Systemic adenovirus infection in the immunocompromised host is often fatal and therapeutic options are limited. We report an infant with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who developed disseminated adenovirus infection while lymphopenic during maintenance chemotherapy 6 months following a bout of adenoviral diarrhea. His serum adenoviral load peaked at 35 million copies/mL and was associated with pancytopenia and hepatic injury. Treatment with cidofovir was effective although associated with mild renal injury. The patient recovered fully and completed chemotherapy for infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
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.
Systemic loxoscelism is a rare complication after Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider) envenomation. Loxosceles venom contains pro-inflammatory proteins, which have been shown to be elevated in patients with hemophagocytic lymph histiocytosis. We present a case of a 10-year-old male that developed presumed systemic loxoscelism, secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis with hepatic dysfunction and renal failure. He was treated with dexamethasone and made a full recovery.
Therapy of refractory autoimmunity remains challenging. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic effect of bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, by targeting plasma cells in 7 patients (median age, 9.9 years). Four doses of bortezomib were administered at a dose of 1.3 mg/m(2) intravenously (n = 6) or subcutaneously (n = 1) every 72 hours. Bortezomib was administered at a median of 120 days from laboratory confirmation of autoantibodies. All patients had failed 2 or more standard therapies. Rituximab was administered on the first day if B cells were present, and all patients received plasmapheresis 2 hours before bortezomib administration. Six patients experienced resolution of cytopenias. Two of 6 patients experienced recurrence of cytopenias after initial response. Adverse effects include nausea (n = 1), thrombocytopenia (n = 2), Clostridium difficile colitis (n = 1)), febrile neutropenia (n = 1), and cellulitis at the subcutaneous injection site (n = 1). Our experience suggests that bortezomib may be beneficial in the treatment of refractory autoimmunity in children.
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.
There is no standard therapy for steroid-refractory chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This problem is particularly daunting in children with chronic GVHD, whereby the effects of the disease and its treatment may impair normal growth and development. Children are also particularly vulnerable to failure and/or toxicity of therapy; for example, joint contractures or joint damage may result in life-long disability. The Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium performed a phase 2 trial of pentostatin for steroid-refractory chronic GVHD in 51 children (median age, 9.8 years) from 24 institutions. Overall response was 53% (95% confidence interval, 40%-64%), with a response of 59% (95% confidence interval, 42%-75%) in sclerosis. Thirteen subjects (25%) had toxicity requiring them to stop pentostatin. The drug had a significant steroid-sparing effect in those that responded. A trend was also observed toward increased survival at 3 years in responders versus nonresponders (69% vs 50%; P = .06). The intravenous administration of the drug ensures compliance in a patient group in which oral therapy is difficult to monitor. Pentostatin has activity in refractory chronic GVHD in children, and future studies, including treatment of children newly diagnosed with high-risk chronic GVHD, are warranted. The trial was registered at www.Clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00144430.
Sirolimus has been shown to have activity against human acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at serum levels used for immunosuppression. We hypothesized that the addition of sirolimus to a tacrolimus/methotrexate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis regimen would decrease relapse after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and initiated a phase I/II study to demonstrate safety, feasibility, and efficacy. The study cohort included 18 patients in high-risk (HR) first complete remission (CR1), 16 in HR CR2, 17 in intermediate risk (IR) CR2, and 12 in CR3+. The 2-year event-free survival (EFS) of the cohort was 66% (standard error 6.4). EFS of risk groups was 74%, 81%, 44% and 46% for CR1, IR CR2, HR CR2 and CR3+ patients respectively, and did not differ by stem cell source. Cumulative incidence of acute GVHD grade II-IV and III-IV was 38% and 21% respectively, while the cumulative incidence of chronic GVHD was 32%. Cumulative incidence of transplant-related mortality and relapse was 10% and 25% respectively. Significant toxicities included veno-occlusive disease [seven patients (11%)], transplant-associated microangiopathy (three patients), and idiopathic pneumonitis (one patient). In summary, sirolimus-based GVHD prophylaxis can be given safely in this population and early survival results are promising. A phase III trial to test whether sirolimus decreases relapse and improves outcome after transplantation for ALL is ongoing.
