Dysregulation of Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling is central to the pathogenesis of myelofibrosis (MF). JAK2 inhibitor therapy in MF patients results in a rapid reduction of the degree of splenomegaly, yet the mechanism underlying this effect remains unknown. The in vitro treatment of splenic and peripheral blood MF CD34(+) cells with the JAK1/2/3 inhibitor, AZD1480, reduced the absolute number of CD34(+), CD34(+)CD90(+), and CD34(+)CXCR4(+) cells as well as assayable hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) irrespective of the JAK2 and calreticulin mutational status. Furthermore, AZD1480 treatment resulted in only a modest reduction in the proportion of HPCs that were JAK2V617F(+) or had a chromosomal abnormality. To study the effect of the drug on MF stem cells (MF-SCs), splenic CD34(+) cells were treated with AZD1480 and transplanted into immunodeficient mice. JAK2 inhibitor therapy did not affect the degree of human cell chimerism or the proportion of malignant donor cells. These data indicate that JAK2 inhibitor treatment affects a subpopulation of MF-HPCs, while sparing another HPC subpopulation as well as MF-SCs. This pattern of activity might account for the reduction in spleen size observed with JAK2 inhibitor therapy as well as the rapid increase in spleen size observed frequently with its discontinuation.
From 2007 to 2011, 66 patients with primary myelofibrosis or myelofibrosis (MF) preceded by essential thrombocythemia or polycythemia vera were enrolled into a prospective phase 2 clinical trial of reduced-intensity allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), Myeloproliferative Disorder Research Consortium 101 trial. The study included patients with sibling donors (n = 32) receiving fludarabine/melphalan (FluMel) as a preparative regimen and patients with unrelated donors (n = 34) receiving conditioning with FluMel plus anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG). Patient characteristics in the 2 cohorts were similar. Engraftment occurred in 97% of siblings and 76% of unrelated transplants, whereas secondary graft failure occurred in 3% and 12%, respectively. With a median follow-up of 25 months for patients alive, the overall survival (OS) was 75% in the sibling group (median not reached) and 32% in the unrelated group (median OS: 6 months, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3, 25) (hazard ratio 3.9, 95% CI: 1.8,8.9) (P < .001). Nonrelapse mortality was 22% in sibling and 59% in unrelated AHSCT. Survival correlated with type of donor, but not with the degree of histocompatibility match, age, or JAK2(V617F) status. In patients with MF with sibling donors, AHSCT is an effective therapy, whereas AHSCT from unrelated donors with FluMel/ATG conditioning led to a high rate of graft failure and limited survival. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00572897.
The Philadelphia chromosomal-negative chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) originate at the level of the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC). The protracted clinical course of the MPNs has limited the use of potentially toxic treatment modalities, which may eliminate the responsible malignant clone. Treatment with low doses of RG7112, an orally available small-molecule inhibitor of p53-MDM2, both alone and combined with pegylated interferon ? 2a (Peg-IFN? 2a), significantly decreased MPN colony-forming unit-granulocyte macrophage and burst-forming unit-erythroid numbers and preferentially eliminated the total number of JAKV617F(+) MPN hematopoietic progenitor cells. The effects of RG7112 and Peg-IFN? 2a on MPN progenitor cells were dependent on blocking p53-MDM2 interactions and activating the p53 pathway, thereby increasing MPN CD34(+) cell apoptosis. Treatment of polycythemia vera (PV) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF) CD34(+) cells with low doses of RG7112 and Peg-IFN? 2a before their transplantation into immune-deficient mice decreased the degree of donor-derived chimerism as well as the JAK2V617F allele burden, indicating that these drugs can each alone or in combination deplete MPN HSCs. These results provide a rationale for the use of combinations of low doses of RG7112 and Peg-IFN? 2a for the treatment of PV or PMF patients with the intent of altering their natural history.
Cord blood (CB) cells that express CD34 have extensive hematopoietic capacity and rapidly divide ex vivo in the presence of cytokine combinations; however, many of these CB CD34+ cells lose their marrow-repopulating potential. To overcome this decline in function, we treated dividing CB CD34+ cells ex vivo with several histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs). Treatment of CB CD34+ cells with the most active HDACI, valproic acid (VPA), following an initial 16-hour cytokine priming, increased the number of multipotent cells (CD34+CD90+) generated; however, the degree of expansion was substantially greater in the presence of both VPA and cytokines for a full 7 days. Treated CD34+ cells were characterized based on the upregulation of pluripotency genes, increased aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, and enhanced expression of CD90, c-Kit (CD117), integrin ?6 (CD49f), and CXCR4 (CD184). Furthermore, siRNA-mediated inhibition of pluripotency gene expression reduced the generation of CD34+CD90+ cells by 89%. Compared with CB CD34+ cells, VPA-treated CD34+ cells produced a greater number of SCID-repopulating cells and established multilineage hematopoiesis in primary and secondary immune-deficient recipient mice. These data indicate that dividing CB CD34+ cells can be epigenetically reprogrammed by treatment with VPA so as to generate greater numbers of functional CB stem cells for use as transplantation grafts.
The tumor suppressor p53 is thought to play a role in megakaryocyte (MK) development. To assess the influence of the p53 regulatory pathway further, we studied the effect of RG7112, a small molecule MDM2 antagonist that activates p53 by preventing its interaction with MDM2, on normal megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet production. This drug has been previously been evaluated in clinical trials of cancer patients where thrombocytopenia was one of the major dose-limiting toxicities. In this study, we demonstrated that administration of RG7112 in vivo in rats and monkeys results in thrombocytopenia. In addition, we identified two distinct mechanisms by which RG7112-mediated activation of p53 affected human megakaryocytopoiesis and platelet production in vitro. RG7112 promoted apoptosis of MK progenitor cells, resulting in a reduction of their numbers and RG7112 affected mature MK by blocking DNA synthesis during endomitosis and impairing platelet production. Together, the disruption of these events provides an explanation for RG7112-induced thrombocytopenia and insight into the role of the p53-MDM2 auto-regulatory loop in normal megakaryocytopoiesis.
Primary myelofibrosis is a member of the myeloproliferative neoplasms, a diverse group of bone marrow malignancies. Symptoms of myelofibrosis, particularly those associated with splenomegaly (abdominal distention and pain, early satiety, dyspnea, and diarrhea) and constitutional symptoms, represent a substantial burden to patients. Most patients eventually die from the disease, with a median survival ranging from approximately 5-7 years. Mutations in Janus kinase 2 (JAK2), a kinase that is essential for the normal development of erythrocytes, granulocytes, and platelets, notably the V617F mutation, have been identified in approximately 50% of patients with myelofibrosis. The approval of a JAK2 inhibitor in 2011 has improved the outlook of many patients with myelofibrosis and has changed the treatment landscape. This article focuses on some of the important issues in current myelofibrosis treatment management, including differentiation of myelofibrosis from essential thrombocythemia and polycythemia vera, up-dated data on the results of JAK2 inhibitor therapy, the role of epigenetic mechanisms in myelofibrosis pathogenesis, investigational therapies for myelofibrosis, and advances in hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Three myelofibrosis cases are included to underscore the issues in diagnosing and treating this complex disease.
