We analyzed the outcomes of patients who survived disease-free for 1-year or more following second allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for relapsed acute leukemia or myelodysplastic syndromes between 1980 and 2009. A total of 1285 patients received a second allogeneic transplant following disease relapse; among these 325 survived relapse-free at 1-year after the second HCT. The median time from first to second HCT was 17 and 24 months for children and adults, respectively. A myeloablative preparative regimen was used in the second transplant in 62% of children and 45% of adult patients. The overall 10-year conditional survival rates after second transplantation in this cohort of patients who had survived disease-free for at least one year were 55% in children and 39% in adults. Relapse was the leading cause of mortality (77% and 54% of deaths in children and adults, respectively). In multivariate analyses, only disease status prior to second HCT was significantly associated with higher risk for overall mortality (HR 1.71 for patients with disease not in complete remission prior to second HCT, P<0.01). Chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) developed in 43% and 75% of children and adults following second transplant. Chronic GVHD was the leading cause of non-relapse mortality followed by organ failure and infection. The cumulative incidence of developing at least one of the studied late effects at 10-years after second HCT was 63% in children and 55% in adults. The most frequent late effects in children were growth disturbance (10-year cumulative incidence 22%) and cataracts (20%), and in adults were cataracts (20%) and avascular necrosis (13%). Among patients with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes who receive a second allogeneic HCT for relapse and survive disease-free for at least 1-year, many can be expected to survive long term. However, they continue to be at risk for relapse and non-relapse morbidity and mortality. Novel approaches are needed to minimize relapse risk and long-term transplant morbidity in this population.
DNA repair plays a crucial role in embryonic and somatic stem cell biology and cell reprogramming. The Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway, which promotes error-free repair of DNA double-strand breaks, is required for somatic cell reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Thus, cells from Fanconi anemia patients, which lack this critical pathway, fail to be reprogrammed to iPSC under standard conditions unless the defective FA gene is complemented. In this study, we utilized the oncogenes of high-risk human papillomavirus 16 (HPV16) to overcome the resistance of FA patient cells to reprogramming. We found that E6, but not E7, recovers FA iPSC colony formation and, furthermore, that p53 inhibition is necessary and sufficient for this activity. The iPSC colonies resulting from each of these approaches stained positive for alkaline phosphatase, NANOG, and Tra-1-60, indicating that they were fully reprogrammed into pluripotent cells. However, FA iPSC were incapable of outgrowth into stable iPSC lines regardless of p53 suppression, whereas their FA-complemented counterparts grew efficiently. Thus, we conclude that the FA pathway is required for the growth of iPSC beyond reprogramming and that p53-independent mechanisms are involved.
We examined risk of second solid cancers after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (AHCT) using reduced-intensity/nonmyeloablative conditioning (RIC/NMC). RIC/NMC recipients with leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) (n = 2833) and lymphoma (n = 1436) between 1995 and 2006 were included. In addition, RIC/NMC recipients 40 to 60 years of age (n = 2138) were compared with patients of the same age receiving myeloablative conditioning (MAC, n = 6428). The cumulative incidence of solid cancers was 3.35% at 10 years. There was no increase in overall cancer risk compared with the general population (leukemia/MDS: standardized incidence ratio [SIR] .99, P = 1.00; lymphoma: SIR .92, P = .75). However, risks were significantly increased in leukemia/MDS patients for cancers of lip (SIR 14.28), tonsil (SIR 8.66), oropharynx (SIR 46.70), bone (SIR 23.53), soft tissue (SIR 12.92), and vulva (SIR 18.55) and skin melanoma (SIR 3.04). Lymphoma patients had significantly higher risks of oropharyngeal cancer (SIR 67.35) and skin melanoma (SIR 3.52). Among RIC/NMC recipients, age >50 years was the only independent risk factor for solid cancers (hazard ratio [HR] 3.02, P < .001). Among patients ages 40 to 60 years, when adjusted for other factors, there was no difference in cancer risks between RIC/NMC and MAC in leukemia/MDS patients (HR .98, P = .905). In lymphoma patients, risks were lower after RIC/NMC (HR .51, P = .047). In conclusion, the overall risks of second solid cancers in RIC/NMC recipients are similar to the general population, although there is an increased risk of cancer at some sites. Studies with longer follow-up are needed to realize the complete risks of solid cancers after RIC/NMC AHCT.
Transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) leads to generalized endothelial dysfunction that can progress to multiorgan injury, and severe cases are associated with poor outcomes after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Identifying patients at highest risk for severe disease is challenging. We prospectively evaluated 100 consecutive HSCT recipients to determine the incidence of moderate and severe TMA and factors associated with poor overall outcomes. Thirty-nine subjects (39%) met previously published criteria for TMA. Subjects with TMA had a significantly higher nonrelapse mortality (43.6% vs 7.8%, P < .0001) at 1 year post-HSCT compared with those without TMA. Elevated lactate dehydrogenase, proteinuria on routine urinalysis, and hypertension were the earliest markers of TMA. Proteinuria (>30 mg/dL) and evidence of terminal complement activation (elevated sC5b-9) in the blood at the time of TMA diagnosis were associated with very poor survival (<20% at 1 year), whereas all TMA subjects without proteinuria and a normal sC5b-9 serum concentration survived (P < .01). Based on these prospective observations, we conclude that severe TMA occurred in 18% of HSCT recipients in our cohort and propose an algorithm to identify the highest-risk patients who might benefit from prompt clinical interventions.
Cardiac complications after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Cardiac evaluation during the first 100 days after HSCT is usually performed only if clinically indicated and there are no studies examining if routine screening would be of benefit in this patient population at high risk for tissue injury. We conducted a single center prospective clinical study to screen for cardiac complications in pediatric and young adult patients. One hundred consecutive HSCT patients underwent scheduled echocardiographic screening on day +7 after transplantation, independent of their clinical condition. At least one abnormality was identified in 30% of cases. Seventeen children had a pericardial effusion, 13 elevated right ventricular pressure and 3 reduced left ventricular function. Survival was reduced in children with any echocardiographic abnormality at day 7 (67% vs. 80% in those with and without abnormality, p= 0.073). Moreover, raised right ventricular pressure at day +7 was significantly associated with transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy (TA-TMA) (p=0.004), and may indicate early vascular injury in the lungs. These data suggest that echocardiography 7 days after HSCT can detect early cardiac complications of HSCT and may identify early vascular injury associated with TA-TMA.
Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver is a well-described and significant complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), with limited successful therapeutic options in severe cases. Prompt diagnosis and initiation of treatment is crucial to restrict the extent of disease. However, a subset of patients may not meet all current diagnostic criteria at presentation, and waiting for these to be met may delay therapy. We retrospectively reviewed 794 HSCT patients treated at our institution between 2003 and 2013, identifying 17 (2.1%) who developed VOD. Of these, 5 (29%) were noted to have an absence of elevated bilirubin at the time of VOD diagnosis and reversal of portal venous flow on ultrasound. Median total and conjugated bilirubin at VOD diagnosis were 1.0 and 0.2 mg/dL respectively. All five of these patients were subsequently diagnosed with multi-organ failure associated with VOD, including one with encephalopathy. Four were treated with intravenous high dose methylprednisolone (500 mg/m(2) per dose every 12 hours for six doses). One patient received defibrotide therapy in addition to steroids and another supportive care alone. VOD resolved in 4 of the 5 patients, with median time to resolution of VOD, defined as recovery of all organ function and normalization of bilirubin and portal venous flow, of 8 days. Two patients died later from progressive primary disease and chronic GVHD respectively. We conclude that a high index of suspicion for VOD should be maintained in patients despite lack of bilirubin elevation in the presence of other diagnostic criteria such as hepatomegaly, abdominal pain, ascites or weight gain. Early ultrasound evaluation in these patients may lead to more timely diagnosis and therapeutic interventions.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genetic disorder associated with bone marrow (BM) failure and leukemia. Recent studies demonstrate variable immune defects in FA. However, the cause for FA immunodeficiency is unknown. Here we report that deletion of Fanca or Fancd2 dysregulates the suppressive activity of regulatory T cells (Tregs), shown functionally as exacerbation of graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) in mice. Recipient mice of Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) BM chimeras exhibited severe acute GVHD after allogeneic BM transplantation (BMT). T cells from Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) mice induced higher GVHD lethality than those from wild-type (WT) littermates. FA Tregs possessed lower proliferative suppression potential compared with WT Tregs, as demonstrated by in vitro proliferation assay and BMT. Analysis of CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs indicated that loss of Fanca or Fancd2 dysregulated Foxp3 target gene expression. Additionally, CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs of Fanca(-/-) or Fancd2(-/-) mice were less efficient in suppressing the production of GVHD-associated inflammatory cytokines. Consistently, aberrant NF-?B activity was observed in infiltrated T cells from FA GVHD mice. Conditional deletion of p65 in FA Tregs decreased GVHD mortality. Our study uncovers an essential role for FA proteins in maintaining Treg homeostasis, possibly explaining, at least in part, the immune deficiency reported in some FA patients.
