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Journal: Hematological oncology


Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is characterized by a variable clinical course in which patients can experience indolent disease or frequent relapses despite a good initial response to conventional therapy. Risk stratification of MCL is most frequently performed using the MCL International Prognostic Index (MIPI). Recent studies indicate that the peripheral blood absolute monocyte count (AMC) and tumour-associated macrophages may reflect the state of the tumour microenvironment in lymphomas. The significance of AMC and tumour-associated macrophages in the clinical course of MCL is unknown. The prognostic impact of the AMC, of CD68 expression and of CD163 expression was retrospectively examined in 103 MCL samples using the receiver operating characteristic curved. Patients with an AMC ≥ 375 cells/μL at diagnosis were more likely to present with advanced-stage disease (p = 0.026), leukocytosis (p < 0.001), lymphocytosis (p = 0.01) and granulocytosis (p = 0.003). On univariate analysis, a high AMC (≥375 cells/μL) correlated with poorer overall survival (OS) (p = 0.01). Neither CD68 nor CD163 expression was significantly associated with either OS or event-free survival. Multivariate analysis showed that a high AMC was a prognostic factor for OS, independent of the MIPI [hazards ratio (HR), 1.811; 95% confidence interval, 1.018-3.223; p = 0.043]. This study demonstrates that the AMC at the time of diagnosis is an independent prognostic factor for OS in MCL, which suggests the possibility that AMC may be used in addition to the MIPI to predict outcome in patients with MCL. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Monocyte, Cancer, Macrophage, Multivariate statistics, Hematology, Prognosis, Univariate, Mantle cell lymphoma


The diagnosis of hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is delayed by most physicians. This study aimed to identify early parameters and suitable scoring systems for the risk of HLH. Clinical and laboratory data collected ≤3 days after admission were defined as early parameters and used to calculate the number of HLH-2004 criteria met and bone marrow (BM) score. Between January 2006 and February 2016, 233 immunocompetent adults with naïve fever of unknown origin who underwent a BM study were enrolled to mimic patients at risk of HLH and randomly assigned into the developmental or validation cohort. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis was finally diagnosed in 47 patients, with non-Hodgkin lymphoma as the major etiology (51.1%). Upon admission, four-fifths of patients who developed subsequent HLH fulfilled ≤3 of 8 HLH-2004 criteria, and 6 early parameters were independent predictors of HLH: anemia (hemoglobin < 10 g/dL), thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100 × 10(3) /μL), leukoerythroblastosis, hyperbilirubinemia (total bilirubin > 2 × upper normal limit), hyperferritinemia (ferritin > 1000 ng/mL), and splenomegaly. Compared with the HLH criteria met upon admission, the BM score was an independent predictor (odds ratio = 1.621; 95% confidence interval, 1.355-1.940) with excellent discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.920; 95% confidence interval, 0.883-0.958). The sensitivity and specificity for a BM score cutoff of 10 points were 95% and 75%, respectively. When approaching immunocompetent adults with a continuously high fever, the BM score at initial admission assists with early identification of patients at risk of HLH.

Concepts: Positive predictive value, Bone marrow, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Blood disorders, Fever, Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, Binary classification


Leukostasis is a poorly understood and life-threatening complication of acute hyperleukocytic leukemia. The incidence of hyperleukocytosis and leukostasis differs among various subtypes of leukemias. While the pathophysiology of leukostasis is not fully understood, recent research has elucidated many novel pathways that may have therapeutic implications in the future. Respiratory and neurological compromise represents the classical clinical manifestations of leukostasis. If it is not diagnosed and treated rapidly, the one-week mortality rate is approximately 40%. Targeted induction chemotherapy is an important component of the successful treatment of leukostasis, although other modalities of cytoreduction are being used and investigated. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Blood, Medical statistics, Bone marrow, Chemotherapy, Leukemia, Cyclophosphamide


Progression-free survival (PFS) is the standard endpoint for demonstration of clinical effectiveness of novel therapies in relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). However, the long evaluation times for PFS limits its usefulness in the development of new therapies. Therefore, the objective of this analysis was to determine the relationship between response rates and median PFS in RRMM. A database was systematically developed from 268 identified RRMM trials reported from 1999 to 2016. Evaluated covariates for the relationship between response rates and PFS included age, sex, drug class(es), and number of drug classes. One-hundred two (102) trials involving 136 cohorts were included in the meta-analysis, representing 13 322 patients in total. Regression analysis using response rates and median PFS indicated that the correlation between very good partial response (VGPR) or better and median PFS was higher (R2  = 0.63) than the separately analyzed correlations between clinical benefit, overall response, or complete response rate and median PFS (R2  = 0.47 - 0.52). Subsequent covariate analysis revealed that treatment with an immunomodulatory imide drug (IMiD) further improved the relationship (R2  = 0.69), with a longer median PFS at a given VGPR or better rate when at least 1 drug treatment was an IMiD. Number of drug classes was not found to alter this relationship. In conclusion, VGPR or better rate can be used to predict the median PFS, with adjustment for the additional PFS provided by an IMiD.

