Karl Gaal

NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City, NY, United States

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Publications (31)125.9 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Mast cells are often increased in AML with t(8;21). We analyzed characteristics of mast cells to elucidate their relationship with leukemic blasts. In 31 cases in which the results of KIT mutation analysis were available, five cases showed mutations. None of the cases positive for KIT mutation showed increased mast cells. In five cases with increased mast cells in which targeted-FISH analysis was performed for RUNX1-RUNX1T1, fusion signals demonstrated the translocation in mast cells in all cases. These findings confirm the shared origin between mast cells and leukemic blasts in AML with t(8;21).
    Leukemia research 09/2013; · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mast cell sarcoma (MCS) is an extremely rare neoplasm with a clinically aggressive course. Because of its rarity, its morphologic and molecular characteristics are still not well defined. We report a case of a 15-year-old girl with MCS of the temporal bone extending into the posterior fossa creating a mass effect. The lesion mimicked a histiocytic neoplasm morphologically, but showed a novel KIT missense mutation, L799F (2395 C>T). The KIT D816V mutation is frequently found in systemic mastocytosis, but it has not been documented in the few reported human MCS cases. However, 1 reported case of MCS has shown a different alteration in the KIT gene. Our case is the first MCS case with L799F mutation, located between the catalytic loop (790 to 797) and the activation loop (810 to 837) of the KIT gene, and only the second case of MCS with KIT mutation documented in the literature. Proximity of the L799F mutation to the enzymatic region of the KIT tyrosine kinase domain may induce resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
    The American journal of surgical pathology 03/2013; 37(3):453-8. · 4.06 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Oncology 12/2011; 30(3):e34-6. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The study analyzed outcomes of a consecutive case series of 37 patients with peripheral T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, from related and unrelated donors, using allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT), between the years 2000 and 2007. All patients were pretreated; the majority had either relapsed or progressive disease (n = 25, 68%), 13 had cutaneous histologies (CTCL), and all were ineligible for autologous transplant. Fully ablative conditioning regimens were used in 13 patients while 24 patients underwent reduced intensity conditioning (RIC). At 5 years the overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) probabilities were 52.2% and 46.5%, respectively. At the time of analysis, nine (24.3%) patients had either relapsed (n = 6) or progressed (n = 3) post allo-HCT. The cumulative incidences of relapse/progression and non-relapse mortality at 5 years were 24.3% and 28.9%. No statistically significant variables for survival or relapse were discovered by univariate Cox regression analysis of disease and patient characteristics; differences between CTCL and other histologies were not significant. The median follow-up of 64.0 months (range: 16.4-100.4) indicates a mature data-set with probable cure in the survivors. The relapse/progression curves reached and maintained plateaus after 1 year post-transplant, demonstrating that long-term disease control is possible after allo-HCT in patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma with advanced disease.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 06/2011; 52(8):1463-73. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 02/2011; 25(2):371-5. · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL) have a poor prognosis with current treatment approaches. We examined the outcomes of high-dose therapy (HDT) and autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (AHCT) on the treatment of PTCL and the impact of patient/disease features on long-term outcome. Sixty-seven patients with PTCL-not otherwise specified (n = 30), anaplastic large cell lymphoma (n = 30), and angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma (n = 7) underwent HDT/AHCT at the City of Hope. The median age was 48 years (range: 5-78). Twelve were transplanted in first complete remission (1CR)/partial remission (PR) and 55 with relapsed or induction failure disease (RL/IF). With a median follow-up for surviving patients of 65.8 months (range: 24.5-216.0) the 5-year overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were 54% and 40%, respectively. The 5-year PFS was 75% for 1CR/PR compared to 32% for RL/IF patients (P = .01). When the Prognostic Index for PTCL unspecified (PIT) was applied at the time of transplant, patients in the PIT 3-4 group had 5-year PFS of only 8%. These results show that HDT/AHCT can improve long-term disease control in relapsed/refractory PTCL and that HDT/AHCT should ideally be applied either during 1CR/PR, or as part of upfront treatment. More effective and novel therapies are needed for patients with high-risk disease (PIT 3-4 factors) and allogeneic HCT should be explored in these patients.
    Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 02/2011; 17(10):1481-9. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a highly variable disease with life expectancies ranging from months to decades. Cytogenetic findings play an integral role in defining the prognostic significance and treatment for individual patients. We have evaluated 25 clinical cases from a tertiary cancer center that have an established diagnosis of CLL and for which there was prior cytogenetic and/or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) data. We performed microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based microarray designed for the detection of known constitutional genetic syndromes. In 15 of the 25 cases, aCGH detected all copy number imbalances identified by prior cytogenetic and/or FISH studies. For the majority of those not detected, the aberrations were present at low levels of mosaicism. Furthermore, for 15 of the 25 cases, additional abnormalities were detected. Four of those cases had deletions that mapped to intervals implicated in inherited predisposition to CLL. For most cases, aCGH was able to detect abnormalities present in as few as 10% of cells. Although changes in ploidy are not easily discernable by aCGH, results for two cases illustrate the detection of additional copy gains and losses present within a mosaic tetraploid cell population. Our results illustrate the successful evaluation of CLL using a microarray optimized for the interrogation of inherited disorders and the identification of alterations with possible relevance to CLL susceptibility.
    Molecular Cytogenetics 02/2011; 4(1):4. · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe two cases of acute myeloid leukemia with an unusual histological pattern mimicking metastatic non-hematopoietic neoplasm, leading to diagnostic difficulties. Both patients presented with pancytopenia and absence of circulating blasts. Bone marrow aspirations were not successful. Bone marrow core biopsies contained neoplastic cells arranged in cohesive sheets or single file patterns with prominent myxoid stroma resembling metastatic carcinoma. The accompanying bone marrow touch imprints showed clusters of immature cells with monocytoid features. The cell lineage was further revealed by immunohistochemical analysis of bone marrow core biopsy sections. The neoplastic cells showed strong reactivity for myeloperoxidase, CD33, CD43, CD45, and CD68, indicating a myeloid cell origin with monocytic differentiation. One patient (age, 39years) received standard chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia, which resulted in remission of bone marrow disease. The other patient (age, 85years) died with multiple organ failure before treatment. Failure to recognize these unusual histological features of acute myeloid leukemia could result in misdiagnosis from bone marrow biopsy. KeywordsHematologic malignancy–Acute myeloid leukemia–Metastatic carcinoma
    01/2011; 4(2):117-122.
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    ABSTRACT: Recent genome-wide microarray-based research investigations have revealed a high frequency of submicroscopic copy number alterations (CNAs) in the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), suggesting microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) has the potential to detect new clinically relevant genomic markers in a diagnostic laboratory. We performed an exploratory study on 30 cases of MDS, myeloproliferative neoplasia (MPN) or evolving acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (% bone marrow blasts ≤ 30%, range 0-30%, median, 8%) by aCGH, using a genome-wide bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) microarray. The sample data were compared to corresponding cytogenetics, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and clinical-pathological findings. Previously unidentified imbalances, in particular those considered submicroscopic aberrations (< 10 Mb), were confirmed by FISH analysis. CNAs identified by aCGH were concordant with the cytogenetic/FISH results in 25/30 (83%) of the samples tested. aCGH revealed new CNAs in 14/30 (47%) patients, including 28 submicroscopic or hidden aberrations verified by FISH studies. Cryptic 344-kb RUNX1 deletions were found in three patients at time of AML transformation. Other hidden CNAs involved 3q26.2/EVI1, 5q22/APC, 5q32/TCERG1,12p13.1/EMP1, 12q21.3/KITLG, and 17q11.2/NF1. Gains of CCND2/12p13.32 were detected in two patients. aCGH failed to detect a balanced translocation (n = 1) and low-level clonality (n = 4) in five karyotypically aberrant samples, revealing clinically important assay limitations. The detection of previously known and unknown genomic alterations suggests that aCGH has considerable promise for identification of both recurring microscopic and submicroscopic genomic imbalances that contribute to myeloid disease pathogenesis and progression. These findings suggest that development of higher-resolution microarray platforms could improve karyotyping in clinical practice.
