therapeutic approaches.
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Results of a randomized, double-blind study of romiplostim versus placebo in patients with low/intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and thrombocytopenia.
Cancer
PUBLISHED: 01-13-2014
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Thrombocytopenia in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is associated with shortened survival and an increased risk of evolution to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this study, the authors evaluated the efficacy of romiplostim in patients who had thrombocytopenia with low-risk/intermediate-1-risk MDS.
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Genetics of follicular lymphoma transformation.
Cell Rep
PUBLISHED: 01-02-2014
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Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent disease, but 30%-40% of cases undergo histologic transformation to an aggressive malignancy, typically represented by diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The pathogenesis of this process remains largely unknown. Using whole-exome sequencing and copy-number analysis, we show here that the dominant clone of FL and transformed FL (tFL) arise by divergent evolution from a common mutated precursor through the acquisition of distinct genetic events. Mutations in epigenetic modifiers and antiapoptotic genes are introduced early in the common precursor, whereas tFL is specifically associated with alterations deregulating cell-cycle progression and DNA damage responses (CDKN2A/B, MYC, and TP53) as well as aberrant somatic hypermutation. The genomic profile of tFL shares similarities with that of germinal center B cell-type de novo DLBCL but also displays unique combinations of altered genes with diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
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Endothelin-1 promotes survival and chemoresistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells through ETA receptor.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The endothelin axis, comprising endothelins (ET-1, ET-2 and ET-3) and their receptors (ET(A)R and ETBR), has emerged as relevant player in tumor growth and metastasis. Here, we investigated the involvement of ET-1/ET(A)R axis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). CLL cells expressed higher levels of ET-1 and ETA receptor as compared to normal B cells. ET-1 peptide stimulated phosphoinositide-3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways, improved survival and promoted proliferation of leukemic cells throughout ET(A)R triggering. Moreover, the blockade of ET(A)R by the selective antagonist BQ-123 inhibited the survival advantage acquired by CLL cells in contact with endothelial layers. We also found that blocking ET(A)R via BQ-123 interferes with ERK phosphorylation and CLL pro-survival effect mediated by B-cell receptor (BCR) activation. The pro-apoptotic effect of phosphoinositide-3-kinase ? inhibitor idelalisib and mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor PD98059 was decreased by the addition of ET-1 peptide. Then, ET-1 also reduced the cytotoxic effect of fludarabine on CLL cells cultured alone or co-cultured on endothelial layers. ET(A)R blockade by BQ-123 inhibited the ET-1-mediated protection against drug-induced apoptosis. Lastly, higher plasma levels of big ET-1 were detected in patients (n = 151) with unfavourable prognostic factors and shorter time to first treatment. In conclusion, our data describe for the first time a role of ET-1/ET(A)R signaling in CLL pathobiology. ET-1 mediates survival, drug-resistance, and growth signals in CLL cells that can be blocked by ET(A)R inhibition.
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HLA-G is a component of the CLL escape repertoire to generate immune suppression: impact of HLA-G 14 bp (rs66554220) polymorphism.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 12-20-2013
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This work investigates the possibility that HLA-G, a molecule modulating innate and adaptive immunity, is part of an immune escape strategy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. A 14 base pair insertion/deletion polymorphism (rs66554220) in the 3-untranslated region of HLA-G influences mRNA stability and protein expression. The analysis of a cohort of CLL patients confirms that del/del individuals are characterized by higher levels of surface and soluble HLA-G than those of the other two genotypes. In line with its role in immunomodulation, the percentage of regulatory T lymphocytes is higher in del/del patients than in patients with the other genotypes and correlates with the amounts of surface or soluble HLA-G. Furthermore, addition of sHLA-G-rich plasma from CLL patients induces NK cell apoptosis and impairs NK cell lysis, with effects proportional to the amount of soluble HLA-G added. Lastly, the presence of HLA-G 14 bp polymorphism is of prognostic value, with del/del patients showing reduced overall survival, as compared to the other genotypes. These results suggest that i) the HLA-G 14 bp polymorphism influences the levels of surface and soluble HLA-G expression, and that ii) the over-expression of HLA-G molecules contributes to create tolerogenic conditions.
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Molecular bases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia in light of new treatments.
Immunol. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 10-05-2013
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The human genome era heralded a fundamental progress in the field of cancer genetics that shifted from a candidate gene approach toward global views of genomes and transcriptomes. Whole genome/exome sequencing has disclosed the genetic landscape of several hematologic tumors, providing comprehensive catalogs of somatic mutations and new insights into the genes that contribute to cellular transformation. Thanks to these technical progresses, research on the molecular pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has also advanced at a sustained pace in recent times revealing NOTCH1, SF3B1, BIRC3, and MYD88 as the most recurrently (>5%) mutated genes that have been identified in CLL. Beside mutations of cancer related genes, another mechanism involved in disease initiation and progression of mature B-cell tumors, including CLL, is represented by B cell receptor (BCR) signaling. The BCR plays a central role in disease pathogenesis and, consequently, BCR signaling might represent a suitable target for therapy in many patients. Currently, the Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib, which acts downstream the BCR signaling pathway, appears to be particularly promising and shows important clinical activity in CLL.
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CD49d is overexpressed by trisomy 12 chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells: evidence for a methylation-dependent regulation mechanism.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 09-25-2013
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CD49d is a negative prognosticator in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), expressed by ~40% of CLL cases and associated with aggressive, accelerated clinical courses. In this study, analyzing CD49d expression in a wide CLL cohort (n = 1200) belonging to different cytogenetic groups, we report that trisomy 12 CLL almost universally expressed CD49d and were characterized by the highest CD49d expression levels among all CD49d(+) CLL. Through bisulfite genomic sequencing, we demonstrated that, although CD49d(+)/trisomy 12 CLL almost completely lacked methylation of the CD49d gene, CD49d(-)/no trisomy 12 CLL were overall methylated, the methylation levels correlating inversely to CD49d expression (P = .0001). Consistently, CD49d expression was recovered in CD49d(-) hypermethylated CLL cells upon in vitro treatment with the hypomethylating agent 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine. This may help explain the clinicobiological features of trisomy 12 CLL, including the high rates of cell proliferation and disease progression, lymph node involvement, and predisposition to Richter syndrome transformation.
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Richter syndrome.
