bims-tremyl Biomed News
on Therapy resistance biology in myeloid leukemia
Issue of 2021‒12‒12
thirty-one papers selected by
Paolo Gallipoli
Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London

  1. Leukemia. 2021 Dec 06.
      Recurrent mutations in IDH1 or IDH2 in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are associated with increased DNA methylation, but the genome-wide patterns of this hypermethylation phenotype have not been comprehensively studied in AML samples. We analyzed whole-genome bisulfite sequencing data from 15 primary AML samples with IDH1 or IDH2 mutations, which identified ~4000 focal regions that were uniquely hypermethylated in IDHmut samples vs. normal CD34+ cells and other AMLs. These regions had modest hypermethylation in AMLs with biallelic TET2 mutations, and levels of 5-hydroxymethylation that were diminished in IDH and TET-mutant samples, indicating that this hypermethylation results from inhibition of TET-mediated demethylation. Focal hypermethylation in IDHmut AMLs occurred at regions with low methylation in CD34+ cells, implying that DNA methylation and demethylation are active at these loci. AML samples containing IDH and DNMT3AR882 mutations were significantly less hypermethylated, suggesting that IDHmut-associated hypermethylation is mediated by DNMT3A. IDHmut-specific hypermethylation was highly enriched for enhancers that form direct interactions with genes involved in normal hematopoiesis and AML, including MYC and ETV6. These results suggest that focal hypermethylation in IDH-mutant AML occurs by altering the balance between DNA methylation and demethylation, and that disruption of these pathways at enhancers may contribute to AML pathogenesis.
  2. Blood Adv. 2021 Dec 06. pii: bloodadvances.2021005741. [Epub ahead of print]
      Leukemia stem cells (LSC) are linked to relapse in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The LSC17 gene expression score robustly captures LSC stemness properties in AML and can be used to predict survival outcomes and response to therapy, enabling risk-adapted upfront treatment approaches. The LSC17 score was developed and validated in a research setting. To enable wide use of the LSC17 score in clinical decision-making, we established a Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) for the LSC17 score that can be deployed broadly in clinical molecular diagnostic laboratories. We extensively validated the LSC17 LDT in a College of American Pathologists/Clinical Laboratory Improvements Act (CAP/CLIA)-certified laboratory, determining specimen requirements, a synthetic control, and performance parameters for the assay. Importantly, we correlated values from the LSC17 LDT to clinical outcome for a reference cohort of AML patients, establishing a median assay value that can be used for clinical risk stratification of individual patients with newly-diagnosed AML. The assay was established in a second independent CAP/CLIA-certified laboratory and its technical performance validated using an independent cohort of AML patient samples, demonstrating that the LSC17 LDT can be readily implemented in other settings. This study enables the clinical use of the LSC17 score for upfront risk-adapted management of AML patients.
  3. Mol Metab. 2021 Dec 01. pii: S2212-8778(21)00268-4. [Epub ahead of print] 101410
      Long-term treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) represents an effective treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and discontinuation of TKI therapy is now being proposed to patients with deep molecular responses. However, evidence demonstrating that TKI are unable to fully eradicate dormant leukemic stem cells underline that new therapeutic strategies are needed to prevent molecular relapses. We investigated metabolic pathways responsible for CML surviving Imatinib exposure and its potential therapeutic utility to improve the efficiency of TKI against CML stem cells. Using complementary cell-based techniques, we demonstrated that TKI suppressed glycolysis in a large panel of BCR-ABL1 + cell lines as well as in primary CD34+ stem-like cells from CML patients. However, compensatory glutamine-dependent mitochondrial oxidation supported ATP synthesis and CML cell survival. Glutamine metabolism was inhibited by L-asparaginases such as Kidrolase without inducing predominant CML cell death. Clinically relevant concentrations of TKI render CML progenitors and stem cells susceptible to Kidrolase. The combination of TKI with L-asparaginase reactivated the intinsic apoptotic pathway leading to efficient CML cell death. Thus, targeting glutamine metabolism with the clinically-approved drug Kidrolase, in combination with TKI which suppresses glycolysis, represents an effective and widely applicable therapeutic strategy for eradicating CML stem cells.
