Abstract Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare autosomal and X-linked genetic disease characterized by congenital abnormalities, progressive bone marrow failure (BMF), and increased cancer risk during early adulthood. The median lifespan for FA patients is approximately 33 years. The proteins encoded by the FA genes function together in the FA-BRCA pathway to repair DNA damage and to maintain genome stability. Within the past two years, five new FA genes have been identified— RAD51/FANCR , BRCA1/FANCS , UBE2T/FANCT , XRCC2/FANCU , and REV7/FANCV —bringing the total number of disease-causing genes to 21. This review summarizes the discovery of these new FA genes and describes how these proteins integrate into the FA-BRCA pathway to maintain genome stability and critically prevent early-onset BMF and cancer.
Abstract The most commonly prescribed oral anticoagulants worldwide are the vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) such as warfarin. Factors affecting the pharmacokinetics of VKAs are important because deviations from their narrow therapeutic window can result in bleedings due to over-anticoagulation or thrombosis because of under-anticoagulation. In addition to pharmacodynamic interactions (e.g., augmented bleeding risk for concomitant use of NSAIDs), interactions with drugs, foods, herbs, and over-the-counter medications may affect the risk/benefit ratio of VKAs. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) including Factor Xa inhibitors (rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban) and thrombin inhibitor (dabigatran) are poised to replace warfarin. Phase-3 studies and real-world evaluations have established that the safety profile of DOACs is superior to those of VKAs. However, some pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions are expected. Herein we present a critical review of VKAs and DOACs with focus on their potential for interactions with drugs, foods, herbs and over-the-counter medications.
Abstract Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas with aberrations in MYC, BCL2 and/or BCL6 by genetic alterations or protein expression represent a group of high grade B-cell lymphomas with inferior outcomes when treated with standard RCHOP chemotherapy. As a result, intensified induction regimens have been suggested in an effort to improve outcomes. Conclusions to date have largely been drawn from retrospective data although prospective data is slowly starting to emerge. Chemoimmunotherapy refractoriness is problematic and relapse rates are high. Patients with double hit lymphoma appear to have increased risk of CNS involvement and prophylaxis is recommended. There is insufficient evidence available to date to strongly recommend for or against consolidative stem cell transplant in this population. Collaborative clinical trials will be needed to establish a preferred therapeutic regimen and an appropriate standard of care in this unique group of patients with DLBCL.
Abstract Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) offer noninferior efficacy and improved safety compared to vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism and for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Unlike VKAs, DOACs do not require routine laboratory monitoring of anticoagulant effect and dose adjustment. In certain situations, however, laboratory assessment of anticoagulant effect may be desirable. Here we review the utility of currently available assays for assessment of DOAC effect and recommend an optimal assessment strategy for each drug, including calibrated dilute thrombin time or ecarin-based assays for dabigatran and calibrated anti-Xa activity assays for the factor Xa inhibitors. We also discuss reversal strategies, both specific and nonspecific, for each drug, including the preferential use of idarucizumab for the reversal of dabigatran and two agents, andexanet and ciraparantag, currently under development for the reversal of rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban.
Abstract During the course of their natural ageing and upon injury, anucleate erythrocytes can undergo an unconventional apoptosis-like cell death, termed eryptosis. Eryptotic erythrocytes display a plethora of morphological alterations including volume reduction, membrane blebbing and breakdown of the membrane phospholipid asymmetry resulting in phosphatidylserine externalization which, in turn, mediates their phagocytic recognition and clearance from the circulation. Overall, the eryptosis machinery is tightly orchestrated by a wide array of endogenous mediators, ion channels, membrane receptors, and a host of intracellular signaling proteins. Enhanced eryptosis shortens the lifespan of circulating erythrocytes and confers a procoagulant phenotype; this phenomenon has been tangibly implicated in the pathogenesis of anemia, deranged microcirculation, and increased prothrombotic risk associated with a multitude of clinical conditions. Herein, we reviewed the molecular mechanisms dictating eryptosis and erythrophagocytosis and critically analyzed the current evidence leading to the pathophysiological ramifications of eryptotic cell death in the context of human disease.
