Cyclophosphamide combined with total body irradiation (Cy/TBI) or busulfan (BuCy) are the most widely used myeloablative conditioning regimens for allotransplants. Recent data regarding their comparative effectiveness are lacking. We analyzed data from the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research for 1230 subjects receiving a first hematopoietic cell transplant from a human leukocyte antigen-matched sibling or from an unrelated donor during the years 2000 to 2006 for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first complete remission (CR) after conditioning with Cy/TBI or oral or intravenous (IV) BuCy. Multivariate analysis showed significantly less nonrelapse mortality (relative risk [RR] = 0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.39-0.86; P = .007), and relapse after, but not before, 1 year posttransplant (RR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.08-0.65; P = .006), and better leukemia-free survival (RR = 0.70; 95% CI: 0.55-0.88; P = .003) and survival (RR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.52-0.88; P = .003) in persons receiving IV, but not oral, Bu compared with TBI. In combination with Cy, IV Bu is associated with superior outcomes compared with TBI in patients with AML in first CR.
We conducted a prospective cohort study testing the noninferiority of survival of ablative intravenous busulfan (IV-BU) vs ablative total body irradiation (TBI)-based regimens in myeloid malignancies. A total of 1483 patients undergoing transplantation for myeloid malignancies (IV-BU, N = 1025; TBI, N = 458) were enrolled. Cohorts were similar with respect to age, gender, race, performance score, disease, and disease stage at transplantation. Most patients had acute myeloid leukemia (68% IV-BU, 78% TBI). Grafts were primarily peripheral blood (77%) from HLA-matched siblings (40%) or well-matched unrelated donors (48%). Two-year probabilities of survival (95% confidence interval [CI]), were 56% (95% CI, 53%-60%) and 48% (95% CI, 43%-54%, P = .019) for IV-BU (relative risk, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-0.98, P = .03) and TBI, respectively. Corresponding incidences of transplant-related mortality (TRM) were 18% (95% CI, 16%-21%) and 19% (95% CI, 15%-23%, P = .75) and disease progression were 34% (95% CI, 31%-37%) and 39% (95% CI, 34%-44%, P = .08). The incidence of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) was 5% for IV-BU and 1% with TBI (P < .001). There were no differences in progression-free survival and graft-versus-host disease. Compared with TBI, IV-BU resulted in superior survival with no increased risk for relapse or TRM. These results support the use of myeloablative IV-BU vs TBI-based conditioning regimens for treatment of myeloid malignancies.
Choosing Wisely® is a medical stewardship and quality improvement initiative led by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in collaboration with leading medical societies in the United States. The ASH is an active participant in the Choosing Wisely® project. Using an iterative process and an evidence-based method, ASH has identified 5 tests and treatments that in some circumstances are not well supported by evidence and which in certain cases involve a risk of adverse events and financial costs with low likelihood of benefit. The ASH Choosing Wisely® recommendations focus on avoiding liberal RBC transfusion, avoiding thrombophilia testing in adults in the setting of transient major thrombosis risk factors, avoiding inferior vena cava filter usage except in specified circumstances, avoiding the use of plasma or prothrombin complex concentrate in the nonemergent reversal of vitamin K antagonists, and limiting routine computed tomography surveillance after curative-intent treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We recommend that clinicians carefully consider anticipated benefits of the identified tests and treatments before performing them.
MYC is a potent oncogene initially identified as the target of the t(8;14)(q24;q32) chromosome translocation in Burkitt lymphoma. MYC gene alterations have been identified in other mature B-cell neoplasms that are usually associated with an aggressive clinical behavior. Most of these tumors originate in cells that do not normally express MYC protein. The oncogenic events leading to MYC up-regulation seem to overcome the inhibitory effect of physiological repressors such as BCL6 or BLIMP1. Aggressive lymphomas frequently carry additional oncogenic alterations that cooperate with MYC dysregulation, likely counteracting its proapoptotic function. The development of FISH probes and new reliable antibodies have facilitated the study of MYC gene alterations and protein expression in large series of patients, providing new clinical and biological perspectives regarding MYC dysregulation in aggressive lymphomas. MYC gene alterations in large B-cell lymphomas are frequently associated with BCL2 or BCL6 translocations conferring a very aggressive behavior. Conversely, MYC protein up-regulation may occur in tumors without apparent gene alterations, and its association with BCL2 overexpression also confers a poor prognosis. In this review, we integrate all of this new information and discuss perspectives, challenges, and open questions for the diagnosis and management of patients with MYC-driven aggressive B-cell lymphomas.
