[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a complex and heterogeneous autoimmune disorder with a multi-factorial pathogenesis. Like other autoimmune disorders, the possible role of specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) gene polymorphisms in predisposing to SSc has been hypothesized, but it remains controversial. CTLA-4 promoter (-318C/T) and exon 1 (+49 A/G) polymorphisms have been analysed in 43 Italian females with SSc and in 93 unrelated matched healthy controls by a newly designed tetra-primer amplification refractory mutation system-polymerase chain reaction (T-ARMS-PCR) method. No significant association has been found with either polymorphisms.Nevertheless, SSc patients without concomitant Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) were carrying both the -318T allele (P = 0.031) and the +49 G allele (P = 0.076) more frequently than SSc patients with HT [defined by positivity for anti-thyroperoxidase (TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (TGA) autoantibodies] than controls. Haplotype analysis confirms this association (P = 0.028), and suggests the predominant role of the -318T, whereas that of the +49 G, if any, seems weak. Thus, in Italian SSc patients the CTLA-4 -318C/T promoter polymorphism appears to be associated with the susceptibility to develop SSc without thyroid involvement. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings and to clarify whether the -318C/T polymorphism is the functional responsible or whether it reflects the presence of another linked genetic element in the same chromosomal region.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Forty-three consecutive patients with de novo and untreated non M3 AML aged 60 or less entered the study. The mean age of patients was 50 (range 15-60). The induction regimen (FLAG-Ida) included fludarabine (30 mg/sqm), Ara-C (2 g/sqm) on days 1-5, and idarubicin (10 mg/sqm) on days 1, 3, 5. G-CSF (300 mcg/day) was administered s.c. 12 hours before starting fludarabine and was continued for five days. HDT with stem cell rescue was planned for all patients in first CR after one course of high dose Ara-C (HDAC) consolidation and in good clinical conditions. Forty-two (98%) patients were evaluable for response. One patient died during induction (2%). CR was achieved in 35 patients (82%). Twenty-three patients, 66% of those achieving CR, underwent autologous (N = 17) or allogeneic (N = 6) transplantation. With a median follow up of 24 months, the average median duration of CR is 17 months (range 3-66) and the median survival is 20 months (range 1-83). Overall the 5 year projected disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were 37% and 43%, respectively. Among patients who underwent stem cell transplantation DFS and OS were 53% and 69%, respectively. The median time to PMN recovery (> 0.5 x 10(9)/l) was 17 days (range 10-28) and 50 x 10(9)/l platelets were reached at a median of 17 days (12-38). In conclusion FLAG-Ida regimen is effective, low toxic and improves feasibility of stem cell transplant.
No preview · Article · Dec 2002 · Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research: CR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute myeloid leukaemias (AML) evolving from a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or secondary to chemoradiotherapy frequently display unfavorable biologic characteristics. This may explain the lower remission rate obtained with conventional chemotherapy. Recently, the association of Fludarabine with intermediate dose Ara-C has produced interesting results particularly in high risk AML patients. Here, we report on 42 secondary AML patients treated with a combination of Fludarabine, intermediate dose Ara-C, G-CSF with or without an antracycline (FLANG, FLAG-IDA or FLAG). Overall, complete remissions (CR) were documented in 14 patients (33%) and partial responses (PR) in 12 (29%), while 10 patients proved resistant (24%). Six patients (14%) died early. The presence of a prognostically unfavorable karyotype had a negative impact on the CR rate (20% compared to 50% for patients with an intermediate prognosis karyotype, p 0.05). Patients treated with FLAG, FLANG and FLAG-IDA had similar CR rates. At the time of this analysis, after a mean follow-up of 12 months, the mean duration of CR is 16 months (range 3-66) and the mean survival is 11 months (range 1-67). The median time to granulocyte recovery (neutrophils > 0.5 x 10(9)/l) was 20 days (range 12-39) and 50 x 10(9)/l platelets were reached at a median of 26 days (range 9-56). Taken together, these Fludarabine containing regimens proved to be an effective and tolerable treatment for patients with secondary AML. Patients above 70 years of age may also benefit from this therapy, however the problem of treating patients with adverse chromosomal abnormalities still remains unresolved.