    Molecular Cytogenetics 11/2010; 3:23. · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients despite the introduction of posttransplantation viral monitoring and preemptive antiviral therapy. We evaluated the use of HLA class I tetramers in monitoring CMV-specific T-cell recovery to predict patients at risk for CMV-related complications. This prospective multicenter clinical trial obtained nearly 1400 tetramer/allele results in more than 800 biweekly blood samples from 83 patients monitored for 1 year after transplantation. Major HLA types were included (A*0101, A*0201, B*0702, B*0801, B*3501). iTAg MHC Tetramers (Beckman Coulter) were used to enumerate CMV-specific CD8(+) T cells by flow cytometry using a single-platform absolute counting method. Assay variability was 8% or less and results were available within 3 hours. Delayed recovery of CMV-specific T cells (< 7 cells/μL in all blood samples during the first 65 days after transplantation) was found to be a significant risk factor for CMV-related complications; these patients were more likely to develop recurrent or persistent CMV infection (relative risk 2.6, CI 1.2-5.8, P = .01) than patients showing rapid recovery, which was associated with protection from CMV-related complications (P = .004). CMV tetramer-based immune monitoring, in conjunction with virologic monitoring, can be an important new tool to assess risk of CMV-related complications and to guide preemptive therapeutic choices.
    Blood 09/2010; 116(10):1655-62. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapy-related acute lymphoblastic leukemia (t-ALL) is a rare secondary leukemia following chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for primary malignancies. Chromosomal 11q23 abnormality, frequently detected in therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia, is the most common cytogenetic alteration in t-ALL. However, t-ALL cases without 11q23 abnormality have been rarely described. We describe 6 adults with secondary t-ALL without 11q23 abnormalities following various treatment regimens for primary malignancies. We also reviewed 48 t-ALL cases, with complete chromosomal karyotyping, reported in the literature from 1992 to 2007. In the 48 cases, an 11q23 abnormality involving the MLL gene locus was the predominant chromosomal aberration (32 [67%]), followed by t(9;22) (6 [13%]) and a normal karyotype (4 [8%]). Compared with t-ALL cases with an 11q23 abnormality, cases without an 11q23 abnormality had a relatively longer latency period (median, 36 vs 19 months) and a different primary malignancy spectrum. No major difference was observed between groups in regard to age, sex, or receipt of a topoisomerase II inhibitor. The t(8;14)(q11.2;q32), a rare, nonrandom, balanced chromosomal translocation differing from the more common translocation involving c-MYC on chromosome 8q24, was seen in 1 adult t-ALL case, which may suggest another possible pathogenesis of this disease.
    American Journal of Clinical Pathology 01/2010; 133(1):75-82. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The der(1;7)(q10;p10) aberration is observed in about 1-3% of the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and less commonly in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the myeloproliferative disorders. This unbalanced translocation is considered a "variant" of the del(7q)/-7 subgroup and has been assigned a poor risk karyotype score in the MDS International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS). Recent reports suggest der(1;7) MDS should be considered a discrete MDS subgroup with an intermediate, not poor, karyotype score. At the City of Hope, we compared the clinical-pathologic features of 12 der(1;7) MDS patients to 51 MDS patients with del(7q) (n=10) or -7 (n=41), selected for a similar frequency of secondary aberrations. The der(1;7) patients showed older age at diagnosis, lower platelet counts, less trilineage dysplasia, and lower blast counts. The der(1;7) patients did not differ from del(7q)/-7 patients in subtypes of MDS by World Health Organization, French-American-British classifications, or bone marrow cellularity. Neither the proportion of therapy-related MDS nor the transformation to AML differed significantly among the three subgroups. Five-year survival rates for der(1;7), del(7q), and -7 (44.4, 32.0, and 23.6%, respectively) did not differ significantly (P=0.94). While der(1;7) MDS is associated with some clinically distinctive features, reassignment of risk category based on these data would be premature.
