Publications of Frédéric BARON
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See detailHigh proportion of terminally-differentiated regulatory T cells after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Ritacco, Caroline ULiege; Ehx, Grégory ULiege; GREGOIRE, Céline ULiege et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (in press)

It is now well-established that regulatory T cells (Treg) represent a heterogeneous group of CD4+ T cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that Treg homeostasis was impacted by allogeneic hematopoietic ... [more ▼]

It is now well-established that regulatory T cells (Treg) represent a heterogeneous group of CD4+ T cells. Previous studies have demonstrated that Treg homeostasis was impacted by allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) and particularly so in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Here, we first assessed the ability of various Treg subsets to phosphorylate STAT5 in response to IL-2 or IL-7 stimulation in vitro. We then compared the frequencies of different Treg subtypes in healthy controls as well as in allo-HCT patients with or without chronic GVHD. The highest phosphorylated STAT5 (pSTAT5) signal in response to IL-2 was observed in the CD45RO+CD26−CD39+HLA-DR+ Treg fraction. In contrast, naive Treg were mostly less susceptible to IL-2 stimulation in vitro. Following IL-7 stimulation, most Treg subpopulations upregulated pSTAT5 expression but to a lesser extent than conventional T cells. Compared to healthy controls, allo-HCT patients had lower frequencies of the naive CD45RAbrightCD26+ Treg subpopulation but higher frequencies of the most differentiated memory CD45RO+CD26−CD39+ Treg subpopulations. Further, unbiased analysis revealed that six Treg clusters characterized by high expression of CD25, HLA-DR, and ICOS were significantly more frequent in patients with no or with limited chronic GVHD than in those with moderate/severe chronic GVHD. [less ▲]

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See detailComprehensive analysis of the immunomodulatory effects of rapamycin on human T cells in graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis
Ehx, Grégory ULiege; Ritacco, Caroline ULiege; HANNON, Muriel ULiege et al

in American Journal of Transplantation (in press)

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of toxicity after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). While rapamycin (RAPA) is commonly used in GVHD prophylaxis in combination ... [more ▼]

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of toxicity after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). While rapamycin (RAPA) is commonly used in GVHD prophylaxis in combination with a calcineurin inhibitor (CNI), the understanding of its mechanism of action on human T cells is still incomplete. Here, we performed an extensive analysis of RAPA effects on human T cells in a humanized mouse model of GVHD, in ex-vivo T-cell cultures and in patients given RAPA plus tacrolimus as GVHD prophylaxis after non-myeloablative allo-HCT. We demonstrate that RAPA mitigates GVHD by decreasing T-cell engraftment and differentiation, inhibiting CD8+ T-cell activation and increasing the long-term IL-2 secretion, thereby supporting regulatory T-cell (Treg) proliferation. In contrast, graft-versus-leukemia effects were not abrogated, as RAPA-treated T cells had increased resistance to apoptosis and retained their effector function and proliferative capacity upon re-stimulation. Importantly, we found that RAPA impact on Treg and CD8+ T cells was closely dependent upon IL-2 signaling and that therapeutic options interfering with IL-2, such as calcineurin inhibitors, antagonize the IL-2-dependent promotion of Treg mediated by RAPA. Our results suggest that RAPA immunological efficacy could be improved in combination with drugs having possible synergistic effects such as the hypomethylating agent 5-azacytidine. [less ▲]

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See detailPrincipes généraux de la prise en charges des leucémies aiguës de l’adulte en 2021 en Belgique
DE VOEGHT, Adrien ULiege; JASPERS, Aurélie ULiege; BEGUIN, Yves ULiege et al

in Revue Médicale de Liège (2021)

Acute leukemias are a heterogeneous group of malignant hemopathies which are subdivided according to the cytological orientation of the pathological blast cell into lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloblastic ... [more ▼]