Myelofibrosis (MF) is a hematopoietic stem cell malignancy classified as a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). The clinical course of individuals with MF is heterogeneous and characterized by constitutional symptoms, bone marrow myeloproliferation and fibrosis, progressive cytopenias, and symptomatic splenomegaly. Historically, patients with this debilitating disease have had limited treatment options, and disease-modifying agents were not available. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only potentially curative therapy, but it is only an option for select patients. The discovery of an activating point mutation in the Janus kinase 2 gene (JAK2V617F) in a significant portion of patients with MPNs led to improved understanding of the pathobiology of these disorders and prompted rapid development of JAK inhibitors. Ruxolitinib (Jakafi) is the first-in-class and only JAK inhibitor currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with MF; approval was based on the results of the COMFORT (COntrolled MyeloFibrosis study with ORal JAK inhibitor Treatment) I and II studies. While not a curative option, ruxolitinib offers great palliative potential and results in significant reduction in splenomegaly and improvement in constitutional symptoms in the majority of treated patients, thus improving their quality of life and performance status. Additionally, ruxolitinib is the only agent that has demonstrated a survival benefit in patients with MF. The optimal use of ruxolitinib for MF patients is challenging and complex. In this article, we provide updated data on ruxolitinib therapy for patients with MF and offer expert opinion on the appropriate use of this agent in the community practice.
Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) include polycythemia vera (PV), essential thrombocythemia (ET), and primary myelofibrosis (PMF), and are characterized by clonal proliferation of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. There are numerous case reports and reviews reporting patients with coexisting MPN and plasma-cell disease such as multiple myeloma (MM) and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
The current document is a revision of the International Working Group-Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Research and Treatment (IWG-MRT) criteria for treatment response in myelofibrosis (MF) and represents a collaborative effort by the IWG-MRT and the European LeukemiaNet to objectively assess the value of new drugs in inducing morphologic remission or improvement in MF-associated symptomatic burden (MF-SB). Some of the changes in the current revision include stricter definitions of red cell transfusion dependency and independency and consideration of the Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Symptom Assessment Form as a tool to quantify meaningful changes in disease-related symptoms. Six response categories are listed: complete remission (CR) and partial remission signify treatment effects that are consistent with disease modification, whereas drug-induced improvements in MF-SB were annotated as clinical improvement, anemia response, spleen response, or symptoms response. Additional criteria are provided for progressive disease, stable disease, and relapse. The document also includes recommendations for assessing cytogenetic and molecular remissions, without mandating their inclusion for CR assignment.
The myeloproliferative neoplasm, myelofibrosis, is a morbid and frequently fatal illness encompassing primary myelofibrosis, and end-stage essential thrombocythemia and polycythemia. Bevacizumab (15 mg/kg intravenous (i.v.) every 21 days) was tested in a phase II international trial conducted by the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium. Thirteen patients were enrolled in the first stage of this 2-stage trial. Among the 11 patients who received therapy, only 3 received more than 4 cycles of therapy; none of the patients achieved an objective response. Furthermore, significant toxicity, not directly related to the vascular or gastrointestinal events typically associated with the anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody preparation in other disease states, was observed. Lack of objective responses coupled with toxicity led to the decision to terminate the study early. If future studies incorporate bevacizumab in combination therapy for myelofibrosis, more modest doses should be considered. (clinicaltrials.gov Identifier 00667277).
Slurries are often used in chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes but present challenging online measurement and monitoring problems. In this paper, a novel multivariate kinetic modeling application is described that provides calibration-free estimates of time-resolved profiles of the solid and dissolved fractions of a substance in a model slurry system. The kinetic model of this system achieved data fusion of time-resolved spectroscopic measurements from two different kinds of fiber-optic probes. Attenuated total reflectance UV-vis (ATR UV-vis) and diffuse reflectance near-infrared (NIR) spectra were measured simultaneously in a small-scale semibatch reactor. A simplified comprehensive kinetic model was then fitted to the time-resolved spectroscopic data to determine the kinetics of crystallization and the kinetics of dissolution for online monitoring and quality control purposes. The parameters estimated in the model included dissolution and crystal growth rate constants, as well as the dissolution rate order. The model accurately estimated the degree of supersaturation as a function of time during conditions when crystallization took place and accurately estimated the degree of undersaturation during conditions when dissolution took place.
Standardized response criteria to interpret and compare clinical trials are needed for approval of new therapeutic agents by regulatory agencies. The European LeukemiaNet (ELN) response criteria for essential thrombocythemia (ET) and polycythemia vera (PV) issued in 2009 have been widely adopted as end points in a number of recent clinical trials. However, evidence exists that they do not predict response or provide clinically relevant measures of benefit for the patients. This article presents revised recommendations for assessing response in ET and PV provided by a working group established by ELN and International Working Group-Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Research and Treatment. New definitions of complete and partial remission incorporate clinical, hematological, and histological response assessments that include a standardized symptom assessment form and consider absence of disease progression and vascular events. We anticipate that these criteria will be adopted widely to facilitate the development of new and more effective therapies for ET and PV.
Myelofibrosis is a hematological malignancy with a median survival of approximately 5 to 7 years. Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is the only therapeutic modality that provides a cure for myelofibrosis patients. Recently, ruxolitinib has been shown in 2 phase 3 studies to be effective in reducing splenomegaly and improving symptoms in myelofibrosis patients. Although conventional markers of disease burden (marrow histopathological features, cytogenetic and molecular markers, and reversal of cytopenias) were not uniformly improved, a survival advantage in favor of ruxolitinib therapy was demonstrated. The use of historical control cohorts to compare survival was implemented in 2 different analyses of patients enrolled in the phase 1/2 studies and has further added fuel to the controversy surrounding the significance of this survival advantage. Ruxolitinib therapy results in a dramatic reduction in circulating proinflammatory cytokine levels, which has been associated with improvement in symptoms and performance status and may provide a link to improved survival. We analyze the various data published and place in perspective the significance of the prolongation of survival associated with ruxolitinib therapy. This critical review of these data may allow physicians to more rationally assess the benefits that can be anticipated with the appropriate use of this therapy.
