[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the last two decades great improvements have been made in the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, with 5-year overall survival rates currently approaching almost 90%. In comparison, results reported in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are relatively poor. In adults, results have improved, but are still lagging behind those obtained in children. Possible reasons for this different pattern of results include an increased incidence of unfavorable and a decreased incidence of favorable cytogenetic abnormalities in AYAs compared with children. Furthermore, in AYAs less intensive treatments (especially lower cumulative doses of drugs such as asparaginase, corticosteroids and methotrexate) and longer gaps between courses of chemotherapy are planned compared to those in children. However, although favorable results obtained in AYAs receiving pediatric protocols have been consistently reported in several international collaborative trials, physicians must also be aware of the specific toxicity pattern associated with increased success in AYAs, since an excess of toxicity may compromise overall treatment schedule intensity. Cooperative efforts between pediatric and adult hematologists in designing specific protocols for AYAs are warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with thalassaemia is increased by transfusion-transmitted infections and haemosiderosis. All Italian Thalassaemia Centres use an ad hoc form to report all diagnoses of HCC to the Italian Registry. Since our last report, in 2002, up to December 2012, 62 new cases were identified, 52% of whom were affected by thalassaemia major (TM) and 45% by thalassaemia intermedia (TI). Two had sickle-thalassaemia (ST). The incidence of the tumour is increasing, possibly because of the longer survival of patients and consequent longer exposure to the noxious effects of the hepatotropic viruses and iron. Three patients were hepatitis B surface antigen-positive, 36 patients showed evidence of past infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Fifty-four patients had antibodies against hepatitis C virus (HCV), 43 of whom were HCV RNA positive. Only 4 had no evidence of exposure either to HCV or HBV. The mean liver iron concentration was 8 mg/g dry weight. Therapy included chemoembolization, thermoablation with radiofrequency and surgical excision. Three patients underwent liver transplant, 21 received palliative therapy. As of December 2012, 41 patients had died. The average survival time from HCC detection to death was 11·5 months (1·4-107·2 months). Ultrasonography is recommended every 6 months to enable early diagnosis of HCC, which is crucial to decrease mortality.
British Journal of Haematology 07/2014; · 4.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The outcome of high-risk (HR) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) patients enrolled in AIEOP-BFM ALL 2000 study (NCT00613457) in Italy is described. Overall, 1999 Philadelphia negative ALL patients entered the study. HR criteria were: minimal residual disease (MRD) levels ≥10(-3) at day 78 (HR-MRD), no complete remission (no-CR) at day 33, t(4;11) translocation, Prednisone Poor Response (PPR). Treatment (2 years) included protocol I, 3 polychemotherapy blocks, delayed intensification (protocol IIx2 or IIIx3), cranial radiotherapy, maintenance. 312 HR patients (15.6% of the total) had 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) of 58.9%(SE 2.8) and 68.9%(2.6). In hierarchical order, EFS was 45.9%(4.4) in 132 HR-MRD patients, 41.2%(11.9) in 17 patients no-CR at day 33, 36.4%(14.5) in 11 patients with t(4;11), 74.0%(3.6) in 152 HR patients only for PPR. No statistically significant difference was found for disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with very high risk features (HR-MRD, no-CR at day 33, t(4;11) translocation), given HSCT (n=66) or chemotherapy only (n=88), after adjusting for waiting time to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) (5.7 months). Patients at HR only for PPR have favorable outcome. High risk MRD is associated with poor outcome despite intensive treatment and/or HSCT and may qualify for innovative therapies. The study is registered at the US National Institutes of Health website http://clinicaltrials.gov as "Combination Chemotherapy Based on Risk of Relapse in Treating Young Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia" with the protocol identification number NCT00613457.