Therapy for multiple myeloma (MM) has markedly changed in the past decade with the introduction of new drugs, but it is not clear whether the improvements have been sustained. We studied 1038 patients diagnosed between 2001 and 2010, grouping patients into two 5-year periods by diagnosis, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. The median estimated follow-up for the cohort was 5.9 years with 47% alive at the last follow-up. The median overall survival (OS) for the entire cohort was 5.2years: 4.6 years for patients in the 2001-2005 group compared with 6.1 years for the 2006-2010 cohort (P-0.002). The improvement was primarily seen among patients over 65 years, the 6-year OS improving from 31 to 56%, P< 0.001. Only 10% of patients died during the first year in the latter group, compared with 16% in the earlier cohort (P<0.01), suggesting improvement in early mortality. The improved outcomes were linked closely to the use of one or more new agents in initial therapy. The current results confirm continued survival improvement in MM and highlight the impact of initial therapy with novel agents. Most importantly, we demonstrate that the improved survival is benefitting older patients and that early mortality in this disease has reduced considerably.
High-throughput DNA sequencing significantly contributed to diagnosis and prognostication in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). We determined the biological and prognostic significance of genetic aberrations in MDS. In total, 944 patients with various MDS subtypes were screened for known/putative mutations/deletions in 104 genes using targeted deep sequencing and array-based genomic hybridization. In total, 845/944 patients (89.5%) harbored at least one mutation (median, 3 per patient; range, 0-12). Forty-seven genes were significantly mutated with TET2, SF3B1, ASXL1, SRSF2, DNMT3A, and RUNX1 mutated in > 10% of cases. Many mutations were associated with higher risk groups and/or blast elevation. Survival was investigated in 875 patients. By univariate analysis, 25/48 genes (resulting from 47 genes tested significantly plus PRPF8) affected survival (P < 0.05). The status of 14 genes combined with conventional factors revealed a novel prognostic model ('Model-1') separating patients into four risk groups ('low', 'intermediate', 'high', 'very high risk') with 3-year survival of 95.2, 69.3, 32.8, and 5.3% (P < 0.001). Subsequently, a 'gene-only model' ('Model-2') was constructed based on 14 genes also yielding four significant risk groups (P < 0.001). Both models were reproducible in the validation cohort (n = 175 patients; P < 0.001 each). Thus, large-scale genetic and molecular profiling of multiple target genes is invaluable for subclassification and prognostication in MDS patients.
In the phase 3 Evaluating Nilotinib Efficacy and Safety in Clinical Trials-Newly Diagnosed Patients (ENESTnd) study, nilotinib resulted in earlier and higher response rates and a lower risk of progression to accelerated phase/blast crisis (AP/BC) than imatinib in patients with newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP). Here, patients' long-term outcomes in ENESTnd are evaluated after a minimum follow-up of 5 years. By 5 years, more than half of all patients in each nilotinib arm (300 mg twice daily, 54%; 400 mg twice daily, 52%) achieved a molecular response 4.5 (MR4.5; BCR-ABL <= 0.0032% on the International Scale) compared with 31% of patients in the imatinib arm. A benefit of nilotinib was observed across all Sokal risk groups. Overall, safety results remained consistent with those from previous reports. Numerically more cardiovascular events (CVEs) occurred in patients receiving nilotinib vs imatinib, and elevations in blood cholesterol and glucose levels were also more frequent with nilotinib. In contrast to the high mortality rate associated with CML progression, few deaths in any arm were associated with CVEs, infections or pulmonary diseases. These long-term results support the positive benefit-risk profile of frontline nilotinib 300 mg twice daily in patients with CML-CP.
Patient outcome in primary myelofibrosis (PMF) is significantly influenced by karyotype. We studied 879 PMF patients to determine the individual and combinatorial prognostic relevance of somatic mutations. Analysis was performed in 483 European patients and the seminal observations were validated in 396 Mayo Clinic patients. Samples from the European cohort, collected at time of diagnosis, were analyzed for mutations in ASXL1, SRSF2, EZH2, TET2, DNMT3A, CBL, IDH1, IDH2, MPL and JAK2. Of these, ASXL1, SRSF2 and EZH2 mutations inter-independently predicted shortened survival. However, only ASXL1 mutations (HR: 2.02; P<0.001) remained significant in the context of the International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS). These observations were validated in the Mayo Clinic cohort where mutation and survival analyses were performed from time of referral. ASXL1, SRSF2 and EZH2 mutations were independently associated with poor survival, but only ASXL1 mutations held their prognostic relevance (HR: 1.4; P = 0.04) independent of the Dynamic IPSS (DIPSS)-plus model, which incorporates cytogenetic risk. In the European cohort, leukemia-free survival was negatively affected by IDH1/2, SRSF2 and ASXL1 mutations and in the Mayo cohort by IDH1 and SRSF2 mutations. Mutational profiling for ASXL1, EZH2, SRSF2 and IDH identifies PMF patients who are at risk for premature death or leukemic transformation.