Acute leukemias are a heterogeneous group of malignant hemopathies which are subdivided according to the cytological orientation of the pathological blast cell into lymphoblastic (ALL) and myeloblastic (AML) acute leukemias. Recent advances in the biological and genetic understanding of these diseases have led to improved treatments. Specific chemotherapy treatment or so-called "targeted" treatments, advances in bone marrow transplantation and better supportive care have gradually improved the prognosis. This review, focused on the adult patient, aims to describe recent progress in terms of diagnosis, prognostic markers and therapy. [less ▲]

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See detailErythroferrone and hepcidin as mediators between erythropoiesis and iron metabolism during allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
PIROTTE, Michelle ULiege; Fillet, Marianne ULiege; SEIDEL, Laurence ULiege et al

in American journal of hematology (2021), 96(10), 1275-1286

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) brings important alterations in erythropoiesis and iron metabolism. Hepcidin, which regulates iron metabolism, increases in iron overload or inflammation and ... [more ▼]

Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) brings important alterations in erythropoiesis and iron metabolism. Hepcidin, which regulates iron metabolism, increases in iron overload or inflammation and decreases with iron deficiency or activated erythropoiesis. Erythroferrone (ERFE) is the erythroid regulator of hepcidin. We investigated erythropoiesis and iron metabolism after allogeneic HCT in 70 patients randomized between erythropoietin (EPO) treatment or no EPO, by serially measuring hepcidin, ERFE, CRP (inflammation), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR, erythropoiesis), serum iron and transferrin saturation (Tsat; iron for erythropoiesis) and ferritin (iron stores). We identified biological and clinical factors associated with serum hepcidin and ERFE levels. Serum ERFE correlated overall with sTfR and reticulocytes and inversely with hepcidin. Erythroferrone paralleled sTfR levels, dropping during conditioning and recovering with engraftment. Inversely, hepcidin peaked after conditioning and decreased during engraftment. Erythroferrone and hepcidin were not significantly different with or without EPO. Multivariate analyses showed that the major determinant of ERFE was erythropoiesis (sTfR, reticulocytes or serum Epo). Pretransplant hepcidin was associated with previous RBC transfusions and ferritin. After transplantation, the major determinants of hepcidin were iron status (ferritin at all time points and Tsat at day 56) and erythropoiesis (sTfR or reticulocytes or ERFE), while the impact of inflammation was less clear and clinical parameters had no detectable influence. Hepcidin remained significantly higher in patients with high compared to low pretransplant ferritin. After allogeneic HCT with or without EPO therapy, significant alterations of hepcidin occur between pretransplant and day 180, in correlation with iron status and inversely with erythroid ERFE. [less ▲]

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See detailAllogreffes de cellules souches hématopoïétiques : principes généraux et progrès récents
Narinx, Justine ULiege; SERVAIS, Sophie ULiege; BARON, Frédéric ULiege et al

in Revue Médicale de Liège (2021)

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a potentially curative therapeutic option for many oncologic and non-oncologic hematological diseases. There is a constant evolution donor choice, conditioning ... [more ▼]

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a potentially curative therapeutic option for many oncologic and non-oncologic hematological diseases. There is a constant evolution donor choice, conditioning regimen intensity and immunosuppressive treatments that leads to a reduction ofmorbidity and mortality during and after transplantation. In this article, we describe the general principles of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and discuss the progress of global patient managementafter transplantation. [less ▲]

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See detailBalancing the CD38 Expression on Effector and Target Cells in Daratumumab-Mediated NK Cell ADCC against Multiple Myeloma.
Lejeune, Margaux ULiege; Duray, Elodie ULiege; Peipp, Matthias et al

in Cancers (2021), 13(12),

Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable cancer characterized by the proliferation and accumulation of monoclonal plasma cells in the bone marrow. The monoclonal anti-CD38 daratumumab has taken a central ... [more ▼]

Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable cancer characterized by the proliferation and accumulation of monoclonal plasma cells in the bone marrow. The monoclonal anti-CD38 daratumumab has taken a central place in the different treatment regimens for newly diagnosed and relapsed, refractory myeloma. In this study, we correlated the NK cell-mediated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and potential fratricide induced by daratumumab with CD38-expression levels on both effector and target cells. We show that CD38 expression can be modulated by adding all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) or interferon-α to MM cells to further fine-tune these effects. In addition, we observed that ADCC becomes inefficient when fratricide occurs and both ADCC and fratricide depend on the balance between CD38 expression on effector and target cells. However, the addition of adjuvants (retinoic acid or interferon-α) to myeloma cells or the inhibition of fratricide using a CD38-blocking nanobody on NK-cells can reverse this balance towards ADCC and thus promote lysis of target cells by ADCC. ATRA and interferon-α increased the CD38 expression at the surface of MM cells about three-fold and two-fold, respectively. This increase was of interest for MM cells with low CD38 expression, that became susceptible to daratumumab-mediated ADCC after preincubation. A CD38-blocking nanobody prevented the binding of daratumumab to these NK-cells and blunted the fratricidal effect on effector NK cells. In conclusion, our study highlights the importance of a balanced CD38 expression on target and effector cells and attempts to alter this balance will affect the susceptibility of MM cells towards daratumumab-mediated ADCC. [less ▲]

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See detailItacitinib prevents xenogeneic GVHD in humanized mice
Courtois, Justine ULiege; Ritacco, Caroline ULiege; DUBOIS, Sophie ULiege et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021)

We assessed the impact of the Janus Kinase (JAK) 1 inhibitor itacitinib on xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease (xGVHD). XGVHD was induced by i.v. injection 20x106 human peripheral blood mononuclear cells ... [more ▼]

We assessed the impact of the Janus Kinase (JAK) 1 inhibitor itacitinib on xenogeneic graft-versus-host disease (xGVHD). XGVHD was induced by i.v. injection 20x106 human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMC) in NSG mice on day 0. Itacitinib (3 mg, ≈ 120 mg/kg) or methylcellulose was administered by force-feeding twice a day from day 3 to day 28. Mice were followed for xGVHD score and survival. In addition, human T-cell engraftment and as well as human T-cell subtypes were monitored in blood on days 14, 21 and 28 after transplantation. We observed that itacitinib-treated mice had significantly longer survival than control mice (median 45 versus 33 days; P<0.001). Further, they also had lower absolute numbers of human CD4+ T cells on days 21 and 28 after transplantation as well as of human CD8+ T cells on days 14, 21 and 28 after transplantation. In addition, itacitinib-treated mice had higher frequencies of human regulatory T cells (Treg) on days 21 and 28 after transplantation. In summary, our data indicate that itacitinib decreases human T-cell engraftment, increases Treg frequencies and attenuates xGVHD in NSG mice transplanted with hPBMC. [less ▲]

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See detailA non-internalised CD38-binding radiolabelled single-domain antibody fragment to monitor and treat multiple myeloma.
Duray, Elodie ULiege; Lejeune, Margaux ULiege; Baron, Frédéric ULiege et al

