The European Conference on Infections in Leukemia (ECIL) provides recommendations for diagnostic strategies and prophylactic, pre-emptive or targeted therapy strategies for various types of infection in patients with hematologic malignancies or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. Meetings are held every two years since 2005 and evidence-based recommendations are elaborated after evaluation of the literature and discussion among specialists of nearly all European countries. In this manuscript, the ECIL group presents the 2015-update of the recommendations for the targeted treatment of invasive candidiasis, aspergillosis and mucormycosis. Current data now allow a very strong recommendation in favor of echinocandins for first-line therapy of candidemia irrespective of the underlying predisposing factors. Anidulafungin has been given the same grading as the other echinocandins for hemato-oncological patients. The beneficial role of catheter removal in candidemia is strengthened. Aspergillus guidelines now recommend the use of either voriconazole or isavuconazole for first-line treatment of invasive aspergillosis, while first-line combination antifungal therapy is not routinely recommended. As only few new data were published since the last ECIL guidelines, no major changes were made to mucormycosis recommendations.
Carfilzomib, a selective proteasome inhibitor, was approved in 2012 for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. Safety data for single-agent carfilzomib have been analyzed for 526 patients with advanced multiple myeloma who took part in one of 4 phase II studies (PX-171-003-A0, PX-171-003-A1, PX-171-004, and PX-171-005). Overall analyses of adverse events and treatment modifications are presented, as well as specific analyses of adverse events by organ system. Overall, the most common adverse events of any grade included fatigue (55.5%), anemia (46.8%), and nausea (44.9%). In the grouped analyses, any grade adverse events were reported in 22.1% for any cardiac (7.2% cardiac failure), 69.0% for any respiratory (42.2% dyspnea), and 33.1% for any grouped renal impairment adverse event (24.1% increased serum creatinine). The most common non-hematologic adverse events were generally Grade 1 or 2 in severity, while Grade 3/4 adverse events were primarily hematologic and mostly reversible. There was no evidence of cumulative bone marrow suppression, either neutropenia or thrombocytopenia, and febrile neutropenia occurred infrequently (1.1%). Notably, the incidence of peripheral neuropathy was low overall (13.9%), including patients with baseline peripheral neuropathy (12.7%). Additionally, the incidence of discontinuations or dose reductions attributable to adverse events was low. These data demonstrate that single-agent carfilzomib has an acceptable safety profile in heavily pre-treated patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. The tolerable safety profile allows for administration of full-dose carfilzomib, both for extended periods and in a wide spectrum of patients with advanced multiple myeloma, including those with pre-existing comorbidities.
textabstractThe European Myeloma Network provides recommendations for the management of the most common complications of multiple myeloma. Whole body low-dose computed tomography is more sensitive than conventional radiography in depicting osteolytic disease and thus we recommend it as the novel standard for the detection of lytic lesions in myeloma (grade 1A). Myeloma patients with adequate renal function and bone disease at diagnosis should be treated with zoledronic acid or pamidronate (grade 1A). Symptomatic patients without lytic lesions on conventional radiography can be treated with zoledronic acid (grade 1B), but its advantage is not clear for patients with no bone involvement on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. In asymptomatic myeloma, bisphosphonates are not recommended (grade 1A). Zoledronic acid should be given continuously, but it is not clear if patients who achieve at least a very good partial response benefit from its continuous use (grade 1B). Treatment with erythropoietic-stimulating agents may be initiated in patients with persistent symptomatic anemia (hemoglobin <10g/dL) in whom other causes of anemia have been excluded (grade 1B). Erythropoietic agents should be stopped after 6-8 weeks if no adequate hemoglobin response is achieved. For renal impairment, bortezomib-based regimens are the current standard of care (grade 1A). For the management of treatment-induced peripheral neuropathy, drug modification is needed (grade 1C). Vaccination against influenza is recommended; vaccination against streptococcus pneumonia and hemophilus influenza is appropriate, but efficacy is not guaranteed due to suboptimal immune response (grade 1C). Prophylactic aciclovir (or valacyclovir) is recommended for patients receiving proteasome inhibitors, autologous or allogeneic transplantation (grade 1A).