SR-aGVHD remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in allogeneic HCT recipients. Alemtuzumab has been used with success in adult patients but has not been studied in the pediatric setting. To estimate the effectiveness of alemtuzumab for the treatment of SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 19 patients (median age 4 yr, range 0.5-28 years) with grades II (n = 3), III (n = 10), or IV (n = 6) SR-aGVHD who received alemtuzumab treatment. Patients received a median dose of 0.9 mg/kg alemtuzumab (range 0.3-2 mg/kg) divided over 2-6 days. Eighty-nine percent of patients received additional courses. A complete response, defined as GVHD of grade 0 at four wk following the first alemtuzumab course, was observed in nine patients (47%). A partial response, defined as an improvement in grade after four wk, was observed in five patients (26%). There was no response in five patients (26%). The overall response rate at four wk was 73%. Infectious complications included bacteremia (47%), presumed or documented fungal infections (21%), adenovirus viremia (52%), EBV viremia (36%), and CMV viremia (36%). We conclude that alemtuzumab is effective for SR-aGVHD in pediatric patients with a tolerable spectrum of complications.
Reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) improves the outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in patients with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Proximal (ie, close to graft infusion) dosing of alemtuzumab is associated with a high incidence of mixed chimerism, whereas distal (ie, distant from graft infusion) dosing is associated with less mixed chimerism but more acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The alemtuzumab dose per kilogram of body weight also influences these outcomes. We hypothesized that an intermediate alemtuzumab dosing schedule would reduce mixed chimerism and maintain a low incidence of acute GVHD. In this study, 24 consecutive HCTs were performed in patients with HLH or a related disorder using a novel intermediate alemtuzumab schedule of 1 mg/kg starting on day -14. The cumulative incidences (CIs) of mixed chimerism, upfront acute GVHD grades II-IV, and receipt of additional hematopoietic cell products after HCT were compared in patients treated with a distal alemtuzumab schedule (n = 15) and those treated with a proximal alemtuzumab schedule (n = 33). All patients received fludarabine and melphalan. The CI of mixed chimerism was 31% in the intermediate group, 72% in the proximal group (P < .01), and 75% in the distal group patients who received ?2 mg/kg alemtuzumab (P = .03). The CI of acute GVHD grades II-IV before the development of mixed chimerism was 4% in the intermediate group, 0% in the proximal group, and 13% in the distal group (P = .04, proximal versus distal). The 1-year CI of administration of additional hematopoietic cell products for mixed chimerism (donor lymphocyte infusion ± hematopoietic stem cell boost ± repeat HCT) was 14% in the intermediate group, 53% in the proximal group (P = .01), and 38% in the distal ?2 mg/kg alemtuzumab group (P = .02). Our findings indicate that intermediate RIC reduces the incidence of mixed chimerism, is associated with a low incidence of upfront acute GVHD, and decreases the need for additional hematopoietic cell products after HCT.
