[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) can self-renew and create committed progenitors, a process supposed to involve asymmetric cell divisions (ACDs). Previously, we had linked the kinetics of CD133 expression with ACDs but failed to detect asymmetric segregation of classical CD133 epitopes on fixed, mitotic HSPCs. Now, by using a novel anti-CD133 antibody (HC7), we confirmed the occurrence of asymmetric CD133 segregation on paraformaldehyde-fixed and living HSPCs. After showing that HC7 binding does not recognizably affect biological features of human HSPCs, we studied ACDs in different HSPC subtypes and determined the developmental potential of arising daughter cells at the single-cell level. Approximately 70% of the HSPCs of the multipotent progenitor (MPP) fraction studied performed ACDs, and about 25% generated lymphoid-primed multipotent progenitor (LMPP) as wells as erythromyeloid progenitor (EMP) daughter cells. Since MPPs hardly created daughter cells maintaining MPP characteristics, our data suggest that under conventional culture conditions, ACDs are lineage instructive rather than self-renewing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This phase II trial evaluated efficacy and tolerability of R-CHOP for up to 8 courses in Richter transformation (RT) and up to 6 courses in CLL plus autoimmune cytopenia (AIC) or high-risk features. High-risk (HR) was defined as fludarabine-refractoriness or early relapse (<36 months) after fludarabine-based treatment.26 patients were included as HR, 19 patients had AIC and 15 patients had RT.In the HR cohort overall response rate was 54%, progression-free and overall survival were 9 and 21 months. In AIC patients overall response rate was 74%, progression-free and overall-survival were 10 and 41 months, respectively and median increase in hemoglobin was 3.4g/L. RT patients responded in 67%, progression-free was 10 and overall survival 21 months.The most common adverse events were hematologic toxicities in 92%. Severe infections occurred in 28%. Treatment was discontinued early in 45% of all patients mainly as a result of toxicity.This trial shows that R-CHOP has no role in treating complicated CLL. R-CHOP is associated with significant toxicities and fairly low efficacy compared to almost every other CLL-regimen. In RT it might still be used as an induction therapy before allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
American Journal of Hematology 09/2014; 89(12). · 3.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered numbers and functions of T cells have previously been demonstrated in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients. However, dynamics and specific T-cell subset alterations have not been studied in great detail. Therefore, we studied CLL blood lymphocyte subsets of individual patients in a longitudinal manner. Dynamic expansions of blood CD4 (+) and CD8 (+) T-cell numbers were consistently associated with a progressively increasing CLL leukemic compartment. Interestingly, the T-cell subset expansion over time was more pronounced in CD38 (+) CLL. Additionally, we performed gene expression profiling of CD3 (+) T cells of CLL patients and normal donors. Using gene set enrichment analysis, we found significant enrichment of genes with higher expression in CLL T cells within CD8(+) effector memory and terminal effector T-cell gene signatures. In agreement with these data, we observed a marked expansion of phenotypic CD8 (+) effector memory T cells in CLL by flow cytometry. Moreover, we observed that increments of CD8 (+) effector memory T cells in human CLL and also mouse CLL (Eμ-TCL1 model) were due to an expansion of the inhibitory killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 (KLRG1) expressing cellular subset. Furthermore, higher plasma levels of the natural KLRG1 ligand E-cadherin were detected in CLL patients compared to normal donor controls. The predominance of KLRG1(+) expression within CD8(+) T cells in conjunction with increased systemic soluble E-cadherin might significantly contribute to CLL immune dysfunction and might additionally represent an important component of the CLL microenvironment.
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 09/2013; · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progranulin (Pgrn) is a 88 kDa secreted protein with pleiotropic functions including regulation of cell cycle progression, cell motility, wound repair and tumorigenesis. Using microarray based gene expression profiling we have recently demonstrated that the gene for Pgrn, granulin (GRN), is significantly higher expressed in aggressive CD38(+)ZAP-70(+) as compared to indolent CD38(-)ZAP-70(-) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cases. Here, we measured Pgrn plasma concentrations by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in the Essen CLL cohort of 131 patients and examined Pgrn for association with established prognostic markers and clinical outcome. We found that high Pgrn plasma levels were strongly associated with adverse risk factors including unmutated IGHV status, expression of CD38 and ZAP-70, poor risk cytogenetics (11q-, 17p-) as detected by flourescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and high Binet stage. Pgrn as well as the aforementioned risk factors were prognostic for time to first treatment and overall survival in this series. Importantly, these results could be confirmed in the independent multicentric CLL1 cohort of untreated Binet stage A patients (n = 163). Here, multivariate analysis of time to first treatment revealed that high risk Pgrn (HR = 2.06, 95%-CI = 1.13-3.76, p = 0.018), unmutated IGHV status (HR = 5.63, 95%-CI = 3.05-10.38, p<0.001), high risk as defined by the study protocol (HR = 2.06, 95%-CI = 1.09-3.89, p = 0.026) but not poor risk cytogenetics were independent prognostic markers. In summary our results suggest that Pgrn is a novel, robust and independent prognostic marker in CLL that can be easily measured by ELISA.
PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e72107. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The classical model of hematopoiesis predicts a dichotomous lineage restriction of multipotent hematopoietic progenitors (MPPs) into common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) and common myeloid progenitors (CMPs). However, this idea has been challenged by the identification of lymphoid progenitors retaining partial myeloid potential (e.g., LMPPs), implying that granulocytes can arise within both the classical lymphoid and the myeloid branches. Here, we resolve this issue by using cell-surface CD133 expression to discriminate functional progenitor populations. We show that eosinophilic and basophilic granulocytes as well as erythrocytes and megakaryocytes derive from a common erythro-myeloid progenitor (EMP), whereas neutrophilic granulocytes arise independently within a lympho-myeloid branch with long-term progenitor function. These findings challenge the concept of a CMP and restore dichotomy to the classical hematopoietic model.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Key points CD44 expression in CLL is micromilieu-instructed. CD44 promotes leukemic cell survival, which can be antagonized by CD44-antibodies.As a surface co-receptor, CD44 supports leukemogenesis by modulating stimuli of MCL1 expression, e.g. B-cell receptor signals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aims to determine prevalence and incidence of anemia in the general population in Germany and evaluate a potential role of serum-free light chains (FLC) as biomarker in anemia. The population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study comprises 4,814 men and women aged 45-75 years. Hemoglobin <13 g/dl in men and <12 g/dl in women defined anemia. Laboratory data was used to classify cases into renal, iron deficiency (IDA), vitamin B(12)/folic acid deficiency, anemia of chronic disease (ACD), and unexplained anemia (UA). Follow-up data was available from annual questionnaires, death certificates, and 5-year follow-up visit (5-year FU). Anemia cases (152) were identified (prevalence 3.2 %, 95 % CI 2.7-3.7). In participants aged 65 or older, prevalence was 4.3 % (95 % CI 2.9-6.0) in both men and women. Main anemia subtypes were: IDA 19 %, ACD 25 %, and UA 44 %. Incidence increased with age and was 12.8/1,000 person-years and 10.9/1,000 person-years in men and women aged 65 or older, respectively. UA was characterized by elevated FLC. Participants with elevated FLC and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) had an increased risk of anemia at 5-year FU. FLC-alone or in combination with hsCRP-may serve as biomarker indicating an increased risk of developing anemia.
Annals of Hematology 02/2013; · 2.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor cell survival critically depends on heterotypic communication with benign cells in the microenvironment. Here, we describe a survival signaling pathway activated in stromal cells by contact to B cells from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The expression of protein kinase C (PKC)-βII and the subsequent activation of NF-κB in bone marrow stromal cells are prerequisites to support the survival of malignant B cells. PKC-β knockout mice are insusceptible to CLL transplantations, underscoring the in vivo significance of the PKC-βII-NF-κB signaling pathway in the tumor microenvironment. Upregulated stromal PKC-βII in biopsies from patients with CLL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and mantle cell lymphoma suggests that this pathway may commonly be activated in a variety of hematological malignancies.
Cancer cell 01/2013; 23(1):77-92. · 25.29 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cellular origin of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is still debated, although this information is critical to understanding
its pathogenesis. Transcriptome analyses of CLL and the main normal B cell subsets from human blood and spleen revealed that
immunoglobulin variable region (IgV) gene unmutated CLL derives from unmutated mature CD5+ B cells and mutated CLL derives from a distinct, previously unrecognized CD5+CD27+ post–germinal center B cell subset. Stereotyped V gene rearrangements are enriched among CD5+ B cells, providing independent evidence for a CD5+ B cell derivation of CLL. Notably, these CD5+ B cell populations include oligoclonal expansions already found in young healthy adults, putatively representing an early
phase in CLL development before the CLL precursor lesion monoclonal B cell lymphocytosis. Finally, we identified deregulated
proteins, including EBF1 and KLF transcription factors, that were not detected in previous comparisons of CLL and conventional
Journal of Experimental Medicine 11/2012; 209(12):2183-2198. · 13.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The distinction of CLL from other mature B-cell neoplasms, especially from leukemic forms of mantle cell lymphoma or splenic marginal zone lymphoma, can be difficult but has important prognostic and therapeutic implications. We measured CLLU1 (CLL upregulated gene1) mRNA by qPCR and found a highly significant difference between CLL and other lymphoid neoplasms (AUC 0.96, 95%CI 0.93-0.99). Based on our cut-off values we can predict CLL and other mature B-cell neoplasms with high probability (PPV 99% and 94%). Analysis of CLLU1 expression is a rapid and reliable tool that may facilitate the diagnosis of mature B-cell neoplasms especially in inconclusive cases.