No preview · Article · Jan 2001 · Leukemia and Lymphoma
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GM-IVA is a short and effective induction therapy of non M3 de novo AML including GM-CSF (300 mcg 12 hrs before starting therapy), Ara-C (250 mg/sqm c.i. x 3 days), VP16 (100 mg/sqm x 3 days) and idarubicin (12 mg/sqm x 3 days); it was followed by a fludarabine containing salvage protocol (FLANG). Patients <60 years of age achieving CR received 2 courses of FLANG and autologous or allogeneic BMT when possible. Patients >60 years of age in CR received a second course of GM-IVA. Twenty-one consecutive patients (mean age 64, range 29-85) entered the study. Three patients (14%) died during induction therapy. After one course of GM-IVA, CR was achieved in 12 patients (57%). Two further patients were salvaged with FLANG therapy so that the final CR rate was 14/21 (67%). In elderly patients the final CR rate (62%) is noteworthy, considering that 6 patients were >70 years of age and 3 were >80. All three patients >80 achieved CR (lasting 5 to 7 months). The median time of granulocyte and platelet recovery was 15 days. Our scheme was well tolerated. In the group of elderly patients 3 out of 14 died during induction (21%) and 4 life-threatening infections were observed (28%). The short duration of cytotoxic therapy and perhaps the use of G-CSF contributed to a reduction of the hospitalization period (median of 22 days), thus providing major savings on induction costs and allowing for better utilization of beds as well as significantly improving patients' quality of life.
No preview · Article · Apr 1999 · Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research: CR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fifty-three consecutive cases of adult CD30+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) have been analyzed. Thirty-six were classified as Hodgkin's disease like variety (HL) (67%) and seventeen as so-called common type (CT) (33%). All cases strongly expressed the CD30/Ki-1 antigen; the neoplastic cells expressed CD15, CD45 and EMA in 60%, 44% and 33% of cases, respectively; T. B and null phenotypes were found in 37%, 17% and 46% of cases. Bulky mediastinal, B symptoms, and extranodal disease at diagnosis were present in 36%, 49% and 25% of cases. EBV encoded latent membrane protein (LMP-1) was found in 10 cases. Of the 13 tested cases only 4 expressed a weak positivity of the CD40 molecule, in a fraction of the tumor cells; in the same cases CD21 was never found. Patients were treated with various protocols; of the 50 evaluable patients, 39 (78%) obtained a complete remission (CR), 3 (6%) a partial remission (PR) and 8 (16%) did not respond. The projected overall disease free survival (DFS) at 36 months is 70%. Only patients with advanced disease stage (III-IV) showed a statistically decreased DFS and survival. Only symptomatic and extranodal disease significantly appeared to influence survival. This study confirms the good outcome of this group of lymphomas and differs from other reports for some clinical (lower percentage of advanced stage, extranodal disease and skin infiltration) and pathological (HL/CT ratio and immunophenotype) features.
No preview · Article · Aug 1996 · Leukemia and Lymphoma
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirteen consecutive adult patients with primary refractory (n = 5) or relapsed (n = 8) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were treated by an induction schedule (FLAG) consisting of Fludarabine (30 mg/sqm/d) plus high dose Cytarabine (HD-ara-C: 2 g/sqm/d) (d 1-5) and G-CSF (from d O to polymorphonuclear recovery). Patients achieving complete remission (CR) were administered a second FLAG course as consolidation and were then submitted to an individualized program of post-remission therapy, depending on the patient's age and performance status. CR was achieved in 8/12 evaluable cases (67%). The median CR duration was 22.5 w. CR attainment was significantly related to the co-expression of lymphoid and myeloid antigens. ALL/My+ patients achieved CR in 6/6 evaluable cases vs. 2/6 for ALL/My+. In vitro 3H ara-C incorporation into cellular DNA resulted significantly increased by Fludarabine (in 7/9 tested cases) and, furthermore, by the association of Fludarabine G-CSF in 5 evaluable ALL/My+ cases; in contrast, no effect of G-CSF addition to Fludarabine was observed in 4 ALL/My. Myelosuppression was observed in all patients: the median time to neutrophils > 0.5 x 10(9)/1 was 16.3 d (range 13-22) and 16.2 d (range 9-29) to platelets > 20 x 10(9)/1. Nonhematological toxicity was minimal. In conclusion, FLAG is an active and tolerable combination in refractory ALL, particularly in cases with myeloid antigen expression where G-CSF appears to improve efficacy, probably increasing ara-C incorporation into the DNA of leukemic cells.