In the phase III COMFORT-I study, the Janus kinase 1 (JAK1)/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib provided significant improvements in splenomegaly, key symptoms, and quality-of-life measures and was associated with an overall survival benefit relative to placebo in patients with intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis. This planned analysis assessed the long-term efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib at a median follow-up of 149 weeks. At data cutoff, approximately 50% of patients originally randomized to ruxolitinib remained on treatment whereas all patients originally assigned to placebo had discontinued or crossed over to ruxolitinib. At week 144, mean spleen volume reduction was 34% with ruxolitinib. Previously observed improvements in quality-of-life measures were sustained with longer-term ruxolitinib therapy. Overall survival continued to favor ruxolitinib despite the majority of placebo patients crossing over to ruxolitinib [hazard ratio 0.69 (95% confidence interval: 0.46-1.03); P=0.067]. Exploratory analyses suggest that crossover may have contributed to an underestimation of the true survival difference between the treatment groups. Ruxolitinib continued to be generally well tolerated; there was no pattern of worsening grade >= 3 anemia or thrombocytopenia with longer-term ruxolitinib exposure. These longer-term data continue to support the efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib in patients with myelofibrosis.
Owing to increasing resistance and the limited arsenal of new antibiotics, especially against Gram-negative pathogens, carefully designed antibiotic regimens are obligatory for febrile neutropenic patients, along with effective infection control. The Expert Group of the 4(th) European Conference on Infections in Leukemia has developed guidelines for initial empirical therapy in febrile neutropenic patients, based on: i) the local resistance epidemiology; and ii) the patient's risk factors for resistant bacteria and for a complicated clinical course. An 'escalation' approach, avoiding empirical carbapenems and combinations, should be employed in patients without particular risk factors. A 'de-escalation' approach, with initial broad-spectrum antibiotics or combinations, should be used only in those patients with: i) known prior colonization or infection with resistant pathogens; or ii) complicated presentation; or iii) in centers where resistant pathogens are prevalent at the onset of febrile neutropenia. In the latter case, infection control and antibiotic stewardship also need urgent review. Modification of the initial regimen at 72-96 h should be based on the patient's clinical course and the microbiological results. Discontinuation of antibiotics after 72 h or later should be considered in neutropenic patients with fever of unknown origin who are hemodynamically stable since presentation and afebrile for at least 48 h, irrespective of neutrophil count and expected duration of neutropenia. This strategy aims to minimize the collateral damage associated with antibiotic overuse, and the further selection of resistance.
Ruxolitinib, a potent Janus kinase 1/2 inhibitor, resulted in rapid and durable improvements in splenomegaly and disease-related symptoms in the 2 phase III COMFORT studies. In addition, ruxolitinib was associated with prolonged survival compared with placebo (COMFORT-I) and best available therapy (COMFORT-II). We present a pooled analysis of overall survival in the COMFORT studies using an intent-to-treat analysis and an analysis correcting for crossover in the control arms. Overall, 301 patients received ruxolitinib (COMFORT-I, n=155; COMFORT-II, n=146) and 227 patients received placebo (n=154) or best available therapy (n=73). After a median three years of follow up, intent-to-treat analysis showed that patients who received ruxolitinib had prolonged survival compared with patients who received placebo or best available therapy [hazard ratio=0.65; 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.46-0.90; P=0.01]; the crossover-corrected hazard ratio was 0.29 (95%CI: 0.13-0.63). Both patients with intermediate-2- or high-risk disease showed prolonged survival, and patients with high-risk disease in the ruxolitinib group had survival similar to that of patients with intermediate-2-risk disease in the control group. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of overall survival at week 144 was 78% in the ruxolitinib arm, 61% in the intent-to-treat control arm, and 31% in the crossover-adjusted control arm. While larger spleen size at baseline was prognostic for shortened survival, reductions in spleen size with ruxolitinib treatment correlated with longer survival. These findings are consistent with previous reports and support that ruxolitinib offers a survival benefit for patients with myelofibrosis compared with conventional therapies.