    Keywords:  LSC; metabolic addiction; metabolic stress; stem-like cells; synthetic lethality
  4. Sci Rep. 2021 Dec 07. 11(1): 23565
      FLT3 internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) is a frequent mutation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and remains a strong prognostic factor due to high rate of disease recurrence. Several FLT3-targeted agents have been developed, but determinants of variable responses to these agents remain understudied. Here, we investigated the role FLT3-ITD allelic ratio (ITD-AR), ITD length, and associated gene expression signatures on FLT3 inhibitor response in adult AML. We performed fragment analysis, ex vivo drug testing, and next generation sequencing (RNA, exome) to 119 samples from 87 AML patients and 13 healthy bone marrow controls. We found that ex vivo response to FLT3 inhibitors is significantly associated with ITD-AR, but not with ITD length. Interestingly, we found that the HLF gene is overexpressed in FLT3-ITD+ AML and associated with ITD-AR. The retrospective analysis of AML patients treated with FLT3 inhibitor sorafenib showed that patients with high HLF expression and ITD-AR had better clinical response to therapy compared to those with low ITD-AR and HLF expression. Thus, our findings suggest that FLT3 ITD-AR together with increased HLF expression play a role in variable FLT3 inhibitor responses observed in FLT3-ITD+ AML patients.
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Dec 06. pii: 6142. [Epub ahead of print]13(23):
      Autophagy is an important survival mechanism that allows recycling of nutrients and removal of damaged organelles and has been shown to contribute to the proliferation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. However, little is known about the mechanism by which autophagy- dependent AML cells can overcome dysfunctional autophagy. In our study we identified autophagy related protein 3 (ATG3) as a crucial autophagy gene for AML cell proliferation by conducting a CRISPR/Cas9 dropout screen with a library targeting around 200 autophagy-related genes. shRNA-mediated loss of ATG3 impaired autophagy function in AML cells and increased their mitochondrial activity and energy metabolism, as shown by elevated mitochondrial ROS generation and mitochondrial respiration. Using tracer-based NMR metabolomics analysis we further demonstrate that the loss of ATG3 resulted in an upregulation of glycolysis, lactate production, and oxidative phosphorylation. Additionally, loss of ATG3 strongly sensitized AML cells to the inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism. These findings highlight the metabolic vulnerabilities that AML cells acquire from autophagy inhibition and support further exploration of combination therapies targeting autophagy and mitochondrial metabolism in AML.
    Keywords:  ATG3; acute myeloid leukemia; autophagy; autophagy inhibition; metabolic rewiring
  6. Leuk Lymphoma. 2021 Dec 06. 1-13
      Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with FLT3-ITD mutation accounts for a large proportion of relapsed/refractory AML with poor prognosis. RIPK1 is a known key regulator of necroptosis and RIPK1 inhibition shows anti-AML effects in vitro. Chidamide is a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) with proven ability to induce apoptosis in FLT3-ITD positive AML cells. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of the combination of 22b, a novel RIPK1 inhibitor, and chidamide on proliferation and apoptosis in FLT3-ITD positive AML cell lines and primary cells. The results showed that 22b could significantly enhance the anti-leukemia effect of low-dose chidamide both on cell lines and primary cells. In a subcutaneous xenograft AML model, the combination of 22b and chidamide exhibited obviously elevated anti-tumor activity. In conclusion, our results support that the combination of RIPK1 inhibitor 22b and chidamide may be a novel therapeutic avenue for FLT3-ITD positive AML patients.
    Keywords:  FLT3-ITD; Receptor-interacting protein kinase-1; acute myeloid leukemia; chidamide; necroptosis
  7. Br J Haematol. 2021 Dec 06.
      Although we earlier reported a very poor outcome for younger adult patients with isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2)R172 -mutated acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) entered into UK trials compared to IDH2WT and IDH2R140 -mutated patients, this was not corroborated by a study from the German-Austrian AML Study Group. We have therefore investigated a later cohort of IDH2-mutated patients to identify any changes in outcome and whether this could inform the optimal treatment for IDH2R172 AML. We found an improved outcome for IDH2R172 -mutated AML in the later trials and the data suggests that this may be due to the increased use of allogeneic transplantation to consolidate first remission.
    Keywords:  acute myeloid leukaemia; allogeneic transplantation; isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2)R172 mutations; optimal therapy; prognostic impact
  8. Blood. 2021 Dec 05. pii: blood.2021013442. [Epub ahead of print]
      KMT2A-rearranged (KMT2A-r) infant ALL is a devastating malignancy with a dismal outcome, and younger age at diagnosis is associated with increased risk of relapse. To discover age-specific differences and critical drivers that mediate poor outcome in KMT2A-r ALL, we subjected KMT2A-r leukemias and normal hematopoietic cells from patients of different ages to single cell multi-omics analyses. We uncovered the following critical new insights: leukemia cells from patients younger than 6 months have significantly increased lineage plasticity. Steroid response pathways are downregulated in the most immature blasts from younger patients. We identify a hematopoietic stem and progenitor-like (HSPC-like) population in the blood of younger patients that contains leukemic blasts and form an immunosuppressive signaling circuit with cytotoxic lymphocytes. These observations offer a compelling explanation for the ability of leukemias in young patients to evade chemotherapy and immune mediated control. Our analysis also revealed pre-existing lymphomyeloid primed progenitors and myeloid blasts at initial diagnosis of B-ALL. Tracking of leukemic clones in two patients whose leukemia underwent a lineage switch documented the evolution of such clones into frank AML. These findings provide critical insights into KMT2A-r ALL and have clinical implications for molecularly targeted and immunotherapy approaches. Beyond infant ALL, our study demonstrates the power of single cell multi-omics to detect tumor intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting rare but critical subpopulations within a malignant population that ultimately determines patient outcome.