in Journal of hematology & oncology (2021), 14(1), 183

BACKGROUND: Antibody-based therapies targeting CD38 are currently used as single agents as well as in combination regimens for multiple myeloma, a malignant plasma cell disorder. In this study, we aimed ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Antibody-based therapies targeting CD38 are currently used as single agents as well as in combination regimens for multiple myeloma, a malignant plasma cell disorder. In this study, we aimed to develop anti-CD38 single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) that can be used to trace CD38(+) tumour cells and subsequently used for targeted radionuclide therapy. SdAbs are derived from Camelidae heavy-chain antibodies and have emerged as promising theranostic agents due to their favourable pharmacological properties. METHODS: Four different anti-CD38 sdAbs were produced, and their binding affinities and potential competition with the monoclonal antibody daratumumab were tested using biolayer interferometry. Their binding kinetics and potential cell internalisation were further studied after radiolabelling with the diagnostic radioisotope Indium-111. The resulting radiotracers were evaluated in vivo for their tumour-targeting potential and biodistribution through single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT/CT) imaging and serial dissections. Finally, therapeutic efficacy of a lead anti-CD38 sdAb, radiolabelled with the therapeutic radioisotope Lutetium-177, was evaluated in a CD38(+) MM xenograft model. RESULTS : We retained anti-CD38 sdAb #2F8 as lead based on its excellent affinity and superior stability, the absence of competition with daratumumab and the lack of receptor-mediated internalisation. When intravenously administered to tumour-xenografted mice, radiolabelled sdAb #2F8 revealed specific and sustained tumour retention with low accumulation in other tissues, except kidneys, resulting in high tumour-to-normal tissue ratios. In a therapeutic setting, myeloma-bearing mice received three consecutive intravenous administrations of a high (18.5 MBq) or a low radioactive dose (9.3 MBq) of (177)Lu-DTPA-2F8 or an equal volume of vehicle solution. A dose-dependent tumour regression was observed, which translated into a prolonged median survival from 43 days for vehicle-treated mice, to 62 days (p = 0.027) in mice receiving the low and 65 days in mice receiving the high (p = 0.0007) radioactive dose regimen, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the theranostic potential of radiolabelled anti-CD38 sdAbs for the monitoring and treatment of multiple myeloma. [less ▲]

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See detailBetter leukemia-free survival with allogeneic than with autologous HCT in AML patients with isolated trisomy 8: a study from the ALWP of the EBMT.
Baron, Frédéric ULiege; Labopin, Myriam; Blaise, Didier et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021), 56

The indication for performing an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT) in patients with isolated trisomy 8 AML in first complete remission (CR) is still debated. Here, we compared ... [more ▼]

The indication for performing an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT) in patients with isolated trisomy 8 AML in first complete remission (CR) is still debated. Here, we compared outcomes of such patients given either allo-HCT or autologous (auto)-HCT. Inclusion criteria consisted of adult patients with de novo AML, isolated trisomy 8, first HCT between 2000 and 2018, CR1 at transplantation, and either auto-HCT or allo-HCT with a HLA-identical sibling donor (MSD) or a 10/10 HLA-matched unrelated donor (UD 10/10). A total of 401 patients met the inclusion criteria. They underwent an auto-HCT (n = 81), allo-HCT with a MSD (n = 186) or allo-HCT with a 10/10 UD (n = 134). At 3 years, relapse incidence, nonrelapse mortality and leukemia-free survival (LFS) were 59%, 5%, and 37%, respectively, in auto-HCT recipients; 31% (P < 0.001), 14% (P = 0.04), and 55% (P = 0.033), respectively, in MSD recipients and 29% (P < 0.001), 13% (P = 0.15), and 59% (P = 0.03), respectively, in UD 10/10 recipients. In multivariate analysis, in comparison to auto-HCT, MSD and UD 10/10 were associated with a lower risk of relapse (HR = 0.47, P < 0.001 and HR = 0.40, P < 0.001, respectively) translating to better LFS (HR = 0.69, P = 0.04 and HR = 0.60, P = 0.03, respectively). There was also a similar trend for overall survival (HR = 0.73, P = 0.12 and HR = 0.65, P = 0.08). [less ▲]

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See detailAllogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation with cord blood versus mismatched unrelated donor with post-transplant cyclophosphamide in acute myeloid leukemia.
Dholaria, Bhagirathbhai; Labopin, Myriam; Sanz, Jaime et al