Adv. Exp. Med. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2013
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Transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to aggressive lymphoma is known as Richter syndrome (RS). In the CLL population considered as a whole, the prevalence of RS development ranges from 2 to 7 %. The most common pathologic phenotype at the time of RS transformation is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), while, in a small fraction of cases, the transformed phase shows pathologic features mimicking Hodgkin lymphoma. TP53 disruption and MYC activation cooperate as dual hits in driving DLBCL transformation. Two biomarkers (NOTCH1 mutations and usage of the immunoglobulin VH CDR3 subset 8) may help in identifying CLL patients at risk of DLBCL transformation to be considered for close monitoring and a careful biopsy policy. In the presence of clinical features suspicious of RS, diagnosis of transformation and choice of the site of biopsy may take advantage of (18)FDG PET/CT. The prognosis of RS transformation is generally highly unfavorable. However, the pattern of survival is not homogeneous and may be predicted on clinical and biological grounds. RS that are clonally unrelated to the paired CLL phase are biologically and clinically different from clonally related cases, and should be considered, and probably managed, as a de novo DLBCL arising in the context of CLL. Rituximab-containing polychemotherapy represents the backbone for induction treatment in patients with clonally related DLBCL transformation. Younger patients who respond to induction therapy should be offered stem cell transplant to prolong survival.
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Two main genetic pathways lead to the transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia to Richter syndrome.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 09-04-2013
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Richter syndrome (RS) occurs in up to 15% of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Although RS, usually represented by the histologic transformation to a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), is associated with a very poor outcome, especially when clonally related to the preexisting CLL, the mechanisms leading to RS have not been clarified. To better understand the pathogenesis of RS, we analyzed a series of cases including 59 RS, 28 CLL phase of RS, 315 CLL, and 127 de novo DLBCL. RS demonstrated a genomic complexity intermediate between CLL and DLBCL. Cell-cycle deregulation via inactivation of TP53 and of CDKN2A was a main mechanism in the histologic transformation from CLL phase, being present in approximately one half of the cases, and affected the outcome of the RS patients. A second major subgroup was characterized by the presence of trisomy 12 and comprised one third of the cases. Although RS shared some of the lesions seen in de novo DLBCL, its genomic profile was clearly separate. The CLL phase preceding RS had not a generalized increase in genomic complexity compared with untransformed CLL, but it presented clear differences in the frequency of specific genetic lesions.
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Detection of TP53 dysfunction in chronic lymphocytic leukemia by an in vitro functional assay based on TP53 activation by the non-genotoxic drug Nutlin-3: a proposal for clinical application.
J Hematol Oncol
PUBLISHED: 09-03-2013
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TP53 defects, i.e., 17p13 deletion and/or nucleotide mutations, associate with short survival and chemorefractoriness in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). In this context, since direct sequencing of the TP53 gene does not evaluate TP53 functionality, a functional assessment of TP53 pathway may be of interest to identify high risk CLL. By taking advantage of a training cohort of 100 CLL and a validation cohort of 40 CLL with different patterns of TP53 mutation/deletion by FISH and sequencing, we propose an in-vitro assay in which the modulation of TP53 protein and CDKN1A mRNA were investigated upon 24-hour exposure of CLL cells to Nutlin-3.
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Comparison of two real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction strategies for minimal residual disease evaluation in lymphoproliferative disorders: correlation between immunoglobulin gene mutation load and real-time quantitative polymerase chain react
Hematol Oncol
PUBLISHED: 08-09-2013
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We compared two strategies for minimal residual disease evaluation of B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders characterized by a variable immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) genes mutation load. Twenty-five samples from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (n?=?18) or mantle cell lymphoma (n?=?7) patients were analyzed. Based on IGH variable region genes, 22/25 samples carried >2% mutations, 20/25?>?5%. In the IGH joining region genes, 23/25 samples carried >2% mutations, 18/25?>?5%. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed on IGH genes using two strategies: method A utilizes two patient-specific primers, whereas method B employs one patient-specific and one germline primer, with different positions on the variable, diversity and joining regions. Twenty-three samples (92%) resulted evaluable using method A, only six (24%) by method B. Method B poor performance was specifically evident among mutated IGH variable/joining region cases, although no specific mutation load above, which the real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction failed was found. The molecular strategies for minimal residual disease evaluation should be adapted to the B-cell receptor features of the disease investigated. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Lessons for the clinic from rituximab pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
MAbs
PUBLISHED: 08-08-2013
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The anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (RTX; Rituxan®, MabThera®) was the first anti-cancer antibody approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997 and it is now the most-studied unconjugated therapeutic antibody. The knowledge gained over the past 15 y on the pharmacodynamics (PD) of this antibody has led to the development of a new generation of anti-CD20 antibodies with enhanced efficacy in vitro. Studies on the pharmacokinetics (PK) properties and the effect of factors such as tumor load and localization, antibody concentration in the circulation and gender on both PK and clinical response has allowed the design of optimized schedules and novel routes of RTX administration. Although clinical results using newer anti-CD20 antibodies, such as ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, and novel administration schedules for RTX are still being evaluated, the knowledge gained so far on RTX PK and PD should also be relevant for other unconjugated monoclonal antibody therapeutics, and will be critically reviewed here.
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Deregulation of ETS1 and FLI1 contributes to the pathogenesis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 08-07-2013
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Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of human lymphoma. DLBCL is a heterogeneous disease characterized by different genetic lesions. We herein report the functional characterization of a recurrent gain mapping on chromosome 11q24.3, found in 23% of 166 DLBCL cases analyzed. The transcription factors ETS1 and FLI1, located within the 11q24.3 region, had significantly higher expression in clinical samples carrying the gain. Functional studies on cell lines showed that ETS1 and FLI1 cooperate in sustaining DLBCL proliferation and viability and regulate genes involved in germinal center differentiation. Taken together, these data identify the 11q24.3 gain as a recurrent lesion in DLBCL leading to ETS1 and FLI1 deregulated expression, which can contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease.