  9. Nature. 2021 Dec 08.
      All cancers emerge after a period of clonal selection and subsequent clonal expansion. Although the evolutionary principles imparted by genetic intratumour heterogeneity are becoming increasingly clear1, little is known about the non-genetic mechanisms that contribute to intratumour heterogeneity and malignant clonal fitness2. Here, using single-cell profiling and lineage tracing (SPLINTR)-an expressed barcoding strategy-we trace isogenic clones in three clinically relevant mouse models of acute myeloid leukaemia. We find that malignant clonal dominance is a cell-intrinsic and heritable property that is facilitated by the repression of antigen presentation and increased expression of the secretory leukocyte peptidase inhibitor gene (Slpi), which we genetically validate as a regulator of acute myeloid leukaemia. Increased transcriptional heterogeneity is a feature that enables clonal fitness in diverse tissues and immune microenvironments and in the context of clonal competition between genetically distinct clones. Similar to haematopoietic stem cells3, leukaemia stem cells (LSCs) display heritable clone-intrinsic properties of high, and low clonal output that contribute to the overall tumour mass. We demonstrate that LSC clonal output dictates sensitivity to chemotherapy and, although high- and low-output clones adapt differently to therapeutic pressure, they coordinately emerge from minimal residual disease with increased expression of the LSC program. Together, these data provide fundamental insights into the non-genetic transcriptional processes that underpin malignant clonal fitness and may inform future therapeutic strategies.
  10. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 24-29
      A relative wealth of new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have led to a rapid shift in treatment paradigms for this disease. Understanding whom, when, and how to treat is more complex than ever before. Here we explore whom to treat with these available new therapies, focusing on special patient populations that include older adults, those with relapsed disease, and those with TP53-mutated AML. These high-risk subgroups are some of the most challenging to care for, but novel treatments are providing them with new hope.
  11. Blood Cancer J. 2021 Dec 04. 11(12): 193
      Blocked cellular differentiation is a central pathologic feature of the myeloid malignancies, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Treatment regimens promoting differentiation have resulted in incredible cure rates in certain AML subtypes, such as acute promyelocytic leukemia. Over the past several years, we have seen many new therapies for MDS/AML enter clinical practice, including epigenetic therapies (e.g., 5-azacitidine), isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) inhibitors, fms-like kinase 3 (FLT3) inhibitors, and lenalidomide for deletion 5q (del5q) MDS. Despite not being developed with the intent of manipulating differentiation, induction of differentiation is a major mechanism by which several of these novel agents function. In this review, we examine the new therapeutic landscape for these diseases, focusing on the role of hematopoietic differentiation and the impact of inflammation and aging. We review how current therapies in MDS/AML promote differentiation as a part of their therapeutic effect, and the cellular mechanisms by which this occurs. We then outline potential novel avenues to achieve differentiation in the myeloid malignancies for therapeutic purposes. This emerging body of knowledge about the importance of relieving differentiation blockade with anti-neoplastic therapies is important to understand how current novel agents function and may open avenues to developing new treatments that explicitly target cellular differentiation. Moving beyond cytotoxic agents has the potential to open new and unexpected avenues in the treatment of myeloid malignancies, hopefully providing more efficacy with reduced toxicity.