in Journal of hematology & oncology (2021), 14(1), 76

BACKGROUND: Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) using a mismatched unrelated donor (MMUD) and cord blood transplantation (CBT) are valid alternatives for patients without a fully ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) using a mismatched unrelated donor (MMUD) and cord blood transplantation (CBT) are valid alternatives for patients without a fully human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched donor. Here, we compared the allo-HCT outcomes of CBT versus single-allele-mismatched MMUD allo-HCT with post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy) in acute myeloid leukemia. METHODS: Patients who underwent a first CBT without PTCy (N = 902) or allo-HCT from a (HLA 9/10) MMUD with PTCy (N = 280) were included in the study. A multivariate regression analysis was performed for the whole population. A matched-pair analysis was carried out by propensity score-based 1:1 matching of patients (177 pairs) with known cytogenetic risk. RESULTS: The incidence of grade II-IV and grade III-IV acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) at 6 months was 36% versus 32% (p = 0.07) and 15% versus 11% (p = 0.16) for CBT and MMUD cohorts, respectively. CBT was associated with a higher incidence of graft failure (11% vs. 4%, p < 0.01) and higher 2-year non-relapse mortality (NRM) (30% vs. 16%, p < 0.01) compared to MMUD. In the multivariate analysis, CBT was associated with a higher risk of, NRM (HR = 2.09, 95% CI 1.46-2.99, p < 0.0001), and relapse (HR = 1.35, 95% CI 1-1.83, p = 0.05), which resulted in worse leukemia-free survival (LFS) (HR = 1.68, 95% CI 1.34-2.12, p < 0.0001), overall survival (OS) (HR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.33-2.17, p < 0.0001), and GVHD-free, relapse-free survival (GRFS) (HR = 1.49, 95% CI 1.21-1.83, p < 0.0001) compared to MMUD. The risk of grade II-IV acute GVHD (p = 0.052) and chronic GVHD (p = 0.69) did not differ significantly between the cohorts. These results were confirmed in a matched-pair analysis. CONCLUSIONS: CBT was associated with lower LFS, OS, and GRFS due to higher NRM, compared to MMUD allo-HCT with PTCy. In the absence of a fully matched donor, 9/10 MMUD with PTCy may be preferred over CBT. [less ▲]

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See detailLow relapse risk in poor risk AML after conditioning with 10-day decitabine, fludarabine and 2 Gray TBI prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.
Cruijsen, Marjan; Hilberink, Jacobien R.; van der Velden, Walter J. F. M. et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021)

Patients with poor risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a dismal outcome. We hypothesized that combining decitabine with a standard non-myeloablative (NMA) conditioning regimen prior to allogeneic ... [more ▼]

Patients with poor risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a dismal outcome. We hypothesized that combining decitabine with a standard non-myeloablative (NMA) conditioning regimen prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo HCT), might decrease the relapse incidence. We conducted a multicenter prospective phase II study (NCT02252107) with 10-day decitabine (20 mg/m(2)/day) integrated in a standard non-myeloablative conditioning regimen (3 days fludarabine 30 mg/m(2) with 2 Gray total body irradiation (TBI)). Patients with AML ≥ 18 years in 1st (in)complete remission (CR/CRi) with a poor or very poor risk profile, as defined by the HOVON-132 protocol, were eligible. Results: Forty-six patients (median age 60; range 23-74) were included. Median follow up time was 44 months (range 31-65 months). The cumulative 1-year incidence of relapse and NRM were respectively 23% and 11%. Incidence of grade III-IV acute graft-vs-host-disease (GVHD) and severe chronic GVHD were 13% and 20%, respectively. One-year OS was 70%. Application of ELN 2017 risk classification to the study cohort revealed a cumulative one-year relapse rate of respectively 31% and 13% for the adverse and intermediate risk patients. To conclude, the 10-day DEC/FLU/TBI conditioning regimen prior to allo HCT in poor risk AML patients is effective and feasible. [less ▲]

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See detailPredictors of neutralizing antibody response to BNT162b2 vaccination in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.
Canti, Lorenzo ULiege; Humblet-Baron, Stéphanie; Desombere, Isabelle et al