A retrospective, international, multicenter study was undertaken to assess: (i) the prognostic role of 'interim' positron emission tomography performed during treatment with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma; and (ii) the reproducibility of the Deauville five-point scale for the interpretation of interim positron emission tomography scan. Two hundred and sixty patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma were enrolled. Fifty-three patients with early unfavorable and 207 with advanced-stage disease were treated with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine +/- involved-field or consolidation radiotherapy. Positron emission tomography scan was performed at baseline and after two cycles of chemotherapy. Treatment was not changed according to the results of the interim scan. An international panel of six expert reviewers independently reported the scans using the Deauville five-point scale, blinded to treatment outcome. Forty-five scans were scored as positive (17.3%) and 215 (82.7%) as negative. After a median follow up of 37.0 (2-110) months, 252 patients are alive and eight have died. The 3-year progression-free survival rate was 83% for the whole study population, 28% for patients with interim positive scans and 95% for patients with interim negative scans (P<0.0001). The sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values of interim positron emission tomography scans for predicting treatment outcome were 0.73, 0.94, 0.94 and 0.73, respectively. Binary concordance amongst reviewers was good (Cohen's kappa 0.69-0.84). In conclusion, the prognostic role and validity of the Deauville five-point scale for interpretation of interim positron emission tomography scans have been confirmed by the present study.
textabstractMultiple myeloma management has undergone profound changes in the past thanks to advances in our understanding of the disease biology and improvements in treatment and supportive care approaches. This article presents recommendations of the European Myeloma Network for newly diagnosed patients based on the GRADE system for level of evidence. All patients with symptomatic disease should undergo risk stratification to classify patients for International Staging System stage (level of evidence: 1A) and for cytogenetically defined high- versus standard-risk groups (2B). Novel-agent-based induction and up-front autologous stem cell transplantation in medically fit patients remains the standard of care (1A). Induction therapy should include a triple combination of bortezomib, with either adriamycin or thalidomide and dexamethasone (1A), or with cyclophosphamide and dexamethasone (2B). Currently, allogeneic stem cell transplantation may be considered for young patients with high-risk disease and preferably in the context of a clinical trial (2B). Thalidomide (1B) or lenalidomide (1A) maintenance increases progression-free survival and possibly overall survival (2B). Bortezomib-based regimens are a valuable consolidation option, especially for patients who failed excellent response after autologous stem cell transplantation (2A). Bortezomib-melphalan-prednisone or melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide are the standards of care for transplant-ineligible patients (1A). Melphalan-prednisone-lenalidomide with lenalidomide maintenance increases progression-free survival, but overall survival data are needed. New data from the phase III study (MM-020/IFM 07-01) of lenalidomide-low-dose dexamethasone reached its primary end point of a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival as compared to melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide and provides further evidence for the efficacy of lenalidomide-low-dose dexamethasone in transplant-ineligible patients (2B).
Background Acute myeloid leukemia is the second most common leukemia among United States adults with a median age of 69 years. We investigated recent clinical practices related to treatments and disease outcomes in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia in the United States. Design and Methods In this retrospective cohort study, we used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program data from 2000 through 2007 linked to Medicare enrollment and utilization data in the United States. Results Among 5,480 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (median age 78 years, range 65-93), 38.6% received leukemia therapy within three months of diagnosis (treated group). Practice changed with 16.3% of treated patients receiving hypomethylating agents after 2004 when those agents became available. Median survival was two months in the untreated group versus six months in the treated group (P<0.01) with the biggest improvements seen in those aged 65-69 years (10 months vs. 4 months; P<0.01) and 70-74 years (8 months vs. 3 months; P<0.01). In 46 patients receiving allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (0.8%), the median survival from diagnosis was 22 months. Conclusions Therapy for leukemia improves overall survival in older acute myeloid leukemia patients. Based on their comorbidities, most patients up to 80 years of age should be considered for treatment. New therapies including hypomethylating agents and allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation are promising and must be compared with other chemotherapy regimens.