  12. iScience. 2021 Dec 17. 24(12): 103425
      We previously showed stabilization of NIK-induced activation of NF-κB non-canonical signaling suppresses MLL-AF9-induced AML. In the current study, we demonstrate that deletion of NF-κB non-canonical RelB prevents the inhibitory effect of NIK stabilization in MLL-AF9 AML. Mechanistically, RelB suppresses its direct target, TIFAB, which is upregulated in human AML and correlates negatively with the survival of AML patients. Forced expression of TIFAB reverses NIK-induced impaired AML development through downregulation of RelB and upregulation of HOXA9. Consistent with upregulation of HOXA9, gene set enrichment analysis shows that forced expression of TIFAB blocks myeloid cell development, upregulates leukemia stem cell signature and induces similar gene expression patterns to those of HOXA9-MEIS1 and HOXA9-NUP98, and upregulates oxidative phosphorylation. Accordingly, forced expression of HOXA9 also largely releases the inhibitory impact of NIK stabilization via downregulation of RelB and upregulation of RelA. Our data suggest that NIK/RelB suppresses MLL-AF9-induced AML mainly through downregulation of TIFAB/HOXA9.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Cancer; Molecular biology
  13. FASEB J. 2022 Jan;36(1): e22094
      Modifications in sphingolipid (SL) metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics are key factors implicated in cancer cell response to chemotherapy, including chemotherapy resistance. In the present work, we utilized acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell lines, selected to be refractory to various chemotherapeutics, to explore the interplay between SL metabolism and mitochondrial biology supportive of multidrug resistance (MDR). In agreement with previous findings in cytarabine or daunorubicin resistant AML cells, relative to chemosensitive wildtype controls, HL-60 cells refractory to vincristine (HL60/VCR) presented with alterations in SL enzyme expression and lipidome composition. Such changes were typified by upregulated expression of various ceramide detoxifying enzymes, as well as corresponding shifts in ceramide, glucosylceramide, and sphingomyelin (SM) molecular species. With respect to mitochondria, despite consistent increases in both basal respiration and maximal respiratory capacity, direct interrogation of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system revealed intrinsic deficiencies in HL60/VCR, as well as across multiple MDR model systems. Based on the apparent requirement for augmented SL and mitochondrial flux to support the MDR phenotype, we explored a combinatorial therapeutic paradigm designed to target each pathway. Remarkably, despite minimal cytotoxicity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), co-targeting SL metabolism, and respiratory complex I (CI) induced synergistic cytotoxicity consistently across multiple MDR leukemia models. Together, these data underscore the intimate connection between cellular sphingolipids and mitochondrial metabolism and suggest that pharmacological intervention across both pathways may represent a novel treatment strategy against MDR.
    Keywords:  HL-60 cells; acute myeloid leukemia; chemotherapy resistance; mitochondrial bioenergetics; sphingolipids; vincristine
  14. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 16-23
      The development and approval of novel substances have resulted in substantial improvements in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In the current era of novel treatment options, genetic and molecular testing at the time of diagnosis and relapse becomes increasingly relevant. Midostaurin in combination with intensive chemotherapy is the standard of care as upfront therapy in younger AML patients with mutated fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3). Gilteritinib, a second- generation FLT3 inhibitor, represents a key drug for relapsed/refractory (R/R) FLT3-mutated AML patients. Targeted therapy has also been developed for patients with mutated isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ivosidenib as a monotherapy for newly diagnosed older adult IDH1-mutated patients and enasidenib for R/R IDH2-mutated AML patients. CPX-351, a liposomal formulation of daunorubicin and cytarabine, has become an important upfront treatment strategy for fit patients with therapy-related AML or AML with myelodysplasia-related changes that are generally challenging to treat. The antibody drug conjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin was approved in combination with intensive therapy for patients with newly diagnosed (FDA/European Medicines Agency [EMA]) as well as R/R CD33+ AML. The combination of venetoclax, an oral selective B-cell leukemia/lymphoma-2 inhibitor, with hypomethylating agents or low-dose AraC (LDAC) has changed the treatment landscape and prognosis for older adult patients very favorably. The addition of glasdegib, a small-molecule hedgehog inhibitor, to LDAC is another example of novel options in older patients. Further substances have shown promising results in early clinical trials.
  15. Blood. 2021 Dec 06. pii: blood.2021013972. [Epub ahead of print]
      Pediatric and young adult (YA) patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) have extremely poor prognosis. Standard salvage chemotherapy and donor lymphocyte infusions (DLI) have little curative potential. Previous studies showed that natural killer (NK) cells can be stimulated ex vivo with interleukin-12 (IL-12), IL-15, and IL-18 to generate memory-like (ML) NK cells with enhanced anti-leukemia responses. We treated nine pediatric/YA patients with post-HCT relapsed AML with donor ML NK cells on a phase I trial. Patients received fludarabine, cytarabine and filgrastim followed two weeks later by infusion of DLI and ML NK cells from the original HCT donor. ML NK cells were successfully generated from haploidentical, matched-related and matched-unrelated donors. Following infusion, donor-derived ML NK cells expanded and maintained ML multidimensional mass cytometry phenotype for over 3 months. Furthermore, ML NK cells exhibited persistent functional responses as evidenced by leukemia-triggered IFN-g production. Following DLI and ML NK cell adoptive transfer, 4 of 8 evaluable patients achieved complete remission at day 28. Two patients maintained a durable remission for over 3 months with one patient in remission for greater than two years. No significant toxicity was experienced. This study demonstrates that in a compatible immune environment post-HCT, donor ML NK cells robustly expand and persist with potent anti-leukemic activity in the absence of exogenous cytokines. ML NK cells in combination with DLI present a novel immunotherapy platform for AML that has relapsed after allogeneic HCT. This trial was registered at as #NCT03068819.