in Journal of hematology & oncology (2021), 14(1), 174

BACKGROUND: Factors affecting response to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT) recipients remain to be elucidated. METHODS: Forty allo-HCT recipients ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Factors affecting response to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HCT) recipients remain to be elucidated. METHODS: Forty allo-HCT recipients were included in a study of immunization with BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine at days 0 and 21. Binding antibodies (Ab) to SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) were assessed at days 0, 21, 28, and 49 while neutralizing Ab against SARS-CoV-2 wild type (NT50) were assessed at days 0 and 49. Results observed in allo-HCT patients were compared to those obtained in 40 healthy adults naive of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Flow cytometry analysis of peripheral blood cells was performed before vaccination to identify potential predictors of Ab responses. RESULTS: Three patients had detectable anti-RBD Ab before vaccination. Among the 37 SARS-CoV-2 naive patients, 20 (54%) and 32 (86%) patients had detectable anti-RBD Ab 21 days and 49 days postvaccination. Comparing anti-RBD Ab levels in allo-HCT recipients and healthy adults, we observed significantly lower anti-RBD Ab levels in allo-HCT recipients at days 21, 28 and 49. Further, 49% of allo-HCT patients versus 88% of healthy adults had detectable NT50 Ab at day 49 while allo-HCT recipients had significantly lower NT50 Ab titers than healthy adults (P = 0.0004). Ongoing moderate/severe chronic GVHD (P < 0.01) as well as rituximab administration in the year prior to vaccination (P < 0.05) correlated with low anti-RBD and NT50 Ab titers at 49 days after the first vaccination in multivariate analyses. Compared to healthy adults, allo-HCT patients without chronic GVHD or rituximab therapy had comparable anti-RBD Ab levels and NT50 Ab titers at day 49. Flow cytometry analyses before vaccination indicated that Ab responses in allo-HCT patients were strongly correlated with the number of memory B cells and of naive CD4(+) T cells (r > 0.5, P < 0.01) and more weakly with the number of follicular helper T cells (r = 0.4, P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Chronic GVHD and rituximab administration in allo-HCT recipients are associated with reduced Ab responses to BNT162b2 vaccination. Immunological markers could help identify allo-HCT patients at risk of poor Ab response to mRNA vaccination. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was registered at clinicaltrialsregister.eu on 11 March 2021 (EudractCT # 2021-000673-83). [less ▲]

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See detailMeasurable residual disease (MRD) testing for acute leukemia in EBMT transplant centers: a survey on behalf of the ALWP of the EBMT
Nagler, A.; Baron, Frédéric ULiege; Labopin, M. et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021), 56

Detectable measurable residual disease (MRD) is a key prognostic factor in both acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Thus, we conducted a survey in EBMT transplant ... [more ▼]

Detectable measurable residual disease (MRD) is a key prognostic factor in both acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Thus, we conducted a survey in EBMT transplant centers focusing on pre- and post-allo-HCT MRD. One hundred and six centers from 29 countries responded. One hundred had a formal strategy for routine MRD assessment, 91 for both ALL and AML. For ALL (n = 95), assessing MRD has been routine practice starting from 2010 (range, 1990–2019). Techniques used for MRD assessment consisted of PCR techniques alone (n = 27), multiparameter flow cytometry (MFC, n = 16), both techniques (n = 43), next-generation sequencing (NGS) + PCR (n = 2), or PCR + MFC + NGS (n = 7). The majority of centers assessed MRD every 2–3 months for 2 (range, 1-until relapse) years. For AML, assessing MRD was routine in 92 centers starting in 2010 (range 1990–2019). Assessment of MRD was by PCR (n = 23), MFC (n = 13), both PCR and MFC (n = 39), both PCR and NGS (n = 3), and by all three techniques (n = 14). The majority assesses MRD for AML every 2–3 months for 2 (range, 1-until relapse) years. This survey is the first step in the aim to include MRD status as a routine registry capture parameter in acute leukemia. © 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. [less ▲]

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See detailUnderdiagnosed veno-occlusive disease/sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (VOD/SOS) as a major cause of multi-organ failure in acute leukemia transplant patients: an analysis from the EBMT Acute Leukemia Working Party.
Bazarbachi, Abdul Hamid; Al Hamed, Rama; Labopin, Myriam et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021), 56

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is a complex, potentially fatal therapy featuring a myriad of complications. Triggering event(s) of such complications vary significantly, but often ... [more ▼]