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Endothelium-mediated survival of leukemic cells and angiogenesis-related factors are affected by lenalidomide treatment in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Exp. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2013
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Lenalidomide is an IMID immunomodulatory agent clinically active in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We evaluated the activity of lenalidomide inside an in vitro coculture system of endothelial and CLL cells. Lenalidomide was able to inhibit CLL survival advantage mediated by endothelial contact. Moreover, the marked increase of in vitro angiogenesis determined by CLL-derived conditioned media was reduced by lenalidomide. We also analyzed peripheral blood collected from 27 patients with relapsed/refractory CLL being treated with lenalidomide within a phase II trial. Plasma levels of VEGF and THBS-1 decreased, whereas Ang2 and Ang increased during treatment. Patients who respond to lenalidomide showed a more pronounced decrease of VEGF and bFGF than did patients with stable or progressive disease (p = 0.007 and p = 0.005). Furthermore, lenalidomide reduced circulating endothelial cells and endothelial progenitors by increasing the percentage of apoptotic cells. Conversely, for six matched bone marrow biopsies available before and after treatment, we did not detect any modification in vessel density, suggesting a possible mechanism of vessel normalization rather than regression. In conclusion, our study provides further evidence that the anti-CLL effect of lenalidomide is mediated through the alteration of microenvironmental elements, implying the modulation of several angiogenesis-related factors and disruption of CLL crosstalk with endothelial cells.
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Lenalidomide plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone and rituximab is safe and effective in untreated, elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a phase I study by the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 06-28-2013
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Despite improvements in standard therapy with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone for patients with untreated, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, up to 40% of these patients relapse. Lenalidomide alone or in combination with rituximab has been shown to be active in relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphomas. In this phase I study we determined the maximum tolerated dose of lenalidomide plus rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone in untreated, elderly (median age 68 years) patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Four lenalidomide doses (5, 10, 15, and 20 mg/day on days 1-14) allocated using the continual reassessment method were planned to be administered for 14 days in combination with each course of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone for a total of six courses. Seven cohorts of patients (n=3 in each cohort) were treated (total n=21) at 10, 20, 15, 15, 15, 10, and 10 mg of lenalidomide. Dose-limiting toxicities occurred in seven patients during the first three courses of treatment. The third dose-level of lenalidomide (15 mg/day) was selected as the maximum tolerated dose, with an estimated probability of dose-limiting toxicities of 0.345 (95% credibility interval 0.164-0.553). Grade 3-4 hematologic adverse events were: neutropenia in 28% of the courses, thrombocytopenia in 9%, and anemia in 3%. Non-hematologic toxicities were moderate: grade 4 increase of creatinine phosphokinase (n=1), grade 3 cardiac (n=2), grade 3 neurological (n=3), and grade 3 gastrointestinal (n=1). In this phase I study, the overall response rate was 90%, with 81% achieving complete remission. This combination regimen appears safe in elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and its efficacy will be assessed in the ongoing phase II trial. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00907348.
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Clinical implications of the molecular genetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 05-02-2013
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Genetics and molecular genetics have contributed to clarify the biological bases of the clinical heterogeneity of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In recent years, our knowledge of the molecular genetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia has significantly broadened, offering potential new clinical implications. Mutations of TP53 and ATM add prognostic information independently of fluorescence in situ hybridization cytogenetic stratification. In addition, next generation sequencing technologies have allowed previously unknown genomic alterations in chronic lymphocytic leukemia to be identified. Mutations of NOTCH1, SF3B1 and BIRC3 have been associated with short time to progression and survival. Each of these lesions recognizes a different distribution across different clinical phases and biological subgroups of the disease. The clinical implications of these molecular lesions are in some instances well established, such as in the case of patients with TP53 disruption, who should be considered for alternative therapies/allogeneic stem cell transplant upfront, or in patients with ATM disruption, who are candidates to rituximab-based immunochemotherapy. On the contrary, NOTCH1, SF3B1 and BIRC3 mutations appear to have a specific significance, the clinical value of which is currently being validated, i.e. association to Richter syndrome transformation for NOTCH1 mutations, and short progression-free survival after treatment for SF3B1 mutations. Certainly, these new lesions have helped clarify the molecular bases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia aggressiveness beside TP53 disruption. This review covers the recent advancements in our understanding of the molecular genetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and discusses how they are going to translate into clinical implications for patient management.
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Association between molecular lesions and specific B-cell receptor subsets in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 05-01-2013
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Genetic lesions and B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling are both oncogenic drivers in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, scant data are available on preferential associations between specific genetic alterations and stereotyped BCR subsets. By analyzing 1419 cases, 2 CLL subsets (2 and 8) harboring stereotyped BCR are enriched in specific molecular alterations influencing disease course. SF3B1 mutations are the genetic hallmark of IGHV3-21-CLL belonging to subset 2 (52%) but are evenly represented in nonstereotyped IGHV3-21-CLL. Trisomy 12 (87%) and NOTCH1 mutations (62%) characterize IGHV4-39-CLL belonging to subset 8 but occur with the expected frequency in IGHV4-39-CLL with heterogeneous BCR. Clinically, co-occurrence of SF3B1 mutations and subset 2 BCR configuration prompts disease progression in IGHV3-21-CLL, whereas cooperation between NOTCH1 mutations, +12, and subset 8 BCR configuration invariably primes CLL transformation into Richter syndrome. These findings provide a proof of concept that specific stereotyped BCR may promote or select molecular lesions influencing outcome.
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Clues to pathogenesis of Waldenström macroglobulinemia and immunoglobulin M monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance provided by analysis of immunoglobulin heavy chain gene rearrangement and clustering of B-cell receptors.
Leuk. Lymphoma
PUBLISHED: 04-17-2013
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We characterized immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) gene rearrangements and searched for clusters of stereotyped B-cell receptors in 123 patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM; n = 59) or immunoglobulin M monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (IgM-MGUS) (n = 64). A productive monoclonal IGHV-D-J rearrangement was obtained in 99/123 patients (80%). Immunoglobulin heavy chain variable (IGHV) genes were mutated in 94/99 patients (95%) with a median somatic hypermutation rate of 6.7% (2.1-14.5). Compared with the normal B-cell repertoire, patients with WM/IgM-MGUS showed an over-representation of the IGHV3 subgroup (83% vs. 55%, p < 0.0001) and an under-representation of IGHV1 (7% vs. 14%, p = 0.04) and IGHV4 (7% vs. 23%, p = 0.0001) subgroups. At the gene level, in WM/IgM-MGUS there was an over-representation of IGHV3-23 (24% vs. 12%, p = 0.0003), IGHV3-64 (3% vs. < 1%, p = 0.003), IGHV3-7 (12% vs. 4%, p = 0.0001) and IGHV3-74 (9% vs. 2%, p < 0.0001), while IGHV4-39 was never used (0 vs. 5%, p = 0.03). Intra-WM/IgM-MGUS search for HCDR3 similarity showed no association fulfilling criteria for stereotyped receptors. WM/IgM-MGUS sequences were unrelated to known chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) or mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) subsets. In conclusion, the IGHV gene usage in WM and IgM-MGUS is remarkably biased as compared to the normal B-cell repertoire. WM and IgM-MGUS-specific HCDR3 clusters do not occur with a frequency detectable with currently available databases, not supporting a B-cell receptor-driven pathogenesis in WM and IgM-MGUS.