  16. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 418-427
      Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are characterized by heterogeneous biological and clinical characteristics, leading to variable outcomes. The availability of sophisticated platforms of genome sequencing allowed the discovery of recurrently mutated genes, which have led to a new era in MDS. This is reflected by the 2016 update of the World Health Organization classification, in which the criteria to define MDS with ringed sideroblasts include the presence of SF3B1 mutations. Further, the detection of somatic mutations in myeloid genes at high variant allele frequency guides the diagnostic algorithm in cases with cytopenias, unclear dysplastic changes, and normal karyotypes, supporting MDS over alternative diagnoses. SF3B1 mutations have been shown to play a positive prognostic role, while mutations in ASXL1, EZH2, RUNX1, and TP53 have been associated with a dismal prognosis. This is particularly relevant in lower- and intermediate-risk disease, in which a higher number of mutations and/or the presence of "unfavorable" somatic mutations may support the use of disease-modifying treatments. In the near future, the incorporation of mutation profiles in currently used prognostication systems, also taking into consideration the classical patient clinical variables (including age and comorbidities), will support a more precise disease stratification, eg, the assignment to targeted treatment approaches or to allogeneic stem cell transplantation in younger patients.
  17. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 514-520
      A common feature of both congenital and acquired forms of bone marrow failure is an increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Indeed, the development of MDS or AML is now the major cause of mortality in patients with congenital neutropenia. Thus, there is a pressing clinical need to develop better strategies to prevent, diagnose early, and treat MDS/AML in patients with congenital neutropenia and other bone marrow failure syndromes. Here, we discuss recent data characterizing clonal hematopoiesis and progression to myeloid malignancy in congenital neutropenia, focusing on severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. We summarize recent studies showing excellent outcomes after allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for many (but not all) patients with congenital neutropenia, including patients with SCN with active myeloid malignancy who underwent transplantation. Finally, we discuss how these new data inform the current clinical management of patients with congenital neutropenia.
  18. Leuk Res. 2021 Oct 21. pii: S0145-2126(21)01733-1. [Epub ahead of print]112 106732
      Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) represents 1 % of all new cancer diagnosis made annually in the US and has a five-year survival of 30 %. Traditional treatment includes aggressive induction therapy followed by consolidation therapy that may include a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Thus far, HSCT remains the only potentially curative therapy for many patients with AML owing to the graft-versus-leukemia effect elicited by this treatment. The use of novel therapies, specifically immunotherapy, in the treatment of AML has been limited by the lack of appropriate target antigens, therapy associated toxicities and variable success with treatment. Antigenic variability on leukemia cells and the sharing of antigens by malignant and non-malignant cells makes the identification of appropriate antigens problematic. While studies with immunotherapeutic agents are underway, prior investigations have demonstrated a mixed response with some studies prematurely discontinued due to associated toxicities. This review presents a discussion of the envisioned role of immunotherapy in the treatment of AML in the setting of mixed therapeutic success and potentially lethal toxicities.
    Keywords:  AML; Acute Myeloid Leukemia; HSCT; Hematopoietic stem cell transplant; Immunotherapy
  19. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 399-404
      Rapid advances in sequencing technology have led to the identification of somatic mutations that predispose a significant subset of the aging population to myeloid malignancies. Recently recognized myeloid precursor conditions include clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) and clonal cytopenia of unknown significance (CCUS). These conditions can present diagnostic challenges and produce unwarranted anxiety in some instances. While the risk of progression to myeloid malignancies is very low in CHIP, true CCUS confers an exponential increase in risk. Idiopathic cytopenia of unknown significance (IDUS) lacks the predisposing genetic mutations and has a variable course. In this review we define the early myeloid precursor conditions and their risk of progression. We present our diagnostic approach to patients with unexplained cytopenias and discuss the clinical consequences of CHIP and CCUS.
