Publications of Jo CAERS
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See detailUn cas illustratif de syndrome de POEMS
RADERMECKER, Alexandra ULiege; BONNET, Christophe ULiege; LUTTERI, Laurence ULiege et al

in Revue Médicale de Liège (2021), 76

POEMS syndrome is a rare and invalidating entity characterized by polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy and dermatoses. The diagnosis of this condition is often late and ... [more ▼]

POEMS syndrome is a rare and invalidating entity characterized by polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy and dermatoses. The diagnosis of this condition is often late and challenging due to the heterogeneity of clinical forms. The light chains secreted by the clonal plasmocytes cause overproduction of VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) responsible for the appearance of the clinical manifestations of POEMS. The diagnostic approach is based on different clinical and biological criteria. Patients with a solitary plasmacytoma are candidates for radiotherapy treatment. Patients with diffuse bone involvement or bone marrow infiltration are best treated by systemic drugs. The response to treatment may take several months before clinical and biological improvement. Early diagnosis and dedicated management limit the clinico-functional impact of POEMS. [less ▲]

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See detailLe myélome multiple : un tour d’horizon des nouveautés dans sa biologie et son traitement
Vrancken, Louise ULiege; Lejeune, Margaux ULiege; PIROTTE, Michelle ULiege et al

in Revue Médicale de Liège (2021)

Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological malignancy, characterized by an uncontrollable proliferation of clonal plasma cells. Although progresses in understanding its pathobiology and its ... [more ▼]

Multiple myeloma is the second most common hematological malignancy, characterized by an uncontrollable proliferation of clonal plasma cells. Although progresses in understanding its pathobiology and its treatment are made every day, it remains incurable. Since myeloma is more and more common, especially in the elderly, we would like to propose an overview of its pathobiology, diagnostic criteria and treatment «guidelines». [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 detailThe EORTC QLU-C10D was more efficient in detecting clinical known group differences in myelodysplastic syndromes than the EQ-5D-3L.
Gamper, Eva M.; Cottone, Francesco; Sommer, Kathrin et al

in Journal of clinical epidemiology (2021), 137

BACKGROUND: The aim was to investigate the relative validity of the preference-based measure EORTC QLU-C10D in comparison with the EQ-5D-3L in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients. METHODS: We used ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The aim was to investigate the relative validity of the preference-based measure EORTC QLU-C10D in comparison with the EQ-5D-3L in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients. METHODS: We used data from an international multicentre, observational cohort study of MDS patients. Baseline EORTC QLU-C10D and EQ-5D-3L scores were used and index scores calculated for Italy, Australia, and the UK. Criterion validity was established by Spearman and intraclass correlations (ICC) and Bland-Altman plots. Construct validity was established by the instruments' ability to discriminate known groups, i.e. groups whose health status is expected to differ. RESULTS: We analyzed data from 619 MDS patients (61.1% male; median age 73.8 years). Correlations between theoretically corresponding domains were largely higher than between unrelated domains. ICCs and Bland-Altman plots indicated moderate to good criterion validity. Ceiling effects were lower for the QLU-C10D (4.7%) than for the EQ-5D-3L (22.6%). The EQ-5D-3L failed to discriminate known-groups in two and the QLU-C10D in one of the comparisons; the QLU-C10D's efficiency in doing so was higher in clinical known-groups. Results were comparable between the countries. CONCLUSIONS: The QLU-C10D may be suitable to generate health utilities for economic research in MDS. Responsiveness and minimal important differences need yet to be established. [less ▲]

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See detail2021 European Myeloma Network review and consensus statement on smoldering multiple myeloma: how to distinguish (and manage) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Musto, Pellegrino; Engelhardt, Monika; Caers, Jo ULiege et al

in Haematologica (2021), 106(11), 2799-2812

According to the updated International Myeloma Working Group criteria, smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) is an asymptomatic plasma cell disorder characterized by an M-component >3 g/dL, bone marrow plasma ... [more ▼]

According to the updated International Myeloma Working Group criteria, smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) is an asymptomatic plasma cell disorder characterized by an M-component >3 g/dL, bone marrow plasma cell infiltration >10% and <60%, and absence of any myeloma-defining event. Active multiple myeloma is preceded by SMM, with a median time to progression of approximately 5 years. Cases of SMM range from the extremes of "monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance-like", in which patients never progress during their lifetimes, to "early multiple myeloma", in which transformation into symptomatic disease, based on genomic evolution, may be rapid and devastating. Such a "split personality" makes the prognosis and management of individual patients challenging, particularly with regard to the identification and possible early treatment of high-risk SMM. Outside of clinical trials, the conventional approach to SMM generally remains close observation until progression to active multiple myeloma. However, two prospective, randomized trials have recently demonstrated a significant clinical benefit in terms of time to progression, and of overall survival in one of the two studies, for some patients with higher-risk SMM treated with lenalidomide ± dexamethasone, raising the question of whether such an approach should be considered a new standard of care. In this paper, experts from the European Myeloma Network describe current biological and clinical knowledge on SMM, focusing on novel insights into its molecular pathogenesis, new prognostic scoring systems proposed to identify SMM patients at higher risk of early transformation, and updated results of completed or ongoing clinical trials. Finally, some practical recommendations for the real-life management of these patients, based on Delphi consensus methodology, are provided. [less ▲]