Abstract Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. Patients with hematological malignancies undergoing conventional chemotherapy, autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are considered at high risk, and Aspergillus spp. represents the most frequently isolated micro-organisms. In the last years, attention has also been focused on other rare molds (e.g., Zygomycetes, Fusarium spp.) responsible for devastating clinical manifestations. The extensive use of antifungal prophylaxis has reduced the infections from yeasts (e.g., candidemia) even though they are still associated with high mortality rates. This paper analyzes concurrent multiple predisposing factors that could favor the onset of fungal infections. Although neutropenia is common to almost all hematologic patients, other factors play a key role in specific patients, in particular in patients with AML or allogeneic HSCT recipients. Defining those patients at higher risk of IFIs may help to design the most appropriate diagnostic work-up and antifungal strategy.
Abstract The complement system is an essential part of the innate immune system that requires careful regulation to ensure responses are appropriately directed against harmful pathogens, while preventing collateral damage to normal host cells and tissues. While deficiency in some components of the complement pathway is associated with increased susceptibility to certain infections, it has also become clear that inappropriate activation of complement is an important contributor to human disease. A number of hematologic disorders are driven by complement, and these disorders may be termed “complementopathies”. This includes paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), cold agglutinin disease (CAD) and other related disorders, which will be the focus of this review. A better understanding of the central role of the complement system in the pathophysiology of these disorders may allow for application of therapies directed at blocking the complement cascade.
Abstract The NF-κB pathway, a critical regulator of apoptosis, plays a key role in many normal cellular functions. Genetic alterations and other mechanisms leading to constitutive activation of the NF-κB pathway contribute to cancer development, progression and therapy resistance by activation of downstream anti-apoptotic pathways, unfavorable microenvironment interactions, and gene dysregulation. Not surprisingly, given its importance to normal and cancer cell function, the NF-κB pathway has emerged as a target for therapy. In the review, we present the physiologic role of the NF-κB pathway and recent advances in better understanding of the pathologic roles of the NF-κB pathway in major types of lymphoid neoplasms. We also provide an update of clinical trials that use NF-κB pathway inhibitors. These trials are exploring the clinical efficiency of combining NF-κB pathway inhibitors with various agents that target diverse mechanisms of action with the goal being to optimize novel therapeutic opportunities for targeting oncogenic pathways to eradicate cancer cells.
Abstract More than half of the patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) are older than 60 years. The treatment outcomes in this group remain poor with a median overall survival of < 1 year. Selecting initial treatment for these patients involves an assessment of ‘fitness’ for induction chemotherapy. This is done based on patient and disease-related characteristics which help to estimate treatment-related mortality and chance of complete remission with induction chemotherapy. If the risk of treatment-related mortality is high and/or the likelihood of a patient achieving a complete remission is low, lower-intensity treatment (low-dose cytarabine, decitabine and azacitidine) should be discussed. As outcomes in both groups of patients remain poor, enrolment into clinical trials of novel agents with varying mechanisms of action should be considered for all older adults with AML. Novel agents in Phase III development include CPX-351, guadecitabine (SGI-110), quizartinib, crenolanib, sapacitabine, vosaroxin and volasertib.
Abstract TP53 deletion or mutation is frequent in B-cell malignancies and is associated with a low response rate. We describe here the p53 landscape in B-cell malignancies, from B-Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia to Plasma Cell Leukemia, by analyzing incidence of gain or loss of function of actors both upstream and within the p53 pathway, namely MYC , RAS , ARF , MDM2 , ATM and TP53 . Abnormalities are not equally distributed and their incidence is highly variable among malignancies. Deletion and mutation, usually associated, of ATM or TP53 are frequent in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma and Mantle Cell Lymphoma. MYC gain, absent in post-GC malignancies, is frequent in B-Prolymphocytic-Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Leukemias. RAS mutations are rare except in MM and PCL. Multiple Factorial Analysis notes that MYC deregulation is closely related to TP53 status. Moreover, MYC gain, TP53 deletion and RAS mutations are inversely correlated with survival. Based on this landscape, we further propose targeted therapeutic approaches for the different B-cell malignancies.