  20. J Clin Med. 2021 Nov 29. pii: 5606. [Epub ahead of print]10(23):
      BACKGROUND: The management of Philadelphia Chromosome-positive (Ph+) hematological malignancies is strictly correlated to the use of BCR-ABL1 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). However, these drugs do not induce leukemic stem cells death and their persistence may generate a disease relapse. Published reports indicated that Venetoclax, a selective BCL2 inhibitor, could be effective in Ph+ diseases, as BCL2 anti-apoptotic activity is modulated by BCR-ABL1 kinase. We, therefore, investigated if BCL2 inhibition, alone or combined with Nilotinib, a BCR-ABL1 inhibitor, affects the primitive and committed Ph+ cells survival.METHODS: We used Ph+ cells isolated from leukemic patients at diagnosis. To estimate the therapeutic efficacy of BCL2 and BCR-ABL1 inhibition we employed long-term culture, proliferation and apoptosis assay. Immunoblot was used to evaluate the ability of treatment to interfere with the down-stream targets of BCR-ABL1.
    RESULTS: Blocking BCL2, we observed reduced proliferation and clonogenic potential of CML CD34-positive cells and this cytotoxicity was improved by combination with BCR-ABL1 inhibitor. However, BCL2 inhibition, alone or in combination regiment with BCR-ABL1 inhibitor, did not reduce the self-renewal of primitive leukemic cells, while strongly induced cell death on primary Ph+ Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
    CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that primitive CML leukemic cells are not dependent on BCL2 for their persistence and support that committed CML and Ph + ALL cells are dependent by BCL2 and BCR-ABL1 cooperation for their survival. The antileukemic activity of BCL2 and BCR-ABL1 dual targeting may be a useful therapeutic strategy for Ph+ ALL patients.
    Keywords:  ALL; BCL2; BCR-ABL1; CML; LTC-IC; Nilotinib; Venetoclax; stem cell
  21. Nat Med. 2021 Dec 06.
      Advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM) is a rare hematologic neoplasm driven by the KIT D816V mutation and associated with poor survival. This phase 1 study ( NCT02561988 ) evaluated avapritinib (BLU-285), a selective KIT D816V inhibitor, in patients with AdvSM. The primary endpoints were the maximum tolerated dose, recommended phase 2 dose and safety of avapritinib. Secondary endpoints included overall response rate and changes in measures of mast cell burden. Avapritinib was evaluated at doses of 30-400 mg once daily in 86 patients, 69 with centrally confirmed AdvSM. Maximum tolerated dose was not reached, and 200 mg and 300 mg daily were studied in dose-expansion cohorts. The most frequent adverse events observed were periorbital edema (69%), anemia (55%), diarrhea (45%), thrombocytopenia (44%) and nausea (44%). Intracranial bleeding occurred in 13% overall, but in only 1% of patients without severe thrombocytopenia (platelets <50 × 109/l). In 53 response-evaluable patients, the overall response rate was 75%. The complete remission rate was 36%. Avapritinib elicited ≥50% reductions in marrow mast cells and serum tryptase in 92% and 99% of patients, respectively. Avapritinib induced deep and durable responses, including molecular remission of KIT D816V in patients with AdvSM, and was well tolerated at the recommended phase 2 dose of 200 mg daily.
  22. Nat Med. 2021 Dec 06.
      Advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM) is a rare, KIT D816V-driven hematologic neoplasm characterized by mast cell infiltration and shortened survival. We report the results of a prespecified interim analysis of an ongoing pivotal single-arm phase 2 trial (no. NCT03580655 ) of avapritinib, a potent, selective KIT D816V inhibitor administered primarily at a once-daily starting dose of 200 mg in patients with AdvSM (n = 62). The primary endpoint was overall response rate (ORR). Secondary endpoints included mean baseline change in AdvSM-Symptom Assessment Form Total Symptom Score and quality of life, time to response, duration of response, progression-free survival, overall survival, changes in measures of disease burden and safety. The primary endpoint was successfully met (P = 1.6 × 10-9), with an ORR of 75% (95% confidence interval 57-89) in 32 response-evaluable patients with AdvSM who had sufficient follow-up for response assessment, including 19% with complete remission with full or partial hematologic recovery. Reductions of ≥50% from baseline in serum tryptase (93%), bone marrow mast cells (88%) and KIT D816V variant allele fraction (60%) were observed. The most frequent grade ≥3 adverse events were neutropenia (24%), thrombocytopenia (16%) and anemia (16%). Avapritinib demonstrated a high rate of clinical, morphological and molecular responses and was generally well tolerated in patients with AdvSM.
  23. Cytotherapy. 2021 Dec 01. pii: S1465-3249(21)00852-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND AIMS: The internal tandem duplication of FLT3 (FLT3ITD) and NPM1 mutations (NPM1mut) are well-established prognostic factors in cytogenetically intermediate-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when treated with chemotherapy alone. However, their prognostic value in the setting of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is controversial.METHODS: FLT3 and NPM1 mutational status was determined at diagnosis using single-gene polymerase chain reaction or next-generation sequencing in 247 adult patients with cytogenetically intermediate-risk AML who underwent myeloablative HCT. Multivariate Fine-Gray and Cox regression was used to analyze the cumulative incidence of relapse (CIR), relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS).
