[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Hema e-Chart prospectively collected data on febrile events (FEs) in hematological malignancy patients (HMs). The aim of the study was to assess the number, causes and outcome of HM-related FEs. Data were collected in a computerized registry that systematically approached the study and the evolution of FEs developing in a cohort of adult HMs who were admitted to 19 hematology departments in Italy from March 2007 to December 2008. A total of 869 FEs in 3,197 patients with newly diagnosed HMs were recorded. Fever of unidentified origin (FUO) was observed in 386 cases (44.4%). The other causes of FE were identified as noninfectious in 48 cases (5.5%) and infectious in 435 cases (50.1%). Bacteria were the most common cause of infectious FEs (301 cases), followed by fungi (95 cases), and viruses (7 cases). Mixed agents were isolated in 32 episodes. The attributable mortality rate was 6.7% (58 FEs). No deaths were observed in viral infection or in the noninfectious groups, while 25 deaths were due to FUO, 16 to bacterial infections, 14 to fungal infections, and three to mixed infections. The Hema e-Chart provided a complete system for the epidemiological study of infectious complications in HMs.
Annals of Hematology 11/2011; 91(5):767-74. · 2.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hastening posttransplantation immune reconstitution is a key challenge in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-haploidentical hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT). In experimental models of mismatched HSCT, T-regulatory cells (Tregs) when co-infused with conventional T cells (Tcons) favored posttransplantation immune reconstitution and prevented lethal graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In the present study, we evaluated the impact of early infusion of Tregs, followed by Tcons, on GVHD prevention and immunologic reconstitution in 28 patients with high-risk hematologic malignancies who underwent HLA-haploidentical HSCT. We show for the first time in humans that adoptive transfer of Tregs prevented GVHD in the absence of any posttransplantation immunosuppression, promoted lymphoid reconstitution, improved immunity to opportunistic pathogens, and did not weaken the graft-versus-leukemia effect. This study provides evidence that Tregs are a conserved mechanism in humans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We designed a phase I/II clinical study to determine safety and efficacy of thymosin alpha1 (Talpha1) administration in recipients of one HLA haplotype (haploidentical) stem cell transplants for hematologic malignancies. Talpha1 administration did not cause acute or chronic graft versus host disease and was associated with significant improvement in polymorphonuclear (phagocytosis) and dendritic cell (phagocytosis, expression of costimulatory molecules, and cytokine production) functions. It was also associated with increased T-cell counts and earlier appearance of functional pathogen-specific T cell responses (by a sensitive limiting dilution assay that detects frequency of T cells specific for Aspergillus, Candida, CMV, ADV, VZV, HSV, Toxoplasma). Five of six haploidentical transplant recipients who received Talpha1 are alive and disease free at a median follow-up of 10 months after transplantation (range: 5-20). They experienced only a single nonlethal infectious episode and one patient developed fatal immune hemolytic anemia. At this very early stage of the clinical trial, we conclude Talpha1 administration is safe and may impact favorably on immune function. Larger numbers of patients and longer follow-up are, of course, needed to assess its impact on survival.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 04/2010; 1194:153-61. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T helper (Th) 17 cells have emerged as important mediators in infectious and inflammatory diseases and, recently, in transplant rejection. We analyzed the associations between five common genetic variants in the IL-23/Th17 signaling pathway, namely in IL17A, IL17F and IL23R genes, and clinical outcome in T cell-depleted allogeneic SCT (allo-SCT). In the multivariate analysis, variants in IL23R and IL17A genes were the most important prognostic factors. Thus, patient GA genotype at rs11209026 in IL23R was associated with improved overall survival (hazard ratio (HR)=0.48; P=0.028) and, in donor, with decreased risk of fungal infections (P=0.05). In contrast, patient TC and CC genotypes at rs8193036 in IL17A gene were associated with increased risk of CMV infection (HR=3.68; P=0.011) and patient acute GVHD (HR=7.08; P=0.008), respectively. These results suggest that genetic variants in the IL-23/Th17 inflammatory pathway are important prognostic factors for the clinical outcome of allo-SCT. Although validation studies are ultimately required, our results would suggest the potential usefulness of IL-23/Th17 genotyping in donor selection and patient evaluation.