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See detailHeterogeneous modulation of Bcl-2 family members and drug efflux mediate MCL-1 inhibitor resistance in multiple myeloma.
Bolomsky, Arnold; Miettinen, Juho J.; Malyutina, Alina et al

in Blood Advances (2021), 5(20), 4125-4139

Antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members have recently (re)emerged as key drug targets in cancer, with a tissue- and tumor-specific activity profile of available BH3 mimetics. In multiple myeloma, MCL-1 has ... [more ▼]

Antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members have recently (re)emerged as key drug targets in cancer, with a tissue- and tumor-specific activity profile of available BH3 mimetics. In multiple myeloma, MCL-1 has been described as a major gatekeeper of apoptosis. This discovery has led to the rapid establishment of clinical trials evaluating the impact of various MCL-1 inhibitors. However, our understanding about the clinical impact and optimal use of MCL-1 inhibitors is still limited. We therefore explored mechanisms of acquired MCL-1 inhibitor resistance and optimization strategies in myeloma. Our findings indicated heterogeneous paths to resistance involving baseline Bcl-2 family alterations of proapoptotic (BAK, BAX, and BIM) and antiapoptotic (Bcl-2 and MCL-1) proteins. These manifestations depend on the BH3 profile of parental cells that guide the enhanced formation of Bcl-2:BIM and/or the dynamic (ie, treatment-induced) formation of Bcl-xL:BIM and Bcl-xL:BAK complexes. Accordingly, an unbiased high-throughput drug-screening approach (n = 528) indicated alternative BH3 mimetics as top combination partners for MCL-1 inhibitors in sensitive and resistant cells (Bcl-xL>Bcl-2 inhibition), whereas established drug classes were mainly antagonistic (eg, antimitotic agents). We also revealed reduced activity of MCL-1 inhibitors in the presence of stromal support as a drug-class effect that was overcome by concurrent Bcl-xL or Bcl-2 inhibition. Finally, we demonstrated heterogeneous Bcl-2 family deregulation and MCL-1 inhibitor cross-resistance in carfilzomib-resistant cells, a phenomenon linked to the MDR1-driven drug efflux of MCL-1 inhibitors. The implications of our findings for clinical practice emphasize the need for patient-adapted treatment protocols, with the tracking of tumor- and/or clone-specific adaptations in response to MCL-1 inhibition. [less ▲]

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See detailRecommendations for vaccination in multiple myeloma: a consensus of the European Myeloma Network
Ludwig, H.; Boccadoro, M.; Moreau, Philippe et al

in Leukemia (2021), 35

Vaccination is one of the most successful medical interventions that has saved the life of millions of people. Vaccination is particularly important in patients with multiple myeloma, who have an ... [more ▼]

Vaccination is one of the most successful medical interventions that has saved the life of millions of people. Vaccination is particularly important in patients with multiple myeloma, who have an increased risk of infections due to the disease-inherent immune suppression, and because of the immune suppressive effects of therapy. Hence, all appropriate measures should be exploited, to elicit an effective immune response to common pathogens like influenza, pneumococci, varicella zoster virus, and to those bacteria and viruses (haemophilus influenzae, meningococci, and hepatitis) that frequently may pose a significant risk to patients with multiple myeloma. Patients after autologous, and specifically after allogeneic transplantation have severely reduced antibody titers, and therefore require a broader spectrum of vaccinations. Response to vaccination in myeloma often is less vigorous than in the general population, mandating either measurement of the postvaccination antibody titers and/or repeating the vaccination. Here, we compile the existing data on vaccination in multiple myeloma and provide recommendations for clinical practice. © 2020, The Author(s). [less ▲]

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See detailCOVID-19 vaccination in patients with multiple myeloma: a consensus of the European Myeloma Network.
Ludwig, Heinz; Sonneveld, Pieter; Facon, Thierry et al

in Lancet. Haematology (2021)

Patients with multiple myeloma frequently present with substantial immune impairment and an increased risk for infections and infection-related mortality. The risk for infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus and ... [more ▼]

Patients with multiple myeloma frequently present with substantial immune impairment and an increased risk for infections and infection-related mortality. The risk for infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus and resulting mortality is also increased, emphasising the importance of protecting patients by vaccination. Available data in patients with multiple myeloma suggest a suboptimal anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune response, meaning a proportion of patients are unprotected. Factors associated with poor response are uncontrolled disease, immunosuppression, concomitant therapy, more lines of therapy, and CD38 antibody-directed and B-cell maturation antigen-directed therapy. These facts suggest that monitoring the immune response to vaccination in patients with multiple myeloma might provide guidance for clinical management, such as administration of additional doses of the same or another vaccine, or even temporary treatment discontinuation, if possible. In those who do not exhibit a good response, prophylactic treatment with neutralising monoclonal antibody cocktails might be considered. In patients deficient of a SARS-CoV-2 immune response, adherence to measures for infection risk reduction is particularly recommended. This consensus was generated by members of the European Multiple Myeloma Network and some external experts. The panel members convened in virtual meetings and conducted an extensive literature research and evaluated recently published data and work presented at meetings, as well as findings from their own studies. The outcome of the discussions on establishing consensus recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in patients with multiple myeloma was condensed into this Review. [less ▲]