Abstract Recent advances in iron metabolism have stimulated new interest in iron deficiency (ID) and its anemia (IDA), common conditions worldwide. Absolute ID/IDA, i.e. the decrease of total body iron, is easily diagnosed based on decreased levels of serum ferritin and transferrin saturation. Relative lack of iron in specific organs/tissues, and IDA in the context of inflammatory disorders, are diagnosed based on arbitrary cut offs of ferritin and transferrin saturation and/or marker combination (as the soluble transferrin receptor/ferritin index) in an appropriate clinical context. Most ID patients are candidate to traditional treatment with oral iron salts, while high hepcidin levels block their absorption in inflammatory disorders. New iron preparations and new treatment modalities are available: high-dose intravenous iron compounds are becoming popular and indications to their use are increasing, although long-term side effects remain to be evaluated.
Apoptosis is an essential biological process involved in tissue homeostasis and immunity. Aberrations of the two main apoptotic pathways, extrinsic and intrinsic, have been identified in hematological malignancies; many of these aberrations are associated with pathogenesis, prognosis and resistance to standard chemotherapeutic agents. Targeting components of the apoptotic pathways, especially the chief regulatory BCL-2 family in the intrinsic pathway, has proved to be a promising therapeutic approach for patients with hematological malignances, with the expectation of enhanced efficacy and reduced adverse events. Continuous investigations regarding the biological importance of each of the BCL-2 family components and the clinical rationale to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes, using either monotherapy or in combination with other targeted agents, have generated inspiring progress in the field. Genomic, epigenomic and biological analyses including BH3 profiling facilitate effective evaluation of treatment response, cancer recurrence and drug resistance. In this review, we summarize the biological features of each of the components in the BCL-2 apoptotic pathways, analyze the regulatory mechanisms and the pivotal roles of BCL-2 family members in the pathogenesis of major types of hematologic malignances, and evaluate the potential of apoptosis- and BCL-2-targeted strategies as effective approaches in anti-cancer therapies.
Abstract Because pregnant women have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and at the same time normal pregnancy is associated with symptoms, mimicking those present in the setting of acute pulmonary embolism (PE), the latter diagnosis is frequently suspected in this patient category. Since imaging tests expose both mother and foetus to ionizing radiation, the ability to rule out PE based on non-radiological diagnostic tests is of paramount importance. However, clinical decision rules have only been scarcely evaluated in the pregnant population with suspected PE, while D-dimer levels lose diagnostic accuracy due to a physiological increase during normal pregnancy. Consequently, clinical guidelines provide contradicting and weak recommendations on this subject and the optimal diagnostic strategy remains highly debated. With this systematic review, we aimed to summarize current evidence on the safety and efficacy of clinical decision rules and biomarkers used in the diagnostic management of suspected acute PE in pregnant patients.
Abstract Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common acute leukemia in adults. The pathophysiology of this disease is just beginning to be understood at the cellular and molecular level, and currently cytogenetic markers are the most important for risk stratification and treatment of AML patients. However, with the advent of new technologies, the detection of other molecular markers such as point mutations and characterization of epigenetic and proteomic profiles, have begun to play an important role in how the disease is approached. Recent evidence shows that the identification of new AML biomarkers contributes to a better understanding of the molecular basis of the disease, is significantly useful in screening, diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of AML, as well as the possibility of predicting each individual's response to treatment. This review summarizes the most relevant molecular (genetic, epigenetic, and protein) biomarkers associated with acute myeloid leukemia and discusses their clinical importance in terms of risk prediction, diagnosis and prognosis.
In healthy subjects and patients with hematological diseases, platelet populations can be distinguished with different response spectra in hemostatic and vascular processes. These populations partly overlap, and are less distinct than those of leukocytes. The platelet heterogeneity is linked to structural properties, and is enforced by inequalities in the environment. Contributing factors are variability between megakaryocytes, platelet ageing, and positive or negative priming of platelets during their time in circulation. Within a hemostatic plug or thrombus, platelet heterogeneity is enhanced by unequal exposure to agonists, with populations of contracted platelets in the thrombus core, discoid platelets at the thrombus surface, patches of ballooned and procoagulant platelets forming thrombin, and coated platelets binding fibrin. Several pathophysiological hematological conditions can positively or negatively prime the responsiveness of platelet populations. As a consequence, in vivo and in vitro markers of platelet activation can differ in thrombotic and hematological disorders.