The role of reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens in pediatric cancer treatment is unclear. To define the efficacy of a busulfan/fludarabine/antithymocyte globulin RIC regimen in pediatric patients ineligible for myeloablative transplantation, we completed a trial at 23 institutions in the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium. Forty-seven patients with hematologic malignancies were enrolled. Sustained engraftment occurred in 98%, 89%, and 90%, and full donor chimerism was achieved in 88%, 76%, and 78% of evaluable related bone marrow/peripheral blood stem cells (BM/PBSCs), unrelated BM/PBSCs, and unrelated cord blood recipients. With a median follow-up of 24 months (range, 11-53 months), 2-year event-free survival, overall survival (OS), transplantation-related mortality, and relapse were 40%, 45%, 11%, and 43%, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed an inferior outcome when patients had undergone previous total body irradiation (TBI)-containing myeloablative transplantation (2-year OS, 23% vs 63% vs 52%, previous TBI transplantation vs no TBI transplantation vs no transplantation, P = .02) and when patients not previously treated with TBI had detectable disease at the time of the RIC procedure (2-year OS, 0% vs 63%, detectable vs nondetectable disease, P = .01). Favorable outcomes can be achieved with RIC approaches in pediatric patients in remission who are ineligible for myeloablative transplantation. This study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00795132.
The Sickle Cell Unrelated Donor Transplant Trial (SCURT trial) of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) is a phase II study of the toxicity and efficacy of unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation in children with severe sickle cell disease (SCD) using a reduced-intensity conditioning regimen. Here we report the results for the cord blood cohort of this trial. Eight children with severe SCD underwent unrelated donor cord blood transplantation (CBT) following alemtuzumab, fludarabine, and melphalan. Cyclosporine or tacrolimus and mycophenolate mofetil were administered for graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) prophylaxis. Donor/recipient HLA match status was 6 of 6 (n = 1) or 5 of 6 (n = 7), based on low/intermediate-resolution molecular typing at HLA -A, -B, and high-resolution typing at -DRB1. Median recipient age was 13.7 years (range: 7.4-16.2 years), and median weight was 35.0 kg (range: 25.2-90.2 kg). The median pre-cryopreservation total nucleated cell dose was 6.4 × 10(7) /kg (range: 3.1-7.6), and the median postthaw infused CD34 cell dose was 1.5 × 10(5) /kg (range: 0.2-2.3). All patients achieved neutrophil recovery (absolute neutrophil count >500/mm(3)) by day 33 (median: 22 days). Three patients who engrafted had 100% donor cells by day 100, which was sustained, and 5 patients had autologous hematopoietic recovery. Six of 8 patients had a platelet recovery to >50,000/mm(3) by day 100. Two patients developed grade II acute GVHD. Of these, 1 developed extensive chronic GVHD and died of respiratory failure 14 months posttransplantation. With a median follow-up of 1.8 years (range: 1-2.6), 7 patients are alive with a 1-year survival of 100%, and 3 of 8 are alive without graft failure or disease recurrence. Based upon the high incidence of graft rejection after unrelated donor CBT, enrollment onto the cord blood arm of the SCURT trial was suspended. However, because this reduced-intensity regimen has demonstrated a favorable safety profile, this trial remains open to enrollment for unrelated marrow donor transplants. Novel approaches aimed at improving engraftment will be needed before unrelated CBT can be widely adopted for transplanting patients with severe SCD.
Pediatric patients with SCID constitute medical emergencies. In the absence of an HLA-identical hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) donor, mismatched related-donor transplantation (MMRDT) or unrelated-donor umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCBT) are valuable treatment options. To help transplantation centers choose the best treatment option, we retrospectively compared outcomes after 175 MMRDTs and 74 UCBTs in patients with SCID or Omenn syndrome. Median follow-up time was 83 months and 58 months for UCBT and MMRDT, respectively. Most UCB recipients received a myeloablative conditioning regimen; most MMRDT recipients did not. UCB recipients presented a higher frequency of complete donor chimerism (P = .04) and faster total lymphocyte count recovery (P = .04) without any statistically significance with the preparative regimen they received. The MMRDT and UCBT groups did not differ in terms of T-cell engraftment, CD4(+) and CD3(+) cell recoveries, while Ig replacement therapy was discontinued sooner after UCBT (adjusted P = .02). There was a trend toward a greater incidence of grades II-IV acute GVHD (P = .06) and more chronic GVHD (P = .03) after UCBT. The estimated 5-year overall survival rates were 62% ± 4% after MMRDT and 57% ± 6% after UCBT. For children with SCID and no HLA-identical sibling donor, both UCBT and MMRDT represent available HSC sources for transplantation with quite similar outcomes.
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