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is a complex, potentially fatal therapy featuring a myriad of complications. Triggering event(s) of such complications vary significantly, but often a so-called "multi-organ failure" (MOF) is reported as the leading cause of death. The identification of the exact trigger of MOF is critical towards early and disease-specific intervention to improve outcome. We examined data from 202 alloHCT patients reported to have died of MOF from the EBMT registry aiming to determine their exact cause of death focusing on veno-occlusive disease/sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (VOD/SOS) due to its life-threatening, often difficult to capture yet preventable nature. We identified a total of 70 patients (35%) for whom VOD/SOS could be considered as trigger for MOF and leading cause of death, among which 48 (69%) were previously undiagnosed. Multivariate analysis highlighted history of hepatic comorbidity or gentuzumab use and disease status beyond CR1 as the only significant factors predictive of VOD/SOS incidence (OR = 6.6; p = 0.001 and OR = 3.3; p = 0.004 respectively). VOD/SOS-related MOF was widely under-reported, accounting for 27% of deaths attributed to MOF of unknown origin without a previous VOD/SOS diagnosis. Our results suggest most missed cases developed late VOD/SOS beyond 21 days post-alloHCT, highlighting the importance of the newly revised EBMT criteria. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment and validation of a disease risk stratification system for patients with haematological malignancies: a retrospective cohort study of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation registry.
Shouval, Roni; Fein, Joshua A.; Labopin, Myriam et al

in Lancet. Haematology (2021), 8(3), 205-215

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis and remission status at the time of allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) are the principal determinants of overall survival following transplantation. We sought ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis and remission status at the time of allogeneic haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) are the principal determinants of overall survival following transplantation. We sought to develop a contemporary disease-risk stratification system (DRSS) that accounts for heterogeneous transplantation indications. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study we included 55 histology and remission status combinations across haematological malignancies, including acute leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and myeloproliferative and myelodysplastic disorders. A total of 47 265 adult patients (aged ≥18 years) who received an allogeneic HSCT between Jan 1, 2012, and Dec 31, 2016, and were reported to the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation registry were included. We divided EBMT patients into derivation (n=25 534), tuning (n=18 365), and geographical validation (n=3366) cohorts. Disease combinations were ranked in a multivariable Cox regression for overall survival in the derivation cohort, cutoff for risk groups were evaluated for the tuning cohort, and the selected system was tested on the geographical validation cohort. An independent single-centre US cohort of 660 patients transplanted between Jan 1, 2010, and Dec 31, 2015 was used to externally validate the results. FINDINGS: The DRSS model stratified patients in the derivation cohort (median follow-up was 2·1 years [IQR 1·0-3·2]) into five risk groups with increasing mortality risk: low risk (reference group), intermediate-1 (hazard ratio for overall survival 1·26 [95% CI 1·17-1·36], p<0·0001), intermediate-2 (1·53 [1·42-1·66], p<0·0001), high (2·03 [1·86-2·22], p<0·0001), and very high (2·87 [2·63-3·13], p<0·0001). DRSS levels were also associated with a stepwise increase in risk across the tuning and geographical validation cohort. In the external validation cohort (median follow-up was 5·7 years [IQR 4·5-7·1]), the DRSS scheme separated patients into 4 risk groups associated with increasing risk of mortality: intermediate-2 risk (hazard ratio [HR] 1·34 [95% CI 1·04-1·74], p=0·025), high risk (HR 2·03 [95% CI 1·39-2·95], p=0·00023) and very-high risk (HR 2·26 [95% CI 1·62-3·15], p<0·0001) patients compared with the low risk and intermediate-1 risk group (reference group). Across all cohorts, between 64% and 65% of patients were categorised as having intermediate-risk disease by a previous prognostic system (ie, the disease-risk index [DRI]). The DRSS reclassified these intermediate-risk DRI patients, with 855 (6%) low risk, 7111 (51%) intermediate-1 risk, 5700 (41%) intermediate-2 risk, and 375 (3%) high risk or very high risk of 14 041 patients in a subanalysis combining the tuning and internal geographic validation cohorts. The DRI projected 2-year overall survival was 62·1% (95% CI 61·2-62·9) for these 14 041 patients, while the DRSS reclassified them into finer prognostic groups with overall survival ranging from 45·7% (37·4-54·0; very high risk patients) to 73·1% (70·1-76·2; low risk patients). INTERPRETATION: The DRSS is a novel risk stratification tool including disease features related to histology, genetic profile, and treatment response. The model should serve as a benchmark for future studies. This system facilitates the interpretation and analysis of studies with heterogeneous cohorts, promoting trial-design with more inclusive populations. FUNDING: The Varda and Boaz Dotan Research Center for Hemato-Oncology Research, Tel Aviv University. [less ▲]