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Genetic aberrations of signaling pathways in lymphomagenesis: revelations from next generation sequencing studies.
Semin. Cancer Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-27-2013
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Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology has led to a burst of disease-relevant molecular information in a variety of lymphoid tumors, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, Waldenström macroglobulinemia, hairy cell leukemia, and splenic marginal zone lymphoma. Beside disclosing comprehensive catalogs of somatic mutations and new insights into the genes that contribute to cellular transformation, NGS has also provided molecular clues useful for addressing a number of unmet clinical needs in the field of B-cell tumor management, including biomarkers for disease diagnosis and classification improvement (i.e. mutations of BRAF, MYD88 and NOTCH2), and new targets to be translated into therapeutic interventions (i.e. BCR, TLR, NOTCH, NF-?B and MAPK signaling pathways). This review summarizes the molecular lesions of signaling pathways that have been discovered in B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders by NGS studies.
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Promoter methylation patterns in Richter syndrome affect stem-cell maintenance and cell cycle regulation and differ from de novo diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 03-07-2013
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In a fraction of patients, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) can transform to Richter syndrome (RS), usually a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We studied genome-wide promoter DNA methylation in RS and clonally related CLL-phases of transformed patients, alongside de novo DLBCL (of non-germinal centre B type), untransformed-CLL and normal B-cells. The greatest differences in global DNA methylation levels were observed between RS and DLBCL, indicating that these two diseases, although histologically similar, are epigenetically distinct. RS was more highly methylated for genes involved in cell cycle regulation. When RS was compared to the preceding CLL-phase and with untransformed-CLL, RS presented a higher degree of methylation for genes possessing the H3K27me3 mark and PRC2 targets, as well as for gene targets of TP53 and RB1. Comparison of the methylation levels of individual genes revealed that OSM, a stem cell regulatory gene, exhibited significantly higher methylation levels in RS compared to CLL-phases. Its transcriptional repression by DNA methylation was confirmed by 5-aza-2deoxycytidine treatment of DLBCL cells, determining an increased OSM expression. Our results showed that methylation patterns in RS are largely different from de novo DLBCL. Stem cell-related genes and cell cycle regulation genes are targets of DNA methylation in RS.
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Risk factors of central nervous system relapse in mantle cell lymphoma.
Leuk. Lymphoma
PUBLISHED: 02-20-2013
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Central nervous system (CNS) relapse has not been extensively studied in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). We retrospectively analyzed the risk factors and pattern of CNS relapse in consecutive patients with MCL. We identified 142 cases of MCL treated from 1980 to 2011. Median age at diagnosis was 68 years; 82% of patients had advanced stage; extranodal disease was reported in 89% of cases and high serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in 40%. Fourteen patients (10%) did not receive treatment at diagnosis. Chemotherapy was administered to 125 patients (88%), in 21 cases (15%) including drugs penetrating into the CNS or given intrathecally; 49 patients (35%) had rituximab. Ten patients had front-line autologous transplant. After a median follow-up of 7.9 years, CNS relapse occurred in 11 cases (7.8%) at a median of 13.8 months. Actuarial risk of CNS relapse was higher in patients with elevated LDH (p = 0.002), higher International Prognostic Index (IPI) score (p = 0.018) and blastoid histology (p < 0.0001). Blastoid histology retained significance at multivariate analysis. Median survival after CNS relapse was 6.3 months. No front-line treatment reduced the risk of CNS relapse. Our analysis confirms the poor outcome of MCL after CNS relapse and may allow the identification of patients needing prophylaxis of CNS relapse.
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Genome-wide DNA profiling of HIV-related B-cell lymphomas.
Methods Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-16-2013
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Non-Hodgkin lymphomas represent a frequent complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, occurring at higher frequency than in immunocompetent individuals, and causing morbidity and mortality. Here, we present the method we have followed to analyze the genomic lesions in HIV-related and in other immunodeficiency-related lymphomas, as well in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) samples derived from immunocompetent hosts. The technology we have used is represented by the GeneChip Human Mapping 250K NspI arrays (Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA, USA), arrays based on 25mer oligonucleotides initially designed for large-scale genotyping, that is, the detection of thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), then shown to be applicable for the detection of cancer alterations. The protocol is shown in all its steps with suggestions and tips. Applications of the technology and obtained results are also briefly summarized.
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rs2072135, a low-penetrance variant for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia?
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 01-29-2013
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Recent multi-stage genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are robustly associated with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) risk. Given that most of these SNPs map to non-coding regions of the genome, it suggests that the functional basis of many GWAS signals will be through differential gene expression. By referencing publically accessible expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) data on lymphoblastoid cells lines (LCLs) we have globally demonstrated an association between GWAS P-values and eQTLs, consistent with much of the variation in CLL risk being defined by variants impacting on gene expression. To explore using eQTL data to select GWAS SNPs for replication, we genotyped rs2072135 (GWAS P-value = 0·0024, eQTL P-value = 1·510(-19)) in five independent case-control series totalling 1968 cases and 3538 controls. While not attaining statistical significance (combined P-value = 1 × 10(-4)), rs2072135 defines a promising risk locus for CLL. Incorporating eQTL information offers an attractive strategy for selecting SNPs from GWAS for validation.
