[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Aberrant DNA methylation at CpG islands within promoters is increasingly recognised as a common event in human cancers and has been associated with the silencing of important tumour suppressor genes. Epigenetic therapy using hypomethylating agents has demonstrated clinical effectiveness; the drugs azacitidine and decitabine have been approved for the treatment of MDS. METHOD: We investigated the association between global DNA methylation and clinical outcome in MDS. We evaluated 134 MDS bone marrow trephine biopsies (BMTB) by immunohistochemistry and compared the results with those from an age-matched group of normal BMTB. Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin-embedded sections using the anti-5-methylcytosine (5mc) antibody. RESULTS: Our results showed that the 5mc immunostaining score (M-score) of MDS patients was higher than those of normal controls and that overall survival significantly correlated with global DNA methylation, age, and IPSS score. Therefore, we found that patients with high levels of methylation had a shorter median overall survival (OS) compared to patients with lower levels. These immunohistochemistry results were confirmed by analysing global DNA methylation on LINE-1 sequences using the COBRA method and pyrosequencing. CONCLUSION: This study reports that global DNA methylation detected by immunohistochemistry predicts OS in MDS. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
European Journal Of Haematology 05/2013; · 2.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deletions of the long arm of chromosome 6 are known to occur at relatively low frequency (3-6%) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and they are more frequently observed in 6q21. Few data have been reported regarding other bands on 6q involved by cytogenetic alterations in CLL. The cytogenetic study was performed in nuclei and metaphases obtained after stimulation with a combination of CpG-oligonucleotide DSP30 and interleukin 2. Four Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) clones mapping regions in bands 6q16, 6q23, 6q25, 6q27 were used as probes for Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) in 107 CLL cases in order to analyze the occurrence and localization of 6q aberrations. We identified 11 cases (10.2%) with 6q deletion out of 107 patients studied with CLL. The trends of survival curves and the Treatment Free Intervals (TFI) of patients with deletion suggest a better outcome than the other cytogenetic risk groups. We observed two sub-groups with 6q deletion as the sole anomaly: two cases with 6q16 deletion, and three cases with 6q25.2-27 deletion. There were differences of age, stage, and TFI between both sub-groups. By using BAC probes we observed that 6q deletion has a higher frequency in CLL and is linked with a good prognosis. In addition it was observed that the deletion in 6q16 appears to be the most frequent and, if present as the only abnormality, it could be associated with a most widespread disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
European Journal Of Haematology 04/2013; · 2.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bendamustine demonstrated synergistic efficacy with bortezomib against multiple myeloma (MM) cells in vitro and seems an effective treatment for relapsed-refractory MM (rrMM). This phase II study evaluated bendamustine plus bortezomib and dexamethasone (BVD) administered over six 28-day cycles and then every 56 days for six further cycles in patients with rrMM treated with 4 prior therapies and not refractory to bortezomib. The primary study end point was the overall response rate after four cycles. In total, 75 patients were enrolled, of median age 68 years. All patients had received targeted agents, 83% had 1-2 prior therapies and 33% were refractory to the last treatment. The response ratepartial response (PR) was 71.5% (16% complete response, 18.5% very good PR, 37% partial remission). At 12 months of follow-up, median time-to-progression (TTP) was 16.5 months and 1-year overall survival was 78%. According to Cox regression analysis, only prior therapy with bortezomib plus lenalidomide significantly reduced TTP (9 vs 17 months; hazard ratio=4.5; P=0.005). The main severe side effects were thrombocytopenia (30.5%), neutropenia (18.5%), infections (12%), neuropathy (8%) and gastrointestinal and cardiovascular events (both 6.5%). The BVD regimen is feasible, effective and well-tolerated in difficult-to-treat patients with rrMM.