Bone marrow transplantation 02/2010; 45(11):1645-52. · 3.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate prognostic factors, treatments and outcome of invasive aspergillosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia based on data collected in a registry.
The registry, which was activated in 2004 and closed in 2007, collected data on patients with acute myeloid leukemia, admitted to 21 hematologic divisions in tertiary care centers or university hospitals in Italy, who developed proven or probable invasive aspergillosis.
One hundred and forty cases of invasive aspergillosis were collected, with most cases occurring during the period of post-induction aplasia, the highest risk phase in acute myeloid leukemia. The mortality rate attributable to invasive aspergillosis was 27%, confirming previous reports of a downward trend in this rate. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the stage of acute myeloid leukemia and the duration of, and recovery from, neutropenia were independent prognostic factors. We analyzed outcomes after treatment with the three most frequently used drugs (liposomal amphotericin B, caspofungin, voriconazole). No differences emerged in survival at day 120 or in the overall response rate which was 71%, ranging from 61% with caspofungin to 84% with voriconazole.
Our series confirms the downward trend in mortality rates reported in previous series, with all new drugs providing similar survival and response rates. Recovery from neutropenia and disease stage are crucial prognostic factors. Efficacious antifungal drugs bridge the period of maximum risk due to poor hematologic and immunological reconstitution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Discovery of genetic variations in the genes encoding for Toll-like receptors (TLRs) has highlighted a potential link between genomic variation of the host and susceptibility to infections.
We investigated the association between polymorphisms in the TLR2, TLR4, and TLR9 genes in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant and susceptibility to infections caused by cytomegalovirus and filamentous fungi.
A significant association was observed between the presence of the T-1237C polymorphism (TLR9) and susceptibility to viral pneumonia (p=0.04; odds ratio [OR]: 1.73). For fungi, a significant association was observed between the presence of the cosegregating Asp299Gly/Thr399Ile polymorphisms (TLR4) and fungal colonization (p=0.003; OR: 10.6). However, susceptibility to fungal infections, predominantly fungal pneumonia, was instead significantly decreased in the presence of the same polymorphisms (p=0.03; OR: 0.23).
Thus, fungal colonization may not predict susceptibility to infection in the presence of these single nucleotide polymorphisms. The finding that defective viral but not fungal sensing may predict susceptibility to infection highlights the divergent function of TLRs in the pathogenesis of opportunistic infections.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After haploidentical stem cell transplantation immune recovery is inevitably slow and infectious related mortality is about 30-40%. Immune reconstitution could be improved by infusing donor T cells, but the obstacle is graft-versus-host disease. In a mixed lymphocyte reaction, alloantigen-stimulated T cells uptake 4,5-dibromorhodamine methyl ester (TH9402), a compound that is structurally similar to rhodamine. TH9402 preferentially localizes in mitochondria and when exposed to 500- to 600-nm wavelength visible light delivered through the Theralux device (Kiadis Pharma, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), it becomes highly cytotoxic through oxidative damage. This study investigated a range of parameters, and combinations thereof, with the aim of achieving optimal T cell allodepletion and preservation of pathogen-specific responses. We report on 11 clinical scale dry runs which reproducibly yielded the following results. Blood mononuclear cells were stimulated with haploidentical irradiated (20 Gy). Blood mononuclear cells in a mixed lymphocyte reaction. Cells were then incubated with TH9402 and exposed to light delivered through the Theralux device. Optimal conditions for T cell allodepletion emerged as (1) duration of mixed lymphocyte reaction: 24 h; (2) responder cell concentration: 3-5x10(6)/ml; (3) TH9402 concentration: 5 microM; (4) quantity of internalized TH9402, as measured by mean fluorescence intensity (MFI): 20,000-25,000 MFI; (5) energy delivered: 0.1 J/cm(2). Only under these conditions were the