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the outcome of 482 children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) other than promyelocytic leukemia enrolled in the AIEOP-AML-2002/01 trial. Treatment was stratified according to risk group; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) was broadly used in high-risk (HR) children. Patients with core-binding-factor leukemia achieving complete remission (CR) after the first induction course were considered standard risk (SR, 99 patients), whereas the others (n=383) were assigned to the HR group. Allogeneic (ALLO) or autologous (AUTO)-HSCT was employed, respectively, in 141 and 102 HR patients in CR1 after consolidation therapy. CR, early death and induction failure rates were 87%, 3% and 10%, respectively. Relapse occurred in 24% of patients achieving CR. The 8-year overall (OS), event-free (EFS), and disease-free survival (DFS) were 68%, 55%, and 63%, respectively. OS, EFS and DFS for SR and HR patients were 83%, 63%, 66%, and 64%, 53% and 62%, respectively. DFS was 63% and 73% for HR patients given AUTO-HSCT and ALLO-HSCT, respectively. In multivariate analysis for EFS, risk group, WBC >100x10(9)/L at diagnosis and monosomal karyotype predicted poorer outcome. These findings indicate that risk-oriented treatment and broad use of HSCT result in a long-term EFS comparing favorably with previously published studies on childhood AML.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Due to the limited data available in literature, the aim of this multi-centre study was to prospectively compare in thalassemia major (TM) patients the efficacy of combined deferiprone (DFP) and deferoxamine (DFO) regimen versus either DFP and DFO in monotherapy by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) over a follow up of 18 months. METHODS: Among the first 1135 TM patients in the MIOT (Myocardial Iron Overload in Thalassemia) network, we evaluated those who had received either combined regimen (DFO + DFP, N=51) or DFP (N=39) and DFO (N=74) monotherapies between the two CMR scans. Iron overload was measured by T2* multiecho technique. Biventricular function parameters were quantitatively evaluated by cine images. RESULTS: The percentage of patients that maintained a normal global heart T2* value was comparable between DFP+DFO versus both monotherapy groups. Among the patients with myocardial iron overload at baseline, the changes in the global heart T2* and in biventricular function were not significantly different in DFP+DFO compared with the DFP group. The improvement in the global heart T2* was significantly higher in the DFP+DFO than the DFO group, without a difference in biventricular function. Among the patients with hepatic iron at baseline, the decrease in LIC values was significantly higher with combination therapy than with either monotherapy group. CONCLUSIONS: In TM patients at the dosages used in the real world, the combined DFP+DFO regimen was more effective in removing cardiac iron than DFO, and was superior in clearing hepatic iron than either DFO or DFP monotherapy. Combined therapy did not show an additional effect on heart function over DFP.
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 01/2013; 15(1):1. · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess life goal achievements in long-term survivors (LTS) receiving cranial radiotherapy (CRT) as central nervous system (CNS) prophylaxis for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during childhood, compared to healthy individuals. Participants in this study were 141 LTS treated in our center from 1961 to 1990. Questionnaires were mailed to LTS. Analyses were stratified by age classes comparing LTS and a matched healthy population living in the same geographic area, as well as comparing patients treated with 24 Gy vs. 18 Gy CRT. Survivors reached the same educational level as controls. Significant differences were noted according to age and CRT dose. LTS had similar employment rates to those of controls, but lower marriage rates. Most respondents described their life positively, but as worse in the 24 Gy group. This study highlights the good life satisfaction of our LTS despite the long-term effects of the disease and its treatment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clofarabine is a promising new chemotherapeutic agent that is active in the treatment of pediatric acute leukemia. Forty children (16 with acute myeloid leukemia [AML], 24 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia [ALL]), aged 1-20 years (median 7.6 years) with relapsed or refractory ALL or AML were treated because of resistance to first-line treatment (n =5), or for first (n =22), second (n =11) or third relapse (n =2). They received clofarabine (40 mg/m(2)/day) associated with etoposide (100 mg/m(2)/day) and cyclophosphamide (440 mg/m(2)/day) administered as one or two induction cycles (5 days of chemotherapy) in an attempt to reach complete remission (CR) or CR without platelet recovery (CRp). This was followed by 1-3 consolidation cycles (4 days of chemotherapy) for a maximum of four cycles. Seven (44%) out of 16 and 10 (42%) out of 24 evaluable children with AML and ALL, respectively, responded to treatment. The most common adverse events were infections and gastrointestinal and hepatic toxicity. Thirteen (76%) out of 17 responders underwent hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The 24-month overall survival was 25%, while it was 59% among patients who responded to the first induction cycle. Our study suggests that this drug regimen is well tolerated and can be effective in heavily pretreated pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory acute leukemia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Data on the epidemiology of bacteremias and invasive fungal diseases (IFD) in children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are scarce.