Blood Cancer Journal 01/2013; 3:e162. · 1.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma is a typical disease of the elderly but how many and which patients can be considered 'vulnerable' and how this may affect patient outcome remain unsolved issues. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data from 266 symptomatic MM patients registered at Marche MM registry from 2007 to 2010 were evaluated retrospectively. Vulnerability was defined as age > 75 years, PS (World Health Organization) ≥ 2, renal insufficiency (RI), bone fracture, cytopenias, and CCI score ≥ 1. Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression were used to assess survival and associated factors. A vulnerability score (VS) incorporating significant vulnerability features was pursued to predict survival. RESULTS: Thirty-eight percent of patients were older than 75 years, 39% had PS = 2-4, 35% had at least 2 cytopenias, 40% had bone fracture, 14% RI, and 51% had CCI score ≥ 1. Cox regression selected international staging system (ISS) = III (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.6; P = .033), PS = 2-4 (HR = 2.5; P = .007), and CCI = 1-3 (HR = 2.1; P = .028) as factors associated with a worse overall survival. A VS including PS and CCI predicted median survival of 27 months in the 63 patients having a VS = 2 (both PS = 2-4 and CCI = 1-3) versus not reached (NR) in the 203 patients with VS = 0-1 (HR = 4.0; P < .0001). In younger patients multivariate analysis selected ISS = III (HR = 5.2; P = .006) and VS = 2 (HR = 5.5; P = .024) as factors associated with shorter survival whereas only VS = 2 (HR = 3.5; P = .002) affected worse survival in elderly. CONCLUSION: Such VS proved to be a powerful prognostic factor for survival of MM patients and it might be useful to identify true vulnerable patients regardless of age.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are a heterogeneous population; clinical trials have evaluated a minority of these patients.
Ninety-one elderly patients with DLBCL received tailored treatment based on a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). Three groups were identified: I, fit patients; II, patients with comorbidities; III, frail patients. Group I received 21-day cycles of rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP-21), group II received R-CHOP-21 with liposomal doxorubicin, and group III received 21-day cycles of reduced-dose CHOP. Fifty-four patients (59%) were allocated to group I, 22 (25%) were allocated to group II, and 15 (16%) were allocated to group III.
The complete response (CR) rates were 81.5% in group I, 64% in group II, and 60% in group III. With a median follow-up of 57 months, 42 patients are alive, with 41 in continuous CR: 31 patients (57%) in group I, seven patients (32%) in group II, and four patients (20%) in group III. The 5-year overall survival, event-free survival, and disease-free survival rates in all patients were 46%, 31%, and 41%, respectively. Multivariate analysis selected group I assignment as the main significant prognostic factor for outcome.
This approach in an unselected population of elderly DLBCL patients shows that treatment tailored according to a CGA allows the evaluation of elderly patients who are currently excluded from clinical trials.
The Oncologist 04/2012; 17(5):663-72. · 4.10 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The combination of melphalan, prednisone and thalidomide (MPT) has demonstrated efficacy and acceptable toxicity in newly diagnosed and relapsed/refractory patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Panobinostat is a potent oral pan-deacetylase inhibitor (pan-DACi). In preclinical and clinical studies, panobinostat showed good anti-myeloma activity in combination with several agents. This phase II study evaluated the combination of a fixed dose of MPT with escalating doses of panobinostat (three times weekly for 3 weeks, followed by a 9-day rest period) in relapsed/refractory MM. We used a two-stage design to determine whether the combination was safe and effective. At least a partial response was observed in 38.5% of patients. The maximum tolerated dose of panobinostat in combination with MPT could not be determined due to the high rate of dose-limiting toxicities experienced with panobinostat at doses of 10 and 15 mg. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events were neutropenia (71%) and thrombocytopenia (35.5%). In conclusion, MPT in combination with panobinostat three times weekly for 3 weeks followed by a 9-day rest period is not well tolerated in patients with relapsed/refractory MM. Future studies should evaluate alternative dose schedules of panobinostat.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The literature provides scant data concerning infectious complications and their effect on the outcome of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) treated with new drug combinations. Despite no substantial myelotoxic effect, thalidomide increases the risk of severe infections in patients with MM. We studied 202 patients who received regimens containing thalidomide in order to assess the time, type, outcome, and factors affecting development of severe infections, role of antibiotic prophylaxis, and effect of severe infections on final outcome. Thirty-eight patients (19%) developed a severe infection early during induction therapy and most infections were pneumonia. Only one patient died due to septic shock during neutropenia. No significant differences were reported in terms of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) between patients developing a severe infection and those who did not. Multivariate analysis determined a monoclonal component >3 g/dL and platelets <130 ,000/μL as factors associated with increased risk of severe infection. Primary antibiotic prophylaxis significantly decreased the probability of severe infection only in patients having both the above risk factors. Patients with MM receiving thalidomide combinations with high tumor burden are at high risk of developing severe infections and require primary antibiotic prophylaxis, whereas in other patients it is questionable. However, patient final outcome was not affected by infection development.