Panobinostat (LBH589), a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), was evaluated in a phase I study of patients with primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and post-essential thrombocythaemia/polycythaemia vera-related myelofibrosis (Post-ET/PV MF). Eighteen patients (PMF 56%; Post-PV MF 28%; Post-ET MF 17%) were treated in three cohorts at oral doses of (i) 20, (ii) 30, and (iii) 25 mg three times weekly consecutively. Reversible thrombocytopenia was the dose-limiting toxicity. Five patients (two in Dose Cohort 1, one in Dose Cohort 2 and two in Dose Cohort 3) received six or more cycles and were evaluable for response assessment. After the sixth cycle, three of these five patients achieved clinical improvement (CI) with 100% reduction in palpable splenomegaly from baseline, and two patients experienced stable disease. Panobinostat therapy was also associated with improvement in the degree of anaemia in two of the five patients. Of the three patients who achieved CI after six cycles, one patient achieved a near complete remission after 15 cycles of treatment and another patient had resolution of marrow fibrosis after 16 cycles. We conclude that panobinostat is a well-tolerated, clinically active treatment for MF patients, regardless of JAK2 V617F status, and most effective when given at low doses over long periods of time.
Myelofibrosis (MF) is a life-threatening clonal stem cell malignancy characterized by progressive bone marrow fibrosis and ineffective hematopoiesis. The term "MF" encompasses primary myelofibrosis (PMF) as well as 2 other phenotypically similar malignancies: post-polycythemia vera (PV) MF (PPV-MF) and post-essential thrombocythemia (ET) MF (PET-MF). The World Health Organization classification system for myeloid malignancies recognizes PMF, PV, ET, and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) as the "classic" myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Patients with low- or intermediate-1-risk disease have a median survival of 6-15 years, in contrast to those with intermediate-2- or high-risk disease, which is associated with a considerably worse prognosis. Following transformation into (secondary) acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the prognosis of MF is even worse, with a median survival of 3 months or less. Due to the heterogeneous nature of MF, the diagnosis and treatment of this malignancy can be challenging. At present, the only treatment that can be applied with curative intent is allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT), whereas no other specific therapies exist that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MF. Since most patients with MF appear not to be eligible for allogeneic SCT, patients are often treated by conventional "older" drugs such as androgens and hydroxyurea (HU; hydroxycarbamide), with the principal objective being palliation. Following the establishment of a causal role of a specific mutation in the Janus kinase type 2 (JAK2) gene, namely JAK2V617F, in the molecular pathogenesis of MPNs in 2005, many efforts have been directed towards the development of novel JAK2 (including JAK1/JAK2) inhibitors. Other investigative approaches include immunomodulatory agents, histone deacetylase inhibitors, hedgehog inhibitors, and others. Recently, the positive results of the first in class of the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitors, ruxolitinib (formerly INCB18242), from 2 large phase III studies were presented and are discussed herein.
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are clonal hematological malignancies that are frequently -associated with an acquired somatic mutation in JAK2 (JAK2V617F). Patients with MPN are at a high risk of developing thrombotic events. Endothelial cell (EC) abnormalities are thought to contribute to this prothrombotic state. Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) and portal vein thromboses have been reported to be associated with JAK2V617F positive hematopoiesis. We explored whether JAK2V617F was present in ECs within the vessels of polycythemia vera (PV) patients with BCS using laser-capture microdissection followed by nested PCR or real-time RT-PCR. The presence of JAK2V617F in both ECs and hematopoietic cells belonging to BCS patients with PV indicates that ECs from these patients are involved by the malignant process and that in this subpopulation of patients the disease may originate from a cell common to hematopoietic and endothelial cells.
The myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are a group of clonal hematological malignancies characterized by a hypercellular bone marrow and a tendency to develop thrombotic complications and to evolve to myelofibrosis and acute leukemia. Unlike chronic myelogenous leukemia, where a single disease-initiating genetic event has been identified, a more complicated series of genetic mutations appear to be responsible for the BCR-ABL1-negative MPNs which include polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and primary myelofibrosis. Recent studies have revealed a number of epigenetic alterations that also likely contribute to disease pathogenesis and determine clinical outcome. Increasing evidence indicates that alterations in DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA expression patterns can collectively influence gene expression and potentially contribute to MPN pathogenesis. Examples include mutations in genes encoding proteins that modify chromatin structure (EZH2, ASXL1, IDH1/2, JAK2V617F, and IKZF1) as well as epigenetic modification of genes critical for cell proliferation and survival (suppressors of cytokine signaling, polycythemia rubra vera-1, CXC chemokine receptor 4, and histone deacetylase (HDAC)). These epigenetic lesions serve as novel targets for experimental therapeutic interventions. Clinical trials are currently underway evaluating HDAC inhibitors and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors for the treatment of patients with MPNs.
A 65-year-old patient with a high hemoglobin and hematocrit was treated for 14 months with therapeutic phlebotomy when cytogenetics of bone marrow revealed 100% cells with the Ph chromosome and 45% of the Ph+ cells contained trisomy 8. Treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors did not reduce the BCR-ABL1 fusion positive clone. Instead, the Ph positive cells acquired further the t(8;21)/RUNX1-RUNX1T1, del(4q) and trisomy 15 chromosomal abnormalities which were resistant to further treatment. Literature review revealed eight other patients who either had t(9;22) and t(8;21) simultaneously or developed t(8;21) in the Ph positive clone. We conclude that there are rare patients with CML who either present in blast crisis with coexistence of t(9;22) and t(8;21) with or without +8, or progress to blast crisis with acquiring RUNX1-RUNX1T1 in the BCR-ABL1 clone which may or may not be therapy related and represent a later event in a multistep pathogenesis.
IFN? has been used to treat malignant and viral disorders for more than 25 years. Its efficacy is likely the consequence of its broad range of biologic activities, including direct effects on malignant cells, enhancement of anti-tumor immune responses, induction of proapoptotic genes, inhibition of angiogenesis, and promotion of the cycling of dormant malignant stem cells. Because of the recent development of "targeted" therapies, the use of IFN has been dramatically reduced over the last decade. The increasing awareness of the multistep pathogenesis of many malignancies has suggested, however, that such an approach using target-specific agents is not universally effective. These observations have resulted in a number of recent clinical trials utilizing IFN? in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), systemic mast cell disease, hypereosinophilic syndrome and the Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) with promising outcomes. These reports provide evidence that IFN?, alone or in combination with other agents, can induce surprisingly robust molecular response rates and possibly improve survival. Although IFN? at present remains an experimental form of therapy for patients with myeloid malignancies, these promising results suggest that it may become again an important component of the therapeutic arsenal for this group of hematologic malignancies.
The final stages of of megakaryocyte (MK) maturation involve a series of steps, including polyploidization and proplatelet formation. Although these processes are highly dependent on dynamic changes in the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton, the mechanisms responsible for regulation of MTs in MKs remain poorly defined. Stathmin is a highly conserved MT-regulatory protein that has been suggested to play a role in MK differentiation of human leukemic cell lines. However, previous studies defining this relationship have reached contradictory conclusions. In this study, we addressed this controversy and investigated the role of stathmin in primary human MKs. To explore the importance of stathmin down-regulation during megakaryocytopoiesis, we used a lentiviral-mediated gene delivery system to prevent physiologic down-regulation of stathmin in primary MKs. We demonstrated that sustained expression of constitutively active stathmin delayed cytoplasmic maturation (ie, glycoprotein GPIb and platelet factor 4 expression) and reduced the ability of MKs to achieve high levels of ploidy. Moreover, platelet production was impaired in MKs in which down-regulation of stathmin expression was prevented. These studies indicate that suppression of stathmin is biologically important for MK maturation and platelet production and support the importance of MT regulation during the final stages of thrombopoiesis.
Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) agonists increase erythropoiesis in vivo and in vitro. To clarify the effect of the dominant negative GR? isoform (unable to bind STAT-5) on erythropoiesis, erythroblast (EB) expansion cultures of mononuclear cells from 18 healthy (nondiseased) donors (NDs) and 16 patients with polycythemia vera (PV) were studied. GR? was expressed in all PV EBs but only in EBs from 1 ND. The A3669G polymorphism, which stabilizes GR? mRNA, had greater frequency in PV (55%; n = 22; P = .0028) and myelofibrosis (35%; n = 20) patients than in NDs (9%; n = 22) or patients with essential thrombocythemia (6%; n = 15). Dexamethasone stimulation of ND cultures increased the number of immature EBs characterized by low GATA1 and ?-globin expression, but PV cultures generated great numbers of immature EBs with low levels of GATA1 and ?-globin irrespective of dexamethasone stimulation. In ND EBs, STAT-5 was not phosphorylated after dexamethasone and erythropoietin treatment and did not form transcriptionally active complexes with GR?, whereas in PV EBs, STAT-5 was constitutively phosphorylated, but the formation of GR/STAT-5 complexes was prevented by expression of GR?. These data indicate that GR? expression and the presence of A3669G likely contribute to development of erythrocytosis in PV and provide a potential target for identification of novel therapeutic agents.
Presently, blood transfusion products (TPs) are composed of terminally differentiated cells with a finite life span. We have developed an ex vivo-generated TP composed of erythroid progenitor cells (EPCs) and precursors cells. Several histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) were used in vitro to promote the preferential differentiation of cord blood (CB) CD34(+) cells to EPCs. A combination of cytokines and valproic acid (VPA): (1) promoted the greatest degree of EPC expansion, (2) led to the generation of EPCs which were capable of differentiating into the various stages of erythroid development, (3) led to epigenetic modifications (increased H3 acetylation) of promoters for erythroid-specific genes, which resulted in the acquisition of a gene expression pattern characteristic of primitive erythroid cells, and (4) promoted the generation of a TP that when infused into NOD/SCID mice produced mature RBCs containing both human adult and fetal globins as well Rh blood group Ag which persisted for 3 weeks and the retention of human EPCs and erythroid precursor cells within the BM of recipient mice. This ex vivo-generated EPC-TP likely represents a paradigm shift in transfusion medicine because of its potential to continue to generate additional RBCs after its infusion.
We present a review of critical concepts and produce recommendations on the management of Philadelphia-negative classical myeloproliferative neoplasms, including monitoring, response definition, first- and second-line therapy, and therapy for special issues. Key questions were selected according the criterion of clinical relevance. Statements were produced using a Delphi process, and two consensus conferences involving a panel of 21 experts appointed by the European LeukemiaNet (ELN) were convened. Patients with polycythemia vera (PV) and essential thrombocythemia (ET) should be defined as high risk if age is greater than 60 years or there is a history of previous thrombosis. Risk stratification in primary myelofibrosis (PMF) should start with the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS) for newly diagnosed patients and dynamic IPSS for patients being seen during their disease course, with the addition of cytogenetics evaluation and transfusion status. High-risk patients with PV should be managed with phlebotomy, low-dose aspirin, and cytoreduction, with either hydroxyurea or interferon at any age. High-risk patients with ET should be managed with cytoreduction, using hydroxyurea at any age. Monitoring response in PV and ET should use the ELN clinicohematologic criteria. Corticosteroids, androgens, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, and immunomodulators are recommended to treat anemia of PMF, whereas hydroxyurea is the first-line treatment of PMF-associated splenomegaly. Indications for splenectomy include symptomatic portal hypertension, drug-refractory painful splenomegaly, and frequent RBC transfusions. The risk of allogeneic stem-cell transplantation-related complications is justified in transplantation-eligible patients whose median survival time is expected to be less than 5 years.
The myeloproliferative neoplasms represent a diverse group of hematologic malignancies that have been the subject of intense investigation over the last decade. Although clinical trials of the much anticipated small molecule inhibitors of Janus kinase 2 have shown that these experimental agents are successful in palliating many of the symptoms associated with the myeloproliferative neoplasms, they have not been reported to affect the disease initiating hematopoietic stem cell population or to alter the natural history of these disorders. Investigators remain optimistic that new information about the genetic and cellular origins gained from the efforts of numerous laboratories will ultimately translate in to the identification of new drug targets and more effective therapies. We hypothesize that ultimately, the use of combinations of drugs including chromatin modifying agents, immunomodulatory agents, anti-apoptotic agents, cellular therapies and monoclonal antibodies will be required to effectively treat patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.
Because primary myelofibrosis (PMF) originates at the level of the pluripotent hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), we examined the effects of various therapeutic agents on the in vitro and in vivo behavior of PMF CD34(+) cells. Treatment of PMF CD34(+) cells with chromatin-modifying agents (CMAs) but not hydroxyurea, Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) inhibitors, or low doses of interferon-? led to the generation of greater numbers of CD34(+) chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor (CXCR)4(+) cells, which were capable of migrating in response to chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand (CXCL)12 and resulted in a reduction in the proportion of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) that were JAK2V617F(+). Furthermore, sequential treatment of PMF CD34(+) cells but not normal CD34(+) cells with decitabine (5-aza-2-deoxycytidine [5azaD]), followed by suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA; 5azaD/SAHA), or trichostatin A (5azaD/TSA) resulted in a higher degree of apoptosis. Two to 6 months after the transplantation of CMAs treated JAK2V617F(+) PMF CD34(+) cells into nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)/IL-2R?(null) mice, the percentage of JAK2V617F/JAK2(total) in human CD45(+) marrow cells was dramatically reduced. These findings suggest that both PMF HPCs, short-term and long-term SCID repopulating cells (SRCs), are JAK2V617F(+) and that JAK2V617F(+) HPCs and SRCs can be eliminated by sequential treatment with CMAs. Sequential treatment with CMAs, therefore, represents a possible effective means of treating PMF at the level of the malignant SRC.
The Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), including polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and primary myelofibrosis, are a group of clonal hematopoietic stem cell disorders with overlapping clinical and cytogenetic features and a variable tendency to evolve into acute leukemia. These diseases not only share overlapping chromosomal abnormalities but also a number of acquired somatic mutations. Recently, mutations in a putative tumor suppressor gene, ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2) on chromosome 4q24 have been identified in 12% of patients with MPN. Additionally 4q24 chromosomal rearrangements in MPN, including TET2 deletions, have also been observed using conventional cytogenetics. The goal of this study was to investigate the frequency of genomic TET2 rearrangements in MPN using fluorescence in situ hybridization as a more sensitive method for screening and identifying genomic deletions. Among 146 MPN patients, we identified two patients (1.4%) who showed a common 4q24 deletion, including TET2. Our observations also indicated that the frequency of TET2 deletion is increased in patients with an abnormal karyotype (5%).
Polycythemia vera (PV) treatment with interferon ? (IFN?) is frequently limited by dose-related toxicity. PV CD34(+) cells are characterized by overexpression of Bcl-xL, which can be antagonized by ABT-737 leading to apoptosis. We explored the effects of ABT-737 and IFN? on PV hematopoiesis. Both IFN? and ABT-737 alone or in combination had a modest effect on normal hematopoiesis but each individually were able to markedly induce PV CD34(+) cell apoptosis and suppress hematopoietic colony formation. The inhibitory activities of these agents in combination were greater against PV hematopoiesis than either agent alone. The exposure of PV CD34(+) cells to low doses of IFN? and ABT-737 in combination resulted in the reduction of the proportion of JAK2V617F(+) colonies similar to that observed with higher doses of IFN?. These data provide the rationale for combination therapy with low doses of IFN? and a BH3 mimetic for patients with PV.
Increased cell dose has a positive impact on the therapeutic outcome of bone marrow (BM) hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplant. However, methods to successfully expand BM HSCs have yet to be achieved. It has been shown previously that ex vivo expansion of BM cells using porcine microvascular endothelial cells can rescue a baboon from a lethal dose of radiation. However, in a prior study, baboons that received CD34+ cell doses less than 4 x 10(6) cells/kg body weight failed to achieve hematopoietic reconstitution. In our present study we used human brain endothelial cells (HUBECs) and cytokines to expand BM cells, and examined their ability to provide hematopoietic reconstitution in three lethally irradiated baboons following autologous transplant as a surrogate preclinical model. After ex vivo culture, the grafts represented a 1.8- to 2.1-fold expansion of CD34+ cells, a 3.7- to 13.2-fold increase of colony-forming cells, and a 1.9- to 3.2-fold increase of cobblestone area-forming cells, in comparison to the input cell numbers. Despite transplanting CD34+ cell grafts displaying a comparable degree of expansion, there was an obvious variability in the kinetics of hematopoietic reconstitution. The variation in hematopoietic reconstitution cannot be fully explained by the properties tested in expanded CD34+ cells, and warrant caution against taking into account such attributes as cell dose, expression of adhesion molecules, and migration as a measure of successful expansion of HSCs.
Primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and polycythemia vera (PV) are chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms. PMF and, to a lesser degree, PV are characterized by constitutive mobilization of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and progenitor cells (HPC) into the peripheral blood (PB). The interaction between the chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 plays a pivotal role in determining the trafficking of CD34(+) cells between the bone marrow (BM) and the PB. PMF, but not PV, is associated with downregulation of CXCR4 by CD34(+) cells due to epigenetic events. Both PV and PMF patients have elevated levels of immunoreactive forms of CXCL12 in the BM and PB. Using electrospray mass spectrometry, the PB and BM plasma of PV and PMF patients was shown to contain reduced amounts of intact CXCL12 but significant amounts of several truncated forms of CXCL12, which are lacking in normal PB and BM plasma. These truncated forms of CXCL12 are the product of the action of several serine proteases, including dipeptidyl peptidase-IV, neutrophil elastase, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), MMP-9, and cathepsin G. Unlike CXCL12, these truncates either lack the ability to act as a chemoattractant for CD34(+) cells and/or act as an antagonist to the action of CXCL12. These data suggest that proteolytic degradation of CXCL12 is characteristic of both PV and PMF and that the resulting truncated forms of CXCL12, in addition to the reduced expression of CXCR4 by CD34(+) cells, lead to a profound mobilization of HSC/HPC in PMF.
Myelofibrosis (MF) is a clonal stem cell disorder with the potential to transform to acute leukemia, referred to as myelofibrosis in blast phase (MF-BP). The outcome of patients with MF-BP is grave with a median survival of only 2.7 months. MF-BP is largely refractory to conventional chemotherapy and intensive induction therapy fails to have a significant impact with a median survival of 3.9 months. Eleven consecutive patients were treated at our institution with MF-BP over a 2-year period. Eligible patients with an available donor received an allogeneic stem cell transplant (ASCT) and those that were not eligible or without a donor were treated with Decitabine (DEC). The median time for follow up for the entire group was 9 months (range 5-21 month). At 9 months (range 5-45 months), 67% of the patients treated with DEC were alive and at 20 months (range 9-23 months), 53% of patients treated with ASCT remain alive. Reduced intensity conditioning allogeneic stem cell transplantation (RIC-ASCT) is a viable option that offers the potential for prolonged survival and the possibility of cure for patients with MF-BP. DEC is a tolerable outpatient chemotherapeutic regimen for MF-BP patients ineligible for transplant and deserves further prospective study.
Interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) therapy leads to hematological remissions and a reduction of the JAK2V617F allele burden in patients with polycythemia vera (PV). In this study, the cellular target by which IFNalpha affects hematopoiesis in PV patients was evaluated.
The X-linked Gata1(low) mutation in mice induces strain-restricted myeloproliferative disorders characterized by extramedullary hematopoiesis in spleen (CD1 and DBA/2) and liver (CD1 only). To assess the role of the microenvironment in establishing this myeloproliferative trait, progenitor cell compartments of spleen and marrow from wild-type and Gata1(low) mice were compared. Phenotype and clonal assay of non-fractionated cells indicated that Gata1(low) mice contain progenitor cell numbers 4-fold lower and 10-fold higher than normal in marrow and spleen, respectively. However, progenitor cells prospectively isolated from spleen, but not from marrow, of Gata1(low) mice expressed colony-forming function in vitro. Therefore, calculation of cloning activity of purified cells demonstrated that the total number of Gata1(low) progenitor cells was 10- to 100-fold lower than normal in marrow and >1,000 times higher than normal in spleen. This observation indicates that Gata1(low) hematopoiesis is favored by the spleen and is in agreement with our previous report that removal of this organ induces wild-type hematopoiesis in heterozygous Gata1(low/+) females (Migliaccio et al., 2009, Blood 114:2107). To clarify if rescue of wild-type hematopoiesis by splenectomy prevented extramedullary hematopoiesis in liver, marrow cytokine expression profile and liver histopathology of splenectomized Gata1(low/+) females were investigated. After splenectomy, the marrow expression levels of TGF-beta, VEGF, osteocalcin, PDGF-alpha, and SDF-1 remained abnormally high while Gata1(low) hematopoiesis was detectable in liver of both CD1 and DBA/2 mutants. Therefore, in the absence of the spleen, Gata1(low) hematopoiesis is supported by the liver suggesting that treatment of myelofibrosis in these animals requires the rescue of both stem cell and microenvironmental functions.
