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Last Modified, November 22, 2020
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The Future of Childhood Cancer Survivorship: Challenges and Opportunities for Continued Progress

Pediatr Clin North Am

2020 Eric Chow

As treatment evolves and the population who survive childhood cancer ages and increases in number, researchers must use novel approaches to prevent, identify and mitigate adverse effects of treatment. Future priorities include collaborative efforts to pool large cohort data to improve detection of late effects, identify late effects of novel therapies, and determine the contribution of genetic factors along with physiologic and accelerated aging among survivors. This knowledge should translate to individual risk prediction and prevention strategies. Finally, we must utilize health services research and implementation science to improve adoption of survivorship care recommendations outside of specialized pediatric oncology centers.

Infectious Disease Complications in Patients with Cancer

Crit Care Clin

2021 Catherine Liu

Critically ill patients with cancer are vulnerable to infections because of the underlying malignancy, tumor-directed therapy, immunosuppression, breaches in mucosa or skin, malnutrition, and other factors. Neutropenia remains the most important risk factor for infection. Infectious complications occurring in critically ill patients with cancer can affect the bloodstream, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, central nervous system, urinary tract, and the skin. Pneumonias are the leading cause of infection in patients with cancer admitted to the intensive care unit. Consideration of opportunistic pathogens in the differential diagnosis is important in patients with impaired cellular and/or humoral immunity or compromised splenic function.

Assessment of Outcomes After Stopping Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Among Patients With Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: A Nonrandomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Oncol

2020 Jill Harrell; Bret Helton; Vivian Oehler; Jerald Radich

Importance: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been associated with improved survival of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) but are also associated with adverse effects, especially fatigue and diarrhea. Discontinuation of TKIs is safe and is associated with the successful achievement of treatment-free remission (TFR) for some patients. Objective: To evaluate molecular recurrence (MRec) and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) after TKI discontinuation for US patients with CML. Design, Setting, and Participants: The Life After Stopping TKIs (LAST) study was a prospective single-group nonrandomized clinical trial that enrolled 172 patients from 14 US academic medical centers from December 18, 2014, to December 12, 2016, with a minimum follow-up of 3 years. Participants were adults with chronic-phase CML whose disease was well controlled with imatinib, dasatinib, nilotinib, or bosutinib. Statistical analysis was performed from August 13, 2019, to March 23, 2020. Intervention: Discontinuation of TKIs. Main Outcomes and Measures: Molecular recurrence, defined as loss of major molecular response (BCR-ABL1 International Scale ratio >0.1%) by central laboratory testing, and PROs (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System computerized adaptive tests) were monitored. Droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) was performed on samples with undetectable BCR-ABL1 by standard real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR). Results: Of 172 patients, 89 were women (51.7%), and the median age was 60 years (range, 21-86 years). Of 171 patients evaluable for molecular analysis, 112 (65.5%) stayed in major molecular response, and 104 (60.8%) achieved TFR. Undetectable BCR-ABL1 by either ddPCR or RQ-PCR at the time of TKI discontinuation (hazard ratio, 3.60; 95% CI, 1.99-6.50; P<.001) and at 3 months (hazard ratio, 5.86; 95% CI, 3.07-11.1; P<.001) was independently associated with MRec. Molecular recurrence for patients with detectable BCR-ABL1 by RQ-PCR was 50.0% (14 of 28), undetectable BCR-ABL1 by RQ-PCR but detectable by ddPCR was 64.3% (36 of 56), and undetectable BCR-ABL1 by both ddPCR and RQ-PCR was 10.3% (9 of 87) (P.001). Of the 112 patients in TFR at 12 months, 90 (80.4%) had a clinically meaningful improvement in fatigue, 39 (34.8%) had a clinically meaningful improvement in depression, 98 (87.5%) had a clinically meaningful improvement in diarrhea, 24 (21.4%) had a clinically meaningful improvement in sleep disturbance, and 5 (4.5%) had a clinically meaningful improvement in pain interference. Restarting a TKI resulted in worsening of PROs. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, TKI discontinuation was safe, and 60.8% of patients remained in TFR. Discontinuation of TKIs was associated with improvements in PROs. These findings should assist patients and physicians in their decision-making regarding discontinuation of TKIs. Detectable BCR-ABL1 by RQ-PCR or ddPCR at the time of TKI discontinuation was associated with higher risk of MRec; clinical application of this finding should be confirmed in other studies. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT02269267.