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Prognostic impact of monocyte count at presentation in mantle cell lymphoma.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 01-15-2013
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An increased number of circulating monocytes at presentation has recently been associated with shorter survival in Hodgkin lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B cell lymphoma. This study aimed to assess the prognostic impact of the absolute monocyte count (AMC) at diagnosis in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). AMC at diagnosis was available in 97 MCL cases recorded in the databases of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland in Bellinzona (Switzerland) and the Division of Haematology of the Amedeo Avogadro University of Eastern Piedmont in Novara (Italy). With a median follow up of 7 years, the 5-year overall survival was 29% for patients with AMC >0·50 × 10(9) /l and 62% for patients with AMC ?0·50 × 10(9) /l (P = 0·008). Elevated AMC and beta-2 microglobulin at diagnosis remained independent outcome predictors at multivariate analysis, controlling for the MCL International Prognostic Index (MIPI), and have been used to build a simple prognostic scoring system. In this relatively small and heterogeneous series an increased AMC identified poor-risk patients. Our results suggest that AMC together with the beta-2 microglobulin level might provide an inexpensive way to stratify MCL patient risk as a complement to the MIPI, which was confirmed to be a very powerful prognostic tool.
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The PD-1/PD-L1 axis contributes to T-cell dysfunction in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2013
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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is marked by profound defects in T-cell function. Programmed death-1 is a receptor involved in tumor-mediated immunosuppression through binding of the PD-L1 ligand. Multiparametric flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry were used to study PD-1/PD-L1 expression. Functional assays were used to determine the involvement of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis in T-cell responses. PD-1 expression by CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes was significantly higher in 117 chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients than in 33 donors of a comparable age. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes from chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients displayed increased numbers of effector memory and terminally differentiated cells, respectively, when compared to controls. The number of effector memory CD4(+) and terminally differentiated CD8(+) lymphocytes positively associated with a more advanced stage of disease, treatment requirements and unfavorable genomic aberrations. Furthermore, leukemic lymphocytes expressed higher levels of PD-L1 than circulating B lymphocytes from normal donors. PD-1 and PD-L1 surface expression spiked in proliferating T and B lymphocytes, suggesting that this interaction works efficiently in activated environments. Within chronic lymphocytic leukemia proliferation centers in the lymph node, CD4(+)/PD-1(+) T lymphocytes were found to be in close contact with PD-L1(+) chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Lastly, functional experiments using recombinant soluble PD-L1 and blocking antibodies indicated that this axis contributes to the inhibition of IFN-? production by CD8(+) T cells. These observations suggest that pharmacological manipulation of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis may contribute to restoring T-cell functions in the chronic lymphocytic leukemia microenvironment.
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NOTCH1 mutations in +12 chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) confer an unfavorable prognosis, induce a distinctive transcriptional profiling and refine the intermediate prognosis of +12 CLL.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 12-29-2011
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Trisomy 12, the third most frequent chromosomal aberration in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), confers an intermediate prognosis. In our cohort of 104 untreated patients carrying +12, NOTCH1 mutations occurred in 24% of cases and were associated to unmutated IGHV genes (P=0.003) and +12 as a sole cytogenetic abnormality (P=0.008). NOTCH1 mutations in +12 CLL associated with an approximately 2.4 fold increase in the risk of death, a significant shortening of survival (P<0.01) and proved to be an independent predictor of survival in multivariate analysis. Analogous to +12 CLL with TP53 disruption or del(11q), NOTCH1 mutations in +12 CLL conferred a significantly worse survival compared to that of +12 CLL with del(13q) or +12 only. The overrepresentation of cell cycle/proliferation related genes of +12 CLL with NOTCH1 mutations suggests the biological contribution of NOTCH1 mutations to determine a poor outcome. NOTCH1 mutations refine the intermediate prognosis of +12 CLL.
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Multiple myeloma shows no intra-disease clustering of immunoglobulin heavy chain genes.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 12-29-2011
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Characterization of the immunoglobulin gene repertoire has improved our understanding of the immunopathogenesis of lymphoid tumors. Early B-lymphocyte precursors of multiple myeloma are known to exist and might be susceptible to antigenic drive.
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Integrated DNA copy number and methylation profiling of lymphoid neoplasms using a single array.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 11-25-2011
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Changes in DNA copy number (CN) and DNA methylation represent important aberrations for lymphomas and other cancers. Here, for the first time, we show that the Illumina Infinium Methylation (IIM) assay, although not originally designed for CN profiling, is able to estimate CN changes. We compared the IIM CN profiles to those obtained with a standard technique in a series of diffuse large B-cell lymphomas: the profiles showed a high degree of consensus. The demonstration of CN profiling as an additional function of the IIM assay may impact the choice of platform for methylation profiling of haematological and solid tumours.
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Mutations of NOTCH1 are an independent predictor of survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 11-10-2011
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Analysis of the chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) coding genome has recently disclosed that the NOTCH1 proto-oncogene is recurrently mutated at CLL presentation. Here, we assessed the prognostic role of NOTCH1 mutations in CLL. Two series of newly diagnosed CLL were used as training (n = 309) and validation (n = 230) cohorts. NOTCH1 mutations occurred in 11.0% and 11.3% CLL of the training and validation series, respectively. In the training series, NOTCH1 mutations led to a 3.77-fold increase in the hazard of death and to shorter overall survival (OS; P < .001). Multivariate analysis selected NOTCH1 mutations as an independent predictor of OS after controlling for confounding clinical and biologic variables. The independent prognostic value of NOTCH1 mutations was externally confirmed in the validation series. The poor prognosis conferred by NOTCH1 mutations was attributable, at least in part, to shorter treatment-free survival and higher risk of Richter transformation. Although NOTCH1 mutated patients were devoid of TP53 disruption in more than 90% cases in both training and validation series, the OS predicted by NOTCH1 mutations was similar to that of TP53 mutated/deleted CLL. NOTCH1 mutations are an independent predictor of CLL OS, tend to be mutually exclusive with TP53 abnormalities, and identify cases with a dismal prognosis.
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Mutations of the SF3B1 splicing factor in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: association with progression and fludarabine-refractoriness.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 10-28-2011
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The genetic lesions identified in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) do not entirely recapitulate the disease pathogenesis and the development of serious complications, such as chemorefractoriness. While investigating the coding genome of fludarabine-refractory CLL, we observed that mutations of SF3B1, encoding a splicing factor and representing a critical component of the cell spliceosome, were recurrent in 10 of 59 (17%) fludarabine-refractory cases, with a frequency significantly greater than that observed in a consecutive CLL cohort sampled at diagnosis (17/301, 5%; P = .002). Mutations were somatically acquired, were generally represented by missense nucleotide changes, clustered in selected HEAT repeats of the SF3B1 protein, recurrently targeted 3 hotspots (codons 662, 666, and 700), and were predictive of a poor prognosis. In fludarabine-refractory CLL, SF3B1 mutations and TP53 disruption distributed in a mutually exclusive fashion (P = .046). The identification of SF3B1 mutations points to splicing regulation as a novel pathogenetic mechanism of potential clinical relevance in CLL.