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular pathogenesis of primary mielofibrosis (PMF) is still largely unknown. Recently, single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays (SNP-A) allowed for genome-wide profiling of copy-number alterations and acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) at high-resolution. In this study we analyzed 20 PMF patients using the Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 in order to identify novel recurrent genomic abnormalities. We observed a complex karyotype in all cases, detecting all the previously reported lesions (del(5q), del(20q), del(13q), +8, aUPD at 9p24 and abnormalities on chromosome 1). In addition, we identified several novel cryptic lesions. In particular, we found a recurrent alteration involving cytoband 20p13 in 55% of patients. We defined a minimal affected region (MAR), an amplification of 9,911 base-pair (bp) overlapping the SIRPB1 gene locus. Noteworthy, by extending the analysis to the adjacent areas, the cytoband was overall affected in 95% of cases. Remarkably, these results were confirmed by real-time PCR and validated in silico in a large independent series of myeloproliferative diseases. Finally, by immunohistochemistry we found that SIRPB1 was over-expressed in the bone marrow of PMF patients carrying 20p13 amplification. In conclusion, we identified a novel highly recurrent genomic lesion in PMF patients, which definitely warrant further functional and clinical characterization.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(11):e27560. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The outcome of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) aged over 75 years remains poor, and the best therapeutic approach has still to be defined. We compared the response, toxicity, and outcome of 34 very elderly patients with MM receiving thalidomide, dexamethasone, and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (ThaDD) to those of 34 patients matched for age, International Staging System (ISS), and creatinine who received melphalan, prednisone, thalidomide (MPT). ThaDD resulted in a significantly higher response: > or =PR (87.5% vs. 61.5%, p = 0.009) and > or =VGPR (55.5% vs. 29.5%; p = 0.03). No statistical differences were detected in terms of median probability of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) between the two treatments. Patients treated with MPT had more neutropenia, neuropathy, and heart toxicity, whereas thromboembolism resulted more frequently in patients receiving ThaDD. Therapy discontinuation occurred in 9% and 14.5% of patients treated with ThaDD and MPT, respectively. ThaDD can be considered a therapeutic option in very elderly patients with MM since it induces a faster and deeper response than that obtained with MPT, having similar safety profile.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the aim to address the issue whether high-dose therapy (HDT) is required after new drugs combinations to improve outcome of elderly newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients, we compared the toxicity and the outcome of ThaDD plus maintenance to those of ThaDD plus HDT-autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).
Sixty-two patients not eligible for HDT receiving six courses of ThaDD regimen plus maintenance with thalidomide were compared to 26 patients eligible for HDT treated with four courses of ThaDD followed by melphalan 100-200 mg/m(2) and ASCT. The two groups were matched for the main characteristics except for age favouring the HDT group.
Complete remission (CR) obtained with ThaDD plus maintenance was 24% whereas it was 57% after ThaDD plus HDT-ASCT (P = 0.0232). However, after a median follow-up of 36 months, median time to progression (TTP) and progression free survival (PFS) of the group of patients undergone HDT were not significantly different to those of patients receiving ThaDD plus maintenance (32 vs. 31 months: P = 0.962; 32 vs. 29 months: P = 0.726, respectively). Five-year overall survival (OS) was 49% in the first group and 46% in the latter one (P = 0.404). As expected, a significantly higher incidence of grade 3-4 neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, infections, mucositis and alopecia were observed in the ThaDD plus HDT group. Our results suggest that in elderly MM patients ThaDD plus HDT, albeit significantly increases CR rate, seems to be equivalent to ThaDD plus maintenance in terms of TTP, PFS and OS. These results challenge the requirement for HDT consolidation in this subset of patients.
European Journal Of Haematology 03/2010; 84(6):474-83. · 2.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance therapy was explored in multiple myeloma (MM) patients after conventional thalidomide, dexamethasone and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (ThaDD). Patients with newly or relapsed MM obtaining at least minor response after 6 ThaDD courses, were randomised to receive alpha-interferon (IFN) 3 MU 3 times a week or thalidomide 100 mg daily until relapse. Both groups also received pulsed dexamethasone 20 mg 4 d a month. Fifty-one patients were randomized in the IFN-dexamethasone (ID) arm and 52 in the thalidomide-dexamethasone (TD) arm. The characteristics of two groups were similar. A significantly better 2-years progression-free survival (PFS; 63% vs. 32%; P = 0.024) and overall survival (84% vs. 68%; P = 0.030) was observed in the thalidomide arm. In high-risk patients and in those achieving less than very good partial response after induction, TD fared better in term of PFS. Main side effects were peripheral neuropathy and constipation in TD group, fatigue, anorexia and haematological toxicity in ID arm. There was a 21% probability of discontinuation at 3 years in the thalidomide arm and 44% in the IFN arm (P = 0.014). Low-dose thalidomide plus pulsed low-dose dexamethasone after conventional thalidomide combination-based therapy was also feasible in the long term, enabling significantly better residual disease control if compared with a standard maintenance therapy.