frequencies (by limiting dilution analyses) of alloantigen-specific T cells maximally reduced, i.e., 2467+/-639 (mean+/-SD) times, when compared with non-TH9402-treated cells. Pathogen-specific responses to pathogen antigens such as Cytomegalovirus, Adenovirus, Varicella Zoster Virus, Herpes Simplex Virus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Toxoplasma gondii were retained, although with a 19+/-9.7 times reduction in frequency. This remarkable drop in frequency of alloreactive T cells is expected to allow safe infusion of relatively large numbers of T cells across histocompatibility barriers for adoptive transfer of donor immunity. Consequently, a clinical trial is planned to incorporate infusion of photo-allodepleted donor T cells after haploidentical stem cell transplantation with the aim of decreasing infection-related mortality.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although adoptive transfer of donor lymphocytes protects from infections and relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in both mice and in men, it is associated with a high risk of graft versus host disease (GvHD) which rises with HLA mismatching and the number of T lymphocytes that are infused. Elimination/reduction of alloreactive donor T lymphocytes is an appealing approach and several strategies have been proposed. Here we describe generation of anti-3rd party T lymphocytes under conditions of IL-2 deprivation and their effects in a pre-clinical murine model. Our results clearly indicated that anti-3rd party T lymphocytes generated on a large scale by means of IL-2 deprivation maintain a broad T cell repertoire, do not proliferate in a mixed lymphocyte reaction and do not cause GvHD in NOD-SCID mice. These anti-3rd party lymphocytes contain a large adaptive T regulatory cell subset which might contribute to in vitro and in vivo immune modulation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As only 60% of leukaemia patients find a matched donor, the Perugia Bone Marrow Transplant Centre developed transplantation from HLA haplotype-mismatched family donors to provide a cure for more patients [F. Aversa, A. Tabilio, A. Terenzi, et al., Successful engraftment of T-cell-depleted haploidentical "three-loci" incompatible transplants in leukemia patients by addition of recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor-mobilized peripheral blood progenitor cells to bone marrow inoculum, Blood 84 (1994) 3948-3955] [F. Aversa, A. Tabilio, A. Velardi, et al., Treatment of high-risk acute leukemia with T-cell-depleted stem cells from related donors with one fully mismatched HLA haplotype, N. Engl. J. Med. 339 (1998) 1186-1193] [F. Aversa, A. Terenzi, A. Tabilio, et al., Full haplotype-mismatched hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation: a phase II study in patients with acute leukemia at high risk of relapse, J. Clin. Oncol. 23 (2005) 3447-3454]. HLA-mismatches trigger donor vs. recipient NK cell alloreactivity which improves engraftment, protects from GvHD and reduces relapse in AML patients [L. Ruggeri, M. Capanni, E. Urbani, et al., Effectiveness of donor natural killer cell alloreactivity in mismatched hematopoietic transplants, Science 295 (2002) 2097-2100], [L. Ruggeri, A. Mancusi, M. Capanni, E. Urbani, A. Carotti, T. Aloisi, M. Stern, D. Pende, K. Perruccio, E. Burchielli, F. Topini, E. Bianchi, F. Aversa, M.F. Martelli, A. Velardi, Donor natural killer cell allorecognition of missing self in haploidentical hematopoietic transplantation for acute myeloid leukemia: challenging its predictive value, Blood, in press]. We are using murine transplant models to determine whether NK cell alloreactivity can be exploited to reduce transplant-related mortality (TRM) which remains a major issue. Data from these on-going studies show pre-transplant infusion of alloreactive NK cells: (1) ablates AML cells, (2) kills recipient T cells, permitting a reduced toxicity conditioning regimen, and (3) ablates the recipient dendritic cells (DCs) which trigger GvHD, thus protecting from GvHD while permitting a higher T cell content in the graft. We are designing a clinical haploidentical transplant trial using alloreactive NK cells in the conditioning regimen, with the aim of reducing TRM and improving outcomes and overall survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of our study was to evaluate the incidence and outcome of invasive fungal infection (IFI) among patients who underwent autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at 11 Italian transplantation centers.