In a multi-center, retrospective study, we analyzed proportion, rate per 1,000 person-days at risk, and cumulative risk of bacteremias and IFD in children with AML.
Between January 1998 and December 2005, 240 children were treated for AML at 8 Italian Centers, for a total of 521 treatment courses and 63,232 person-days at risk. Bacteremia was observed in 32% of treatment courses and IFD was seen in 10% (P < 0.0001), with rates of 2.62 and 0.84, respectively (P < 0.001). There was a significantly higher frequency of IFD during relapse treatment: proportion 15% versus 9% (P = 0.05), rate 2.10 versus 0.64 (P = 0.008) and cumulative risk 32% versus 12% (P = 0.007), while there were no differences in the proportion, rate and cumulative risk of bacteremia during front-line or relapse treatment. The epidemiology of bacteremias and IFD was different during front-line therapy for M3 as compared to other types of AML, but the differences were not statistically significant.
Severe infectious complications are frequent during the treatment of pediatric AML, especially during relapse treatment, and bacteremias are more frequent than IFD.
Pediatric Blood & Cancer 12/2010; 55(6):1103-7. · 2.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oral deferiprone was suggested to be more effective than subcutaneous desferrioxamine for removing heart iron. Oral once-daily chelator deferasirox has recently been made commercially available but its long-term efficacy on cardiac iron and function has not yet been established. Our study aimed to compare the effectiveness of deferasirox, deferiprone and desferrioxamine on myocardial and liver iron concentrations and bi-ventricular function in thalassemia major patients by means of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging.
From the first 550 thalassemia subjects enrolled in the Myocardial Iron Overload in Thalassemia network, we retrospectively selected thalassemia major patients who had been receiving one chelator alone for longer than one year. We identified three groups of patients: 24 treated with deferasirox, 42 treated with deferiprone and 89 treated with desferrioxamine. Myocardial iron concentrations were measured by T2* multislice multiecho technique. Biventricular function parameters were quantitatively evaluated by cine images. Liver iron concentrations were measured by T2* multiecho technique.
The global heart T2* value was significantly higher in the deferiprone (34 ± 11 ms) than in the deferasirox (21 ± 12 ms) and the desferrioxamine groups (27 ± 11 ms) (P = 0.0001). We found higher left ventricular ejection fractions in the deferiprone and the desferrioxamine versus the deferasirox group (P = 0.010). Liver iron concentration, measured as T2* signal, was significantly lower in the desferrioxamine versus the deferiprone and the deferasirox group (P = 0.004).
The cohort of patients treated with oral deferiprone showed less myocardial iron burden and better global systolic ventricular function compared to the patients treated with oral deferasirox or subcutaneous desferrioxamine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 15 cases of acute leukaemia (AL) displaying a TdT +, HLA-DR + phenotype were studied; surface immunoglobulins, T cell markers and the common acute lymphoblas-tic leukaemia (c-ALL) antigen were negative, as were peroxidase and non-specific esterase cytochemical reactions. All cases were extensively investigated by conventional immunofluorescence (IF) and immunoperoxidase (IP), with a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MoAb), using both light and electron microscopy, and for ultrastructural myeloperoxidase (MPO). 8 cases, which were OKB2+, BA1 +, B4+, J5- and BA2-by IF, expressed the J5 antigen in IP. These cases were therefore re-classified as ALL with a weak expression of the C-ALL antigen. The other 7 cases showed an OKB2-, BA1-, B4+, BA2+ phenotype at IF and were also positive for 1 or more anti-myeloid MoAb. These features were confirmed by IP study. 4 patients also presented ultra-structural positivity to MPO. These cases were considered as proliferations of early precursor cells capable of expressing both myeloid and lymphoid features. This study, while demonstrating the heterogeneity of TdT +, HLA-DR + AL, suggests that the cell origin of many cases may be defined by extensive immunotyping at both IF and IP level. The prognostic and therapeutic implications of these findings are discussed, also in view of the poor prognosis often observed in the more undifferentiated cases of AL.