British Journal of Haematology 12/2008; 144(5):653-9. · 4.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Few studies have focused on factors affecting outcome in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) treated with thalidomide-based therapy. We investigated factors affecting response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) in patients with MM treated with the thalidomide, dexamethasone, and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (ThaDD) regimen with the aim to select patients benefiting more from this therapy.
Sixty-six patients with MM were treated first line with the ThaDD regimen. We analyzed demographics and disease-related characteristics to search for factors affecting response (> or = very good partial remission [VGPR] vs. < VGPR], PFS, and OS.
Overall, 45 patients (68%) showed response > or = VGPR; median TTP and OS were 23.5 months and 35.5 months, respectively. Multivariate analysis selected only serum C-reactive protein (sCRP) as a predictive factor for response (P < .0001). By multivariate analysis, normal sCRP level (P = .001) and response to treatment > or = VGPR (P = .007) were found to be associated with longer PFS. The factors that remained significantly associated with a longer OS when assessed by multivariate analysis were normal sCRP level (P = .005) and response to therapy > or = VGPR (P = .019).
Serum C-reactive protein before therapy and response after therapy are the only factors useful in identifying patients benefiting from anthracycline/thalidomide-based therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the toxicity and efficacy of nonpegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Myocet) when substituted for conventional doxorubicin in the CHOP-21 regimen in the treatment of frail elderly patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Twenty frail patients (median age, 73 years), as defined by Balducci et al., with diffuse large B cell or grade IIIb follicular lymphoma, either at diagnosis (15 patients) or relapsed (five patients), were prospectively enrolled. Nine out of 20 (45%) had a World Health Organisation (WHO) performance status > or =2. Fifteen out of 20 patients (75%) had an International Prognostic Index (IPI) score > or =3. Thirteen out of 20 (65%) evaluable patients obtained a complete response. Five additional patients (25%) achieved a partial response. With a median follow-up of 24 months (range 18-27), 15/18 responding patients (83%) are alive and disease free, as well as 3/18 are alive with active disease. Toxicity was mainly hematological with grade 3/4 neutropenia in 26% of cycles and febrile neutropenia in 5%. However, 3/20 patients presented a grade III-IV WHO toxicity (one fatal pulmonary embolism, one congestive, and one ischemic heart failure) while receiving R-COMP chemotherapy. In conclusion, R-COMP-21 is an effective regimen with promising response rates for frail and elderly patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the results of a phase 2 study using thalidomide, dexamethasone, and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (ThaDD) in the treatment of 50 patients older than 65 years with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Thalidomide 100 mg was administered orally at bedtime continuously, dexamethasone 40 mg was administered orally on days 1 to 4 and 9 to 12, and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin 40 mg/m2 was administered intravenously on day 1 over the 28-day cycle. Response was assessed according to the EBMT criteria. Seventeen (34%) patients achieved CR, 7 (14%) nCR, 5 (10%) VGPR, 15 (30%) PR, and 5 (10%) MR, resulting in an ORR of 98%. Only 1 patient (2%) presented progressive disease. Time to progression (TTP), event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS) projected at 3 years were 60%, 57%, and 74%, respectively, and these parameters were significantly higher in those patients achieving a response of at least VGPR versus those who did not. Grade 3 and 4 nonhematologic adverse events were constipation (10%), fatigue (6%), tremors (4%), mucositis (4%), and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (2%). Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia occurred in 12% of patients. Grade 3 and 4 infections and thromboembolic accidents were observed in 22% and 14% of patients, respectively. In the treatment of elderly patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, ThaDD is a very effective regimen with manageable toxicity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this prospective, multicenter, phase II study was to investigate the combination of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (Caelyx) 40 mg/m2 on day 1 every 28 days, dexamethasone 40 mg p.o. on days 1-4 and 9-12 and thalidomide 100 mg daily in 50 patients with advanced multiple myeloma. Twenty-six percent of patients achieved a complete response, 6% a near complete response, 6% a very good partial response, 38% a partial response, 16% a minor response and 8% progressed, for an overall response rate of 92%. The median event-free survival was 17 months and the median overall survival was not reached. Grade 3 non-hematologic toxicity occurred in 12% of patients, thromboembolic disease in 12% and severe infection in 16%. The combination of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, dexamethasone an thalidomide is safe and very effective in advanced multiple myeloma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: S ince 1999 thalidomide has been found to be effective in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (MM), administered as a single agent, 1 combined with dexam-ethasone 2-4 or added to chemotherapeutic agents such as cyclophosphamide, 5-8 etopo-side, 9 melphalan 10 and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin. 11 This last drug has a longer half-life than standard doxorubicin and it is able to extravasate through abnormal bone mar-row vessels, exposing malignant plasma cells for longer times to higher concentrations of the anthracycline and minimizing organ damage. 