Microdissected "cuboids" for microfluidic drug testing of intact tissues

Lab Chip

2020 Gargi Mishra; Albert Folch; Taranjit Gujral; Robert Pierce

As preclinical animal tests often do not accurately predict drug effects later observed in humans, most drugs under development fail to reach the market. Thus there is a critical need for functional drug testing platforms that use human, intact tissues to complement animal studies. To enable future multiplexed delivery of many drugs to one small biopsy, we have developed a multi-well microfluidic platform that selectively treats cuboidal-shaped microdissected tissues or "cuboids" with well-preserved tissue microenvironments. We create large numbers of uniformly-sized cuboids by semi-automated sectioning of tissue with a commercially available tissue chopper. Here we demonstrate the microdissection method on normal mouse liver, which we characterize with quantitative 3D imaging, and on human glioma xenograft tumors, which we evaluate after time in culture for viability and preservation of the microenvironment. The benefits of size uniformity include lower heterogeneity in future biological assays as well as facilitation of their physical manipulation by automation. Our prototype platform consists of a microfluidic circuit whose hydrodynamic traps immobilize the live cuboids in arrays at the bottom of a multi-well plate. Fluid dynamics simulations enabled the rapid evaluation of design alternatives and operational parameters. We demonstrate the proof-of-concept application of model soluble compounds such as dyes (CellTracker, Hoechst) and the cancer drug cisplatin. Upscaling of the microfluidic platform and microdissection method to larger arrays and numbers of cuboids could lead to direct testing of human tissues at high throughput, and thus could have a significant impact on drug discovery and personalized medicine.

5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside induces differentiation in a subset of primary acute myeloid leukemia blasts

BMC Cancer

2020 Antonio Bedalov

BACKGROUND: All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)-based treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is the most successful pharmacological treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Recent development of inhibitors of mutated isocitrate dehydrogenase and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) has revived interest in differentiation therapy of non-APL AML. Our previous studies demonstrated that 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside (AICAr) induced differentiation of monocytic cell lines by activating the ATR/Chk1 via pyrimidine depletion. In the present study, the effects of AICAr on the viability and differentiation of primary AML blasts isolated from bone marrow of patients with non-APL AML were tested and compared with the effects of DHODH inhibitor brequinar and ATRA. METHODS: Bone marrow samples were obtained from 35 patients and leukemia blasts were cultured ex vivo. The cell viability was assessed by MTT assay and AML cell differentiation was determined by flow cytometry and morphological analyses. RNA sequencing and partial data analysis were conducted using ClusterProfiler package. Statistical analysis was performed using GraphPad Prism 6.0. RESULTS: AICAr is capable of triggering differentiation in samples of bone marrow blasts cultured ex vivo that were resistant to ATRA. AICAr-induced differentiation correlates with proliferation and sensitivity to DHODH inhibition. RNA-seq data obtained in primary AML blasts confirmed that AICAr treatment induced downregulation of pyrimidine metabolism pathways together with an upregulation of gene set involved in hematopoietic cell lineage. CONCLUSION: AICAr induces differentiation in a subset of primary non-APL AML blasts, and these effects correlate with sensitivity to a well-known, potent DHODH inhibitor.

Real-world evidence of tisagenlecleucel for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Blood Adv

2020 Cameron Turtle

Tisagenlecleucel is a CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy approved for treatment of pediatric and young adult patients with relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adults with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The initial experience with tisagenlecleucel in a real-world setting from a cellular therapy registry is presented here. As of January 2020, 511 patients were enrolled from 73 centers, and 410 patients had follow-up data reported (ALL, n = 255; NHL, n = 155), with a median follow-up of 13.4 and 11.9 months for ALL and NHL, respectively. Among patients with ALL, the initial complete remission (CR) rate was 85.5%. Twelve-month duration of response (DOR), event-free survival, and overall survival (OS) rates were 60.9%, 52.4%, and 77.2%, respectively. Among adults with NHL, the best overall response rate was 61.8%, including an initial CR rate of 39.5%. Six-month DOR, progression-free survival, and OS rates were 55.3%, 38.7%, and 70.7%, respectively. Grade ≥3 cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity were reported in 11.6% and 7.5% of all patients, respectively. Similar outcomes were observed in patients with in-specification and out-of-specification products as a result of viability <80% (range, 61% to 79%). This first report of tisagenlecleucel in the real-world setting demonstrates outcomes with similar efficacy and improved safety compared with those seen in the pivotal trials.

Decisional involvement and information preferences of patients with hematologic malignancies

Blood Adv

2020 Stephanie Lee; Anthony Back

Understanding decisional involvement and information preferences in patients with hematologic malignancies may help to optimize physician-patient communication about treatment decisions and align the decision-making processes with patients' preferences. We described and examined factors associated with preferences of patients with hematologic malignancies for decisional involvement, information sources, and presentation of information. In a multicenter observational study, we recruited 216 patients with hematologic malignancies of any stage from September 2003 to June 2007. Patients were asked about their decisional involvement preferences (Control Preferences Scale), information sources (including most useful source of information), and preferences for their oncologists' presentation of treatment success information. We used multivariate logistic regressions to identify factors associated with decisional involvement preferences and usefulness of information sources (physicians vs nonphysicians). Patient-directed, shared, and physician-directed approaches were preferred in 34%, 38%, and 28% of patients, respectively. Physicians and computer/Internet were the most common information sources; 42% perceived physicians as the most useful source. On multivariate analysis, patients with less than a college education (vs postgraduate education) were less likely to perceive their physician as the most useful source (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.46; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.21-1.00), whereas patients with acute leukemia (vs other blood cancers) were more likely to perceive their physician as the most useful source (AOR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.07-5.80). In terms of communicating treatment success rates, 70% preferred ≥1 method(s), and 88% preferred presentation in percentages. Our study suggests that decisional involvement and information preferences vary and should be assessed explicitly as part of each decision-making encounter.