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CD73-generated extracellular adenosine in chronic lymphocytic leukemia creates local conditions counteracting drug-induced cell death.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 10-13-2011
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Extracellular adenosine (ADO), generated from ATP or ADP through the concerted action of the ectoenzymes CD39 and CD73, elicits autocrine and paracrine effects mediated by type 1 purinergic receptors. We have tested whether the expression of CD39 and CD73 by chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells activates an adenosinergic axis affecting growth and survival. By immunohistochemistry, CD39 is widely expressed in CLL lymph nodes, whereas CD73 is restricted to proliferation centers. CD73 expression is highest on Ki-67(+) CLL cells, adjacent to T lymphocytes, and is further localized to perivascular areas. CD39(+)/CD73(+) CLL cells generate ADO from ADP in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. In peripheral blood, CD73 expression occurs in 97/299 (32%) CLL patients and pairs with CD38 and ZAP-70 expression. CD73-generated extracellular ADO activates type 1 purinergic A2A receptors that are constitutively expressed by CLL cells and that are further elevated in proliferating neoplastic cells. Activation of the ADO receptors increases cytoplasmic cAMP levels, inhibiting chemotaxis and limiting spontaneous drug-induced apoptosis of CLL cells. These data are consistent with the existence of an autocrine adenosinergic loop, and support engraftment of leukemic cells in growth-favorable niches, while simultaneously protecting from the action of chemotherapeutic agents.
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Alteration of BIRC3 and multiple other NF-?B pathway genes in splenic marginal zone lymphoma.
Blood
PUBLISHED: 08-31-2011
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Splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) is one of the few B-cell lymphoma types that remain orphan of molecular lesions in cancer-related genes. Detection of active NF-?B signaling in 14 (58%) of 24 SMZLs prompted the investigation of NF-?B molecular alterations in 101 SMZLs. Mutations and copy number abnormalities of NF-?B genes occurred in 36 (36%) of 101 SMZLs and targeted both canonical (TNFAIP3 and IKBKB) and noncanonical (BIRC3, TRAF3, MAP3K14) NF-?B pathways. Most alterations were mutually exclusive, documenting the existence of multiple independent mechanisms affecting NF-?B in SMZL. BIRC3 inactivation in SMZL recurred because of somatic mutations that disrupted the same RING domain that in extranodal marginal zone lymphoma is removed by the t(11;18) translocation, which points to BIRC3 disruption as a common mechanism across marginal zone B-cell lymphomagenesis. Genetic lesions of NF-?B provide a molecular basis for the pathogenesis of more than 30% of SMZLs and offer a suitable target for NF-?B therapeutic approaches in this lymphoma.
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Genomic aberrations affecting the outcome of immunodeficiency-related diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Leuk. Lymphoma
PUBLISHED: 08-28-2011
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the prognostic impact of genomic regions in a series of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (HIV-DLBCLs) and post-transplant DLBCLs (PT-DLBCLs) analyzed by genome-wide DNA profiling. Minimal common regions (MCRs) were estimated on genomic profiles obtained using Affymetrix Human Mapping 250k Nsp I arrays and tested for their impact on clinical outcome by univariate analysis on 36 PT-DLBCLs, 19 HIV-DLBCLs and, as a control group, 149 DLBCLs arising in immunocompetent individuals (IC-DLBCLs). PT-DLBCL and HIV-DLBCL presented a similar outcome. Immunodeficiency-related DLBCL (ID-DLBCL) had a worse overall survival (OS) than IC-DLBCL. Seven MCRs showed a statistical impact on OS in PT-DLBCL and four in HIV-DLBCL. Among these, the presence of gains at 1q or at 18q defined a group of patients with PT-DLBCL with a very poor outcome (p < 0.0001). The presence of del(3p14.2) or of + 2p23.1 identified a group of HIV-DLBCLs with a very poor outcome (p = 0.0072). It was concluded that genomic aberrations affecting outcome differ between ID-DLBCL and IC-DLBCL and are also dependent on the type of acquired immunodeficiency.
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The coexistence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and myeloproliperative neoplasms: a retrospective multicentric GIMEMA experience.
Am. J. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 08-12-2011
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Although the coexistence of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) has been sporadically reported in the literature, no systematic studies on this disease association are available. We retrospectively analyzed 46 patients affected by CLL/MPN referred by 15 Italian GIMEMA centers. The aim of this retrospective multicenter study was to define the following: clinico-biological characteristics, possible familiarity, clinical course of both diseases, and influence of MPN chemotherapy on the course of CLL. Among 46 patients, 30 patients were males, 16 patients were females; median age was 71 years. Only one case had familiar CLL. Myeloproliferative disorders consisted of essential thrombocytemia in 18 cases, polycythemia vera in 10 cases, chronic myeloid leukemia in 9 cases, primary myelofibrosis in 6 cases, and MPN/myelodysplastic syndrome in 3 cases. The lymphoproliferative disorder was diagnosed as monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis in 8 patients and as Binet Stage A CLL in 38 patients. After a median follow-up of 49 months, 9 patients experienced progressive CLL and only 6 patients required treatment after a median of 57.5 months. The biological profile confirmed a subset of low-risk CLL. Twenty patients received chemotherapy for MPN without influence on the course of CLL: lymphocyte counts remained unchanged after 3, 6, and 12 months of treatment. This series is the largest so far reported in literature. The diagnosis of concomitant CLL/MPN is a rare event and lymphoproliferative disorders present a clinical indolent course with a low-risk biological profile. MPN therapy does not interfere with the prognosis of patients with CLL.
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Prognostic relevance of cytometric quantitative assessment in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.
Eur. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 08-11-2011
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Morphology and cytogenetics are currently used to define prognosis in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). However, these parameters have some limits. Flow cytometry has been recently included in the diagnostic panel for MDS, and its prognostic significance is under evaluation.