No preview · Article · Jun 1996 · European Journal Of Haematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thirteen consecutive adult patients with primary refractory (n = 5) or relapsed (n = 8) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were treated by an induction schedule (FLAG) consisting of Fludarabine (30 mg/sqm/d) plus high dose Cytarabine (HD-ara-C: 2 g/sqm/d) (d 1–5) and G-CSF (from d 0 to polymorphonuclear recovery). Patients achieving complete remission (CR) were administered a second FLAG course as consolidation and were then submitted to an individualized program of post-remission therapy, depending on the patient's age and performance status. CR was achieved in 8/12 evaluable cases (67%). The median CR duration was 22.5 w. CR attainment was significantly related to the co-expression of lymphoid and myeloid antigens. ALL/My+ patients achieved CR in 6/6 evaluable cases vs. 2/6 for ALL/My-. In vitro3H ara-C incorporation into cellular DNA resulted significantly increased by Fludarabine (in 7/9 tested cases) and, furthermore, by the association of Fludarabine-G-CSF in 5 evaluable ALL/My+ cases; in contrast, no effect of G-CSF addition to Fludarabine was observed in 4 ALL/My–. Myelosuppression was observed in all patients: the median time to neutrophils >0.5 × 109/l was 16.3 d (range 13–22) and 16.2 d (range 9–29) to platelets>20 × 109/l. Nonhematological toxicity was minimal. In conclusion, FLAG is an active and tolerable combination in refractory ALL, particularly in cases with myeloid antigen expression where G-CSF appears to improve efficacy, probably increasing ara-C incorporation into the DNA of leukemic cells.
Full-text · Article · Apr 1996 · European Journal Of Haematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) those refractory to induction chemotherapy and those with so-called secondary leukemia have unfavorable prognoses and require innovative therapeutic approaches. Fludarabine allows an increased accumulation of Ara-CTP in leukemic cells and inhibits DNA repair mechanisms; therefore its association with Ara-C and mitoxantrone results in a synergistic effect.
From May 1993 to February 1996, fludarabine-containing regimens (FLAG and FLANG) were employed as induction therapy in 51 high-risk AML patients. Diagnosis of AML in 22 patients was preceded by a myelodysplastic syndrome lasting more than six months; 8 of the 29 de novo AML cases (28%) were refractory to previous chemotherapy, 9 (31%) were treated for early relapse, 12 (41%) presented poor prognostic factors at diagnosis. The median age was 64 (range 33-76) years and the FAB subtypes were the following: M0 3, M1 5, M2 28, M4 7, M5 8. Forty-eight per cent of patients showed poor prognosis chromosomal abnormalities. FLAG (24 patients) consisted of both fludarabine 30 mg/sqm over 30 minutes followed 4 hours later by Ara-C 2 g/sqm over 4 hours (for 5 days) and G-CSF 300 micrograms/day administered 12 hours before fludarabine, for a total of 5 doses. FLANG (27 patients) had a shorter duration (3 days), reduced Ara-C dosage (1 g/sqm) and administration of mitoxantrone (10 mg/sqm) at the end of Ara-C infusion.
Recovery of both neutrophils (PMN > 0.5 x 10(9)/L) and platelets (Plt > 20 x 10(9)/L) required a median of 16 days from the end of therapy. Overall, 30 patients (59%) achieved CR, 6 (11%) PR and 10 (20%) were refractory; 5 (10%) experienced early death (cerebral hemorrhage or infection). The length of complete response ranged from 2 to 26 months with a median follow-up of 8 months. De novo and secondary AML registered 62 and 54% CR rates, respectively. Eight out of 10 patients refractory to conventional schemes achieved CR (80%) but only 3 out of 10 treated for relapse obtained CR (30%).
FLAG and FLANG showed similar activity and toxicity while proving to be highly effective and relatively well-tolerated treatments for high-risk de novo AML. Secondary leukemias seemed to be responsive as well, but the presence of an unfavorable karyotype alteration lowered the response rate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty-eight patients with poor prognosis acute myeloid leukemia (AML) received therapy with two courses of fludarabine 30 mg/m2/day + ara-C 2 g/m2/day (days 1-5) and G-CSF 5 mg/kg/day (FLAG) (from day 0 to polymorphonuclear recovery). Eighteen patients were considered 'refractory' (eight primarily resistant, five relapsing within 6 months of initial remission, or at a second relapse; five relapsing after an autologous bone marrow transplantation procedure. Ten cases were defined 'secondary' AML (diagnosis of AML made after a preexisting diagnosis of: myelodysplastic syndrome: five cases; myelodysplastic syndrome after therapy for breast cancer: one case; previously untreated, and concomitant, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: two cases; Hodgkin's disease treated with chemoradiotherapy: one case). Overall, 15 patients (58%) achieved a complete remission (CR). Two patients died of infection during induction, and 11 had resistant disease. Analyzing the data in relation to selected host and disease characteristics, the response varied widely. The highest CR rates (89%) were obtained in secondary AML; in particular, two cases of 'second-primary' (concomitant with low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) AML obtained CR for both diseases. Refractory AML differed widely for response: high CR rate (75%), although with short mean CR duration for primary resistance AML, and very poor response (11% CR) for relapsed (early, second, after ABMT) cases. Interestingly, a slow kinetic of leukemic growth in vivo before FLAG administration was significantly related to the response and outcome (p = 0.0002). Hematological and nonhematological toxicities were acceptable. In conclusion, the FLAG regimen has significant antileukemic activity and acceptable toxicity especially in secondary AML, both with and without coexisting lymphoid malignancy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been shown that fludarabine (FLU) is superior to conventional treatment in B-CLL for rate and quality of response, leading to CR even at the molecular level. In this paper we report our preliminary results with this drug in B-CLL patients.