    Cancer genetics and cytogenetics 10/2009; 193(2):78-85. · 1.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) using reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) regimens is a potentially curative treatment for patients (patients) with myelofibrosis (MF), as we and others have reported. Nonrelapse mortality (NRM) from graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and other complications has limited the success of this approach. As part of an ongoing prospective research study at City of Hope, a combination of tacrolimus/sirolimus +/- methotrexate (MTX) for GVHD prophylaxis has become the standard treatment for our allogeneic HCT patients. In this report, we present results for 23 consecutive patients, including extended follow up for 9 patients previously reported who received cyclosporine (CsA)/mycophenolate moffetil (MMF)+/-MTX, and the current series of 14 patients who received tacrolimus/sirolimus+/-MTX, and evaluate the impact of the GVHD prophylaxis regimen on the outcomes. Median follow-up for alive patients was 29.0 months (9.5-97.0). The estimated 2-year overall survival (OS) for the CsA/MMF cohort was 55.6% (confidence interval 36.0, 71.3), and for the tacrolimus/sirolimus cohort it was 92.9% (63.3, 98.8) (P=.047). The probability of grade III or IV acute GVHD (aGVHD) was 60% for the CsA/MMF patients, and 10% for the tacrolimus/sirolimus group (P=.0102). No significant differences were seen for grade II to IV aGVHD in the 2 groups. We conclude that the combination of tacrolimus/sirolimus+/-MTX for GVHD prophylaxis in the setting of RIC HCT for MF appears to reduce the incidence of severe aGVHD and NRM, and leads to improved OS compared to CSA/MMF+/-MTX.
    Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 09/2009; 16(2):281-6. · 3.15 Impact Factor
  • Leukemia Research - LEUK RES. 01/2009; 33.
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    British Journal of Haematology 06/2008; 142(3):489-92. · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with normal cytogenetics represents approximately 40% to 50% of de novo AML. This heterogeneous AML subgroup constitutes the single largest cytogenetic group with an intermediate prognosis. Previous studies have suggested that the Fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3/ITD) mutation-positive de novo AML may represent a distinctive subgroup of AML. We analyzed the clinical and pathologic features of 15 cases of de novo AML with normal cytogenetics and with the FLT3/ITD mutation. In comparison with patients with AML without the FLT3/ITD mutation, patients with FLT3/ITD+ AML are relatively younger, more often have marked peripheral leukocytosis with a higher number of circulating blasts at initial examination, more often have minimal differentiation morphologic features, more frequently have abnormal CD7 coexpression, and have poorer outcome. Close association of aberrant CD7 expression and FLT3/ITD mutation in the myeloblasts of FLT3/ITD+ AML suggests that FLT3/ITD- mediated leukemic transformation occurs in the more early stage of myeloid progenitor cells.
    American Journal of Clinical Pathology 05/2008; 129(4):624-9. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) have been increasingly used in the matched unrelated donor (MUD) transplant setting, but the impact of CD34(+) cell dose on outcomes in this setting have not been well characterized. We analyzed 181 consecutive patients who underwent MUD-PBSC transplantation at the City of Hope between August 2000 to December 2004. Patients were conditioned with either full-intensity regimen or reduced-intensity regimen. There was a significant inverse relationship between higher CD34(+) cell dose and faster neutrophil engraftment (r = -0.16, P = .035). By univariate analysis, a CD34(+) cell dose > or =4.2 x 10(6)/kg (above the lowest quartile) was associated with significantly lower relapse risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.67, P = .0126), with a trend for corresponding improvement for disease-free survival (HR = 0.84, P = .12) but not overall survival (HR = 0.91, P = .46). The impact of the CD34(+) cell dose remained significant in multivariate analysis. The higher CD34(+) cell dose was significantly associated with faster recovery of absolute lymphocyte counts on day +30 posttransplant. Subset analysis demonstrated that the higher CD34(+) cell dose was associated with (1) greater reduction in relapse in myeloid malignancies than that in lymphoid malignancies, (2) greater reduction in reduced-intensity conditioning than in full-intensity conditioning, (3) greater reduction in relapse when there is a inhibitory killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor ligand (iKIRL)-mismatch in the gravft-versus-host (GVH) direction, and (4) greater reduction in relapse when there is a lack of iKIRL, suggesting that the protective effect of CD34(+) cell dose against relapse may be immune-mediated, possibly through NK cell recovery.