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Clinical outcome and monitoring of minimal residual disease in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia expressing the MLL/ENL fusion gene.
Am. J. Hematol.
PUBLISHED: 07-26-2011
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We analyzed 12 MLL/ENL positive ALL patients consecutively diagnosed between 1999 and 2009. The MLL/ENL fusion was identified in 4/150 (2.6%), 8/993 (0.8%), and 0/70 of pediatric, adult, and elderly patients, respectively. Eight patients had a WBC count >50 × 10(9) /L. Ten cases had an evaluable immunophenotyping. A B or T precursor ALL occurred in 7 and 3 patients, respectively. Eleven/12 patients (92%) achieved CR. At 48 months, overall survival and event-free survival rates were 73.3% and 67%, respectively. At CR, a parallel RT-PCR evaluation of the MLL/ENL expression was available in 5 cases. Of these latter, 2 tested MLL/ENL-negative and 3 positive. The minimal residual disease molecular monitoring showed that MLL/ENL status did not correlate with outcome. In fact, all the 2 PCR-negative and 1 of the 3 PCR-positive cases relapsed. Further, a MLL/ENL expression, not preceding a relapse, was detected several times during the follow-up of five long-survivors. In conclusion, also in adults, the MLL/ENL fusion identifies a rare leukemic entity with a favorable prognosis. The observed inconsistency between the clinical cure and the presence of detectable MLL/ENL transcript suggests the existence of a MLL/ENL-expressing "preleukemia" stem cells, similar to what demonstrated for the AML1/ETO-positive leukemia setting.
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Genome-wide DNA profiling better defines the prognosis of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 07-12-2011
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The integration of molecular and clinical information to tailor treatments remains an important research challenge in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). This study aimed to identify genomic lesions associated with a poor outcome and a higher risk of histological transformation. A mono-institutional cohort of 147 cases was used as the test series, and a multi-institutional cohort of 176 cases as a validation series. Genomic profiles were obtained using Affymetrix SNP 6.0. The impact of the recurrent minimal common regions (MCRs) on overall survival was evaluated by univariate analysis followed by multiple-test correction. The independent prognostic significance was assessed by multivariate analysis. Eight MCRs showed a prognostic impact: gains at 2p25.3-p22.3 (MYCN), 2p22.3, 2p16.2-p14 (REL), 8q23.3-q24.3 (MYC), losses at 8p23.1-p21.2, 8p21.2, and of the TP53 locus. Gains at 2p and 8q and TP53 inactivation maintained prognostic significance in multivariate analysis and a hierarchical model confirmed their relevance. Gains at 2p also determined a higher risk of Richter syndrome transformation. The prediction of outcome for CLL patients might be improved by evaluating the presence of gains at 2p and 8q as novel genomic regions besides those included in the standard fluorescence in situ hybridization panel.
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Analysis of the chronic lymphocytic leukemia coding genome: role of NOTCH1 mutational activation.
J. Exp. Med.
PUBLISHED: 06-13-2011
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The pathogenesis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common leukemia in adults, is still largely unknown. The full spectrum of genetic lesions that are present in the CLL genome, and therefore the number and identity of dysregulated cellular pathways, have not been identified. By combining next-generation sequencing and copy number analysis, we show here that the typical CLL coding genome contains <20 clonally represented gene alterations/case, including predominantly nonsilent mutations, and fewer copy number aberrations. These analyses led to the discovery of several genes not previously known to be altered in CLL. Although most of these genes were affected at low frequency in an expanded CLL screening cohort, mutational activation of NOTCH1, observed in 8.3% of CLL at diagnosis, was detected at significantly higher frequency during disease progression toward Richter transformation (31.0%), as well as in chemorefractory CLL (20.8%). Consistent with the association of NOTCH1 mutations with clinically aggressive forms of the disease, NOTCH1 activation at CLL diagnosis emerged as an independent predictor of poor survival. These results provide initial data on the complexity of the CLL coding genome and identify a dysregulated pathway of diagnostic and therapeutic relevance.
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Association between single nucleotide polymorphism-genotype and outcome of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in a randomized chemotherapy trial.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 06-09-2011
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There is variability in the outcome of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia with apparently the same stage of disease. Identifying genetic variants that influence patients outcome and response to treatment may provide important insights into the biology of the disease.
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Risk evaluation, prophylaxis, and treatment of tumor lysis syndrome: consensus of an Italian expert panel.
Adv Ther
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2011
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Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) is a life-threatening complication in patients with hematological disease and/or solid tumors that results from rapid, large-scale tumor necrosis occurring spontaneously, or more commonly, as a result of chemotherapy. TLS is characterized by metabolic and electrolyte imbalances that include hyperuricemia, hyperkalemia, hyperphosphatemia, and hypocalcemia. Identification of risk groups as well as early detection of TLS is crucial for the establishment of appropriate strategies of prophylaxis and treatment.
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Nicotinamide blocks proliferation and induces apoptosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells through activation of the p53/miR-34a/SIRT1 tumor suppressor network.
Cancer Res.
PUBLISHED: 05-12-2011
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Because of its relatively indolent clinical course, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) offers a versatile model for testing novel therapeutic regimens and drug combinations. Nicotinamide is the main NAD(+) precursor and a direct inhibitor of four classes of enzymes, including the sirtuins. SIRT1, the main member of the sirtuin family, inactivates p53 by deacetylating a critical lysine residue. In this study, we showed that CLL cells express high levels of functional SIRT1, which is inhibited by exogenous nicotinamide. This agent blocks proliferation and promotes apoptosis selectively in leukemic cells that express wild-type (wt) p53. Nicotinamide modulates the p53-dependent genes p21, NOXA, BAX, and Mcl-1, indicating an activation of the p53 pathway and of caspase-3. DNA-damaging chemotherapeutics, such as etoposide, activate a functional loop linking SIRT1 and p53 through the induction of miR-34a. When leukemic cells are simultaneously exposed to nicotinamide and etoposide, we observe a significant increase in miR-34a levels with a concomitant inhibition of SIRT1. Furthermore, p53 acetylation levels are higher than with either agent used alone. Overall, treatment with both nicotinamde and etoposide shows strongly synergistic effects in the induction of apoptosis. We therefore concluded that nicotinamide has the dual property of inhibiting SIRT1 through a noncompetitive enzymatic block (p53 independent) and at the same time through miR-34a induction (p53 dependent). These observations suggested the therapeutic potential of nicotinamide, a novel, safe, and inexpensive drug, to be used in addition to chemotherapy for CLL patients with wt p53.