Recurrent and unpredictable episodes of vaso-occlusion are the hallmark of sickle cell disease. Symptomatic management and prevention of these events using the fetal hemoglobin–reactivating agent hydroxyurea are currently the mainstay of treatment. Discoveries over the past 2 decades have highlighted the important contributions of various cellular and soluble participants in the vaso-occlusive cascade. The role of these elements and the opportunities for therapeutic intervention are summarized in this review.
Our understanding of the pathogenesis of lymphoid malignancies has been transformed by next-generation sequencing. The studies in this review have used whole-genome, exome, and transcriptome sequencing to identify recurring structural genetic alterations and sequence mutations that target key cellular pathways in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and the lymphomas. Although each tumor type is characterized by a unique genomic landscape, several cellular pathways are mutated in multiple tumor types—transcriptional regulation of differentiation, antigen receptor signaling, tyrosine kinase and Ras signaling, and epigenetic modifications—and individual genes are mutated in multiple tumors, notably TCF3, NOTCH1, MYD88, and BRAF. In addition to providing fundamental insights into tumorigenesis, these studies have also identified potential new markers for diagnosis, risk stratification, and therapeutic intervention. Several genetic alterations are intuitively "druggable" with existing agents, for example, kinase-activating lesions in high-risk B-cell ALL, NOTCH1 in both leukemia and lymphoma, and BRAF in hairy cell leukemia. Future sequencing efforts are required to comprehensively define the genetic basis of all lymphoid malignancies, examine the relative roles of germline and somatic variation, dissect the genetic basis of clonal heterogeneity, and chart a course for clinical sequencing and translation to improved therapeutic outcomes.
Transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM), a preleukemic disorder unique to neonates with Down syndrome (DS), may transform to childhood acute myeloid leukemia (ML-DS). Acquired GATA1 mutations are present in both TAM and ML-DS. Current definitions of TAM specify neither the percentage of blasts nor the role of GATA1 mutation analysis. To define TAM, we prospectively analyzed clinical findings, blood counts and smears, and GATA1 mutation status in 200 DS neonates. All DS neonates had multiple blood count and smear abnormalities. Surprisingly, 195 of 200 (97.5%) had circulating blasts. GATA1 mutations were detected by Sanger sequencing/denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (Ss/DHPLC) in 17 of 200 (8.5%), all with blasts >10%. Furthermore low-abundance GATA1 mutant clones were detected by targeted next-generation resequencing (NGS) in 18 of 88 (20.4%; sensitivity ~0.3%) DS neonates without Ss/DHPLC-detectable GATA1 mutations. No clinical or hematologic features distinguished these 18 neonates. We suggest the term "silent TAM" for neonates with DS with GATA1 mutations detectable only by NGS. To identify all babies at risk of ML-DS, we suggest GATA1 mutation and blood count and smear analyses should be performed in DS neonates. Ss/DPHLC can be used for initial screening, but where GATA1 mutations are undetectable by Ss/DHPLC, NGS-based methods can identify neonates with small GATA1 mutant clones.
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (Gcsf) drives the proliferation and differentiation of granulocytes, monocytes, and macrophages (ms) from hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Analysis of the zebrafish genome indicates the presence of 2 Gcsf ligands, likely resulting from a duplication event in teleost evolution. Although Gcsfa and Gcsfb share low sequence conservation, they share significant similarity in their predicted ligand/receptor interaction sites and structure. Each ligand displays differential temporal expression patterns during embryogenesis and spatial expression patterns in adult animals. To determine the functions of each ligand, we performed loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Both ligands signal through the Gcsf receptor to expand primitive neutrophils and ms, as well as definitive granulocytes. To further address their functions, we generated recombinant versions and tested them in clonal progenitor assays. These sensitive in vitro techniques indicated similar functional attributes in supporting HSPC growth and differentiation. Finally, in addition to supporting myeloid differentiation, zebrafish Gcsf is required for the specification and proliferation of hematopoietic stem cells, suggesting that Gcsf represents an ancestral cytokine responsible for the broad support of HSPCs. These findings may inform how hematopoietic cytokines evolved following the diversification of teleosts and mammals from a common ancestor.