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See detailExpert review on soft-tissue plasmacytomas in multiple myeloma: definition, disease assessment and treatment considerations.
Rosiñol, Laura; Beksac, Meral; Zamagni, Elena et al

in British journal of haematology (2021)

In this review, two types of soft-tissue involvement in multiple myeloma are defined: (i) extramedullary (EMD) with haematogenous spread involving only soft tissues and (ii) paraskeletal (PS) with tumour ... [more ▼]

In this review, two types of soft-tissue involvement in multiple myeloma are defined: (i) extramedullary (EMD) with haematogenous spread involving only soft tissues and (ii) paraskeletal (PS) with tumour masses arising from skeletal lesions. The incidence of EMD and PS plasmacytomas at diagnosis ranges from 1·7% to 4·5% and 7% to 34·4% respectively. EMD disease is often associated with high-risk cytogenetics, resistance to therapy and worse prognosis than in PS involvement. In patients with PS involvement a proteasome inhibitor-based regimen may be the best option followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) in transplant eligible patients. In patients with EMD disease who are not eligible for ASCT, a proteasome inhibitor-based regimen such as lenalidomide-bortezomib-dexamethasone (RVD) may be the best option, while for those eligible for high-dose therapy a myeloma/lymphoma-like regimen such as bortezomib, thalidomide and dexamethasone (VTD)-RVD/cisplatin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide and etoposide (PACE) followed by SCT should be considered. In both EMD and PS disease at relapse many strategies have been tried, but this remains a high-unmet need population. [less ▲]

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See detailBispecific, T-Cell-Recruiting Antibodies in B-Cell Malignancies.
Lejeune, Margaux ULiege; Köse, Murat Cem ULiege; Duray, Elodie ULiege et al

in Frontiers in Immunology (2020), 11(762), 1-20

Bispecific antibodies (BsAbs) are designed to recognize and bind to two different antigens or epitopes. In the last few decades, BsAbs have been developed within the context of cancer therapies and in ... [more ▼]

Bispecific antibodies (BsAbs) are designed to recognize and bind to two different antigens or epitopes. In the last few decades, BsAbs have been developed within the context of cancer therapies and in particular for the treatment of hematologic B-cell malignancies. To date, more than one hundred different BsAb formats exist, including bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), and new constructs are constantly emerging. Advances in protein engineering have enabled the creation of BsAbs with specific mechanisms of action and clinical applications. Moreover, a better understanding of resistance and evasion mechanisms, as well as advances in the protein engineering and in immunology, will help generating a greater variety of BsAbs to treat various cancer types. This review focuses on T-cell-engaging BsAbs and more precisely on the various BsAb formats currently being studied in the context of B-cell malignancies, on ongoing clinical trials and on the clinical concerns to be taken into account in the development of new BsAbs. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Road to a Cure: Emerging Treatments for Multiple Myeloma.
Caers, Jo ULiege

in Cancers (2020), 12

During 50 years of intensive research, we have learnt about the pathophysiology of multiple myeloma (MM) and improved the management of this disease [...].

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See detailLes anticorps bispécifiques ciblant les lymphocytes T dans le myélome multiple
Lejeune, Margaux ULiege; Köse, Murat Cem ULiege; Duray, Elodie ULiege et al

in Onco: Revue Multidisciplinaire d'Oncologie (2020), 14(6), 30-34

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See detailMCL-1 inhibitors, fast-lane development of a new class of anti-cancer agents.
Bolomsky, Arnold; Vogler, Meike; Köse, Murat Cem ULiege et al

in Journal of hematology & oncology (2020), 13(1), 173

Cell death escape is one of the most prominent features of tumor cells and closely linked to the dysregulation of members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Among those, the anti-apoptotic family member ... [more ▼]

Cell death escape is one of the most prominent features of tumor cells and closely linked to the dysregulation of members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Among those, the anti-apoptotic family member myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL-1) acts as a master regulator of apoptosis in various human malignancies. Irrespective of its unfavorable structure profile, independent research efforts recently led to the generation of highly potent MCL-1 inhibitors that are currently evaluated in clinical trials. This offers new perspectives to target a so far undruggable cancer cell dependency. However, a detailed understanding about the tumor and tissue type specific implications of MCL-1 are a prerequisite for the optimal (i.e., precision medicine guided) use of this novel drug class. In this review, we summarize the major functions of MCL-1 with a special focus on cancer, provide insights into its different roles in solid vs. hematological tumors and give an update about the (pre)clinical development program of state-of-the-art MCL-1 targeting compounds. We aim to raise the awareness about the heterogeneous role of MCL-1 as drug target between, but also within tumor entities and to highlight the importance of rationale treatment decisions on a case by case basis. [less ▲]

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