Calreticulin (CALR) mutations were recently described in JAK2 and MPL unmutated primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and essential thrombocythemia. In the current study, we compared the clinical, cytogenetic and molecular features of patients with PMF with or without CALR, JAK2 or MPL mutations. Among 254 study patients, 147 (58%) harbored JAK2, 63 (25%) CALR and 21(8.3%) MPL mutations; 22 (8.7%) patients were negative for all three mutations, whereas one patient expressed both JAK2 and CALR mutations. Study patients were also screened for ASXL1 (31%), EZH2 (6%), IDH (4%), SRSF2 (12%), SF3B1 (7%) and U2AF1 (16%) mutations. In univariate analysis, CALR mutations were associated with younger age (P<0.0001), higher platelet count (P<0.0001) and lower DIPSS-plus score (P = 0.02). CALR-mutated patients were also less likely to be anemic, require transfusions or display leukocytosis. Spliceosome mutations were infrequent (P = 0.0001) in CALR-mutated patients, but no other molecular or cytogenetic associations were evident. In multivariable analysis, CALR mutations had a favorable impact on survival that was independent of both DIPSS-plus risk and ASXL1 mutation status (P = 0.001; HR 3.4 for triple-negative and 22 for JAK2-mutated). Triple-negative patients also displayed inferior LFS (P = 0.003). The current study identifies 'CALR-ASXL1(+)' and 'triple-negative' as high-risk molecular signatures in PMF.
Adoptive T-cell therapy with gene-modified T cells expressing a tumor-reactive T-cell receptor or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is a rapidly growing field of translational medicine and has shown success in the treatment of B-cell malignancies and solid tumors. In all reported trials, patients have received T-cell products comprising random compositions of CD4(+) and CD8(+) naive and memory T cells, meaning that each patient received a different therapeutic agent. This variation may have influenced the efficacy of T-cell therapy, and complicates comparison of outcomes between different patients and across trials. We analyzed CD19 CAR-expressing effector T cells derived from different subsets (CD4(+)/CD8(+) naive, central memory, effector memory). T cells derived from each of the subsets were efficiently transduced and expanded, but showed clear differences in effector function and proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Combining the most potent CD4(+) and CD8(+) CAR-expressing subsets, resulted in synergistic antitumor effects in vivo. We show that CAR-T-cell products generated from defined T-cell subsets can provide uniform potency compared with products derived from unselected T cells that vary in phenotypic composition. These findings have important implications for the formulation of T-cell products for adoptive therapies.
Calreticulin (CALR) mutations were recently described in JAK2 and MPL unmutated primary myelofibrosis (PMF) and essential thrombocythemia. In the current study, we compared the clinical, cytogenetic and molecular features of patients with PMF with or without CALR, JAK2 or MPL mutations. Among 254 study patients, 147 (58%) harbored JAK2, 63 (25%) CALR and 21 (8.3%) MPL mutations; 22 (8.7%) patients were negative for all three mutations, whereas one patient expressed both JAK2 and CALR mutations. Study patients were also screened for ASXL1 (31%), EZH2 (6%), IDH (4%), SRSF2 (12%), SF3B1 (7%) and U2AF1 (16%) mutations. In univariate analysis, CALR mutations were associated with younger age (P<0.0001), higher platelet count (P<0.0001) and lower DIPSS-plus score (P=0.02). CALR-mutated patients were also less likely to be anemic, require transfusions or display leukocytosis. Spliceosome mutations were infrequent (P=0.0001) in CALR-mutated patients, but no other molecular or cytogenetic associations were evident. In multivariable analysis, CALR mutations had a favorable impact on survival that was independent of both DIPSS-plus risk and ASXL1 mutation status (P=0.001; HR 3.4 for triple-negative and 2.2 for JAK2-mutated). Triple-negative patients also displayed inferior LFS (P=0.003). The current study identifies 'CALR(-)ASXL1(+)' and 'triple-negative' as high-risk molecular signatures in PMF.