Thalassemia major and sickle cell disease are the two most widely disseminated hereditary hemoglobinopathies in the world. The outlook for affected individuals has improved in recent years due to advances in medical management in the prevention and treatment of complications. However, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is still the only available curative option. The use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been increasing, and outcomes today have substantially improved compared with the past three decades. Current experience world-wide is that more than 90% of patients now survive hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and disease-free survival is around 80%. However, only a few controlled trials have been reported, and decisions on patient selection for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and transplant management remain principally dependent on data from retrospective analyses and on the clinical experience of the transplant centers. This consensus document from the European Blood and Marrow Transplantation Inborn Error Working Party and the Paediatric Diseases Working Party aims to report new data and provide consensus-based recommendations on indications for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and transplant management.
MYC alterations influence the survival of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Most studies have focused on MYC translocations but there is little information regarding the impact of numerical alterations and protein expression. We analyzed the genetic alterations and protein expression of MYC, BCL2, BCL6, and MALT1 in 219 cases of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. MYC rearrangement occurred as the sole abnormality (MYC single-hit) in 3% of cases, MYC and concurrent BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements (MYC double/triple-hit) in 4%, MYC amplifications in 2% and MYC gains in 19%. MYC single-hit, MYC double/triple-hit and MYC amplifications, but not MYC gains or other gene rearrangements, were associated with unfavorable progression-free survival and overall survival. MYC protein expression, evaluated using computerized image analysis, captured the unfavorable prognosis of MYC translocations/amplifications and identified an additional subset of patients without gene alterations but with similar poor prognosis. Patients with tumors expressing both MYC/BCL2 had the worst prognosis, whereas those with double-negative tumors had the best outcome. High MYC expression was associated with shorter overall survival irrespectively of the International Prognostic Index and BCL2 expression. In conclusion, MYC protein expression identifies a subset of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma with very poor prognosis independently of gene alterations and other prognostic parameters.
Background The European Cancer Registry-based project on hematologic malignancies (HAEMACARE), set up to improve the availability and standardization of data on hematologic malignancies in Europe, used the European Cancer Registry-based project on survival and care of cancer patients (EUROCARE-4) database to produce a new grouping of hematologic neoplasms (defined by the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition and the 2001/2008 World Health Organization classifications) for epidemiological and public health purposes. We analyzed survival for lymphoid neoplasms in Europe by disease group, comparing survival between different European regions by age and sex. Design and Methods Incident neoplasms recorded between 1995 to 2002 in 48 population-based cancer registries in 20 countries participating in EUROCARE-4 were analyzed. The period approach was used to estimate 5-year relative survival rates for patients diagnosed in 2000-2002, who did not have 5 years of follow up. Results The 5-year relative survival rate was 57% overall but varied markedly between the defined groups. Variation in survival within the groups was relatively limited across European regions and less than in previous years. Survival differences between men and women were small. The relative survival for patients with all lymphoid neoplasms decreased substantially after the age of 50. The proportion of 'not otherwise specified' diagnoses increased with advancing age. Conclusions This is the first study to analyze survival of patients with lymphoid neoplasms, divided into groups characterized by similar epidemiological and clinical characteristics, providing a benchmark for more detailed analyses. This Europe-wide study suggests that previously noted differences in survival between regions have tended to decrease. The survival of patients with all neoplasms decreased markedly with age, while the proportion of 'not otherwise specified' diagnoses increased with advancing age. Thus the quality of diagnostic work-up and care decreased with age, suggesting that older patients may not be receiving optimal treatment.