Concepts: Multiple myeloma, Regression analysis, Clinical trial, Response rate, Effectiveness,, Rates, Correlation and dependence


Infections represent one of the major concerns regarding the utilization of ruxolitinib (RUX) in patients with myelofibrosis. With the aim to investigate epidemiology, outcome and risk factors for infections in RUX-exposed patients, we collected clinical and laboratory data of 446 myelofibrosis patients treated with RUX between June 2011 and November 2016 in 23 European Hematology Centers. After a median RUX exposure of 23.5 months (range, 1-56), 123 patients (28%) experienced 161 infectious events (grades 3-4 32%, fatal 9%), for an incidence rate of 17 cases per 100 pts/y. The rate of infections tended to decrease over time: 14% of patients developed the first infection within 6 months, 5% between 6 and 12 months, 3.7% between 12 and 18 months, 3.4% between 18 and 24 months, and 7.9% thereafter (P < .0001). Respiratory tract infections were more frequently observed (81 events, 50%), and bacteria were the most frequent etiological agents (68.9%). However, also viral (14.9%) and fungal infections (2.5%) were observed. In multivariate analysis, previous infectious event (HR 2.54; 95% CI, 1.51-4.28; P = .0005) and high international prognostic score system category (IPSS) (HR 1.53; 95% CI, 1.07-2.20; P = .021) significantly correlated with higher infectious risk. On the contrary, spleen reduction ≥50% from baseline after 3 months of treatment (P = .02) was associated with better infection-free survival. Taken together, these findings reinforce the concept of disease severity as the most important risk factor for infections, and describe, for the first time, that a positive therapeutic effect in reducing splenomegaly may also reduce subsequent infectious complications.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Medical statistics, Infection, Risk, The Canon of Medicine, Incidence, Transmission and infection of H5N1


Myeloid sarcoma (MS) is a rare condition and is an extramedullary tumour of immature myeloid cells. It is now known that the programmed death 1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway suppresses the host antitumor responses and that these products are expressed on both tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating cells in various malignancies. However, little is known about the significance of PD-1/PD-L1 expression on tumour cells and tumour microenvironmental cells in MS. To investigate the clinicopathological significance of PD-1/PD-L1 expression in MS, we analyzed 98 patients by immunohistochemistry. Of these, 10.2% of cases had neoplastic tumour cells positive for PD-L1 (nPD-L1+). However, the rate of nPD-L1+was <5% (range: 0.27 to 2.97%). On the other hand, PD-L1 expression on 1 or more of stromal cells in the tumour microenvironment (miPD-L1+) was observed in 37.8% of cases. Because all nPD-L1+cases expressed PD-1 on less than 5% of tumour cells, we compared the miPD-L1+and miPD-L1-groups. There was a correlation between miPD-L1+status and the number of PD-1-expressing tumour -infiltrating lymphocytes (PD-1+TILs; P = .0229). miPD-L1+was found to be associated with poorer overall survival and progression-free survival (P = .00392, P = .00261, respectively). Multivariate analysis also confirmed miPD-L1+to be an independent poor prognostic factor. In conclusion, our study indicated that the immunotherapy blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway may improve the clinical outcome of MS.