Abstract The diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can be made based on peripheral blood or bone marrow blasts. In this review, we will discuss the role of bone marrow evaluation and peripheral blood monitoring in the diagnosis, management, and follow up of AML patients. For patients with circulating blasts, it is reasonable to perform the necessary studies needed for diagnosis and risk stratification, including multiparametric flow cytometry, cytogenetics, and molecular analysis, on a peripheral blood specimen. The day 14 marrow is used to document hypocellularity in response to induction chemotherapy, but it is unclear if that assessment is necessary as it often does not affect immediate management. Currently, response assessments performed at count recovery for evaluation of remission and measurable residual disease rely on bone marrow sampling. For monitoring of relapse, peripheral blood evaluation may be adequate, but the sensitivity of bone marrow testing is in some cases superior. While bone marrow evaluation can certainly be avoided in particular situations, this cumbersome and uncomfortable procedure currently remains the de facto standard for response assessment.
Abstract There is a widely recognized need to improve the performance of vascular implants and external medical devices that come into contact with blood by reducing adverse reactions they cause, such as thrombosis and inflammation. These reactions lead to major adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Currently, they are managed therapeutically. This need remains unmet by the biomaterials research community. Recognized stagnation of the blood-biomaterial interface research translates into waning interest from clinicians, funding agencies, and practitioners of adjacent fields. The purpose of this contribution is to stir things up. It follows the 2014 BloodSurf meeting (74th International IUVSTA Workshop on Blood-Biomaterial Interactions), offers reflections on the situation in the field and a three-pronged strategy integrating different perspectives on the biological mechanisms underlying blood-biomaterial interactions. The success of this strategy depends on reengaging clinicians and on the renewed cooperation of the funding agencies to support long-term efforts.
Abstract Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) is a pleiotropic cytokine that exerts multiple roles in both physiological and pathological conditions. It is produced by different cell subsets, and drives a wide range of inflammatory responses in numerous target cells. Enhanced IL-1β signaling is a common event in patients of hematological malignancies. Recent body of evidence obtained in preclinical models shows the pathogenic role of these alterations, and the promising therapeutic value of IL-1 targeting. In this review, we further highlight a potential contribution of IL-1β linking to complications and autoimmune disease that should be investigated in future studies. Hence, drugs that target IL-1 may be helpful to improve outcome or reduce morbidity in patients. Some of them are FDA-approved, and used efficiently against autoimmune diseases, like IL-1 receptor antagonist. In the clinic, however, this agent seems to have limited properties. Current improved drugs will allow to determine the true potential of IL-1 and IL-1β targeting as therapy in hematological malignancies and their related complications.
Iron, although essential, is harmful in high amounts. Oxidative stress as a result of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a prooxidative/antioxidative imbalance between ROS production and elimination, play a key role in cellular damage. There is evidence to support the role of ROS in the pathogenesis of a range of diseases including the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and leukaemia. Oxidative stress seems to affect the self-renewal, proliferation and differentiation of haematopoietic stem cells and impair cell growth. Three aspects of these defective haemopoietic mechanisms may be associated with the activities of ROS: clonal evolution, haematological improvement and recovery of haemopoiesis after haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). This review aims to provide haematologists with an overview of results from in vitro and murine models and preliminary clinical evidence on the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications of the complex interactions between the haemopoietic niche, iron, oxidative stress and inadequate haemopoiesis.
Abstract Latent infection with human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is common. Functional immunity effectively contains such latent infections; however, CMV reactivation may cause significant complications in patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT). In spite of the universal implementation of post-transplant screening for CMV viremia and the institution of pre-emptive antiviral management, CMV disease still occurs in a small portion of patients. Moreover, interactions between CMV and the immune system have significant implications for the incidence of graft-versus-host disease, the recurrence of malignancy, and non-relapse mortality following alloHCT, even in the era of pre-emptive antiviral management. CMV serostatus thus remains an important consideration for patients undergoing alloHCT. We review the clinical impact of CMV in the setting of alloHCT, interactions between CMV serostatus, viral reactivation, and transplant outcomes, as well as current and evolving strategies for prevention and treatment of CMV-related complications that may have significant impact for alloHCT recipients.