Fanconi anaemia is an autosomal recessive or X-linked disease characterized by progressive bone marrow failure, variable congenital abnormalities and a predisposition to malignancy. Reports of immune function in this population are limited, and include only specific areas of immune performance, showing variable defects. We report a cross-sectional immunological assessment in 10 children with FA. Absolute numbers of B cells and natural killer (NK) cells were reduced compared to controls (P = 0·048 and P = 0·0002, respectively), while absolute number of T cells were within normal range. Perforin and granzyme content of NK cells was reduced (P < 0·00001 and P = 0·0057, respectively) along with the NK cell cytotoxicity (P < 0·001). Antigen proliferation in response to tetanus was decreased (P = 0·008) while responses to candida and phytohaemagglutinin were not. Cytotoxic T cell function was also reduced (P < 0·0001). Immunoglobulin G levels were normal in those evaluated. Our series represents the first attempt at a comprehensive quantitative and functional evaluation of immune function in this rare group of patients and demonstrates a significant deficit in the NK cell compartment, a novel quantitative B cell defect, along with abnormal cytotoxic function. These findings may be especially relevant in this patient population with known predisposition to DNA damage and malignancy.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is characterized by progressive marrow failure, congenital anomalies, and predisposition to malignancy. Biallelic FANCD1/BRCA2 mutations are the genetic basis of disease in a small proportion of children with FA with earlier onset and increased incidence of leukemia and solid tumors. Patients with FA have increased sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation, and upon development of a solid tumor, require modification of these therapies. We report clinical and molecular features of three patients with FA associated with FANCD1/BRCA2 mutations, including two novel mutations, and discuss treatment of malignancy and associated side effects in this particularly vulnerable group.
Fanconi Anemia (FA) is an inherited bone marrow failure syndrome characterized by congenital abnormalities, progressive marrow failure and predisposition to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and solid tumors. The most common acquired chromosomal aberrations in FA patients are trisomy of 1q and monosomy of chromosome 7; the latter is known to be associated with poor prognosis. A few reports also suggest that gains of 3q are associated with progression to MDS-AML and overall poor prognosis. It is not uncommon for patients with Fanconi anemia to have easily detectable (oligoclonal) chromosomal alterations in their still normal (nonmalignant) marrow, which makes it even more challenging to determine the import of such alterations. We conducted a retrospective longitudinal analysis of fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis for gains in 1q and 3q and for monosomy 7 and 7q deletions on 212 bone marrow samples from 77 children with FA treated at our institution between 1987 and 2007. Given the baseline increased chromosomal instability and defective DNA repair in patients with FA, which leads to unbalanced chromosomal aberrations such as deletions, insertions, and translocations, for the purpose of this analysis an abnormal clone was defined as ?10% abnormal cells. Chromosome 3 and 7 aberrations were associated with increased risk of developing MDS-AML (P = 0.019 and P < 0.001 respectively), although the significance of chromosome 3 aberrations disappeared when different observation times were accounted for. Gain of 1q alone did not predict development of MDS-AML. In conclusion, children with FA should be followed closely with FISH analyses, because some of the clonal chromosomal abnormalities may be early indicators of progression toward MDS-AML and thus also of the need for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
Bone marrow failure (BMF) syndromes include a broad group of diseases of varying etiologies, in which hematopoeisis is abnormal or completely arrested in one or more cell lines. BMF can be an acquired aplastic anemia (AA) or can be congenital, as part of such syndromes as Fanconi anemia (FA), Diamond Blackfan anemia, and Schwachman Diamond syndrome (SDS). In this review, we first address the evolution and current status of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in the pediatric population in the most common form of BMF, acquired AA. We then discuss pediatric BMT in some of the more common inherited BMF syndromes, with emphasis on FA, in which experience is greatest. It is important to consider the possibility of a congenital etiology in every child (and adult) with marrow failure, because identification of an associated syndrome provides insight into the likely natural history of the disease, as well as prognosis, treatment options for the patient and family, and long-term sequelae both of the disease itself and its treatment.
Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) is an inherited neutropenia syndrome associated with a significant risk of aplastic anemia and malignant transformation. Multiple additional organ systems, including the pancreas, liver, and skeletal and central nervous systems, are affected. Mutations in the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome (SBDS) gene are present in most patients. There is growing evidence that SBDS functions in ribosomal biogenesis and other cellular processes. This article summarizes the clinical phenotype of SDS, diagnostic and treatment approaches, and novel advances in our understanding of the molecular pathophysiology of this disease.
Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) of the liver is a well-recognized serious complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), with few successful treatment modalities available for severe disease. Some reports have demonstrated success in adults with the use of high-dose steroid therapy, but experience in the pediatric population is lacking. We retrospectively reviewed HSCT patients treated at our institution since 2003 and identified 15 (2.4%) who developed VOD. Of these, nine (60%) were treated with intravenous high-dose methylprednisolone (500 mg/m(2) per dose every 12 hours for six doses). Steroid therapy was initiated at or before first ultrasound evidence of reversal of portal venous flow and before meeting criteria for initiation of defibrotide therapy. Four patients were also treated with defibrotide starting 2 to 5 days after initiation of steroids. Eight of nine patients (88%) with VOD were diagnosed with multiorgan failure. Response to high-dose steroid therapy as defined by decrease in bilirubin by 50% in 10 days from therapy initiation was noted in six of nine patients (67%), occurring within 3 to 6 days of steroid therapy. Two patients died from multiorgan failure due to VOD. Seven survivors of VOD recovered at the median 6 days (range, 5 to 38) from VOD diagnosis. Overall, VOD survival as a group was 78%; however, survival among responders was 100%. No serious toxicities related to high-dose steroid therapy were observed. We conclude that high-dose steroid therapy if initiated early may reverse VOD of the liver in pediatric HSCT patients, abrogating the need for defibrotide therapy with its associated toxicities and regulatory difficulties.
With improvements in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) outcomes for severe aplastic anemia (SAA), there is a growing population of SAA survivors after HCT. However, there is a paucity of information regarding late effects that occur after HCT in SAA survivors. This study describes the malignant and nonmalignant late effects in survivors with SAA after HCT. A descriptive analysis was conducted of 1718 patients post-HCT for acquired SAA between 1995 and 2006 reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR). The prevalence and cumulative incidence estimates of late effects are reported for 1-year HCT survivors with SAA. Of the HCT recipients, 1176 (68.5%) and 542 (31.5%) patients underwent a matched sibling donor (MSD) or unrelated donor (URD) HCT, respectively. The median age at the time of HCT was 20 years. The median interval from diagnosis to transplantation was 3 months for MSD HCT and 14 months for URD HCT. The median follow-up was 70 months and 67 months for MSD and URD HCT survivors, respectively. Overall survival at 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years for the entire cohort was 76% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 74-78), 73% (95% CI: 71-75), and 70% (95% CI: 68-72). Among 1-year survivors of MSD HCT, 6% had 1 late effect and 1% had multiple late effects. For 1-year survivors of URD HCT, 13% had 1 late effect and 2% had multiple late effects. Among survivors of MSD HCT, the cumulative incidence estimates of developing late effects were all <3% and did not increase over time. In contrast, for recipients of URD HCT, the cumulative incidence of developing several late effects exceeded 3% by 5 years: gonadal dysfunction 10.5% (95% CI: 7.3-14.3), growth disturbance 7.2% (95% CI: 4.4-10.7), avascular necrosis 6.3% (95% CI: 3.6-9.7), hypothyroidism 5.5% (95% CI: 2.8-9.0), and cataracts 5.1% (95% CI: 2.9-8.0). Our results indicated that all patients undergoing HCT for SAA remain at risk for late effects, must be counseled about, and should be monitored for late effects for the remainder of their lives.
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases including Fanconi anemia (FA), a genetic disorder associated with BM failure and cancer. Here we show that major antioxidant defense genes are down-regulated in FA patients, and that gene down-regulation is selectively associated with increased oxidative DNA damage in the promoters of the antioxidant defense genes. Assessment of promoter activity and DNA damage repair kinetics shows that increased initial damage, rather than a reduced repair rate, contributes to the augmented oxidative DNA damage. Mechanistically, FA proteins act in concert with the chromatin-remodeling factor BRG1 to protect the promoters of antioxidant defense genes from oxidative damage. Specifically, BRG1 binds to the promoters of the antioxidant defense genes at steady state. On challenge with oxidative stress, FA proteins are recruited to promoter DNA, which correlates with significant increase in the binding of BRG1 within promoter regions. In addition, oxidative stress-induced FANCD2 ubiquitination is required for the formation of a FA-BRG1-promoter complex. Taken together, these data identify a role for the FA pathway in cellular antioxidant defense.
Features of Fanconi anemia (FA) are well known, including bone marrow failure, congenital anomalies such as radial anomalies, renal and ear anomalies, tracheo-esophageal fistula, imperforate anus, and elevated risk for cancer. We sought to further characterize the endocrine phenotype in children and adults with FA.
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