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See detailAn adapted European LeukemiaNet genetic risk stratification for acute myeloid leukemia patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. A CIBMTR analysis.
Jimenez Jimenez, Antonio M.; De Lima, Marcos; Komanduri, Krishna V. et al

in Bone Marrow Transplantation (2021)

Cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities are known to influence post-transplant outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) but data assessing the prognostic value of combined genetic models in the HCT ... [more ▼]

Cytogenetic and molecular abnormalities are known to influence post-transplant outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) but data assessing the prognostic value of combined genetic models in the HCT setting are limited. We developed an adapted European LeukemiaNet (aELN) risk classification based on available genetic data reported to the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research, to predict post-transplant outcomes in 2289 adult AML patients transplanted in first remission, between 2013 and 2017. Patients were stratified according to aELN into three groups: favorable (Fav, N = 181), intermediate (IM, N = 1185), and adverse (Adv, N = 923). Univariate analysis demonstrated significant differences in 2-year overall survival (OS) (Fav: 67.7%, IM: 64.9% and Adv: 53.9%; p < 0.001); disease-free survival (DFS) (Fav: 57.8%, IM: 55.5% and Adv: 45.3; p < 0.001) and relapse (Fav: 28%, IM: 27.5% and Adv: 37.5%; p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis (MVA) revealed no differences in outcomes between the Fav and IM groups, thus they were combined. On MVA, patients in the Adv risk group had the highest risk of relapse (HR 1.47 p ≤ 0.001) and inferior DFS (HR 1.35 p < 0.001) and OS (HR 1.39 p < 0.001), even using myeloablative conditioning or in those without the pre-HCT measurable-residual disease. Novel approaches to mitigate relapse in this high-risk group are urgently needed. [less ▲]

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See detailHow to Make an Immune System and a Foreign Host Quickly Cohabit in Peace? The Challenge of Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease Prevention After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.
Vandenhove, Benoît ULiege; Canti, Lorenzo ULiege; Schoemans, Hélène et al

in Frontiers in immunology (2020), 11

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) has been used as cellular immunotherapy against hematological cancers for more than six decades. Its therapeutic efficacy relies on the ... [more ▼]

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) has been used as cellular immunotherapy against hematological cancers for more than six decades. Its therapeutic efficacy relies on the cytoreductive effects of the conditioning regimen but also on potent graft-versus-tumor (GVT) reactions mediated by donor-derived immune cells. However, beneficial GVT effects may be counterbalanced by acute GVHD (aGVHD), a systemic syndrome in which donor immune cells attack healthy tissues of the recipient, resulting in severe inflammatory lesions mainly of the skin, gut, and liver. Despite standard prophylaxis regimens, aGVHD still occurs in approximately 20-50% of alloHCT recipients and remains a leading cause of transplant-related mortality. Over the past two decades, advances in the understanding its pathophysiology have helped to redefine aGVHD reactions and clinical presentations as well as developing novel strategies to optimize its prevention. In this review, we provide a brief overview of current knowledge on aGVHD immunopathology and discuss current approaches and novel strategies being developed and evaluated in clinical trials for aGVHD prevention. Optimal prophylaxis of aGVHD would prevent the development of clinically significant aGVHD, while preserving sufficient immune responsiveness to maintain beneficial GVT effects and immune defenses against pathogens. [less ▲]

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