Cancer cluster investigations rarely receive significant public health resource allocations due to numerous inherent challenges and the limited success of past efforts. In 2008, a cluster of polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer with unknown etiology, was identified in northeast Pennsylvania. A multidisciplinary group of federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and local healthcare providers subsequently developed a multifaceted research portfolio designed to better understand the cause of the cluster. This research agenda represents a unique and important opportunity to demonstrate that cancer cluster investigations can produce desirable public health and scientific outcomes when necessary resources are available.
The abnormal trafficking of CD34+ cells is a unique characteristic of primary myelofibrosis (PMF). We have further studied the behavior of PMF CD34+ cells by examining their homing to the marrow and the spleens of nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. Following the infusion of PMF and normal granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-mobilized peripheral blood (mPB) CD34+ cells into NOD/SCID mice, reduced numbers of PMF CD34+ cells and granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming unit (CFU-GM) compared with mPB were detected in the marrow of these mice, whereas similar numbers of PMF and mPB CD34+ cells and CFU-GM homed to their spleens. The abnormal homing of PMF CD34+ cells was associated with reduced expression of CXCR4, but was not related to the presence of JAK2V617F. The sequential treatment of PMF CD34+ cells with the chromatin-modifying agents 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine (5azaD) and trichostatin A (TSA), but not treatment with small molecule inhibitors of JAK2, resulted in the generation of increased numbers of CD34+CXCR4+ cells, which was accompanied by enhanced homing of PMF CD34+ cells to the marrow but not the spleens of NOD/SCID mice. Following 5azaD/TSA treatment, JAK2V617F-negative PMF hematopoietic progenitor cells preferentially homed to the marrow but not the spleens of recipient mice. Our data suggest that PMF CD34+ cells are characterized by a reduced ability to home to the marrow but not the spleens of NOD/SCID mice and that this homing defect can be corrected by sequential treatment with chromatin-modifying agents.
Endothelial like cells (ELCs) are thought to originate from either a hierarchy of endothelial progenitor cells (EPC), monocytes or monocyte derived multipotent progenitor cells (MOMCs). In this report, the ability of CD34(+) cells to generate ELC in vivo was examined using an immunodeficient mouse transplant assay system. The Philadelphia chromosome negative (Ph(-)) myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) are associated with the acquired mutation, JAK2V617F. In order to further examine the ability of cord blood and JAK2V617F positive MPN CD34(+) cells to generate ELC, CD34(+) cells were transplanted into NOD/SCID mice. Cells within the livers and lungs of recipient mice had phenotypic and molecular properties of human ELC as examined using RT-PCR, flow cytometric analysis and fluorescence microscopy. These cells possessed either human wild type JAK2 or JAK2V617F indicating that they were derived from the transplanted human cells and that a fraction of such cells were involved by the malignant process. Furthermore, human CD144(+) cells isolated from the livers of recipient mice formed clusters in vitro composed of ELC, which contained either wild type JAK2 or JAK2V617F suggesting that these cells are derived from either MOMC or EPC that have an extensive proliferative capacity as well as some degree of self renewal capacity. These studies indicate that adult CD34(+) cells can be affected by JAK2V617F and that they can generate ELC which might play a role in the development of thrombosis in patients with MPN.
JAK2V617F occurs in approximately 93% of patients with polycythemia vera and approximately 50% of patients with either primary myelofibrosis or essential thrombocythemia. Chromosomal abnormalities are detected in 50% of patients with primary myelofibrosis, 29% with polycythemia vera, and 8% to 10% with essential thrombocythemia. The relationship between the presence of such chromosomal abnormalities and the JAK2V617 allele burden, and the role that each of these genetic events play in the origins and progression of the myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), remain unclear.
Patients with myeloproliferative disorders are at a high risk of developing thrombotic events. Several investigators have hypothesized that endothelial cell (EC) abnormalities might contribute to this prothrombotic state. Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS) and portal vein thrombosis have been reported to be associated with JAK2V617F-positive hematopoiesis. We explored whether JAK2V617F was present in ECs in the vessels of polycythemia vera (PV) patients with BCS using laser capture microdissection followed by nested polymerase chain reaction or reverse-transcribed polymerase chain reaction. The ECs of the 2 BCS patients with PV were homozygous for the JAK2V617F and were shown to express transcripts characteristic of ECs but not hematopoietic cells. ECs of the other BCS patient with PV and 2 patients with hepatoportal sclerosis without PV contained exclusively wild-type JAK2. The presence of JAK2V617F in both ECs and hematopoietic cells belonging to BCS patients with PV indicate that ECs in PV are involved by the malignant process and that in a subpopulation of the patients the disease might originate from a common cell of origin for hematopoietic and ECs.
Pruritus is a common symptom in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs). The pathophysiology of MPD-associated pruritus is unclear. We have demonstrated that MPD mast cells (MCs) are involved by the malignant process. In the present study, we explored the hypothesis that MCs play an important role in the development of pruritogenesis in MPDs. We found that MPD MCs released significantly greater amounts of pruritogenic factors, including histamine, leukotrienes, and interleukin-31 (IL-31) than normal MCs. Elevated levels of IL-31 were also observed in MPD CD3(+) cell-conditioned media. MPD MCs exhibited increased migratory behavior in response to stem cell factor or interleukin-8, which was associated with increased filamentous-actin content. Furthermore, the presence of pruritus in MPDs was statistically correlated with a greater number of MCs being generated by CD34(+) cells, a greater number of MC colonies being formed by CD34(+) cells, decreased apoptosis and prostaglandin D(2) release by cultured MCs, and higher plasma levels of IL-31. These data demonstrate that functional abnormalities of MPD MCs probably lead to pruritogenesis in patients with MPDs. These studies provide cellular and molecular targets for the development of antipruritus drugs for patients with MPDs.
The role of the environment in the origin of polycythemia vera has not been well documented. Recently, molecular diagnostic tools have been developed to facilitate the diagnosis of polycythemia vera. A cluster of patients with polycythemia vera was suspected in three countries in eastern Pennsylvania where there have long been a concern about environment hazards.