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Common genetic variation at 15q25.2 impacts on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia risk.
Br. J. Haematol.
PUBLISHED: 05-09-2011
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A genome-wide association study of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) suggested that common variants at 15q25.2 (rs783540) and 18q21.1 (rs1036935) influence CLL. To validate these associations and explore their relationship with CLL risk we genotyped case-control datasets from Poland, UK and Italy totalling 1428 cases and 1920 controls. Combined data from these and previously genotyped series (2503 cases and 5789 controls) provided evidence for an association between 15q25.2 and 18q21.1 loci and CLL risk (P(combined) = 1·10 × 10(-7) and 1·30 × 10(-5) respectively). These data provide further evidence for the involvement of common genetic variants in CLL risk and insight into the biological basis of disease development.
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Molecular history of Richter syndrome: origin from a cell already present at the time of chronic lymphocytic leukemia diagnosis.
Int. J. Cancer
PUBLISHED: 05-05-2011
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Richter syndrome (RS) represents the transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia to aggressive lymphoma. We explored intraclonal diversification (ID) of immunoglobulin genes in order to (i) follow the evolutionary history of the RS clone (ii) compare the role of ID in clonally related RS vs. clonally unrelated cases. Most (10/11, 90.9%) clonally related RS stem from the predominant clone observed at CLL diagnosis. One single RS had a transformation pattern compatible with sequential evolution from a secondary CLL subclone. Once RS transformation had occurred, all secondary CLL subclones disappeared and were substituted by the dominant RS clone with its own descendants. These observations suggest that genetic lesions associated with RS transformation are acquired by a cell belonging to the original CLL clone, rather than being progressively accumulated by later CLL subclones. Accordingly, most (9/11, 81.1%) clonally related RS harbored a genetic lesion disrupting TP53 that was already present, though at subclonal levels, in 5/11 (45.5%) samples of the paired CLL phase. A fraction of clonally related RS switched off ID (4/11, 36.4%) or reduced the levels of ID (5/11, 45.4%) at transformation. Conversely, all clonally unrelated RS harbored ID and were characterized by a significantly higher mutation frequency compared to clonally related RS (median: 1.18 × 10(-3) vs. 0.13 × 10(-3); p =0.002). These data indicate that (i) clonally related RS stems from a cell that is already present within the initial CLL clone and (ii) clonally unrelated and clonally related RS are biologically distinct disorders also in terms of antigen affinity maturation.
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Saliva is a reliable and practical source of germline DNA for genome-wide studies in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Leuk. Res.
PUBLISHED: 05-04-2011
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High-throughput genomics requires tumor DNA matched to germline DNA, that cannot be easily obtained in the context of leukemia. Using chronic lymphocytic leukemia as a model, saliva DNA was frequently devoid of tumor DNA also during overt disease, and passed quality controls for SNP-array (77/102, 75.4%) and next generation sequencing (71/102, 69.6%). Compared to saliva, urine provides germline DNA of similar quality but in lower amounts. Saliva DNA was successfully run on SNP 6.0 arrays, and passed quality control call rate thresholds. On these bases, saliva represents a useful source of germline DNA for high-throughput genomic studies of hematologic neoplasia.
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Analysis of the coding genome of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
Nat. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 04-20-2011
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Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form of human lymphoma. Although a number of structural alterations have been associated with the pathogenesis of this malignancy, the full spectrum of genetic lesions that are present in the DLBCL genome, and therefore the identity of dysregulated cellular pathways, remains unknown. By combining next-generation sequencing and copy number analysis, we show that the DLBCL coding genome contains, on average, more than 30 clonally represented gene alterations per case. This analysis also revealed mutations in genes not previously implicated in DLBCL pathogenesis, including those regulating chromatin methylation (MLL2; 24% of samples) and immune recognition by T cells. These results provide initial data on the complexity of the DLBCL coding genome and identify novel dysregulated pathways underlying its pathogenesis.
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Genomic profiles of MALT lymphomas: variability across anatomical sites.
Haematologica
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2011
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MALT lymphomas present common features, but important differences are associated with involvement of specific anatomical sites, many likely contributing to the biology. To test the existence of genetic alterations specific for primary anatomical sites of involvement, genomic profiles obtained with high-density arrays were analyzed in 130 MALT lymphomas across a spectrum of anatomic sites. Trisomies 3 and 18 and del(6q23) occurred at a similar frequency. Instead, gains at 6p appeared significantly more common among MALT lymphomas involving the orbital adnexa. Gastric involvement showed a trend for a higher frequency of 8q gains. In conclusion, MALT lymphomas appear to bear a common set of recurrent unbalanced genomic alterations independent of the anatomical site. This differs from what has been observed for common chromosome translocations. Only a few alterations such as gains at 6p and, possibly, gains at 8q show preferential involvement at specific anatomical sites.
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Predictive markers and driving factors behind Richter syndrome development.
Expert Rev Anticancer Ther
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2011
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Transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is known as Richter syndrome (RS). In the entire CLL population, the cumulative prevalence of RS development steadily increases at a rate of 1% per year. Considering conventional predictors of CLL, patient subgroups at high risk of developing RS are characterized by the expression of CD38, absence of del13q14, and a lymph node size >3 cm. Novel risk factors for predicting RS development at CLL diagnosis have been recently identified and include: the host genotype of the CD38 locus and of other genes; telomere length of CLL cells; stereotyped B-cell receptor; and usage of specific immunoglobulin variable genes (IGHV4-39). Importantly, although some risk factors predict both CLL progression and transformation to RS, others (CD38 genotype, absence of del13q14, IGHV4-39 usage, stereotyped B-cell receptor) appear to specifically predict RS. The definition of RS encompasses at least two different conditions: DLBCLs that are clonally related to the pre-existing CLL (accounting for most cases), or DLBCL unrelated to the CLL clone. The transition from CLL to clonally related RS is accompanied by the acquisition of novel genetic alterations that may account for the chemorefractoriness of RS. Genome-wide studies that are currently ongoing are important for identifying novel molecular lesions implicated in RS that might represent a suitable target for future therapeutic strategies.
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