Intravenous iron is widely used for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia when oral iron is inappropriate, ineffective or poorly tolerated. Acute hypersensitivity reactions during iron infusions are very rare but can be life-threatening. This paper reviews their frequency, pathogenesis and risk factors, and provides recommendations about their management and prevention. Complement activation-related pseudo-allergy triggered by iron nanoparticles is probably a more frequent pathogenetic mechanism in acute reactions to current formulations of intravenous iron than is an immunological IgE-mediated response. Major risk factors for hypersensitivity reactions include a previous reaction to an iron infusion, a fast iron infusion rate, multiple drug allergies, severe atopy, and possibly systemic inflammatory diseases. Early pregnancy is a contraindication to iron infusions, while old age and serious co-morbidity may worsen the impact of acute reactions if they occur. Management of iron infusions requires meticulous observation, and, in the event of an adverse reaction, prompt recognition and severity-related interventions by well-trained medical and nursing staff.
Background Systemic activation of hemostasis is frequently observed in cancer patients, even in the absence of thrombosis. Moreover, this activation has been implicated in tumor progression, angiogenesis and metastatic spread. Increased levels of D-dimer, which is a degradation product of cross-linked fibrin, indicate a global activation of hemostasis and fibrinolysis. Design and Methods In a prospective and observational cohort study, we assessed the prognostic value of D-dimer levels for overall survival and mortality risk in 1178 cancer patients included in the Vienna Cancer and Thrombosis Study (CATS). Patients were followed over 2 years at regular intervals until occurrence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism or death. D-dimer levels were measured with a quantitative D-dimer latex agglutination assay Results The main solid tumors were malignancies of the lung (n=182), breast (n=157), lower gastrointestinal tract (n=133), pancreas (n=74), stomach (n=50), kidney (n=37), prostate (n=133), and brain (n=148); 201 of the patients had hematologic malignancies; 63 had other tumors. During a median follow-up of 731 days, 460 (39.0%) patients died. The overall survival probabilities for patients with D-dimer levels categorized into four groups based on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quartiles of the D-dimer distribution in the total study population were 88%, 82%, 66% and 53% after 1 year, and 78%, 66%, 50% and 30% after 2 years, respectively (P<0.001). The univariate hazard ratio of D-dimer (per double increase) for mortality was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.4-1.6, P<0.001) and remained increased in multivariable analysis including tumor subgroups, age, sex and venous thromboembolism. Conclusions High D-dimer levels were associated with poor overall survival and increased mortality risk in cancer patients.
textabstractThe European Myeloma Network has organized two workshops on fluorescence in situ hybridization in multiple myeloma. The first aimed to identify specific indications and consensus technical approaches of current practice. A second workshop followed a quality control exercise in which 21 laboratories analyzed diagnostic cases of purified plasma cells for recurrent abnormalities. The summary report was discussed at the EHA Myeloma Scientific Working Group Meeting 2010. During the quality control exercise, there was acceptable agreement on more than 1,000 tests. The conclusions from the exercise were that the primary clinical applications for FISH analysis were for newly diagnosed cases of MM or frank relapse cases. A range of technical recommendations included: 1) material should be part of the first draw of the aspirate; 2) samples should be sent at suitable times to allow for the lengthy processing procedure; 3) most importantly, PCs must be purified or specifically identified; 4) positive cut-off levels should be relatively conservative: 10% for fusion or breakapart probes, 20% for numerical abnormalities; 5) informative probes should be combined to best effect; 6) in specialist laboratories, a single experienced analyst is considered adequate; 7) at least 100 PC should be scored; 8) essential abnormalities to test for are t(4;14), t(14;16) and 17p13 deletions; 9) suitable commercial probes should be available for clinically relevant abnormalities; 10) the clinical report should be expressed clearly and must state the percentage of PC involved and the method used for identification; 11) a retrospective European based FISH data bank linked to clinical data should be generated; and 12) prospective analysis should be centralized for upcoming trials based on the recommendations made. The European Myeloma Network aims to build on these recommendations to establish standards for a common European data base to define subgroups with prognostic significance.