Blockade of immune checkpoints is emerging as a new form of anticancer therapy. We studied the expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), PD-L2, programmed death 1 (PD-1) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4) mRNA in CD34+ cells from myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients (N=124). Aberrant upregulation (>= 2-fold) was observed in 34, 14, 15 and 8% of the patients. Increased expression of these four genes was also observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) (N=61). The relative expression of PD-L1 from PBMNC was significantly higher in MDS (P=0.018) and CMML (P=0.0128) compared with AML. By immunohistochemical analysis, PD-L1 protein expression was observed in MDS CD34+ cells, whereas stroma/non-blast cellular compartment was positive for PD-1. In a cohort of patients treated with epigenetic therapy, PD-L1, PD-L2, PD-1 and CTLA4 expression was upregulated. Patients resistant to therapy had relative higher increments in gene expression compared with patients who achieved response. Treatment of leukemia cells with decitabine resulted in a dose-dependent upregulation of above genes. Exposure to decitabine resulted in partial demethylation of PD-1 in leukemia cell lines and human samples. This study suggests that PD-1 signaling may be involved in MDS pathogenesis and resistance mechanisms to hypomethylating agents. Blockade of this pathway can be a potential therapy in MDS and AML.
Promising new drugs are being evaluated for treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), but their impact should be measured against the expected outcome in patients failing current therapies. However, the natural history of relapsed disease in the current era remains unclear. We studied 286 patients with relapsed MM, who were refractory to bortezomib and were relapsed following, refractory to or ineligible to receive, an IMiD (immunomodulatory drug), had measurable disease, and ECOG PS of 0, 1 or 2. The date patients satisfied the entry criteria was defined as time zero (T-0). The median age at diagnosis was 58 years, and time from diagnosis to T-0 was 3.3 years. Following T-0, 213 (74%) patients had a treatment recorded with one or more regimens (median = 1; range 0-8). The first regimen contained bortezomib in 55 (26%) patients and an IMiD in 70 (33%). A minor response or better was seen to at least one therapy after T0 in 94 patients (44%) including >= partial response in 69 (32%). The median overall survival and event-free survival from T-0 were 9 and 5 months, respectively. This study confirms the poor outcome, once patients become refractory to current treatments. The results provide context for interpreting ongoing trials of new drugs. Leukemia (2012) 26, 149-157; doi:10.1038/leu.2011.196; published online 29 July 2011
Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (similar to 90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
Thalidomide and the immunomodulatory drug, lenalidomide, are therapeutically active in hematological malignancies. The ubiquitously expressed E3 ligase protein cereblon (CRBN) has been identified as the primary teratogenic target of thalidomide. Our studies demonstrate that thalidomide, lenalidomide and another immunomodulatory drug, pomalidomide, bound endogenous CRBN and recombinant CRBN-DNA damage binding protein-1 (DDB1) complexes. CRBN mediated antiproliferative activities of lenalidomide and pomalidomide in myeloma cells, as well as lenalidomide- and pomalidomide-induced cytokine production in T cells. Lenalidomide and pomalidomide inhibited autoubiquitination of CRBN in HEK293T cells expressing thalidomide-binding competent wild-type CRBN, but not thalidomide-binding defective CRBNYW/AA. Overexpression of CRBN wild-type protein, but not CRBNYW/AA mutant protein, in KMS12 myeloma cells, amplified pomalidomide-mediated reductions in c-myc and IRF4 expression and increases in p21(WAF-1) expression. Long-term selection for lenalidomide resistance in H929 myeloma cell lines was accompanied by a reduction in CRBN, while in DF15R myeloma cells resistant to both pomalidomide and lenalidomide, CRBN protein was undetectable. Our biophysical, biochemical and gene silencing studies show that CRBN is a proximate, therapeutically important molecular target of lenalidomide and pomalidomide.