12 Combined with vincristine, dex-amethasone and thalidomide, pegylated lipo-somal doxorubicin (DVd-T), was found to be very effective but toxic in relapsed/refractory MM. 11 We designed a VAD-like regimen in which vincristine was removed since its role in MM is not well established, conventional doxorubicin was replaced by a pegylated liposomal form of the compound (Caelyx ®) and low-dose thalidomide was added with the aim of achieving a good response while minimizing protocol-related toxicity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gemcitabine is a pyrimidine nucleoside analog with antitumor activity against solid tumor malignancies and leukemia. We evaluated its activity as a single agent and combining it with cisplatin in relapsed-refractory multiple myeloma (MM). Sixteen patients with advanced MM received intravenous gemcitabine 1250 mg/mq (days 1, 8 and 15) as a single agent for a total of 3 monthly courses. The responders received another three courses, and the non-responders received three courses of gemcitabine 1000 mg/mq (days 1, 8 and 15) plus cisplatin 80 mg/mq (day 1). No grade 4 hematological toxicity was seen after gemcitabine treatment, whereas > or = 3 grade neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were seen in 21 and 13% of the gemcitabine-cisplatin infusions, respectively. Non-hematological toxicity was negligible for both the regimens. After three courses of gemcitabine as a single agent, th e response rate was 31% (1 complete response, 1 partial response and 3 minimal response). Eight patients (50%) achieved stable disease and 3 (19%) had disease progression. Ten patients received gemcitabine-cisplatin and were evaluable for the response. Two patients progressed, four maintained stable disease whereas four patients, unresponsive to gemcitabine, obtained a response (3 partial response and 1 minimal response). With a median follow-up of 13 months (range 8-17.5), 7 patients (44%) died, 5 (31%) had disease progression, 1 (6%) relapsed, 1 was still in partial response (+11 months) and 2 (13%) had a stable disease. Median time to treatment failure (TTF) was 8 months (CI95%: 7.6-8.4) and median overall survival (OS) was 16 months (CI95%: 10-22). These results showed that gemcitabine and gemcitabine-cisplatin were feasible regimens and well tolerated in advanced relapsed-refractory MM. The response rates, the TTF and OS were similar to other salvage chemotherapy regimens; nevertheless, the quality of response was modest particularly after gemcitabine alone. Better results might be obtained combining gemcitabine with other chemotherapy compounds or with biologically based therapies.
Leukemia and Lymphoma 06/2002; 43(6):1273-9. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of interferon (IFN) in the remission phase of multiple myeloma (MM) is still an open question, particularly for its scheduling and the subset of patients who could benefit from this approach. The present randomized multicenter study was designed to compare two schedules of IFN maintenance therapy in order to assess the difference in effectiveness and tolerance.
This prospective randomized multicenter study was attempted to assess the best schedule of IFN administration in the maintenance treatment of MM in plateau phase with regard to progression free survival (PFS) and toxicity. The second aim was defining the difference between the two schedules in overall survival (OS) and identifying the critical dose of IFN therapy needed to prolong plateau phase and survival. We enrolled 52 patients affected with low-risk MM (i.e. with serum beta 2-microglobulin < 6.0 mg/L and serum albumin > 3.0 g/dL); 27 patients (group A) were randomly assigned to receive IFN alpha-2b 3 megaunits (MU) subcutaneously three times a week and 25 patients (group B) 3 MU/day until disease progression.
Median progression free survival (PFS) was 11.9 months in group A and 38.3 months in group B (p = 0.0038). Median survival was 63.2 months in group A and 61.9 months in group B (p = 0.489). However, those patients who were given an IFN dose > or = 30 MU/month experienced a significantly longer PFS and survival than the other patients. Seventeen patients (32.7%) discontinued therapy and sixteen patients (30.8%) reduced IFN alpha-2b dose because of severe side effects without having a significant difference between the two schedules.
Our results show that patients treated with IFN alpha 3 MU/day had a significantly longer remission duration than patients treated with IFN alpha 3 MU three times weekly. Moreover, an IFN dose is probably critical for obtaining a longer survival in patients affected with low-risk MM. Since the patients' discomfort during a IFN maintenance therapy was frequently experienced the quality of their lives should be carefully taken into account.