Red cell production is primarily determined by the action of erythropoietin. Additional erythropoiesis-regulatory factors include molecules and cellular interactions occurring within the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. Sotatercept (ACE-011) is an activin receptor ligand trap that binds several members of the TGF-? superfamily. Treatment with ACE-011 reverses bone loss and reduces the degree of osteoporosis, but it is accompanied by elevated hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. The mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of ACE-011 on red cell production remain unknown. This study explores the means by which ACE-011 promotes erythropoiesis. We showed that ACE-011 does not directly affect erythroid differentiation of human CD34(+) cells in vitro. We next tested whether ACE-011 acts indirectly by affecting BM accessory cells. Conditioned media produced by BM stromal cells (SCs) inhibited erythroid differentiation of CD34(+) cells while maintained their ability to proliferate. However, conditioned media from SCs treated with ACE-011 partially restored erythropoiesis, coinciding with changes in the molecular and secretory profile of SCs, including the expression and secretion of erythropoiesis-modulatory factors. We conclude that inhibitory factors produced by BM SCs in vitro might control erythropoiesis in vivo and that agents that reverse these microenvironmental signals could provide an approach to attenuate anemia in clinical conditions.
OBJECTIVES To characterize levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF; formerly known as tumor necrosis factor ?), a well-established proinflammatory cytokine, in patients with immune-mediated sensorineural hearing loss (IM-SNHL) and to determine the role of this cytokine in identifying steroid-responsive hearing loss. DESIGN Prospective case-control study. SETTING Tertiary care academic medical center. PATIENTS A total of 11 control subjects and 85 patients with clinical and audiometric characteristics of IM-SNHL (autoimmune inner ear disease and sudden SNHL combined) treated with corticosteroids were enrolled in the study. Patients were categorized as steroid responders (n = 47) and steroid nonresponders (n = 38). Peripheral venous blood was used to determine the total amount of plasma TNF by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated and treated with in vitro dexamethasone. Treated and untreated PBMCs were then analyzed for release of soluble TNF protein into conditioned supernatants as well as expression of TNF messenger RNA (mRNA). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Mean plasma levels of TNF, unstimulated and dexamethasone-stimulated PBMC-secreted levels of TNF, and TNF mRNA levels in unstimulated and dexamethasone-stimulated PBMCs. RESULTS Steroid nonresponders had the highest mean baseline plasma levels of TNF compared with steroid responders and control subjects (27.6, 24.1, and 14.4 pg/mL, respectively) (P = .03). For patients with IM-SNHL with a high baseline plasma levels of TNF (>14.4 pg/mL), the mean TNF secreted by PBMCs was 59.1 pg/mL, which decreased to 7.2 pg/mL with in vitro dexamethasone stimulation in the responder group, while the mean TNF secreted by PBMCs was 11.2 pg/mL, which slightly increased to 11.7 pg/mL with in vitro dexamethasone stimulation in the nonresponder group (P = .04). CONCLUSIONS The level of TNF can be used as both a diagnostic and prognostic cytokine for IM-SNHL. For patients presenting with a sudden change in hearing threshold, a high baseline plasma TNF from the peripheral circulation is supportive of the diagnosis if it is greater than 18.8 pg/mL, with a positive predictive value higher than 97%. In addition, this study demonstrates that for patients with IM-SNHL and high plasma levels of TNF, their clinical response to oral glucocorticoids can be predicted by their in vitro PBMC response to dexamethasone. This algorithm may further guide optimal medical treatment and possibly avoid the deleterious adverse effects of administering glucocorticoids to those patients who would not benefit from their effect.
Cancer stem cell behavior is thought to be largely determined by intrinsic properties and by regulatory signals provided by the microenvironment. Myelofibrosis (MF) is characterized by hematopoiesis occurring not only in the marrow but also in extramedullary sites such as the spleen. In order to study the effects of these different microenvironments on primitive malignant hematopoietic cells, we phenotypically and functionally characterized splenic and peripheral blood (PB) MF CD34+ cells from patients with MF. MF spleens contained greater numbers of malignant primitive HPCs than PB. Transplantation of PB MF CD34+ cells into immunodeficient (NOD/SCID/IL2R?(null)) mice resulted in a limited degree of donor cell chimerism and a differentiation program skewed toward myeloid lineages. By contrast, transplanted splenic MF CD34+ cells achieved a higher level of chimerism and generated both myeloid and lymphoid cells that contained molecular or cytogenetic abnormalities indicating their malignant nature. Only splenic MF CD34+ cells were able to sustain hematopoiesis for prolonged periods (9 months) and were able to engraft secondary recipients. These data document the existence of MF stem cells (MF-SCs) that reside in the spleens of MF patients and demonstrate that these MF-SCs retain a differentiation program identical to that of normal hematopoietic stem cells.
To assess the associations between a doctor diagnosis of asthma and wheezing (independent of a diagnosis of asthma) with sickle cell disease (SCD) morbidity, we conducted a retrospective review of Emergency Department (ED) visits to the Mount Sinai Medical Center for SCD between 1 January 2007 and 1 January 2011. Outcomes were ED visits for pain and acute chest syndrome. The cohort included 262 individuals, median age 23·8 years, (range: 6 months to 67·5 years). At least one episode of wheezing recorded on a physical examination was present in 18·7% (49 of 262). Asthma and wheezing did not overlap completely, 53·1% of patients with wheezing did not carry a diagnosis of asthma. Wheezing was associated with a 118% increase in ED visits for pain (95% confidence interval [CI]: 56-205%) and a 158% increase in ED visits for acute chest syndrome (95% CI: 11-498%). A diagnosis of asthma was associated with a 44% increase in ED utilization for pain (95% CI: 2-104%) and no increase in ED utilization for acute chest syndrome (rate ratio 1·00, 95%CI 0·41-2·47). In conclusion, asthma and wheezing are independent risk factors for increased painful episodes in individuals with SCD. Only wheezing was associated with more acute chest syndrome.
Leukemic transformation (LT) of a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) is associated with a dismal prognosis and no medical therapies have shown a survival improvement in patients with MPN in blast phase (MPN-BP). Effective therapies for the treatment of MPN-BP are a serious unmet need. Consensus response criteria do not exist for the treatment of patients with MPN-BP and this is necessary for the uniformed reporting of treatment response in clinical trials. We have identified relevant MPN and MPN-BP features in order to define treatment response categories that reflect hematological, clinical, pathological, cytogenetic and molecular changes after therapeutic intervention. We plan to validate these proposed response criteria within multi-centered clinical trials.
Interferon (IFN-?) is effective therapy for polycythemia vera (PV) patients, but it is frequently interrupted because of adverse events. To permit the long-term use of IFN, we propose combining low doses of IFN with Nutlin-3, an antagonist of MDM2, which is also capable of promoting PV CD34(+) cell apoptosis. Combination treatment with subtherapeutic doses of Peg IFN-? 2a and Nutlin-3 inhibited PV CD34(+) cell proliferation by 50% while inhibiting normal CD34(+) cells by 30%. Combination treatment with Nutlin-3 and Peg IFN-? 2a inhibited PV colony formation by 55%-90% while inhibiting normal colony formation by 22%-30%. The combination of these agents also decreased the proportion of JAK2V617F-positive hematopoietic progenitor cells in 6 PV patients studied. Treatment with low doses of Peg IFN-? 2a combined with Nutlin-3 increased phospho-p53 and p21 protein levels in PV CD34(+) cells and increased the degree of apoptosis. These 2 reagents affect the tumor suppressor p53 through different pathways with Peg IFN-? 2a activating p38 MAP kinase and STAT1, leading to increased p53 transcription, whereas Nutlin-3 prevents the degradation of p53. These data suggest that treatment with low doses of both Nutlin-3 combined with Peg IFN-? 2a can target PV hematopoietic progenitor cells, eliminating the numbers of malignant hematopoietic progenitor cells.