textabstractMost consensus leukemia lymphoma antibody panels consist of lists of markers based on expert opinions, but they have not been validated. Here we present the validated EuroFlow 8-color antibody panels for immunophenotyping of hematological malignancies. The single-tube screening panels and multi-tube classification panels fit into the EuroFlow diagnostic algorithm with entries defined by clinical and laboratory parameters. The panels were constructed in 2-7 sequential design-evaluation-redesign rounds, using novel Infinicyt software tools for multivariate data analysis. Two groups of markers are combined in each 8-color tube: (i) backbone markers to identify distinct cell populations in a sample, and (ii) markers for characterization of specific cell populations. In multi-tube panels, the backbone markers were optimally placed at the same fluorochrome position in every tube, to provide identical multidimensional localization of the target cell population(s). The characterization markers were positioned according to the diagnostic utility of the combined markers. Each proposed antibody combination was tested against reference databases of normal and malignant cells from healthy subjects and WHO-based disease entities, respectively. The EuroFlow studies resulted in validated and flexible 8-color antibody panels for multidimensional identification and characterization of normal and aberrant cells, optimally suited for immunophenotypic screening and classification of hematological malignancies.
Multiple myeloma is characterized by underlying clinical and biological heterogeneity, which translates to variable response to treatment and outcome. With the recent increase in treatment armamentarium and the projected further increase in approved therapeutic agents in the coming years, the issue of having some mechanism to dissect this heterogeneity and rationally apply treatment is coming to the fore. A number of robustly validated prognostic markers have been identified and the use of these markers in stratifying patients into different risk groups has been proposed. In this consensus statement, the International Myeloma Working Group propose well-defined and easily applicable risk categories based on current available information and suggests the use of this set of prognostic factors as gold standards in all clinical trials and form the basis of subsequent development of more complex prognostic system or better prognostic factors. At the same time, these risk categories serve as a framework to rationalize the use of therapies.
Despite major improvements in allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation over the past decades, corticosteroid-refractory (SR) acute (a) and chronic (c) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) cause high mortality. Preclinical evidence indicates the potent anti-inflammatory properties of the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib. In this retrospective survey, 19 stem cell transplant centers in Europe and the United States reported outcome data from 95 patients who had received ruxolitinib as salvage therapy for SR-GVHD. Patients were classified as having SR-aGVHD (n=54, all grades III or IV) or SR-cGVHD (n=41, all moderate or severe). The median number of previous GVHD-therapies was 3 for both SR-aGVHD (1-7) and SR-cGVHD (1-10). The overall response rate was 81.5% (44/54) in SR-aGVHD including 25 complete responses (46.3%), while for SR-cGVHD the ORR was 85.4% (35/41). Of those patients responding to ruxolitinib, the rate of GVHD-relapse was 6.8% (3/44) and 5.7% (2/35) for SR-aGVHD and SR-cGVHD, respectively. The 6-month-survival was 79% (67.3-90.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI)) and 97.4% (92.3-100%, 95% CI) for SR-aGVHD and SR-cGVHD, respectively. Cytopenia and cytomegalovirus-reactivation were observed during ruxolitinib treatment in both SR-aGVHD (30/54, 55.6% and 18/54, 33.3%) and SR-cGVHD (7/41, 17.1% and 6/41, 14.6%) patients. Ruxolitinib may constitute a promising new treatment option for SR-aGVHD and SR-cGVHD that should be validated in a prospective trial.
Under the auspices of an International Working Group, seven centers submitted diagnostic and follow-up information on 1545 patients with World Health Organization-defined polycythemia vera (PV). At diagnosis, median age was 61 years (51% females); thrombocytosis and venous thrombosis were more frequent in women and arterial thrombosis and abnormal karyotype in men. Considering patients from the center with the most mature follow-up information (n = 337 with 44% of patients followed to death), median survival (14.1 years) was significantly worse than that of the age-and sex-matched US population (P= 15 x 10(9)/l. Leukemic transformation was associated with treatment exposure to pipobroman or P32/chlorambucil. We found no association between leukemic transformation and hydroxyurea or busulfan use.
Evaluating Nilotinib Efficacy and Safety in Clinical Trials Newly Diagnosed Patients compares nilotinib and imatinib in patients with newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia in chronic phase (CML-CP). With a minimum follow-up of 3 years, major molecular response, molecular response of BCR-ABL <= 0.01% expressed on the international scale (BCR-ABL(IS); MR4) and BCR-ABL(IS) <= 0.0032% (MR4.5) rates were significantly higher with nilotinib compared with imatinib, and differences in the depth of molecular response between nilotinib and imatinib have increased over time. No new progressions occurred on treatment since the 2-year analysis. Nilotinib was associated with a significantly lower probability of progression to accelerated phase/blast crisis vs imatinib (two (0.7%) progressions on nilotinib 300 mg twice daily, three (1.1%) on nilotinib 400 mg twice daily and 12 (4.2%) on imatinib). When considering progressions occurring after study treatment discontinuation, the advantage of nilotinib over imatinib in preventing progression remained significant (nine (3.2%) progressions on nilotinib 300mg twice daily, six (2.1%) on nilotinib 400 mg twice daily and 19 (6.7%) on imatinib). Both nilotinib and imatinib were well tolerated, with minimal changes in safety over time. Nilotinib continues to demonstrate superior efficacy in all key response and outcome parameters compared with imatinib for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed CML-CP.