The developmental relationship between the blood and endothelial cell (EC) lineages remains unclear. In the extra-embryonic blood islands of birds and mammals, ECs and blood cells are closely intermixed, and blood island precursor cells in the primitive streak express many of the same molecular markers, leading to the suggestion that both lineages arise from a common precursor, called the hemangioblast. Cells within the blood island of Xenopus also coexpress predifferentiation markers of the blood and EC lineages. However, using multiple assays, we find that precursor cells in the Xenopus blood island do not normally differentiate into ECs, suggesting that classic hemangioblasts are rare or nonexistent in Xenopus. What prevents these precursor cells from developing into mature ECs? We have found that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is essential for erythroid differentiation, and in the absence of BMP signaling, precursor cells adopt an EC fate. Furthermore, inhibition of the erythroid transcription pathway leads to endothelial differentiation. Our results indicate that bipotential endothelial/erythroid precursor cells do indeed exist in the Xenopus blood island, but BMP signaling normally acts to constrain EC fate. More generally, these results provide evidence that commitment to the erythroid lineage limits development of bipotential precursors toward an endothelial fate.
B-cell responses are guided by the integration of signals through the B-cell receptor (BCR), CD40, and cytokine receptors. The common chain (c)-binding cytokine interleukin (IL)-21 drives humoral immune responses via STAT3-dependent induction of transcription factors required for plasma cell generation. We investigated additional mechanisms by which IL-21/STAT3 signaling modulates human B-cell responses by studying patients with STAT3 mutations. IL-21 strongly induced CD25 (IL-2Rα) in normal, but not STAT3-deficient, CD40L-stimulated naïve B cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed IL2RA as a direct target of STAT3. IL-21–induced CD25 expression was also impaired on B cells from patients with IL2RG or IL21R mutations, confirming a requirement for intact IL-21R signaling in this process. IL-2 increased plasmablast generation and immunoglobulin secretion from normal, but not CD25-deficient, naïve B cells stimulated with CD40L/IL-21. IL-2 and IL-21 were produced by T follicular helper cells, and neutralizing both cytokines abolished the B-cell helper capacity of these cells. Our results demonstrate that IL-21, via STAT3, sensitizes B cells to the stimulatory effects of IL-2. Thus, IL-2 may play an adjunctive role in IL-21–induced B-cell differentiation. Lack of this secondary effect of IL-21 may amplify the humoral immunodeficiency in patients with mutations in STAT3, IL2RG, or IL21R due to impaired responsiveness to IL-21.
The effectiveness of rituximab maintenance therapy in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia has been investigated in a phase 2 clinical trial that included an initial treatment with rituximab 500 mg/m2 on day 1 (375 mg/m2 the first cycle), fludarabine 25 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3, cyclophosphamide 200 mg/m2 on days 1 to 3, and mitoxantrone 6 mg/m2 on day 1 (R-FCM), for 6 cycles, followed by a maintenance phase with rituximab 375 mg/m2 every 3 months for 2 years. Sixty-seven patients having achieved complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) with R-FCM were given maintenance therapy. At the end of maintenance, 40.6% of patients were in CR with negative minimal residual disease (MRD), 40.6% were in CR MRD-positive, 4.8% remained in PR, and 14% were considered failures. Six of 29 patients (21%) who were in CR MRD-positive or in PR after R-FCM improved their response upon rituximab maintenance. The 4-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival rates were 74.8% and 93.7%, respectively. MRD status after R-FCM induction was the strongest predictor of PFS. Maintenance with rituximab after R-FCM improved the quality of the response, particularly in patients MRD-positive after initial treatment, and obtained a prolonged PFS. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu as identifier #2005-001569-33.
Although in vitro studies pointed to the tumor necrosis factor family member APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand) in mediating survival of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells, clear evidence for a role in leukemogenesis and progression in CLL is lacking. APRIL significantly prolonged in vitro survival of CD5+B220dull leukemic cells derived from the murine Eμ-TCL1-Tg (TCL1-Tg [transgenic]) model for CLL. APRIL-TCL1 double-Tg mice showed a significantly earlier onset of leukemia and disruption of splenic architecture, and survival was significantly reduced. Interestingly, clonal evolution of CD5+B220dull cells (judged by BCR clonality) did not seem to be accelerated by APRIL; both mouse strains were oligoclonal at 4 months. Although APRIL binds different receptors, APRIL-mediated leukemic cell survival depended on tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 13B (TACI) ligation. These findings indicate that APRIL has an important role in CLL and that the APRIL-TACI interaction might be a selective novel therapeutic target for human CLL.