The identification as cooperating targets of Proviral Integrations of Moloney virus in murine lymphomas suggested early on that PIM serine/threonine kinases play an important role in cancer biology. Whereas elevated levels of PIM1 and PIM2 were mostly found in hematologic malignancies and prostate cancer, increased PIM3 expression was observed in different solid tumors. PIM kinases are constitutively active and their activity supports in vitro and in vivo tumor cell growth and survival through modification of an increasing number of common as well as isoform-specific substrates including several cell cycle regulators and apoptosis mediators. PIM1 but not PIM2 seems also to mediate homing and migration of normal and malignant hematopoietic cells by regulating chemokine receptor surface expression. Knockdown experiments by RNA interference or dominant-negative acting mutants suggested that PIM kinases are important for maintenance of a transformed phenotype and therefore potential therapeutic targets. Determination of the protein structure facilitated identification of an increasing number of potent small molecule PIM kinase inhibitors with in vitro and in vivo anticancer activity. Ongoing efforts aim to identify isoform-specific PIM inhibitors that would not only help to dissect the kinase function but hopefully also provide targeted therapeutics. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about the role of PIM serine/threonine kinases for the pathogenesis and therapy of hematologic malignancies and solid cancers, and we highlight structural principles and recent progress on small molecule PIM kinase inhibitors that are on their way into first clinical trials.
The novel Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib and phosphatidyl-4-5-biphosphate 3-kinase-delta inhibitor idelalisib are promising drugs for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, either alone or in combination with anti-CD20 antibodies. We investigated the possible positive or negative impact of these drugs on all known mechanisms of action of both type I and type II anti-CD20 antibodies. Pretreatment with ibrutinib for 1 hour did not increase direct cell death of cell lines or chronic lymphocytic leukemia samples mediated by anti-CD20 antibodies. Pre-treatment with ibrutinib did not inhibit complement activation or complement-mediated lysis. In contrast, ibrutinib strongly inhibited all cell-mediated mechanisms induced by anti-CD20 antibodies rituximab, ofatumumab or obinutuzumab, either in purified systems or whole blood assays. Activation of natural killer cells, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity by these cells, as well as phagocytosis by macrophages or neutrophils were inhibited by ibrutinib with a half maximal effective concentration of 0.3-3 mu M. Analysis of anti-CD20 mediated activation of natural killer cells isolated from patients on continued oral ibrutinib treatment suggested that repeated drug dosing inhibits these cells in vivo. Finally we show that the phosphatidyl-4-5-biphosphate 3-kinase-d inhibitor idelalisib similarly inhibited the immune cell-mediated mechanisms induced by anti-CD20 antibodies, although the effects of this drug at 10 mu M were weaker than those observed with ibrutinib at the same concentration. We conclude that the design of combined treatment schedules of antiC-D20 antibodies with these kinase inhibitors should consider the multiple negative interactions between these two classes of drugs.
Background Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has been used since 1996 for the treatment of severe autoimmune diseases refractory to approved therapies. We evaluated the long-term outcomes of these transplants and aimed to identify potential prognostic factors. Design and Methods In this observational study we analyzed all first autologous hematopoietic stem cell trans plants for autoimmune diseases reported to the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) registry between 1996-2007. The primary end-points for analysis were overall survival, progression-free survival and trans plant-related mortality at 100 days. Results Nine hundred patients with autoimmune diseases (64% female; median age, 35 years) who underwent a first autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant were included. The main diseases were Multiple sclerosis (n=345), systemic sclerosis (n=175), systemic lupus erythematosus (n=85), rheumatoid arthritis (n=89), juvenile arthritis (n=65), and hematologic immune cytopenia (n=37). Among all patients, the 5-year survival was 85% and the progression-free survival 43%., although the rates varied widely according to the type of autoimmune disease. By multivariate analysis, the 100-day transplant-related mortality was associated with the transplant centers' experience (P=0.003) and type of autoimmune disease (P=0.003). No significant influence of transplant technique was identified. Age less than 35 years (P=0.004), transplantation after 2000 (P=0.0015) and diagnosis (P=0.0007) were associated with progression-free survival. Conclusions This largest cohort studied worldwide shows that autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation can induce sustained remissions for more than 5 years in patients with severe autoimmune diseases refractory to conventional therapy. The type of autoimmune disease,. rather than transplant technique, was the most relevant determinant of outcome. Results improved with time and were associated with the transplant centers' experience. These data support ongoing and planned phase III trials to evaluate the place of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in the treatment strategy for severe autoimmune diseases.