European Journal Of Haematology 04/2009; 38(2):111 - 116. · 2.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Summary We report a case of disseminated fusariosis in an 8-year-old boy with acute myelogenous leukaemia that occurred whilst the patient was severely neutropenic after high-dose chemotherapy. Lung involvement was associated with recurrent typical skin lesions. Despite a significant clinical and radiological improvement with voriconazole-based antifungal therapy, granulocyte transfusions (GTXs) and surgical excision of residual lesions were necessary to achieve a complete response before the patient proceeded to allogeneic stem-cell transplantation from an alternative donor. Voriconazole was continued for 6 months after transplant as secondary prophylaxis. After 15 months of follow-up, the patient is alive and well, and in complete remission of his underlying disease. Triazoles have the potential for improving the cure rate of Fusarium infections but both surgery and shortening the duration of neutropenia by GTXs are important factors in optimising the results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A retrospective clinical and immunological survey was conducted in 60 patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease. A prospective controlled non-randomized study of the efficacy of long-term IFNgamma treatment was carried out. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 4.4 years; mean duration of follow-up was 10.4 years. Lung and skin infections were the most frequent manifestations both prior to diagnosis and during follow-up. Aspergillus species was the first cause of infection and of death in our cohort. The mortality rate was 13%. Long term prophylaxis with IFNgamma did not significantly change the rate of total infection per patient-year compared to controls (p=0.07). Our data provide clear evidence that protocols of continuing intensive surveillance and monitoring of compliance with anti-infective regimens may significantly improve the quality of life and long-term survival in patients with CGD. No evidence justifying long-term prophylaxis with IFNgamma was obtained.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations decreasing function of the Fas death receptor cause the autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) with autoimmune manifestations, spleen/lymph node enlargement, and expansion of CD4/CD8-negative T cells. Dianzani Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Disease (DALD) is a variant lacking this expansion. Perforin is involved in cell-mediated cytotoxicity and its biallelic mutations cause familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). We previously described an ALPS patient carrying heterozygous mutations of the Fas and perforin genes and suggested that they concurred in ALPS. This work extends the analysis to 14 ALPS, 28 DALD, and 816 controls, and detects an N252S amino acid substitution in 2 ALPS, and an A91V amino acid substitution in 6 DALD. N252S conferred an OR = 62.7 (P = .0016) for ALPS and A91V conferred an OR = 3 (P = .016) for DALD. Copresence of A91V and variations of the osteopontin gene previously associated with DALD conferred an OR = 17 (P = .0007) for DALD. In one N252S patient, NK activity was strikingly defective in early childhood, but became normal in late childhood. A91V patients displayed lower NK activity than controls. These data suggest that perforin variations are a susceptibility factor for ALPS/DALD development in subjects with defective Fas function and may influence disease expression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Essential thrombocythemia (ET) is rare in children, and little or no information is available about clonality or JAK2 mutations. However, the analyses in this work prove useful for the diagnosis of adult myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs). We evaluated the clonality status and V617FJAK2 mutation in 20 children affected by ET and compared them with 47 consecutive adult ET cases. Clonality was evaluated on the DNA of granulocytes and on the RNA of platelets. V617FJAK2 was analyzed by sequencing tests, allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and digestion by BsaXI. A monoclonal pattern was found in 4 (28.5%) of 14 children and in 45% of informative adults. Heterozygous V617FJAK2 was found less frequently in children than in adults (P < .009). Only 2 girls showed both the V617FJAK2 mutation and a monoclonal pattern; one of them was the only child presenting a major thrombotic complication. In contrast to adults, most children with ET do not show either a clonal disorder or the V617FJAK2 mutation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In one out of six young individuals with polycythemia and high erythropoietin levels we found a heterozygous VHL gene mutation (430G->A;Gly144Arg). The man's unaffected mother and sister carry the same mutation. No other VHL genomic or expression alterations were found. In one other patient different genetic conditions were found.