Erythropoietin (Epo) binding to the Epo receptor (EpoR) elicits downstream signaling that is essential for red blood cell production. One important negative regulatory mechanism to terminate Epo signaling is Epo-induced EpoR endocytosis and degradation. Defects in this mechanism play a key role in the overproduction of erythrocytes in primary familial and congenital polycythemia (PFCP). Here we have identified a novel mechanism mediating Epo-dependent EpoR internalization. Epo induces Cbl-dependent ubiquitination of the p85 regulatory subunit of PI3K, which binds to phosphotyrosines on EpoR. Ubiquitination allows p85 to interact with the endocytic protein epsin-1, thereby driving EpoR endocytosis. Knockdown of Cbl, expression of its dominant negative forms, or expression of an epsin-1 mutant devoid of ubiquitin-interacting motifs all compromise Epo-induced EpoR internalization. Mutated EpoRs mimicking those from PFCP patients cannot bind p85, co-localize with epsin-1, or internalize on Epo stimulation and exhibit Epo hypersensitivity. Similarly, knockdown of Cbl also causes Epo hypersensitivity in primary erythroid progenitors. Restoring p85 binding to PFCP receptors rescues Epo-induced epsin-1 co-localization and EpoR internalization and normalizes Epo hypersensitivity. Our results uncover a novel Cbl/p85/epsin-1 pathway in EpoR endocytosis and show that defects in this pathway contribute to excessive Epo signaling and erythroid hyperproliferation in PFCP.
This prospective study described the trajectory of sexual well-being from before hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) to 3 years after in 131 allogeneic and 146 autologous HCT recipients using Derogatis Interview for Sexual Function and Derogatis Global Sexual Satisfaction Index. Sixty-one percent of men and 37% of women were sexually active pre-HCT; the prevalence declined to 51% (P = .01) in men and increased to 48% (P = .02) in women at 3 years post-HCT. After HCT, sexual satisfaction declined in both sexes (P < .001). All sexual function domains were worse in women compared with men (P ≤ .001). Orgasm (P = .002) and drive/relationship (P < .001) declined in men, but sexual cognition/fantasy (P = .01) and sexual behavior/experience (P = .01) improved in women. Older age negatively impacted sexual function post-HCT in both sexes (P < .01). Chronic graft-versus-host disease was associated with lower sexual cognition/fantasy (P = .003) and orgasm (P = .006) in men and sexual arousal (P = .05) and sexual satisfaction (P = .005) in women. All male sexual function domains declined after total body irradiation (P < .05). This study identifies vulnerable subpopulations that could benefit from interventional strategies to improve sexual well-being.
Endothelial cells (ECs) lining arteries and veins have distinct molecular/functional signatures. The underlying regulatory mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, we established a specific fingerprint of freshly isolated arterial and venous ECs from human umbilical cord comprising 64 arterial and 12 venous genes, representing distinct functions/pathways. Among the arterial genes were 8 transcription factors (TFs), including Notch target HEY2, the current "gold standard" determinant for arterial EC (aEC) specification. Culture abrogated differential gene expression in part due to gradual loss of canonical Notch activity and HEY2 expression. Notably, restoring HEY2 expression or Delta-like4–induced Notch signaling in cultured ECs only partially reinstated the aEC gene signature, whereas combined overexpression of the 8 TFs restored this fingerprint more robustly. Whereas some TFs stimulated few genes, others boosted a large proportion of arterial genes. Although there was some overlap and crossregulation, the TFs largely complemented each other in regulating the aEC gene profile. Finally, overexpression of the 8 TFs in human umbilical vein ECs conveyed an arterial-like behavior upon their implantation in a Matrigel plug in vivo. Thus, our study shows that Notch signaling determines only part of the aEC signature and identifies additional novel and complementary transcriptional players in the complex regulation of human arteriovenous EC identity.
Beyond its well-established roles in mediating leukocyte rolling, E-selectin is emerging as a multifunctional receptor capable of inducing integrin activation in neutrophils, and of regulating various biological processes in hematopoietic precursors. Although these effects suggest important homeostatic contributions of this selectin in the immune and hematologic systems, the ligands responsible for transducing these effects in different leukocyte lineages are not well defined. We have characterized mice deficient in E-selectin ligand-1 (ESL-1), or in both P-selectin glycoprotein-1 (PSGL-1) and ESL-1, to explore and compare the contributions of these glycoproteins in immune and hematopoietic cell trafficking. In the steady state, ESL-1 deficiency resulted in a moderate myeloid expansion that became more prominent when both glycoproteins were eliminated. During inflammation, PSGL-1 dominated E-selectin binding, rolling, integrin activation, and extravasation of mature neutrophils, but only the combined deficiency in PSGL-1 and ESL-1 completely abrogated leukocyte recruitment. Surprisingly, we find that the levels of ESL-1 were strongly elevated in hematopoietic progenitor cells. These elevations correlated with a prominent function of ESL-1 for E-selectin binding and for migration of hematopoietic progenitor cells into the bone marrow. Our results uncover dominant roles for ESL-1 in the immature compartment, and a functional shift toward PSGL-1 dependence in mature neutrophils.