    RESULTS: FLT3ITD and NPM1mut were present in 74 of 247 (30%) and 79 of 247 (32%) patients, respectively. There was no significant difference between patients without a FLT3ITD or NPM1mut (FLT3NONITD/NPM1WT) and patients with a FLT3ITD mutation alone (FLT3ITD/NPM1WT) with regard to CIR (P = 0.60), RFS (P = 0.91) or OS (P = 0.66). Similarly, there was no significant difference between FLT3NONITD/NPM1WT and FLT3NONITD/NPM1mut patients with regard to CIR (P = 0.70), RFS (P = 0.75) or OS (P = 0.95). The presence of a concurrent mutation in NPM1 did not appear to modify the impact of having a FLT3ITD mutation.
    CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to chemotherapy-only treatment, FLT3 and NPM1 mutational status does not appear to predict outcomes in patients with cytogenetically intermediate-risk AML following HCT. These results suggest that HCT may ameliorate the poor prognostic effect of FLT3ITD mutation and that HCT should be considered over chemotherapy-only treatment in FLT3ITD-mutated AML.
    Keywords:  FLT3; NPM1; acute myeloid leukemia (AML); allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT); disease risk; relapse
  24. J Clin Oncol. 2021 Dec 10. JCO2101548
      PURPOSE: To explore trial-level and patient-level associations between response (complete remission [CR] and CR + CR with incomplete hematologic [CRi] or platelet [CRp] recovery), event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS) in newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) trials of intensive chemotherapy.METHODS: We identified data from eight randomized, active-controlled trials of intensive chemotherapy submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of newly diagnosed AML (N = 4,482). Associations between trial-level odds ratios (ORs) for CR and CR + CRi or CRp, and hazard ratios (HRs) for EFS and OS were analyzed using weighted linear regression models. We performed patient-level responder analyses to compare OS by response using pooled data from all studies.
    RESULTS: In trial-level analyses, association between HR for OS and OR for CR was moderate (R2 = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.86), as was the association with OR for CR + CRi or CRp (R2 = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.99). For OS versus EFS, a strong association was observed (R2 = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.98) when EFS definitions were harmonized across trials using raw data. In the patient-level responder analyses, patients who achieved CR had better OS compared with CRi or CRp responders (0.73; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.84) and nonresponders (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.37).
    CONCLUSION: On a trial level, there is a moderate association between OS and CR rate. A strong association between EFS and OS was observed. However, CIs were wide, and results became moderate using alternative definitions for EFS. Patient-level analyses showed CR responders have better OS compared with CRi or CRp responders and nonresponders. A therapy in newly diagnosed AML with benefit in EFS or substantial benefit in CR rate would be likely to have an OS effect.
  25. Medicine (Baltimore). 2021 Dec 10. 100(49): e27884
      BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common leukemia among the adult population and accounts for about 80% of all cases. Despite advancements in therapeutic regimens, the prognosis remains very poor, especially in the elderly population. Selinexor is a first-in-class, oral, small molecule Exportin-1 inhibitor that is being developed for the treatment of a variety of cancers, including AML. The efficacy and safety issues of selinexor in the treatment of AML are still the focus of attention. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of selinexor in the treatment of AML.METHODS: According to the search strategy, regardless of publication date or language, randomized controlled trials of selinexor for AML will be retrieved from 8 databases. First of all, the literature was screened according to the eligibility criteria, and use the Cochrane Collaboration's tool to assess the quality of the included literature. Then, using Rev Man 5.3 and STATA 14.2 software for traditional meta-analysis. Finally, the evaluation of the quality of the evidence and the strength of the recommendations will adopt the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation method.
    RESULTS: This study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of selinexor for AML, thereby providing more evidence support for clinical decision-making in AML.
    CONCLUSION: Our research will provide more references for the clinical medication of patients with AML.
  26. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 113-121
      Beginning with imatinib and now spanning 6 oral, highly active, and mostly safe agents, the development of specific targeted therapy for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has created a new world featuring chronic maintenance chemotherapy for all treated as such, treatment-free remission, and functional cure after prolonged deep remission in a subset. As a result comes a necessary shift in focus from acute to chronic toxicity, increasing attention to patient comorbidities, and critical thinking around specific adverse events such as metabolic, cardiovascular, and cardiopulmonary effects, which vary from agent to agent. This review aims to pull together the state of the art of managing the "C" in CML-a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm treated at present over many years with oral BCR-ABL-targeted agents in a population whose overall health can be complex and potentially affected by disease and therapy-and determine how we can better manage a highly treatable and increasingly curable cancer.