Twenty-seven B-CLL patients (16 refractory to previous therapy, 7 responsive and treated for subsequent disease reexpansion, 4 untreated with active disease) were administered FLU at a dose of 25 mg/sqm for 5 days every 4 weeks.
Twenty-five patients were evaluable and 14 of them (56%) were responsive. All four untreated patients responded: 1 CR (PCR analysis showed the persistence of clonal VDJ rearrangement) and 3 PR, while 67% of the previously responsive group again showed a reaction: 2 PR (33%) and 2 nodular PR (33%). Among the refractory patients we recorded 6 responses (39%): 1 CR (6%) and 5 PR (33%). Besides 2 cases of lethal myelotoxicity, we observed 2 cases of encephalopathy and 2 cases of heart failure. Four deaths may have been related to FLU therapy (15%).
We confirm the effectiveness of FLU and the improved outcome, in terms of toxicity and response rate, it provides in untreated B-CLL patients. Further studies are needed to explore the possible negative effects of FLU on neuronal and heart function, and the impact of this drug on survival in selected groups of patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fifteen low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (LGNHL) received Fludarabine (FLU) at a dosage of 30 mg/sqm daily, for 5 days, every 4 weeks, for a total of 6 cycles. The histotypes were: 5 lymphoplasmacytic-lymphoplasmacytoid, 5 lymphocytic, 3 centroblastic-centrocytic follicular, 1 mycosis fungoides, 1 lymphocytic-immunoblastic. All patients were in stage IV with marrow involvement. Five cases (3 immunocytomas) were treated at diagnosis, 2 with marrow residual disease after a previous first line conventional therapy, 3 in relapse and 5 with refractory disease. Eight out of twelve evaluable patients were responsive to the treatment (66%); 3 reached CR (25%) and 5 PR (42%); 4 cases (33%) were not responsive. The therapeutic outcome was strictly correlated to the disease status and the disease extent but not, in pretreated patients, with the number-of prior chemotherapy regimens; in fact previously untreated and refractory patients showed a quite different response rate (4/4 vs 0/3 response) and both patients treated for minimal marrow disease after a previous therapeutic line reached CR. The best results were obtained in follicular centroblastic-centrocytic lymphoma (2/3 CR), in immunocytoma (4/5 PR) and in lymphocytic lymphoma (2/3 responses). The median response lenght and survival were 14 and 20 months, respectively. Besides the three not evaluable cases five additional patients died for disease progression (4) and infection not correlated to the treatment (1). Seven patients are alive. Toxic effects of treatment were not negligible and included myelotoxicity and possibly a neurologic syndrome characterized by progressive mental deterioration, psychomotor restlessness, worsening mental confusion, coma and death, without focal signs at neurologic examination (in two patients treated for refractory mycosis fungoides and lymphocytic lymphoma). A case of sudden death was also recorded. In conclusion FLU is an effective drug for LG-NHL, at least for follicular centroblastic-centrocytic, lymphocytic lymphoma and immunocytoma, with the best results reached in untreated and relapsed patients or in cases characterized by minimal residual disease after a previous treatment. On the contrary the drug is not likely to be successful with refractory patients. Moreover, in our experience the FLU toxic effects appear remarkable, especially on bone marrow, CNS and possibly heart.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 64-year-old man suffering from non Hodgkin's lymphoma in progression and resistant to conventional chemotherapy was treated with alpha interferon. In a few days he developed an unusual adverse reaction characterized by severe dermatological and neuromuscular toxicity. We describe the case and suggest a possible pathogenetic mechanism for this rare event.