Leukemia research 06/2012; 36(9):1204-7. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Freshly isolated human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are small and round cells which upon cultivation adopt a polarized morphology and redistribute certain cell surface antigens. To functionally dissect this polarization process, we addressed impacts of protein synthesis, HSPC trafficking, cytoskeleton organization or lipid raft integrity on the establishment and maintenance of the cell polarity of human HSPCs. Effects on the morphology, sub-cellular distribution of lipid raft-associated molecular polarization markers (Flotillin-1, Flotillin-2, ICAM-3) and in vitro migration capabilities of treated cells were studied. We could distinguish two levels of cellular polarization, a molecular and a morphological level. Our data suggest that protein synthesis, lipid raft integrity and enzymatic activities of PI3K and aPKC are required to organize the molecular cell polarity. The morphological cell polarization process, however, also depends on actin polymerization and rho-GTPase activities. In summary, our data qualify HSPC polarization processes as new pharmaceutical target to interfere with migratory and with homing capabilities of HSPCs.
The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 04/2012; 44(7):1121-32. · 4.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disruption of circadian rhythm is believed to play a critical role in cancer development. Cryptochrome 1 (CRY1) is a core component of the mammalian circadian clock and we have previously shown its deregulated expression in a subgroup of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Using real-time RT-PCR in a cohort of 76 CLL patients and 35 normal blood donors we now demonstrate that differential CRY1 mRNA expression in high-risk (HR) CD38+/immunoglobulin variable heavy chain gene (IgVH) unmutated patients as compared to low-risk (LR) CD38-/IgVH mutated patients can be attributed to down-modulation of CRY1 in LR CLL cases. Analysis of the DNA methylation profile of the CRY1 promoter in a subgroup of 57 patients revealed that CRY1 expression in LR CLL cells is silenced by aberrant promoter CpG island hypermethylation. The methylation pattern of the CRY1 promoter proved to have high prognostic impact in CLL where aberrant promoter methylation predicted a favourable outcome. CRY1 mRNA transcript levels did not change over time in the majority of patients where sequential samples were available for analysis. We also compared the CRY1 expression in CLL with other lymphoid malignancies and observed epigenetic silencing of CRY1 in a patient with B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL).
PLoS ONE 03/2012; 7(3):e34347. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in the function of the p53 pathway are frequently described in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), mostly associated with deletion of 17p13 and/or mutations of the TP53 gene. In the present study, we investigated 103 CLLs for the impact of protein expression of full-length p53 and its isoforms β and γ. A strong correlation between deletions of 17p13 and an accumulation of full-length p53 protein was found and was associated with a worse outcome compared to CLL with normal p53 (treatment-free survival p < 0.001, overall survival p = 0.04). Interestingly, the relative expression levels between full-length p53 protein and its isoforms β and γ were significantly altered in CLL even without deletions of 17p13, compared to normal B-cells (p = 0.005). Furthermore, CLLs with higher p53 protein ratios showed worse clinical courses compared to CLLs with lower p53 protein ratios. Taken together, the differential expression of p53 isoforms could disrupt the p53 response and contribute to CLL pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bevacizumab-resistant tumor vessels were characterized by an increased vessel diameter and normalization of vascular structures by the recruitment of mature pericytes and smooth muscle cells. Here, we analyzed human liver metastases which were taken at clinical relapse in patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma treated with anti-angiogenic therapy using the humanized monoclonal anti-VEGF bevacizumab. Tumor vessels which are resistant to anti-VEGF therapy are increased in size and characterized by a normalization of the vascular bed. These results were confirmed using NOD SCID mice as animal model and xenograft transplantation of human PC-3 prostate carcinoma cells in combination with bevacizumab treatment. Our results confirmed that anti-angiogenic therapy results in enhanced vascular remodeling by vascular stabilization. This process is apparently accompanied by enhanced necrosis of tumor tissue. These processes interfere with the efficacy of anti-angiogenic therapy because of reduced susceptibility of stabilized vessels by this therapy. These results demonstrate the importance for the development of second generation anti-angiogenic combination therapy concepts to rule out the balance between vascular stabilization followed by a possible de-stabilization making the remained vessels susceptible to a second wave of anti-angiogenic therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We determined the prevalence and progression rate of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and light-chain MGUS (LCMGUS) in Germany utilizing the biobank of the population-based Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study. The Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study comprises 4,814 men and women aged 45-75 years. To detect monoclonal proteins, standard serum electrophoresis was combined with parallel screening immunofixation using pentavalent antisera. Additionally, free light chains (FLC) were measured in all samples. Definition of MGUS included M-protein concentration, laboratory results, and disease history. LCMGUS was defined as abnormal FLC ratio, increase in FLC causing the abnormal ratio, and lack of intact immunoglobulin. One hundred sixty-five MGUS cases were identified among 4,702 screened samples (prevalence 3.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0-4.1; median age 63 years, range 47-75 years; 103 (62%) male; IgG 59%, IgA 17%, IgM 17%, biclonal 4.8%, kappa 56%, and lambda 44%). Five cases progressed (0.6%/year, 95% CI 0.2-1.4). An abnormal FLC ratio was detected in 220 samples. Thirty-nine of these showed intact immunoglobulin. Thirty-four of the remaining met LCMGUS criteria (prevalence 0.7%, 95% CI 0.5-1.0). None of the LCMGUS cases progressed. We demonstrate a MGUS prevalence of 3.5% and a LCMGUS prevalence of 0.7% in the general population aged 45-75 years in Germany using a sensitive screening approach.