COMFORT-I is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the Janus kinase 1/Janus kinase 2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in 309 patients with intermediate-2 or high-risk myelofibrosis. This analysis of COMFORT-I describes the long-term efficacy and safety of ruxolitinib (median follow-up, 2 years). Spleen volume was measured by magnetic resonance imaging, and quality of life was evaluated using the EORTC QLQ-C30. Overall survival was determined according to randomized treatment group. At the time of this analysis, 100 of 155 patients randomized to ruxolitinib were still receiving treatment. All patients randomized to placebo crossed over to ruxolitinib or discontinued within 3 months of the primary analysis (median time to crossover, 41 weeks). Mean spleen volume reductions in the ruxolitinib group were 31.6% at week 24 and 34.9% at week 96; improvements in quality of life measures were also maintained. Improved survival was observed for ruxolitinib (n=27 deaths) versus placebo (n=41 deaths) (hazard ratio=0.58; 95% confidence interval: 0.36, 0.95; P=0.03). The incidence of new-onset grade 3 or 4 anemia and thrombocytopenia decreased over time to levels observed in patients receiving placebo. These data indicate that ruxolitinib treatment provides durable reductions in spleen volume and improvements in quality of life and suggest a continued survival advantage for ruxolitinib over placebo.
RESPONSE is an open-label phase 3 study evaluating the Janus kinase 1/Janus kinase 2 inhibitor ruxolitinib versus best available therapy for efficacy/safety in hydroxyurea-resistant or intolerant patients with polycythemia vera. This preplanned analysis occurred when all patients completed the Week 80 visit or discontinued. Objectives included evaluating the durability of the primary response (Week 32 phlebotomy-independent hematocrit control plus >= 35% spleen volume reduction), its components, and that of complete hematologic remission; and long-term safety. Median exposure was 111 weeks; 91/110 (82.7%) patients randomized to ruxolitinib remained on treatment. No patients continued best available therapy (98/112 [87.5%] crossed over to ruxolitinib, most at/soon after Week 32). At Week 32, primary response was achieved by 22.7% vs. 0.9% of patients randomized to ruxolitinib and best available therapy, respectively (hematocrit control, 60.0% vs. 18.8%; spleen response, 40.0% vs. 0.9%). The probability of maintaining primary and hemat-ocrit responses for >= 80 weeks was 92% and 89%, respectively; 43/44 spleen responses were maintained until Week 80. Complete hematologic remission at Week 32 was achieved in 23.6% of ruxolitinib-randomized patients; the probability of maintaining complete hematologic remission for >= 80 weeks was 69%. Among ruxolitinib crossover patients, 79.2% were not phlebotomized, and 18.8% achieved a >= 35% reduction from baseline in spleen volume after 32 weeks of treatment. New or worsening hematologic laboratory abnormalities in ruxolitinib-treated patients were primarily grade 1/2 decreases in hemoglobin, lymphocytes, and platelets. The thromboembolic event rate per 100 patient-years was 1.8 with randomized ruxolitinib treatment vs. 8.2 with best available therapy. These data support ruxolitinib as an effective long-term treatment option for hydroxyurea-resistant or intolerant patients with polycythemia vera. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov identifier: 01243944.