Genetic factors rather than blast reduction determine outcomes of allogeneic HCT in BCR-ABL-negative MPN in blast phase

Blood Adv

2020 H. Joachim Deeg; Bart Scott; Rachel Salit

There is a limited understanding of the clinical and molecular factors associated with outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) in patients with BCR-ABL-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms in blast phase (MPN-BP). Using the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research database, we evaluated HCT outcomes in 177 patients with MPN-BP. Ninety-five (54%) had sufficient DNA for targeted next-generation sequencing of 49 genes clinically relevant in hematologic malignancies. At 5 years, overall survival (OS), cumulative incidence of relapse, and nonrelapse mortality of the study cohort was 18%, 61%, and 25%, respectively. In a multivariable model, poor-risk cytogenetics was associated with inferior OS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.21-2.41) due to increased relapse (HR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.32-2.82). Transplants using mobilized peripheral blood (PB) were associated with better OS (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.38-0.96). No difference in outcomes was observed in patients undergoing HCT with PB/BM blasts <5% vs those with active leukemia. Among the 95 patients with molecular data, mutation of TP53, present in 23%, was the only genetic alteration associated with outcomes. In a multivariate model, TP53-mutant patients had inferior OS (HR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.14-3.49) and increased incidence of relapse (HR, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.41-4.74). There were no differences in the spectrum of gene mutations, number of mutations, or variant allele frequency between patients undergoing HCT with PB/BM blasts <5% vs those with active leukemia. Genetic factors, namely cytogenetic alterations and TP53 mutation status, rather than degree of cytoreduction predict outcomes of HCT in MPN-BP. No meaningful benefit of conventional HCT was observed in patients with MPN-BP and mutated TP53.

Gender differences in question-asking at the 2019 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting

Blood Adv

2020 Lynn Onstad; Stephanie Lee; Saira Moazzam; Julianne Dunlap

Attendance at professional conferences is an important component of career development, because conferences are a major forum for presenting new research, interacting with colleagues and networking. An extensive literature documents differences in the professional experiences of women and men, including experiences at professional conferences. We hypothesized that women are less likely than men to ask questions at conferences, thus forgoing opportunities for professional development. To address this issue, we analyzed the question-asking behavior of women and men at the 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Society of Hematology. In all, 112 sessions (55% of those eligible) were randomly chosen for coding, yielding data on 577 presentations. Although approximately 50% of moderators and speakers were women, the proportion of questions asked by women was significantly lower compared with the estimated proportion of women attending the conference (23% vs 39%; P < .0001). Women were more likely to ask questions if another woman asked the first question or if the session topic was red cells. These results suggest that although women are represented equally as moderators and speakers, they are less likely to engage in the postpresentation discourse by asking questions. Encouraging women to speak up in professional situations and providing training on question-asking skills can help address this gender gap that potentially contributes to disparities in professional visibility and career advancement for women in hematology.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus radical cystectomy versus radical cystectomy alone in clinical T2 bladder cancer without hydronephrosis


2020 Evan Yu; Petros Grivas; Javeed Shah; Jonathan Wright

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) before radical cystectomy (RC) in a retrospective multicenter patient cohort of patients with cT2N0M0 BCa without preoperative hydronephrosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a propensity-based analysis of 619 patients. Of these, 316 were treated with NAC followed by RC and 303 with upfront RC. After multiple imputations, inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) was used to account for potential selection bias. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the impact of NAC on pathologic complete response and downstaging at RC, while IPTW-adjusted Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression models were built to evaluate the impact of NAC on overall survival (OS). RESULTS: After IPTW-adjusted analysis, standardized differences between groups were less than 15%. A complete response (pT0N0) at final pathology was achieved in 94 (30%) patients receiving NAC and 9 (3%) patients undergoing upfront RC. Downstaging to non-muscle invasive disease (<pT2N0M0) was observed in 174 (55%) patients after NAC and in 72 (24%) patients without NAC. On multivariable analysis, NAC was found to be an independent predictor of both pathologic complete response and downstaging. No significant difference with respect to OS was observed between groups with a median follow-up of 18 months. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with cT2N0 BCa and no preoperative hydronephrosis, NAC increased the rate of pathologic complete response and downstaging.