    Biology of blood and marrow transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 04/2008; 14(4):449-57. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The successful mobilization and collection of hematopoietic stem cells are dependent on a number of clinical factors such as previous chemotherapy and disease stage. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine whether the effectiveness of mobilization and collection is an independent prognostic factor for autologous stem cell transplantation outcome. A total of 358 patients who received transplants from January 2003 to December 2004 (201 male and 157 female patients, ages from 2.7 to 77.3 years with median of 53 years of age) underwent autologous hematopoietic stem cell collection after mobilization with granulocyte-colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) or G-CSF plus chemotherapy priming. This retrospective study included patients with diagnoses of acute myelogenous leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, and solid tumors. All patients underwent stem cell collection until a target or a minimum CD34+ cell dose was reached. Correlations were performed between stem cell mobilization and/or collection efficacy and transplantation outcomes. In general, both larger reinfused CD34+ cell dose and shorter number of days for the stem cell count to reach the minimum of 2 x 10(6) per kg CD34+ cells do not foster quicker engraftment. Reinfused CD34+ cell dose of less than 12 x 10(6) and number of days stem cell collection to reach this minimum CD34+ cell dose did not independently affect the overall survival (OS) or disease-free survival (DFS). The effectiveness of hematopoietic stem cell mobilization and collection as defined as number of days to reach a CD34+ cell dose of 2 x 10(6) per kg should not be used independently to forecast posttransplantation prognosis, engraftment, DFS, and OS.
    Transfusion 01/2008; 47(12):2207-16. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of genetic abnormalities in pathological samples is critical for accurate diagnosis, risk stratification, detection of minimal residual disease, and assessment of response to therapy. Interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis is the standard cytogenetic assay used by many laboratories to detect specific clonal karyotypic aberrations in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. However, direct correlation with immunophenotype or morphology in individual cells is rarely performed because the procedural steps are labor intensive and usually require extensive troubleshooting. In this study, we present a sequential fluorescence in situ hybridization-based technique that uses the identical archived bone marrow smears or paraffin-embedded tissue sections previously evaluated by a pathologist for morphological or immunohistochemical characteristics. This approach is relatively straightforward, using uncomplicated pretreatment and hybridization conditions and basic equipment attached to an automated image analyzer with image capture software to record the location of targeted cells for genotypic/phenotype correlation. Furthermore, the method has proved reliable and reproducible on test samples regardless of specimen age, tissue type, or referring institution.
    Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 12/2007; 9(5):589-97. · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative disease that originates in an abnormal pluripotent bone marrow stem cell and is characteristically associated with the Philadelphia chromosome and/or the bcr/abl fusion gene. Despite the exciting success of the bcr/abl tyrosine kinase-specific inhibitor imatinib for CML treatment, hematopoietic stem cell (bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell) transplantation (HCT) remains the only "curative" approach for the majority of patients. Although HCT outcomes for patients with CML have improved considerably during the past 2 decades, relapse after HCT may occur. We analyzed the clinical and pathologic features of 16 cases of hematologically relapsed CML after HCT during a 5-year period at City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA. The results of our analysis showed that relapsed CML after HCT frequently manifested with advanced disease with a more aggressive clinical course and was often refractory to therapy. The frequency of acute leukemic transformation at time of relapse was largely associated with pre-HCT disease status and acquired secondary cytogenetic abnormalities. Disease mortality in patients with relapsed CML after HCT was closely associated with advanced disease and HCT-related complications.
    American Journal of Clinical Pathology 11/2007; 128(4):565-70. · 2.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

365 Citations
125.90 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • NYU Langone Medical Center
      • Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology
      New York City, NY, United States
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      Davis, CA, United States
  • 2000–2008
    • City of Hope National Medical Center
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • Department of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
      Duarte, CA, United States