This cohort-retrospective study, conducted during 1999-2003, involved HSCT patients admitted to 11 tertiary care centers or university hospitals in Italy, who developed IFIs (proven or probable).
Among 3228 patients who underwent HSCT (1249 allogeneic HSCT recipients and 1979 autologous HSCT recipients), IFI occurred in 121 patients (overall incidence, 3.7%). Ninety-one episodes (2.8% of all patients) were due to molds, and 30 (0.9%) were due to yeasts. Ninety-eight episodes (7.8%) occurred among the 1249 allogeneic HSCT recipients, and 23 (1.2%) occurred among the 1979 autologous HSCT recipients. The most frequent etiological agents were Aspergillus species (86 episodes) and Candida species (30 episodes). The overall mortality rate was 5.7% among allogeneic HSCT recipients and 0.4% among autologous HSCT recipients, whereas the attributable mortality rate registered in our population was 65.3% (72.4% for allogeneic HSCT recipients and 34.7% for autologous HSCT recipients). Etiology influenced the patients' outcomes: the attributable mortality rate for aspergillosis was 72.1% (77.2% and 14.3% for allogeneic and autologous HSCT recipients, respectively), and the rate for Candida IFI was 50% (57.1% and 43.8% for allogeneic and autologous HSCT recipients, respectively).
IFI represents a common complication for allogeneic HSCT recipients. Aspergillus species is the most frequently detected agent in these patients, and aspergillosis is characterized by a high mortality rate. Conversely, autologous HSCT recipients rarely develop aspergillosis, and the attributable mortality rate is markedly lower. Candidemia was observed less often than aspergillosis among both allogeneic and autologous HSCT recipients; furthermore, there was no difference in either the incidence of or the attributable mortality rate for candidemia among recipients of the 2 transplant types.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyzed 112 patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (61 in complete remission [CR]; 51 in relapse), who received human leukocyte-antigen (HLA)-haploidentical transplants from natural killer (NK) alloreactive (n = 51) or non-NK alloreactive donors (n = 61). NK alloreactive donors possessed HLA class I, killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) ligand(s) which were missing in the recipients, KIR gene(s) for missing self recognition on recipient targets, and alloreactive NK clones against recipient targets. Transplantation from NK-alloreactive donors was associated with a significantly lower relapse rate in patients transplanted in CR (3% versus 47%) (P > .003), better event-free survival in patients transplanted in relapse (34% versus 6%, P = .04) and in remission (67% versus 18%, P = .02), and reduced risk of relapse or death (relative risk versus non-NK-alloreactive donor, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.29-0.78; P > .001). In all patients we tested the "missing ligand" model which pools KIR ligand mismatched transplants and KIR ligand-matched transplants from donors possessing KIR(s) for which neither donor nor recipient have HLA ligand(s). Only transplantation from NK-alloreactive donors is associated with a survival advantage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In hematologic malignancies chromosome aberrations generating fusion genes include cryptic deletions. In a patient with acute myeloid leukemia and normal karyo-type we discovered a new cryptic 9q34 deletion and here report the cytogenetic and molecular findings. The 9q34 deletion extends 2.5 megabases and juxtaposes the 5' TAF-I to the 3' CAN producing a TAF-I/CAN fusion gene. TAF-I/CAN transcribes into two fusion proteins bearing either TAF-Ialpha or TAF-Ibeta moieties. We set up molecular assays to monitor the chimeric TAF-Ialpha/CAN and TAF-Ibeta/CAN transcripts which, after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from an HLA-identical sibling, were no longer detected.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Much progress has been made in the clinical, biological and technical aspects of the T-cell-depleted full-haplotype mismatched transplants for acute leukemia. Our experience demonstrates that infusing a megadose of extensively T-cell-depleted hematopoietic peripheral blood stem cells after an immuno-myeloablative conditioning regimen in acute leukemia patients ensures sustained engraftment with minimal graft-vs-host disease (GvHD) without the need of any post-transplant immunosuppressive treatment. Since our first successful pilot study, our efforts have concentrated on developing new conditioning regimens, optimizing the graft processing and improving the post-transplant immunological recovery. The results we have so far achieved in more than 200 high-risk acute leukemia patients show that haploidentical transplantation is now a clinical reality. Because virtually all patients in need of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant have a full-haplotype mismatched donor, who is immediately available, a T-cell depleted mismatched transplant should be offered, not as a last resort, but as a viable option to high risk acute leukemia patients who do not have, or cannot find, a matched donor.
Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy 02/2007; 2(1):105-12. · 2.96 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (r-Pa) was isolated from a lethal case of sepsis in a bone marrow transplant recipient. Genotypic analysis of P. aeruginosa isolates demonstrated that sepsis was secondary to gut colonization. The interactions between r-Pa and patient's neutrophils were studied. The results indicate that: (1) the patient's neutrophil killing activity and nitric oxide production against r-Pa or drug sensitive P. aeruginosa (s-Pa) were profoundly impaired; (2) r-Pa cells, but not s-Pa cells or their filtered culture supernatants, induced necrosis of healthy donor neutrophils. Neutrophil necrosis emerges as a remarkable event in the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa sepsis.
The Journal of infection 01/2007; 53(6):e259-64. · 4.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence, incidence and clinical course of viral hepatitis were prospectively determined in consecutive recipients of T-cell depleted hematopoieic stem cell transplants (49 mismatched, 60 matched, mean age 38 years; range 11-65). The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was 15.6% and that of hepatitis C virus was 3.7% (HCV). HBV reactivated in one patient. Another developed ex novo acute hepatitis B which progressed to chronic hepatitis. There were no new cases of hepatitis C or worsening of pre-transplant HCV infections. HBV and HBC did not affect the outcome of T-cell depleted hematopoieic stem cell transplantation. Surveillance is important given the risk of HCV and HBV infection and/or reactivation and the efficacy of the new anti-hepatitis drugs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishment of hematopoietic stem-cell (HSC) transplantation from mismatched relatives is feasible for patients with acute leukemia. As our original method of graft processing was unsuitable for large-scale clinical studies, we use automated devices for CD34+ cell purification.
Sixty-seven patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML; 19 complete remission [CR] 1, 14 CR 2, nine CR > 2, 25 in relapse) and 37 with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL; 14 CR 1, eight CR 2, two CR > 2, 13 in relapse) were conditioned with total-body irradiation, thiotepa, fludarabine, and antithymocyte globulin. Peripheral-blood progenitor cells were mobilized with recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and depleted of T-cells using CD34+ cell immunoselection. No post-transplantation graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) prophylaxis was administered.
Primary engraftment was achieved in 94 of 101 assessable patients. Six of the seven patients who rejected the primary graft, engrafted after a second transplantation. Overall, 100 of 101 patients engrafted. Acute GvHD developed in eight of 100 patients, and chronic GvHD, in five of 70 assessable patients. Thirty-eight patients died of nonleukemic causes. Relapse occurred in nine of 66 patients receiving transplantation in remission and in 17 of 38 receiving transplantation in relapse. Median follow-up of the 40 patients who survived event-free was 22 months (range, 1 to 65 months). Event-free survival (+/- standard deviation) rate was 48% +/- 8% and 46% +/- 10%, respectively, for the 42 AML and 24 ALL patients receiving transplantation in remission.
Our transplantation procedure provides reliable, reproducible CD34+ cell purification, high engraftment rates, and prevention of GvHD. The mismatched-related transplant emerges as a viable, alternative source of stem cells for acute leukemia patients without matched donors and/or those who urgently need transplantation.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2005; 23(15):3447-54. · 18.04 Impact Factor