Annals of Hematology 07/2011; 91(2):243-8. · 2.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We explored the role of CD38 and functionally associated molecular risk factors in a recently described chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) nonobese diabetic/ severe combined immunodeficient xenograft model. Intravenous injection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 73 patients with CLL into 244 mice resulted in robust engraftment of leukemic cells into the murine spleens detected 4 wks after transplantation. Leukemic cell engraftment correlated significantly (P < 0.05) with markers reflecting disease activity, e.g., Binet stage and lymphocyte doubling time, and the expression of molecular risk factors including CD38, CD49d, ZAP-70, and IgVH mutational status. Increased engraftment levels of CD38+ as compared to CD38- CLL cells could be attributed, in part, to leukemic cell proliferation as evidenced by combined immunostaining of murine spleen sections for Ki-67 and CD20. In short-term (24 h) homing assays, CD38+ CLL cells migrated more efficiently to the bone marrow of the recipient animals than their CD38- counterparts. Finally, CD38 expression by the leukemic cells was found to be dynamic in that it was regulated not only by elements of the murine microenvironment but also by co-engrafting non-malignant human T cells. This model could be useful for evaluating the biological basis of CLL growth in the context of the hematopoietic microenvironment as well as preclinical testing of novel compounds.
European Journal Of Haematology 07/2011; 87(1):10-9. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We conducted an international phase 2 trial to evaluate 2 dose levels of ofatumumab, a human CD20 mAb, combined with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (O-FC) as frontline therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Patients with active CLL were randomized to ofatumumab 500 mg (n = 31) or 1000 mg (n = 30) day 1, with fludarabine 25 mg/m(2) and cyclophosphamide 250 mg/m(2) days 2-4, course 1; days 1-3, courses 2-6; every 4 weeks for 6 courses. The first ofatumumab dose was 300 mg for both cohorts. The median age was 56 years; 13% of patients had a 17p deletion; 64% had β2-microglobulin > 3.5 mg/L. Based on the 1996 National Cancer Institute Working Group (NCI-WG) guidelines, the complete response (CR) rate as assessed by an independent review committee was 32% for the 500-mg and 50% for the 1000-mg cohort; the overall response (OR) rate was 77% and 73%, respectively. Based on univariable regression analyses, β2-microglobulin and the number of O-FC courses were significantly correlated (P < .05) with CR and OR rates and progression-free survival (PFS). The most frequent Common Terminology Criteria (CTC) grade 3-4 investigator-reported adverse events were neutropenia (48%), thrombocytopenia (15%), anemia (13%), and infection (8%). O-FC is active and safe in treatment-naive patients with CLL, including high-risk patients. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00410163.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SPC2996 is a novel locked nucleic acid phosphorothioate antisense molecule targeting the mRNA of the Bcl-2 oncoprotein. We investigated the mechanism of action of SPC2996 and the basis for its clinically observed immunostimulatory effects in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Patients with relapsed CLL were treated with a maximum of six doses of SPC2996 (0.2-6 mg/kg) in a multicenter phase I trial. Microarray-based transcriptional profiling of circulating CLL cells was carried out before and after the first infusion of SPC2996 in 18 patients. Statistically significant transcriptomic changes were observed at doses 4 mg/kg and occurred as early as 24 h after the first infusion of the oligonucleotide. SPC2996 induced the upregulation of 466 genes including a large number of immune response and apoptotic regulator molecules, which were enriched for Toll-like receptor response genes. Serum measurements confirmed the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines including chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 3 (macrophage inflammatory protein 1α) and tumor necrosis factor-α, thereby validating the in vivo transcriptomic data at the protein level. SPC2996 caused a 50% reduction of circulating lymphocytes in five of 18 (28%) patients, which was found to be independent of its immunostimulatory and anti-Bcl-2 effects.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 03/2011; 25(4):638-47. · 10.16 Impact Factor