Imatinib mesylate is considered standard of care for first-line treatment of chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML-CP). In the phase III, randomized, open-label International Randomized Study of Interferon vs STI571 (IRIS) trial, previously untreated CML-CP patients were randomized to imatinib (n = 553) or interferon-alpha (IFN) plus cytarabine (n = 553). This 6-year update focuses on patients randomized to receive imatinib as first-line therapy for newly diagnosed CML-CP. During the sixth year of study treatment, there were no reports of disease progression to accelerated phase (AP) or blast crisis (BC). The toxicity profile was unchanged. The cumulative best complete cytogenetic response (CCyR) rate was 82%; 63% of all patients randomized to receive imatinib and still on study treatment showed CCyR at last assessment. The estimated event-free survival at 6 years was 83%, and the estimated rate of freedom from progression to AP and BC was 93%. The estimated overall survival was 88%-or 95% when only CML-related deaths were considered. This 6-year update of IRIS underscores the efficacy and safety of imatinib as first-line therapy for patients with CML. Leukemia (2009) 23, 1054-1061; doi: 10.1038/leu.2009.38; published online 12 March 2009
In the face of competing first-line treatment options for CML, early prediction of prognosis on imatinib is desirable to assure favorable survival or otherwise consider the use of a second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). A total of 1303 newly diagnosed imatinib-treated patients (pts) were investigated to correlate molecular and cytogenetic response at 3 and 6 months with progression-free and overall survival (PFS, OS). The persistence of BCR-ABL transcript levels >10% according to the international scale (BCR-ABL(IS)) at 3 months separated a high-risk group (28% of pts; 5-year OS: 87%) from a group with >1-10% BCR-ABL(IS) (41% of pts; 5-year OS: 94%; P = 0.012) and from a group with 35% Philadelphia chromosome-positive metaphases (Ph +, 27% of pts; 5-year OS: 87%) compared with 1% BCR-ABL(IS) (37% of pts; 5-year OS: 89%) was associated with inferior survival compared with 0% Ph + (34% of pts; 5-year OS: 91%) compared with 0% Ph + (66% of pts; 5-year OS: 97%; P = 0.015). Treatment optimization is recommended for pts missing these landmarks.
Through the European Research Initiative on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (ERIC), we screened 3490 patients with CLL for mutations within the NOTCH1 (n = 3334), SF3B1 (n = 2322), TP53 (n = 2309), MYD88 (n = 1080) and BIRC3 (n = 919) genes, mainly at diagnosis (75%) and before treatment (>90%). BIRC3 mutations (2.5%) were associated with unmutated IGHV genes (U-CLL), del(11q) and trisomy 12, whereas MYD88 mutations (2.2%) were exclusively found among M-CLL. NOTCH1, SF3B1 and TP53 exhibited variable frequencies and were mostly enriched within clinically aggressive cases. Interestingly, as the timespan between diagnosis and mutational screening increased, so too did the incidence of SF3B1 mutations; no such increase was observed for NOTCH1 mutations. Regarding the clinical impact, NOTCH1 mutations, SF3B1 mutations and TP53 aberrations (deletion/mutation, TP53ab) correlated with shorter time-to-first-treatment (P < 0.0001) in 889 treatment-naive Binet stage A cases. In multivariate analysis (n = 774), SF3B1 mutations and TP53ab along with del(11q) and U-CLL, but not NOTCH1 mutations, retained independent significance. Importantly, TP53ab and SF3B1 mutations had an adverse impact even in U-CLL. In conclusion, we support the clinical relevance of novel recurrent mutations in CLL, highlighting the adverse impact of SF3B1 and TP53 mutations, even independent of IGHV mutational status, thus underscoring the need for urgent standardization/harmonization of the detection methods.