  27. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 122-128
      Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) revolutionized the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). With TKI therapy, the percentage of patients who progress to accelerated phase (AP) or blast phase (BP) CML has decreased from more than 20% to 1% to 1.5% per year. Although AP- and BP-CML occur in a minority of patients, outcomes in these patients are significantly worse compared with chronic phase CML, with decreased response rates and duration of response to TKI. Despite this, TKIs have improved outcomes in advanced phase CML, particularly in de novo AP patients, but are often inadequate for lasting remissions. The goal of initial therapy in advanced CML is a return to a chronic phase followed by consideration for bone marrow transplantation. The addition of induction chemotherapy with TKI is often necessary for achievement of a second chronic phase. Given the small population of patients with advanced CML, development of novel treatment strategies and investigational agents is challenging, although clinical trial participation is encouraged in AP and BP patients, whenever possible. We review the overall management approach to advanced CML, including TKI selection, combination therapy, consideration of transplant, and novel agents.
  28. Nat Commun. 2021 Dec 08. 12(1): 7130
      Acute infection is known to induce rapid expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), but the mechanisms supporting this expansion remain incomplete. Using mouse models, we show that inducible CD36 is required for free fatty acid uptake by HSCs during acute infection, allowing the metabolic transition from glycolysis towards β-oxidation. Mechanistically, high CD36 levels promote FFA uptake, which enables CPT1A to transport fatty acyl chains from the cytosol into the mitochondria. Without CD36-mediated FFA uptake, the HSCs are unable to enter the cell cycle, subsequently enhancing mortality in response to bacterial infection. These findings enhance our understanding of HSC metabolism in the bone marrow microenvironment, which supports the expansion of HSCs during pathogenic challenge.
  29. Blood Cancer J. 2021 Dec 06. 11(12): 195
      We aimed to investigate outcomes of different post-remission treatment (PRT) choices based on dynamic measurable residual disease (MRD) by multiparameter flow cytometry in favorable-risk AML (FR-AML). Four hundred and three younger patients with FR-AML in first complete remission (CR1) were enrolled in this registry-based cohort study, including 173 who received chemotherapy (CMT), 92 autologous stem cell transplantation (auto-SCT), and 138 allogeneic SCT (allo-SCT). The primary endpoint was the 5-year overall survival (OS). Subgroup analyses were performed based on dynamic MRD after the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd courses of chemotherapy. In subgroups of patients with negative MRD after 1 or 2 course of chemotherapy, comparable OS was observed among the CMT, auto-SCT, and allo-SCT groups (p = 0.340; p = 0.627, respectively). But CMT and auto-SCT had better graft-versus-host-disease-free, relapse-free survival (GRFS) than allo-SCT in both subgroups. For patients with negative MRD after three courses of chemotherapy, allo-SCT had better disease-free-survival than CMT (p = 0.009). However, OS was comparable among the three groups (p = 0.656). For patients with persistently positive MRD after 3 courses of chemotherapy or recurrent MRD, allo-SCT had better OS than CMT and auto-SCT (p = 0.011; p = 0.029, respectively). Dynamic MRD might improve therapy stratification and optimize PRT selection for FR-AML in CR1.
  30. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2021 Dec 10. 2021(1): 384-389
      Somatic mutations are an unavoidable consequence of aging tissues. Even though most mutations are functionally silent, some may affect genes critical to proper tissue self-renewal and differentiation, resulting in the outgrowth of affected cells, also known as clonal expansion. In hematopoietic tissue such clonal dominance is known as clonal hematopoiesis (CH). Sporadic CH is frequent in aging and affects over 10% of individuals beyond the fifth decade of life. It has been associated with an increased risk of hematologic malignancies and cardiovascular disease. In addition to aging, CH has been observed in other hematologic conditions and confers an adaptation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to various environmental stressors and cell-intrinsic defects. In the presence of extrinsic stressors such as genotoxic therapies, T-cell-mediated immune attack, or inflammation, somatic mutations may result in augmentation of HSC fitness. Such attuned HSCs can evade the environmental insults and outcompete their unadapted counterparts. Similarly, in inherited bone marrow failures, somatic mutations in HSCs frequently lead to the reversion of inherited defects. This may occur via the direct correction of germline mutations or indirect compensatory mechanisms. Occasionally, such adaptation may involve oncogenes or tumor suppressors, resulting in malignant transformation. In this brief article, we focus on the mechanisms of clonal dominance in various clinical and biological contexts.