The discovery of JAK2617F mutation paved the way for the development of small molecule inhibitors of JAK1/2 resulting in first approved JAK1/2 inhibitor, ruxolitinib, for the treatment of patients with myelofibrosis (MF). Although JAK1/2 inhibitor therapy is effective in decreasing the burden of symptoms associated with splenomegaly and MF-related constitutional symptoms, it is neither curative nor effective in reducing the risk of leukemic transformation. Presently, allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is the only curative therapy for MF. A significant risk of regimen-related toxicities, graft failure, and GVHD are major barriers to the success of HCT in MF. Because of significant HCT-associated morbidity and mortality, divergent opinions regarding its appropriate role in this clinical situation have emerged. In this review, the risk-benefit ratios of modern drug therapy compared with HCT in MF patients are analyzed. A risk-adapted approach individualized to each patients biologic characteristics and comorbidities is described, which is currently warranted in determining optimal treatment strategies for patients with MF. Inclusion of JAK1/2 inhibitor therapy in future transplant conditioning regimens may provide an opportunity to overcome some of these barriers, resulting in greater success with HCT for MF patients.
The BCR-ABL1-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (e.g., essential thrombocythemia, polycythemia vera, and primary myelofibrosis) are a group of heterogeneous hematologic malignancies that involve a clonal proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells. Thrombosis, bleeding, and transformation to acute leukemia reduce the overall survival of patients with myelofibrosis, a disease typified by progressive splenomegaly and disease-related symptoms such as fatigue, pruritus, and bony pains. Hematopoietic stem cell transplant offers the only potential for cure in a minority of eligible patients, leaving a serious unmet need for improved therapies. Recent advances in our understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying these diseases have led to an explosion of clinical trials evaluating novel therapies. The discovery of an activating mutation in the Janus-activated kinase 2 (JAK2) gene provided a therapeutic target to downregulate this activated signaling pathway, which influences the phenotype of these diseases. Ruxolitinib (Jakafi; Incyte) is a small-molecule inhibitor of JAK1/2 that has proved to be effective at reducing splenomegaly and ameliorating symptoms in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Based on the results of 2 pivotal randomized phase III clinical trials, ruxolitinib has become the first therapeutic to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of patients with myelofibrosis. Ruxolitinib offers a well-tolerated oral therapeutic option for patients with myelofibrosis with symptomatic splenomegaly and debilitating disease-related symptoms, but it does not seem to be effective at eliminating the underlying hematological malignancy.
Primary polycythemias are the result of intrinsic abnormalities of the hematopoietic progenitors that lead to constitutive overproduction of red cells accompanied by low erythropoietin (EPO) levels. Secondary polycythemias are caused by conditions resulting in increased EPO production. Polycythemia vera (PV) is a primary polycythemia, and is a chronic clonal progressive myeloproliferative neoplasm. A single recurrent point mutation in the pseudokinase domain of JAK2 molecule (JAK2(V617F)) is present in >95% of patients with PV. The goal of therapy in PV is to normalize blood counts to minimize the risk of thrombotic events.
Immediately after the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), a select group of clinical and laboratory investigators in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) is summoned to a post-ASH conference on chronic myeloid leukemia and the BCR-ABL1-negative MPN. The 6th such meeting occurred on December 13–14,2011, in La Jolla, California, USA, under the direction of its founder,Dr. Tariq Mughal. The current document is the first of two reports on this post-ASH event and summarizes the most recent preclinical and clinical advances in polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia,and primary myelofibrosis.
We studied 24 spleens with extramedullary hematopoietic proliferation (EMHP), a key feature of advanced-stage Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms, obtained from 24 patients (14 primary myelofibrosis, 7 polycythemia vera and 3 unclassifiable). Hematoxylin and eosin, reticulin and trichrome stains, and immunohistochemical stains for myeloperoxidase, glycophorin-C, CD42b, CD34, CD117, CD8, nerve growth factor receptor and smooth muscle actin were evaluated. Clinical information was correlated with the morphological findings. Three distinct histological patterns of EMHP were recognized: diffuse (12), nodular (5), and mixed-nodular and diffuse (7). The preponderant lineage was granulocytic in diffuse, trilineage in nodular and erythroid in mixed EMHP. Erythropoiesis was largely intravascular, granulopoiesis was within the splenic cords and megakaryopoiesis was observed in both locations. The stromal changes paralleled the histological pattern with preservation of the splenic stromal and vascular architecture in the diffuse areas as opposed to areas of nodular EMHP. The morphological features of the splenic EMHP did not correlate with specific subtypes of myeloproliferative neoplasms. The mean duration of follow-up from initial diagnosis was 80 months. A total of 15 of the 24 patients died of disease: 8 of 12 (67%) with diffuse, 2 of 5 (40%) with nodular and 5 of 7 (71%) with mixed growth patterns. The mean duration from diagnosis to splenectomy was shorter in patients with diffuse (83 months) as compared with those with nodular EMHP (127 months). Our study demonstrates that splenic extramedullary hematopoietic proliferation in Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms shows distinct histological patterns that do not correlate with disease subtypes, but appear to suggest a trend between the histological patterns and clinical behavior. These results suggest a different biology of the disease in the nodular and diffuse extramedullary hematopoietic proliferation groups.
Drug-induced thrombocytopenia often results from dysregulation of normal megakaryocytopoiesis. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms responsible for thrombocytopenia associated with the use of Panobinostat (LBH589), a histone deacetylase inhibitor with promising anti-cancer activities. The effects of LBH589 were tested on the cellular and molecular aspects of megakaryocytopoiesis by utilizing an ex vivo system in which mature megakaryocytes (MK) and platelets were generated from human primary CD34(+) cells. We demonstrated that LBH589 did not affect MK proliferation or lineage commitment but inhibited MK maturation and platelet formation. Although LBH589 treatment of primary MK resulted in hyperacetylation of histones, it did not interfere with the expression of genes that play important roles during megakaryocytopoiesis. Instead, we found that LBH589 induced post-translational modifications of tubulin, a nonhistone protein that is the major component of the microtubule cytoskeleton. We then demonstrated that LBH589 treatment induced hyperacetylation of tubulin and alteration of microtubule dynamics and organization required for proper MK maturation and platelet formation. This study provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying LBH589-induced thrombocytopenia and provides a rationale for using tubulin as a target for selective histone deacetylase inhibitor therapies to treat thrombocytosis in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.
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