Concepts: Gene expression, Cancer, Oncology, Anatomical pathology, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm, Leukemia


CD200, a transmembrane type Ia glycoprotein belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily, has been shown to have a differential expression in B-cell neoplasms. Here, we retrospectively assessed the diagnostic relevance of CD200 on 427 patients with B-cell chronic neoplasms in leukemic phase (median age, 69 y; range, 35-97 y). The final diagnosis based on the investigator’s assessment was chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) in 75% of cases and non-CLL in 25% of cases. Sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of CLL (vs non-CLL) were calculated for the following markers: CD200, CD5, CD22, CD23, CD79b, FMC7, and SmIg. CD23 was the only marker without a statistically significant difference between the investigator assessment and the flowcytometric analysis. The other markers were unable-when individually evaluated-to discriminate between CLL and non-CLL, requiring the integration into a scoring system. The modified score no. 1 (addition of CD200) showed superimposable sensitivity and specificity compared with the Matutes score. The substitution of CD79b (modified score no. 2), surface membrane immunoglobulins (SmIg) (modified score no. 3), and CD79b and FMC7 (modified score no. 4) with CD200 showed that only the modified score no. 4 had both higher sensitivity and higher specificity compared with standard Matutes score. In conclusion, this work defines a simplified score, compared with the classical Matutes score, for the differential diagnosis of chronic B-cell leukaemia-which only requires 4 markers instead of 5 (CD5, CD23, CD200, and SmIg).

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Leukemia


Follicular lymphoma (FL) generally has an indolent clinical course, but in some patients, a histological transformation (HT) into aggressive entities may take place and often lead to a poorer survival. The rituximab era has seen an improved outcome of FL, including those with HT. The current treatment strategies for transformed FL are based on immunochemotherapy for the cases with HT at the time of diagnosis or as the first event after watchful waiting. Patients transforming after prior treatment of FL usually benefit from autologous stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, early assessment of the transformation risk remains elusive. Recent studies delved the mechanisms of HT, showing that this is a complex process, resulting from a number of epigenetic and genetic lesions occurring in the tumour cell population as well as progressive changes in the tumour microenvironment. This novel knowledge has prompted clinical investigations on a variety of new therapeutic strategies.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Biology, Medical terms, Anatomical pathology, Medical signs, Follicular lymphoma


Spontaneous canine lymphoma (CL) has become a promising, nonrodent model for advancing the therapeutic strategies of human hematological malignancies. As new resources for veterinary and comparative studies on CL-associated antigens, we developed 2 novel mouse monoclonal antibodies, denoted B5 and E11, that recognized the canine major histocompatibility Class II DR antigens (dog leukocyte antigen DR). Using flow cytometry and solid phase immunoenzymatic assays, we showed that the antigens recognized by B5 and E11 were strongly expressed in several CL cell lines and the ex vivo canine neoplastic cells of B and mixed B/T immunophenotypes. Additionally, we evaluated a minimal cross-reactivity of B5 and E11 with the human B-cell line, Raji. By the ectopic expression of the hybrid murine/canine I-E/DR dimers in the HEK293 cells, we demonstrated that the epitope of B5 was localized to the invariant DRα chain, whereas the epitope of E11 was collectively formed by the DRα and DRβ chains. Both epitopes were conformational and conserved in all the tested unrelated individuals of different dog breeds. In vitro treatment of 2 CL B-cell lines (CLBL1 and CLB70) with B5 and E11 rapidly induced a direct apoptotic cell death. Similarily, both mouse monoclonal antibodies efficiently killed the above cell lines through the mechanisms of complement-dependent and antibody-mediated cellular phagocytosis. Collectively, our data support the further development of B5 and E11 as novel tools for dog leukocyte antigen DR-targeted, preclinical trials involving CL.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Protein, Cancer, Cell culture, Antigen, Major histocompatibility complex, Epitope


The Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib (IB) has attained an important role in the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, mantle cell lymphoma, and Waldenström macroglobulinemia, significantly improving clinical outcomes. However, IB therapy has been associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) and bleeding. We report on the expert opinion that a group of Italian haematologists, cardiologists, and pharmacologists jointly released to improve the practical management of patients at risk for AF and bleeding during treatment with IB. A proper pretreatment assessment to identify patients who are at a higher risk, careful choice of concomitant drugs, regular monitoring, and multispecialist approach were characterized as the main principles of clinical management of these patients. For patients developing AF, anticoagulant and antiarrhythmic therapy must be guided by considerations about efficacy, safety, and risk of pharmacokinetic interactions with IB. For patients experiencing bleeding or requiring procedures that increase the risk of bleeding, considerations about platelet turnover, IB-related platelet dysfunctions, and bleeding worsening by concomitant anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents provide clues to manage bleeding. Overall, AF and bleeding are manageable clinical events in patients receiving IB, not requiring drug interruption in most cases. Preexisting AF should not represent an absolute contraindication to IB therapy. For each patient candidate for IB, strategies of risk assessment and mitigation may allow to exploit the life-saving effects of in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and mantle cell lymphoma.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Blood, Atrial fibrillation, Risk management